Summer is the perfect time for guilty pleasures, and nothing in the reality-dating game hits a comic nerve in the manner of “Meet My Folks.” It’s “Blind Date” grafted onto the Robert De Niro starrer “Meet the Parents” with three suave versions of the Ben Stiller role. While it’s allegedly all about winning a date with the daughter, the bonus here is watching Dad react to the horny contestants.
As “Big Brother” adds complications to its eviction rules, “Meet My Folks” makes it as simple as possible: Mom and Dad interview the potential dates and put them through a few drills; the producers also toss in surprises, such as having former girlfriends come by the family’s house and share a few intimate secrets.
Not surprisingly, the guys who have lined up to be in this show are “players.” In episode one, “The Blankenships,” dad is a no-nonsense football coach who is clearly uncomfortable with his daughter, Senta, being around guys.
Why he opts for the guy who wins is a stunner, but the editors, director Lauren Alvarez and director of photography Zach Kozek do well in presenting the Blankenships as American as apple pie; we seem them as good and the guys as, if not evil, at least questionable. There are enough bumps in the road to hook audiences for the full hour and, for a few weeks at least, there will be anticipation for the next round of suitor scrutiny.
But don’t be fooled by this “reality.” The homey and nicely decorated house is a rental — that’s why there are fax machines everywhere — and the prize, a weeklong trip in Hawaii, doesn’t have to be taken by the chosen couple at the same time. Show, therefore, lacks a payoff in terms of showing couples on their date. Then again, that might mean there’s potential for a sequel.
Hourlong premieres today and shifts to an 8 p.m. Wednesday slot this week.