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Spoilers ahead for the series premiere of Fox's Labor of Love.
Fox continues to be the place to be on primetime for bonkers reality shows, ranging from The Masked Singer to the surprisingly badass Ultimate Tag to Celebrity Watch Party. Now, after only one episode, Labor of Love arguably takes the cake for the most ridiculous show on television. No, not just reality TV in general and not just on Fox, but the most ridiculous on all TV. And yet, I couldn't stop watching.
In case you missed the commercials or just wrote them off as something that can't possibly be real, Labor of Love is a reality dating show following 41-year-old Kristy Katzmann's search for love and the father of her children. Labor of Love matched Kristy with 15 men who are also looking to start a family.
If you, like me, thought that this must be more or less a season of The Bachelorette where the leading lady just mentions kids more often, then it probably didn't take much of the series premiere to prove you wrong.
Everything initially seemed like a setup to a conventional dating show with a cocktail party for everybody to meet, but it went off the rails when Kristy and host Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame dropped the bombshell that the gents would need to put down their drinks and head to the mobile sperm unit for their fertility to be checked. And yes, a "mobile sperm unit" is exactly what it sounds like: a trailer for the men to enter and make their deposits, so to speak.
I won't lie: I was tempted to give up on Labor of Love as soon as Kristin Davis and Kristy introduced the men to the mobile sperm unit, and my hand was inching toward the remote when Kristy's doctor showed up to give the men their results and declare one the "winner" for having the highest sperm count.
But I stuck it out, because Fox's Labor of Love managed to power through the uncomfortable cocktail party and subsequent sperm conversation to achieve such a level of craziness that I just had to find out what happened next.
Even as the hour progressed, I had a hard time believing that this was actually happening as a show that actually made it to television, produced before networks started running out of content! And honestly, kudos to Fox for embracing a concept that made Bachelor Nation such a success for ABC and then finding a way to take it to an even more melodramatic place.
I just had to stick with Labor of Love's series premiere to find out who Kristy would eliminate, and what her criteria was for who she would keep as the potential father of her children. Still, I didn't feel especially compelled to keep watching beyond the series premiere even through the first two eliminations, who Kristy sent home because she couldn't see them starting a family together... until the last few minutes.
When Kristy kept Jason Christopher Smith, who had spent most of his time in the premiere drunk, vomiting, and/or getting drunk, however, I found my Labor of Love equivalent of Bachelorette Hannah Brown's Luke Parker, insofar as I didn't get why he's sticking around but I'm inclined to want to see what happens next.
None of this is to say that I'm going to become Labor of Love's #1 fan or that I really will tune in for more episodes, since I was cringing at a lot of what was happening even while I couldn't look away. Disbelief that a dating show can get even weirder than Bachelor in Paradise or The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart can only hook me for so long. That said, summer is the ideal time to try out some bonkers new shows, since the biggest series on TV are generally on hiatus in the summer. Maybe Labor of Love will be Fox's next big hit!
New episodes of Labor of Love air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. Based on the footage for the next installment, Kristy will face an actual bear on a camping trip she's on with the men, so it's probably safe to say that the show will get no less ridiculous as the weeks pass.