Welcome to Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch, the first VH1 elimination-style dating show in what seems like forever (but in actuality, it’s only been a few months). You know the drill: public figure with crazy lifestyle makes his lifestyle more public and crazier by searching for love on reality TV. In this case, the figure in question is Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and Dancing With the Stars finalist Chad Ochocinco, who is “unlike any athlete that’s ever walked the earth,” according to him. This braggadocio may in fact seem like that of every other athlete that’s ever walked the earth, but he’s ultimately right: no other athlete has headed up a 51 Minds dating show before.
Let’s get to the good stuff:
- Ochocinco’s palabaras.
Chad is full of catchphrases and particularly worded wisdom. “I can’t be ordinary; I gotta be extraordinary,” he says, and indeed, his frequent refrain of “child, please,” isn’t quite like anything we’ve heard coming from the mouth of a dating-show dude. He explains (in case you need it) that “‘child please,’ basically, it’s a nice way of telling someone ‘f*** you.’” Chad also says “kiss the baby,” a lot, which he compares to the “fat lady sings” cliche. “Kiss the baby ‘cause it’s not happening,” is how he elaborates. So, then “child, please” and “kiss the baby” virtually mean the same thing? At the least, they are both opaque dismissals. Someone came to his dating show prepared!
My favorite thing he said, though, occurred much later in the episode, after his character had already been established. In his one-on-one session with Courtney during the mixer, after watching him struggle to think of something he’d change about himself if he could, she noted that he loves himself. “I better love me. If I don’t, who else would?” was his response. This is virtually the same exact thing RuPaul says at the end of every episode of Drag Race, and that wasn’t the only VH1-crossover of the night. Whether intentional or not, the referencing, it never stops.
Oh, and he also refers to women as “boss,” sometimes…
Cute, right? He also is very upfront with the women in the running for his heart (or whatever), asking why they’re single and whether or not they have boyfriends (and in some cases, asking if they have exes) at home. Maybe he’s trying to weed out the bad ones early, maybe he just wants a preview of the drama that is sure to unfold on his reality show. Hard to say.
The second thing we loved about this Ochocinco premiere?
- The semifinals round.
To start the show, Chad gathers 85 women (ochenta y cinco, if you will) on a football field to determine the 17 that would accompany him in his house on the show. They greet him with jumping jacks, a fine how-do-you-do if ever there were.
He puts them through a battery of tests…
…but the real point of this entire affair reveals itself a bit more subtly…
…and not so subtly.
Chad explains, “I designed all these exercises to test the girls’ compatibility” with a straight face, giving an entirely new meaning to the phrase “training camp.”
Basically as these exercises are going on, Chad is eliminating girls at will, going off the bare-bonesest of criteria (it really seems like his gut is the biggest factor). He explains that he’s doing this with “grace and class.” You be the judge:
It’s kind of bold for a football player to admit that he’s delicate like that. He really is unlike any athlete that’s ever walked the earth.
- The girls.
Duh, right? They’re obviously here to make the show and make it they did.
Right out of the gate, Jasmine seems the most quotable.
She calls Ocho “the most beautifulest chocolate Hershey bar with Chiclet teeth I’ve ever seen in my friggin’ life.” I believe every word of that is supposed to be a compliment (although, Chiclet teeth? Really?).
As Ocho calls out the numbers of the girls who would be staying for after the semifinal round (an extremely A Chorus Line-esque move), Jasmine notes, “I am about to s*** like a frickin’12-and-a-half-lb. baby. I am so nervous!” If she said she was about the s*** like a frickin’ 25-lb. baby, my head would have exploded, as well as her diaper. After an argument with Laurice, as a result of which Laurice decides she would not be sleeping in the same room as Jasmine, Jasmine declares that if her adversary had stayed, “You woulda woke up with a face full of lipstick on your eyebrows.” I wish Laurice no ill will, but I kind of wish that she had stayed just to see what the hell Jasmine was talking about. Face full of lipstick on your eyebrows? What could that possibly mean?
Tara, a Kylie Minogue-esque blonde, is a firecracker.
She says, “I hear that once you go black you never go back,” with a straight face, and claims, “I’m hot and I’ve got big boobs. I’m hoping the big boobs will take me to the end.” If not those, then her tongue will — Ocho says that she keeps him on his P’s and Q’s. She’s so beguiling, she’s got him mixing metaphors!
Crystal’s dad doesn’t know she’s here (except, uh, now he does!)…
…also in the trash-talking challenge in mini-camp, which is basically the reading challenge of last season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race with slightly less lipliner, Crystal can only muster up the following: “Bitch, you’re so fat, you need to go to the gym.” She’s scoffed for this, but personally, I think it’s a brilliant critique of the needless effort people put into insulting.
And then there is Lisa, who buys bok choy, wears all black and cries, and who says she’s “very pretty,” but doesn’t know if that’s good or bad.
She claims that her hair “did blow up on a bottle rocket,” and the ensuing story is even less coherent than that setup. Simply amazing.
- The maturity!
During the aforementioned Jasmine/Laurice bickerfest (over a bed, of course), Laurice actually walks away! “It’s not that big of a deal. Why are we arguing over a f***ing night’s sleep?” This is the first time someone’s backed down from a fight over a bed for the sake of maturity in VH1 history. Again, I’m amazed.
- Katie’s white-girl thing.
Ocho’s response to Katie? “You can’t dance because you’re white? There’s no such thing.” My response to Ocho?
- The ring.
The lucky lady who wins Ocho’s heart also will receive this. Wonderful. Not only is it a nice reward for the time investment this show requires, but it’s also an incentive for both of them to stay together, at least past the reunion. Brilliant.
- The USTREAM tie-in.
Here’s how Chad communicates with the girls when he’s not in the immediate vicinity. Just in case you forgot how tech savvy he is (remember when he promised to tweet from the sidelines?), here’s your reminder.
- The crossover.
Look! It’s T.O. popping up on the show that aired before his show! This is a programming crossover along the lines of Golden Girls/Empty Nest. Classic.
- The girl who stays.
But you know what isn’t classic? The way T.O. tries to convince Candice (above, left) to give him her number. He insists, she resists, noting the cameras that were everywhere.
She eventually leaves it at half-pledging to look it up if/when she was kicked off, reasoning that it would be easier for her to find him than for him to find her. Later, he reports back to Ocho that, “I think the only reason she didn’t give it to me is ‘cause the cameras are all around.” BUT THE ONLY REASON YOU GOT TO ASK FOR IT IN THE FIRST PLACE IS BECAUSE THE CAMERAS ARE ALL AROUND. This is a reality show for everyone, not just the girls.
Anyway, it was kind of deceptive and cheap and since Candice didn’t actually give him the number and, for all we know, could have just been playing polite when being barraged with the same request over and over by a professional famous person, it’s nice to see that she got to stay. You don’t often see such justice on these shows.
- The one who leaves graciously.
After struggling to connect and being told by what seems to be Ocho’s perma-sidekick, B Twice, that she was too low energy, Cynthia eventually got the boot. Upon leaving, she notes, “Everybody as their match. This obviously wasn’t his and maybe it wasn’t mine.” Indeed, she’s clearly way too reasonable for this crazy universe.
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