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Matched in Manhattan
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this dating show deals with adults' relationship issues, from low self-esteem to communication problems. The series addresses the fact that many adults have sex while dating -- one part of the show involves a bedroom makeover. Like most dating shows, it focuses on the premise that people's flaws -- both physical and psychological -- need to be hidden or disguised in order to attract a mate.
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What's the story?
On the reality show MATCHED IN MANHATTAN, New York City-based matchmaker Matt Titus bombards the dating-challenged with all sorts of \"Matt-isms\" until they meet the man of their dreams. The cameras follow Titus as he works with straight women and gay men to find the perfect guy. He meets with clients to assess their strengths and weaknesses, then he gives them a pep talk, puts them through a whirlwind makeover, and matches them up for a date. He teaches his clients where to look for eligible men -- waiting for morning coffee, for one -- with catchphrases like \"You've got to be in line, not online.\" A supposed expert on men, he also makes sure women don't do things like talk about wanting kids on the first date or turn a guy off with an out-of-date TV set.
Is it any good?
While his clients prepare to make their F.V.I. (First Visual Impression), Titus interacts with his business partner/wife Tamsen Fadel in awkwardly staged encounters. In one episode, for example, Fadel playfully nags him to complete thank-you cards, and he just as playfully procrastinates. It's meant to show that Titus really knows how relationships work, but it feels silly and out of context plopped into the middle of the dating content.
Plus, expert or no, Titus is hard to take seriously. He's groomed to the teeth -- bronzed skin, glossy hair, pressed shirts -- and his over-eager attitude (oops, "Matt-i-tude") is, frankly, a real turn-off. Teens won't get any really useful relationship advice here, but there's nothing potentially damaging either. The worst that Titus does is perpetuate banal stereotypes about men (they like technology) and women (calling one a "maneater").
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages this show sends about dating. Do people really need to change who they are in order to find a boyfriend or girlfriend? Teens: Would you change your appearance in order to attract someone? What would you not do to attract someone? What's the best advice anyone has ever given you about relationships?