Leading into chair-swiveling knockoff "The Choice" to create a summer block of dating shows, Fox's "Take Me Out" definitely goes the extra mile to maintain a high sense of energy, even if that means rolling out carnival freaks as candidates.
Essentially a dating-elimination game with a "Deal or No Deal" undercurrent, the show features 30 beautiful women (my guess is Fox grows them in a lab just for these purposes), who are presented male candidates. They go through a series of rounds -- the first being just seeing them -- in which the female players can drop out or stay in the running for a date with the dude to the tropical-looking "Take Me Out Resort."
But said dudes, of course, aren't always what they appear, from the one who likes hunting (a turnoff to some of the women) to others with, er, more exotic (and hence easily ridiculed) pastimes.
Presiding over it all is comic George Lopez, who introduces the men with lines like “Let the hot dog see the buns" or "Let the clams see the chowder." As they say in Spanish, "Oy vey."
Granted, the show has its nice little touches. Guys who aren't picked by any of the women leave to Harry Nilsson's "All By Myself." And the women periodically do a weird choreographed number that resembles something out of a Spanish-language variety show.
It's only when the players open their mouths -- trying to be coy and cute -- the show gets into trouble and feels conspicuously staged. Compared to this, the old "Dating Game" looks positively spontaneous.
Lopez does keep matters light, and cheekily offers comfort to the guys by saying, "It's not you. It's them."
That's a reassuring sentiment, but if I never see "Take Me Out" again, trust me, it's you.