TV Review: Spike’s ‘Catch a Contractor,’ Bravo’s ‘Online Dating Rituals of the American Male’

Catch a Contractor Online Dating Rituals

The sitcom-style reality show gets two new permutations that air directly opposite each other starting March 9 — one aimed conspicuously at guys, the other skewed toward women. Spike will roll out the former, the Adam Carolla vehicle “Catch a Contractor,” a seemingly cathartic concept for anyone who has ever lived through a painful home remodel; while Bravo saddles what amounts to a blind-dating show with the unwieldy title “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.” Both have conceptual assets, but they reinforce the notion the reality genre is out of new ideas, and thus settling for repackaging old ones.

Although he once shared a couch with Jimmy Kimmel on “The Man Show,” Carolla now winds up in lower-rent districts like this, or serving as one of Fox News Channel’s house clowns.

Here, he puts his experience working in construction to use, teaming with contractor Skip Bedell and his wife, private investigator Alison Bedell, to confront “shady, evasive contractors,” as Spike describes them, trying to coerce or shame them into helping fix the messes they created. In the premiere, that involves a family that’s been sleeping in the living room for months after the contractor took their money and then didn’t complete the job.

Of course, it would be so much simpler to just sic the Better Business Bureau on these alleged ne’er-do-wells, but where’s the show in that? Besides, abusing the contractors offers Carolla an opportunity to deliver some funny lines at their expense, like appraising a picture of the first target — who looks like he hasn’t driven past many donut shops — and saying, “This guy lives at the gym.”

Still, the exercise doesn’t feel as expurgating as it should, despite Carolla’s gibes and Bedell’s indignation. Perhaps that’s because the whole thing, even in a half-hour package, sort of feels like using a bazooka to kill a cockroach.

Which, come to think of it, is basically the Spike formula in a nutshell.

As for Bravo’s contribution, each episode of “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” follows two guys as they go through various online dates, either looking for something serious or, as one says in the premiere, “I’m just a Texas boy trying to get laid.”

The direct-to-camera interviews feature not just the two men, but also their dates, which can range from promising to train wreck. Yet while there are certain issues particular to online dating — how accurate is that picture profile, anyway? — the idea that this offers any kind of sociological insight (the show promises “an inside look at the male psyche”) quickly gives way to the customary tricks of the trade.

Moreover, by jettisoning the participants after each hour, “Dating Rituals” doesn’t provide any sort of progression, but merely a series of snapshots — essentially, 50 first dates (if the show lives that long).

It’s too bad, since “Catfish” (first the documentary, then the MTV show) has exposed some of the intricacies and dangers of this world where romance is mediated through a Web connection. Given the opportunity to offer its own insights — which is surely the peek-behind-the-curtain come-on to viewers — Bravo has retreated to its comfort zone, with a whole lot of vamping for the cameras and implied rim shots.

Then again, it’s oddly appropriate that these first episodes of “Rituals” would be guilty of what so many dating online already do — namely, pretending to be something they’re not.

TV Review: Spike's 'Catch a Contractor,' Bravo's 'Online Dating Rituals of the American Male'

(Series; Spike, Sun. March 9, 10 p.m.)

(Series; Bravo, Sun. March 9, 10 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Eyeworks USA.

Produced by Magical Elves and GaspinMedia.

Crew

Executive producers, JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Brant Pinvidic, DJ Nurre, Andy Scheer, Adam Carolla. 30 MIN.

Executive producers, Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Jeff Gaspin, Mandy Salangsang. 60 MIN.

Cast

With: Adam Carolla, Skip Bedell, Alison Bedell

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  1. kristinewatson says:

    That’s great.

  2. Insan Derkunt says:

    I watched the show and the biggest complaint I have about it is that it suffers from the half hour format. Much of the show focuses on catching the contractor but they’re missing a golden opportunity to expand on the actual construction. Not only does it allow for more comedic moments where Carolla can make fun of the bad contractors work but it also misses an opportunity to teach the viewer something about home improvement. What I like about Bar Rescue is not only the drama and what Taffer brings, but they also teach us about the bar industry and they even give recipes to great cocktail ideas. I would love to see a full hour format for season 2 where they focus more on the construction aspect.

  3. Randy Vorrath says:

    I watched the episodes of this to catch a contractor show and have come to the conclusion what a joke . I am a contractor as well and have come across a lot of head shaking can’t believe it moments of projects I come in behind to fix and I fix them no biggy but these 2 guys one a so called comedian if he was in the building business before no wonder he failed because he also sucks as a comedian than you look at the barny bad ass so called I’m a builder dude with the attitude that he can do better and don’t mess with me you know instead of filming a show about what you can’t do and to show the world your a bad ass why don’t you put out a show like Norm Abrams on how good you are but you know what you probably can’t because you suck so my message to both of you is grow up and get a real job and a life!

  4. Nick Hambone says:

    I love the Ace Man, but I think the show is only slightly better than middle of the road. Which is why I’m having a difficult time with any personal attacks against Adam. You could provide a valid, less than positive review about the program without mentioning your opinion of him outside the show at all. It’s lazy and lacks dignity.

    And oh yeah Brian…..even your little picture next to your name smells like cheese and depression.

  5. You can’t “sic the Better Business Bureau” on anyone. That’s not how they work. They are not an enforcement agency, they only give positive reviews to good businesses. They are, essentially, useless if a contractor steals your money. Don’t let facts get in the way of a snarky review, though.

  6. lowry_fan says:

    Lowry’s negative attitude toward Carolla either makes him money or it makes him happy. I can’t see how it would make him money because he sucks as a journalist. So, it must make him happy, which makes him a douche.

  7. Artsky says:

    Brian- You made it clear what your politics are from the begining of this article. What does this have to do with the show though. Adam was a contractor earlier in his life, and now runs a successful podcast, amongst other things. I feel as though you comparing him to Kimmel in the way that you do is not a fair comparison, but rather a cheap shot. Different modes of communication, both number one. Stick to the review and not your personal opinion is what I would do for the future.

  8. dopple says:

    Does Mr. Lowry have so few fans of his work that he needs to take cheap shots at Adam Carolla to drive traffic to his “reviews”? Sad, fat man.

  9. Chris C. says:

    In the first sentence the reviewer reveals his bias by stooping to unnecessary name calling. It’s very unprofessional and poor writing. You’re supposed to be giving an unbiased review but that is clearly not possible.

  10. Curt Schaller says:

    Who’s the “house clown”? Lowry can’t keep his liberal blather out of a review for a home improvement tv show? And its not as if it was a slip of the tongue – he and all of the hacks at Variety let it slide through how many edits of his story.

  11. JJ says:

    “Although he once shared a couch with Jimmy Kimmel on “The Man Show,” Carolla now winds up in lower-rent districts like this, or serving as one of Fox News Channel’s house clowns.”

    Do you even have any clue what you are talking about you condescending idiot? Carolla appears on Fox once a month and is certainly not a house clown you dummy. He is atheist and is far from a house clown, he is 100% honest in his opinions and has time and time again absolutely destroyed right-wingers for their views if he disagrees with them. Way to be professional and bring this pettiness into a review.

  12. clarencewhorley says:

    Written like a man who never sets foot in a Red state and doesn’t know anyone who has conservative or Libertarian views.

    The show Is on Spike, it’s not a news show. Why would Carolla ‘s appearance on FNC play any part in your review of this show.

    What a asshat

  13. Justice says:

    Good luck with the internship @Brian Lowry. Adam Carolla is a hero. You are slime.

  14. The shows successful despite your fat-assery fuck off

  15. Chris Johnson says:

    > “…one of Fox News Channel’s house clowns.”

    This is what you would call “intolerant hate speech” if it were coming from a conservative and targeted toward a liberal. I don’t really care about politics and I don’t care what yours are, Brian. Why are you letting your prejudices color your reviews on things that have nothing to do with politics? It’s unprofessional and it makes you look like a jackass. I think I’m done reading your crap.

  16. JSpicoli says:

    You wish O’Reilly would call you and you could make enough to stop renting a crappy apartment.

  17. kevinfolta says:

    Everybody is a critic and can pick out something to complain about. However, I think there’s a lot of fresh fun in Catch a Contractor. It is totally a winning formula. Carolla’s home improvement podcast is always good and the guy clearly knows his stuff about carpentry. Plus, it was the first time I’ve laughed out loud at a reality show in a long time.

  18. MY TAKE ON THE NEW SHOW “TO CATCH A CONTRACTOR”.
    THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE EVER TOOK THE TIME TO MAKE A COMMENT ABOUT A TV SHOW OR HAVE THE DESIRE TO BE HEARD. THIS POST WILL NEVER MAKE IT TO ANYONE OF IMPORTANCE THAT CAN MAKE AN IMPACT ON WHAT I SEE WRONG ABOUT THE SHOW. SO I DONT EVEN KNOW WHY I’M BOTHERING BUT…..THIS IS THE INDUSTRY WORK IN & HAVE MADE LIVELYOOD FOR YEARS, I CAN’T STAND TO SEE ANYTHING MISREPRESENTED.
    – YOU REMEMBER “THE PETER PRINCIPAL” ? YEAH, 100% WRONG CHOICE GOING WITH CAROLLA. THE HUSBAND & WIFE ARE FINE.
    – LOOK I’M BORN & RAISED IN NYC AND I’M A (56-YRS.OLD) GENERAL CONTRACTOR IN NASSAU COUNTY. WHICH AFTER DECADES OF EXPERIENCE GIVES ME HE RIGHT TO VOICE AN OPINION. CAROLLA’S CO-HOST, THE PASSION HE HAS TOWARD THESE THEIVES IS THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT CAROLLA PORTRAYING THE HOMEOWNERS SAVING GRACE. LOOK I NEVER MET THE MAN OR HAVE A PERSONAL ISSUE WITH HIM BUT HE’S NOT “THE GUY”. I WAS REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHOW BUT OTHER THAN THE WRONG HOST I DIDN’T LEARN ANTHING FROM THE SHOW.
    – HIS KIND OF ON THE JOB HUMOR IS SO OUT OF PLACE AND NOT COMMICAL AT ALL. HE’S A SCHLEP. YOU NEED AN AMERCAN MIKE HOLMES TYPE. CAROLLA ‘S MADE HIS MARK AS A COMEDIAN, THIS IS JUST INCOME, A NEW PUBLICITY SPOT LIGHT. NO PASSION HERE.
    IN CLOSING, UNLESS YOU GET NEW HOST THIS WILL FAIL. THERE AE ALSO SO MANY OTHER WAYS TO ENTRAP BAD CONTRACTORS’ THAT WOULD BE MORE INTERESTING AND ENTERTAINING.
    THX K. GAFFNEY, BONN GC INC

  19. Ace says:

    Carolla show is really fakey and insulting.

    Go rewatch the adam carolla project.

    Before he turned into a sneering rich guy.

  20. Jamie Tyson says:

    I’ve seen e first 3 episodes of Rituals of the American Male and I have to say, this is what Bravo does best. Take simple real life situations and translates in a way that makes you crave it. Variety, I think you’re thinking or hoping this would’ve been different but you should recognize the show for bring perfectly on brand for Bravo. People that know Bravo will know get what they want from this show. It’s also really cool that they made the dating app available for people to use as they watch the show. Does it work outside of LA?

  21. Kelly says:

    My DVR is set. My sister told me about this show. She’s met some of the guys from the cast on Tryst, http://trystdatingapp.com.

    I can’t wait to find out if they’re anything like she told me are in person compared to what I see on the show.

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