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My Antonio: First Impressions

I just finished watching a sneak preview of the premiere episode of My Antonio on vh1.com. My Antonio is a reality series centered around former General Hospital star Antonio Sabato, Jr. and his search for true love. Judging from the first episode this show is not unlike most other reality shows in that the person who is most willing to demean and humiliate themselves will likely stick around the longest.

My Antonio takes place in Hawaii and at the beginning of the first episode Antonio dives off a boat into the ocean and swims ashore to meet his potential mates. Almost immediately after introducing himself to the women Antonio pulls one of them aside, talks to her for about thirty seconds, looks at her hands and feet, decides that he is not attracted to her and sends her home. Antonio's fascination with hands and feet seems to be a running theme in this show, at least in the first episode.

Later on the women meet Antonio for their first "challenge," which they soon find out involves them literally climbing a mountain for him, a challenge made even more difficult by the fact that most of them are wearing dresses. Antonio tells them that he wants to see how physically fit they are so they have to climb a mountainside and reach the top where he is waiting. He points them to what amounts to a pile of dirt where they have to dig to find tennis shoes (to protect their feet) before attempting to climb. The only word I can think of to describe this scene is embarrassing. The fact that so many women would climb a mountain in a dress in hopes of impressing a man, celebrity or not, is sad. No self-respecting woman would be willing to demean themselves in that way. And what kind of man wants a woman who does not respect herself?

Later that night Antonio and the women are lounging by the pool, presumably so he can have the chance to get to know each of them individually, you know in their swimsuits. He seems to connect with nurse Brooke, a Southern girl who by all accounts seems to be the most level-headed of all the women there. In my opinion she is also the one that VH1 hand-picked because they thought the viewers would identify with her. Antonio also talks to Sarah who is a student. She is the one that viewers will either be annoyed by or feel sorry for, maybe even a little bit of both. Antonio approaches her because she is standing by herself away from the group, and when he starts asking questions about her she cannot really give him any answers and starts to cry. She tells him that she is just nervous as he tries to comfort her. As it turned out Sarah was not the only one that needed comforting poolside that night after Antonio's mother showed up to survey the group of women vying for a chance to be with her son. She gives Antonio her input and points to one woman in particular that she thinks is all wrong for him. Taking his mother's advice he sends Interior Designer Courtney home.

The next day Antonio shows up where the women are staying, bearing gifts to pamper their hands and feet. He makes a second attempt at talking to Sarah who runs away from him, forcing him to follow her through the entire house. Once he catches up to her, conversation proves rather futile because she still cannot seem to tell him anything about herself. Soon after Antonio leaves, inviting the women to join him for dinner later that night, where Antonio's mother will also be seated.

At dinner Antonio's mother begins interviewing various women at the table. While talking to one of the women, Sarah begins laughing. Antonio's mother stops the conversation to ask her why she is laughing. Sarah tells her she is nervous so Antonio's mother starts questioning her. Again Sarah is unable to tell her anything about herself and begins to cry, telling them that she does not have a mother as she walks away from the table. More exhaustive drama ensues when Antonio's ex-wife shows up claiming that she wants him back.

Like most reality shows My Antonio was clearly created with the intent to showcase a lot of drama. It is obvious even from the first episode that VH1 primarily casted women with diva -like personalities in an attempt to promote tension and confrontations. It also appears that the creators of this show wanted it to have a "soapy" quality based on the fact that all the drama seems somewhat contrived. As a longtime fan of soaps I can tell you that if I wanted to watch drama that seems a bit too contrived I would still be watching Y&R.

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