The MTV-ization of America continues unabated with tonight's premiere of "Street Match," an ABC "reality series" that copies the giddy format of MTV's various reality shows down to the slightest nuance of style. (The show premieres at 8:30 on Channels 7, 3, 10, 42.)
In fact, this new show duplicates the attitude and technical intricacies so well that "Street Match" is almost as much shallow, privacy-invading fun as MTV's own "The Real World." The idea here is that--two times each episode--Cupid-playing host Ricky Paull Goldin will approach some unsuspecting single soul on the street, ask him or her to select a stranger of the opposite sex who sets his or her hormones on fire, and then set the two up on an almost-blind date.
Naturally, the omnipresent herky-jerky cameras will follow this instant couple everywhere but the toilet stall. The pre-dinner segments commence with footage of the lucky contestants chattily anticipating their big night while showering, shaving and applying makeup at home. And it ends, if they and we get lucky, with a lot of chemistry and maybe even a post-dinner make-out session.
Voila: Instant "Studs," with actual voyeurism replacing the antiquated concept of a morning-after play-by-play.
How derivative is it? Well, host Goldin (star of daytime's "Another World") is about as obnoxiously in-your-face as MTV's Dan Cortese, though a slicker dresser. The quick edits and constantly roving cameras may as well have been trademarked by the music channel. And, most blatantly, shorthand biographical information about the participants (such as their astrological signs) is offered in scrawled captions, as is the fashion of all MTV's in-house shows.
But it'd be a lie to say this show isn't quite entertaining in its own right, especially in the first of tonight's two segments.
There, we watch in horror as an average twentysomething Joe takes the disastrous step of selecting New York's biggest black-wearing snob for his date. ("I can judge a person by the shoes. It's a big deal," sniffs the Doc Martens-wearing selectee in her haughty Brooklynese.)
Jeepers, creepers--we do enjoy being peepers. "Sliver" may have been a terrible movie, but it looks as if we're doomed to spend the decade living it, and liking it.