TV Review: Matchmaker on A&E

By Kelly West 2007-06-27 00:00:16 discussion comments
TV Review: Matchmaker on A&E image
If you’re 20-something or older and still single, you might be one of the many people out there who has trouble finding true love. Dating is supposed to be fun but for many people, it just brings disappointment. This is where Patti Novak comes in. She’s been matchmaking in Buffalo, NY for years and now has her own show on A&E, titled ‘Confessions of a Matchmaker.’

Similar to shows like ‘Dog The Bounty Hunter’ and ‘Criss Angel: Mindfreak,’ ‘Matchmaker’ is a reality series that takes a look at another niche occupation: matchmaking. Throughout each episode, Novak works with one or two clients and helps improve their dating skills.

What makes ‘Matchmaker’ stand out is Novak’s honesty. People come to her looking for advice on how to act on a date. She doesn’t read off a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, she gets to know them. She learns about their hobbies, likes and dislikes. Then she finds their strengths and weaknesses and tries to find a way to bring out their best qualities while on a date.

Novak avoids being mean but tells these people what the need to hear (even if its not what they want to hear). In one episode, a woman spends part of her date making overly sexual innuendos in response to her dates conversational questioning. Her remarks make the guy, who is a bit older, visibly uncomfortable but she doesn’t seem to notice. After the date goes poorly, Novak calls the woman out for what she said during the date, to which the woman attempts to deny it. Novak refuses to let her off the hook and basically forces the woman to see how some of her behavior is pushing men away.

Her honesty is what’s kept her in business and frankly, it’s really the only thing that makes the show interesting. The premise of ‘Matchmaker’ intrigued me but I found the show to be a bit too simple to be entertaining. There are two major weaknesses to ‘Confessions of a Matchmaker.’ The first is that it takes place in Buffalo, New York. Don’t get me wrong, I think Buffalo’s a fine city, however, it doesn’t look like the most diverse area of the country. The clients are mostly average looking people. In a way, this is one of the things that makes the show more realistic (way more realistic than normal reality TV shows) because it’ll be mostly average looking people watching. But between the Buffalo backdrop and the average-Joes that Novak helps, there isn’t anything really eye-grabbing about the show.

The other flaw is Novak’s voice-over throughout the episode. It reminded me of Victoria Gotti’s voiceovers in ‘Growing Up Gotti.’ When Victoria spoke normally, she was animated and natural. When she did the voiceover, she sounded mechanical, as though she was reading it right off a card. The same description fits Novak. She’s so candid and natural when working with her clients and while her voiceovers do serve to give us an insight into her thought process as she watches the date unfold, they’re a bit awkward at times.

Flaws aside, I’ll end this review on a positive note. While ‘Confessions of a Matchmaker’ might not be as entertaining as it could be (with a bit of fine-tuning and maybe a good soundtrack), it could help single viewers realize that in order to date well, they need to recognize their weaknesses and learn to overcome them; and find their strengths and learn to use them to their advantage.

In short, this series has potential but it needs work.

‘Confessions of a Matchmaker airs on A&E on Saturdays at 10:00 p.m.
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