Stunned mul­let adrift among the flirty dozen

Mark Philip­pous­sis’ Age of Love 8.30pm/ 9.30pm, Seven

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Ian Cuth­bert­son

STAND­ING with his hands clasped neatly in front of him, like some mother’s well- be­haved, good lit­tle son at church, you get the sense Mark Philip­pous­sis is won­der­ing how he let him­self get talked into this.

Sure, it must be ev­ery red- blooded man’s fan­tasy to be fought over not just by two women, but by two teams of women. With odds like that, you’d think even the dullest man could do pretty well.

Philip­pous­sis is any­thing but dull. Shy at times, less than elo­quent, vol­cani­cally ath­letic, but never dull. It’s a shame the same can’t be said of the women, though when you take into ac­count the voice- over de­ter­min­ing that ‘‘ the claws will come out’’ ( when the older women meet the younger women) you re­alise how set up things are and how lit­tle room there is for the women to move.

Philip­pous­sis was al­legedly told he would be ap­pear­ing in a tra­di­tional dat­ing show. In­stead he finds he is the fo­cus of the ma­nip­u­lated at­ten­tion of 13 women — a baker’s dozen. No won­der he so of­ten looks like a stunned mul­let.

‘‘ It’s all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date,’’ said Ge­orge Bernard Shaw, a quote that be­comes wall­pa­per tonight. As if the young women are go­ing to keep the os­ten­si­bly old women ( they range in age from 40 to 48) up to date, though they may very well shock them.

‘‘ Hmm, I won­der what Mark is do­ing tonight,’’ one of the young women says to the oth­ers with all the spon­tane­ity of the script in an adult film. At that mo­ment, the women prob­a­bly imag­ine the man we used to know as the Scud ( and who would prob­a­bly rather not be known as the

She looked hot. She looked hot . I mean, what can I say? She looked hot’

Poo) col­lect­ing roses and care­fully re­mov­ing their thorns or some­thing.

In­stead he is scud­ding along on his skinny calves by the pool in thongs and a nice shirt.

When he achieves ‘‘ the po­si­tion’’, he waits for them to de­scend in an out­door lift, his ner­vous hands held fast be­hind his back in the man­ner of the Duke of Ed­in­burgh.

The young women, dressed in en­hanced swimwear, must come for­ward and in­tro­duce them­selves to Mark, one by one.

What does he think, for ex­am­ple, of Lauren, 27?

‘‘ My first im­pres­sion of Lauren? She looked hot. She looked hot. I mean, what can I say? She looked hot.’’ No Rhodes scholar, our Mark.

This ex­cru­ci­at­ingly awk­ward pass­ing out pa­rade goes on for what feels like days, then there are games and ac­tiv­i­ties, and the oblig­a­tory elim­i­na­tions. Say what you will about hate­ful re­al­ity TV. Af­ter this, no one should call Philip­pous­sis a bad sport again.

Quarry: Mark Philip­pous­sis and the women com­pet­ing for his at­ten­tions

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