Cable for One – Age of Love – Episode 1-1

Age of Love made its debut this week. Billed as a battle between ‘Kittens’ and ‘Cougars’, the idea is to pit twenty-somethings women against forty-somethings to vie for the attention of a thirty year old, tennis player, Mark Mark Philippoussis. Did the show bring anything new to the table or was it just another in a long line of dating reality shows? Read on to find out.

I find it amusing that the advertising for Age of Love is focused on billing it as a big ‘social experiment’ to see if age really matters. The scale is far too small for Age of Love to actually count as a valid experiment. If there were hundreds of men being given groups of younger and older women to choose from, you could analyze the trends and see if one group has an advantage over the other. But the choice of a single guy isn’t going to tell you a whole lot.

Given how Mark reacted when he first met all the forty-something (or thirty-nine year old) women, it was probably a good idea to start with that group. That way they were able to wait until Mark got to know the women a bit and started warming up to the idea of dating them before introducing the younger women. I suspect if they had introduced all of the women at once, the forty-somethings would probably have a lot harder time attracting Mark’s attention; Delaying the introduction of the younger women should help ensure a more level playing field.

I’ve never really watched any reality dating shows previous to this, but I suspect the first week of Age of Love was much like The Bachelor and other shows of the genre, save for the fact that Mark was being asked to choose from a group of women that were older than he was. Of course, most of the forty-somethings could easily pass as being in their early to mid-thirties, maybe even younger in a couple cases, but that certainly didn’t stop Mark from getting a horrified look on his face when he heard how old they were.

The pacing of the show seems to be rather rapid. There weren’t any on-screen indicators of time but, unless there was drastic editing done, there was only one day between when Mark first met the women until the first elimination. If that one elimination a day pace continues throughout the show, that’s probably going to make it tough for some of the women to make an impression on Mark. The quick pacing seemed to be at least part of the reason why Jodie was eliminated this week, and with the field being expanded to 12 women next week, it’s likely to get more difficult (at least until the field gets trimmed down somewhat).

On the elimination, I was a bit surprised to see Jodie be the one sent home. I was kind of expecting it to be either Kelli or Angela, simply because we saw very little of them when compared to most of the others. But I suppose if you want an elimination to have any impact you have to give the person who is getting eliminated lots of screen time. Of all the eliminations, this one and possibly the next one (if a twenty-something is sent home) will probably be most random. Later in the series, Mark should know the women pretty well, but this early on he probably doesn’t have a lot of a basis for eliminating any specific person.

It’s the pitting of the two distinct age groups against each other that makes Age of Love unique. While we didn’t see a lot of them the twenty-something group this week, I’m curious about them. During the little time they were on screen the twenty-somethings were generally portrayed as rather shallow and easily amused (ooh, a hula-hoop!). I’m not sure if that’s a case of the editing making them look bad, or if they were rather shallow but it almost felt like they were being cast as the villains of the show. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re still cast that way next week when we get to know them a bit better.

From the opening segment highlighting the entire season it seemed like they would be doing a lot to encourage rivalry between the two groups of women. It’ll be interesting to see how that effects the dynamic among the forty-somethings. After they first met Mark some of the women were getting rather snippy with each other; I suspect that there’ll be much less of that next week as they band together to snark at the twenty-somethings.

This week’s episode, like many series premieres in both the fiction and reality TV worlds, was focused mainly on setting the stage for the rest of the series. We still got an entertaining episode, but the real goal of this week’s episode was to set the stage for the rest of the series. Next week, with the twenty-somethings added to the mix, should give us a much better feeling for the series as a whole.

Sir Linkalot: Age of Love