Dancing on Ice will be axed after the 2014 series, and here we look at where the reality show floundered.
TV review: Sky Living's The Love Machine
Chris Moyles and Stacey Solomon
Hosted by DJ Chris Moyles and jungle queen Stacey Solomon, The Love Machine is Sky Living's latest attempt to exploit the insatiable public appetite for low-rent dating shows. So, what to expect? Well, as the Sky Living press release says: "forget chat up lines and awkward introductions - The Love Machine asks its contestants to pick a potential date on looks alone."
In The Love Machine, each contestant is given eight spins of a giant wheel - the love machine of the title - which contains silhouettes of potential dates. The wheel illuminates one of its cargo per spin, with the contestant being invited to scrutinise, point out minor physical flaws, then 'ditch or date'.
If a contestant deems the first seven options too hideous to date, he or she must then 'choose' the final remaining candidate, regardless of whether they look like the back of a bus or not.
The new couple are then assessed for compatibility, with Chris Moyles and Stacey Solomon egging them on to answer correctly and win extra cash for their holiday together.
Sky Living saw fit to change its name to Sky Loving for a day, in the show's honour, but did The Love Machine live up to all the hype?
The look of utter defeat on Chris Moyles' face as, at one point, he found himself bellowing the words: "This show is brilliant!" (It wasn't).
Chris Moyles and Stacey Solomon made Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox look like the world's most accomplished double-act.
Part of the reason for Take Me Out's runaway ratings success is that it humanises its contestants. Over the weeks we get to know each girl's personality (or lack thereof), so that we're genuinely pleased/horrified for them when they eventually get their man.
"a show that wears its shallowness on its sleeve"
Catchphrase-generator Paddy McGuinness is great, too. He effortlessly manages the 25 screaming harpies, poking fun at himself, as well as at the seemingly endless parade of Essex blokes that live with their mums who descend in the 'love lift'. It's a bit of silliness that never knowingly takes itself too seriously, and is all the better for it.
Not so The Love Machine, a show that wears its shallowness on its sleeve and favours personal insults and lazy single-entendres over genuine humour and charisma.
The hosts with the least
"I know, I am very sexy," deadpans Chris Moyles at the top of the show. Repeated attempts to turn Moyles into a TV star have succeeded in proving only one thing: that his is truly a face for radio.
"Chris Moyles' role is to supply the 'jokes'."
It would appear that Chris Moyles' role is to supply the 'jokes' while Stacey Solomon, well... I'm not actually sure what Stacey Solomon does, other than illiteracy and over-excitability.
Between hooting the names of each contestant, Ms Solomon occasionally summarises a key decision via tablet PC, just in case its subtlety has passed the viewing nation by.
"Better shaddows" [sic] she scrawls when loser-in-love Cassius ditches one girl in favour of the remaining (silhouetted) options. "No umf" [sic], she writes of another ditched girl, though she may as well have been reviewing her own performance.
Wheel of misfortune
The guys'n'gals who appear on this show are the kind of people who believe 'The Lynx Effect' to be scientifically proven fact. In other words: they're shallow enough to be in a reality soap, and none of them will match Stephen Fry for intelligence. They deserve each other.
Take 24-year-old Amy from Manchester (who believes not only in the Lynx effect, but also in clairvoyants). "My best features are my smile, my hair, and probably my bum," she bleats. Well, it's certainly not your brain, love.
"I'm not sure about his earrings," she observes - not entirely unreasonably - of one hopeful inhabitant of the wheel. "He's a bit short for me," she adds, the final insulting nail in poor Deano's coffin.
"Deano got ditched because he's just too short with bad bling," summarises Stacey which, by her standards, is practically Shakespeare.
Amy eventually gets her man: Rhys Davies, chosen not for his looks or personality, but because Amy happens to like the name Rhys. Saints preserve us.
Deano, meanwhile, is later picked by the rather vacuous Channelle from Northampton. "I'm excited, I could find the love of my life," she squeaks. Instead she finds Deano, 20, from Staines. "I feel privileged," he says. She, presumably, does not.
Part Take Me Out, part Wheel Of Fortune and part Mr and Mrs, The Love Machine sees preening catalogue-model boys and Hollyoaks-esque girls select sexual partners based on looks alone. A bit like a night out in Basildon, then. On the plus side, the studio is glitzy and looks good in HD. What's more, this dating show has the potential to attract fans of guilty pleasure TV.
But for me personally, no likey, no watchy would be a fitting mantra for Sky Living's The Love Machine.
- Rating: Appropriately enough for a show about losers in love, The Love Machine earns a single star out of five.
TV quotes of the week
"Tonight is all about looks." Famous 'looker' Chris Moyles explains the rules of The Love Machine to an incredulous nation.
"All my friends call me Princess." - I could think of a few more nicknames for contestant Amy.
"He's like a pasty Gok Wan." - Moyles unleashes his inner bully with a bizarre tirade against one contestant.
"I've got a peahead." - Stacey Solomon: not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
"This show is brilliant!" - No, Moyles. No it is not.
The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft
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