If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Patti’s show is the one that Bravo’s been running ads for exhaustively over the last couple of months. In them, Patti, who has a face like a Gene Simmons drag king, wearing a bloodclot-red pantsuit, awkwardly shoots arrows Cupid-style and sprinkles rose petals over nothing.
This is not a bad bit of metonymy for the show, in which Patti scams dumb, rich L.A. sad sacks out of thousands of dollars to set them up with terrible matches, then blames their failure to connect on their own personality flaws.
Patti berates her clients, calling a 28-year-old entrepreneur “cheap” because he lives in a modest Pasadena condo. She scoffs when a client suggests, “Maybe I can wait to find someone who likes me for me.”
Her business is run like a telemarketing sweatshop, where she barks orders at her staff (whom she calls her “daughters”) as they cold call potential clients, then melts down when one asks for a raise. She forces a handsome, 5’9″ millionaire to stand behind a two-way mirror and listen to a couple of bubbleheads balk at the idea of dating such a “short” guy.
As for her own personal life, Patti claims to have had a boyfriend for 3 years. He may have appeared in one of the episodes I haven’t seen, but my guess is he lives next door to Corky St. Clair’s wife Bonnie from Waiting for Guffman.
My favorite thing about The Millionaire Matchmaker is that I have yet to see an episode where one of Patti’s matches leads to even a third date. The basic arc of every episode is 1) Patti’s client expresses his desire for a completely incompatible match, 2) Patti argues client’s instincts yet sets him upwith someone who fits his specifications, 3) the setup fails spectacularly, 4) Patti yells at client, 5) show ends.
Like Bravo’s equally, addictively vexing Real Housewives, the show is frustrating/fascinating because it refuses to take a judgmental stance on its subject. Instead, it seems to invite the audience to either enjoy it at face value or, as in my case, recoil in horror at the realization that this is how rich people spend their money.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever watch again, but I think I want to be Patti Stanger next Halloween.