It takes more than being a professional butt smoocher to walk away victorious in ”Meet My Folks,” NBC’s latest reality-dating program in which three guys or gals live with a member of the opposite sex’s family for a weekend while competing for parental approval. That’s why we asked Anthony Blackburn, who came out on top in the show’s second episode, to share some of his secrets to success.
THE PARENTS Restraint is the name of the game when it comes to impressing the elders. According to Blackburn: ”When you first meet ’em, just be polite. Don’t go over the top,” he advises. ”Shake their hands, and just be nice. And then throughout the weekend try to find some common interests.” Any other tips? ”Don’t flirt with the mom,” he cautions. ”I mean, you gotta flirt with the mom a little so you win her over — just don’t go over the top with it. And don’t be cheesy.”
THE OBJECT OF AFFECTION ”Don’t try to get too friendly with the girl,” warns Blackburn. ”Cameron [one of ‘Folks” other contestants] was out there massaging the girl, and he got caught. In my case it worked out good just hanging out with the father more.”
THE COMPETITION Trying to show up the other contestants is a good way to get shown the door, says Blackburn. ”One guy’s strategy was to dog us behind our backs,” he recalls. ”And Cameron’s strategy was to make the other guys look bad in front of the parents and the daughter. I just think it made him look like a jackass. My strategy was to let them be jackasses and take themselves out of the game.” So basically, don’t be a jackass, is what he’s saying.
ALL THOSE NASTY REVELATIONS Since part of the game involves being called out on past indiscretions, the best defense is a good ol’ shoulder shrug, insists Blackburn. ”Cameron tried to lie his ass off and stick up for himself,” he laughs. ”My strategy was, hey, it happened, it’s in the past. Everyone does stupid s—. If you’re trying to cover it up, the parents are gonna figure you’re trying to lie your way out of it. If you come clean, they’ll at least respect you for that.”
THE DREADED LIE DETECTOR Ever the smooth operator, Blackburn even had the polygraph figured out. ”I heard how you can pass a lie detector test, because some of those questions that I answered correctly, I actually lied about.” So how did Mr. Phony Baloney pull it off? ”Answer quickly as soon as the question is done. Don’t think about it, and then after you answer the questions, breathe in and out slowly while counting to three.” And that’s the God’s honest truth…we think.