No TV producer on earth could have created a show this funny, says Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated April 23, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Credit: Chains of Love: Jaimie Trueblood
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  • TV Show
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  • UPN
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Was ”Chains of Love” created by aliens?

When my editor and I agreed that I would write about ”Chains of Love,” the UPN reality show (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) about four people who are chained for days to a potential date, she started blathering on about Sidney Poitier being handcuffed to a racist Tony Curtis in ”The Defiant Ones” and Richard Gere dragging Kim Basinger through the bayou in ”No Mercy” and some nonsense about chains equaling hostility. Clearly, she has never seen ”Chains of Love,” because let me tell you — when it comes to this spectacular hour, chains equal HILARITY.

”Chains of Love” is quite possibly, the funniest show that has ever aired on television. In the first episode, four women were chained to a dude named Andy, competing for his attention and parcels of $10,000 in prize money. One by one, Andy eliminated the chicks who didn’t shake his groove thing, explaining exactly what about them wasn’t to his liking, until he was left with just one woman — whom he promptly dumps on her well toned tush.

Now, if any of this were actually real, it would obviously be appalling. It would be demeaning, it would be humiliating, it would be, oh, not unlike prostitution. But from the moment the show begins, it is abundantly clear that ”Chains of Love” is a satire of human beings, kind of a ”Saturday Night Live” skit produced by aliens who find human foibles ripe for humor. Those aliens, man, they’re geniuses.

Here are the signs that the show is created by extraterrestrials who have never spent a day here but have studied us very, very closely:

One of the chained females is callled KERSTIN. That name has never, ever been spelled like this.

Three of the contestants are completely indistinguishable from each other. I mean, completely. Apparently, when viewed from another galaxy, all blonde women look alike.

Andy’s mom makes a video appearance, telling the contestants what kind of woman she’d like for her son. There’s not a mother on this planet who would advocate, let alone participate in, this kind of event.

Andy said things like, ”this makes me feel kind of rejected,” and ”I’m at a new stage in my life.” Everyone knows these words have never come out of a man’s mouth.

There’s also a cameo by The Locksmith, the person (or alien) responsible for undoing the chains for bathroom breaks (which we don’t see). I’m guessing he’s an alien because he wore dark glasses even at night, and he never spoke (we’d know right away he had a funny accent).

Here’s the final proof: After dumping all of the women, Andy, we learn in the show’s postscript, later called two of them up for dates. Actual human males would prefer to eat glass rather than approach women they’ve previously rejected.

Earlier this year, NBC passed on ”Chains of Love,” apparently because they viewed it as too trashy. But ”Chains of Love” is to trash what Miss Piggy is to sex symbols — so over the top, it’s right back on the other side, landing firmly in the realm of brilliant, knowing comedy. ”Chains” is a send up of all the actually trashy shows, where people eat bugs, swap mates, or get humiliated by a British quizmistress who tells them they’re stupid.

If Comedy Central is smart, they’ll grab the rerun rights. The Oscar ceremony producers will beg one of the contestants to host the show next year. And the space aliens who created ”Chains of Love,” wherever they might be, will keep on satelliting down new installments. Because if ”Chains of Love” isn’t from heaven exactly, it’s from somewhere pretty damn close.

Chains of Love

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  • TV Show
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genre
status
  • In Season
network
  • UPN

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