Idol Chatter

weddingday.jpgTNT sells itself as the network that “knows drama,” but it’s now branching out into melodrama with a new “unscripted drama” (read: reality show) called “Wedding Day,” in which deserving couples get their dream walk down the aisle.
I’m not sure why the network that has brought us quality scripted shows such as “The Closer” and “Leverage,” feels the need to jump on the reality TV bandwagon, but there must be money (big ad bucks, low production costs?) in them thar nuptials. Several networks now feature wedding-themed reality shows, including TLC, BBC America, and even CMT is in on the act, in their own way, with “My Big Redneck Wedding.”
WEtv (that’s Women’s Entertainment, not Wedding Entertainment, by the way) has basically transformed itself into the nuptial network with “My Fair Wedding,” “Bridezillas,” “Rich Bride, Poor Bride,” “Platinum Weddings,” and more.
But, TNT has gone to the godfather of reality TV, Mark Burnett, to produce this “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” meets “My Fair Wedding” mash-up, so I was expecting something more: maybe a groomsmen being voted off the aisle, or a random wedding volunteer being told “You’re fired.”

Unfortunately, the show is rather formulaic in its jaw-dropping, over-the-top beneficence (We’re not only giving you a wedding, but finishing your house as well!) and name-dropping of sponsors a la “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” But that shouldn’t be surprising as Janelle Fiorito serves as an executive producer on both shows.
Where the show stands out from the current televised matrimonial madness is in the stories of the featured couples. Some current shows focus on “deserving” couples, but most focus on bridezillas and conspicuous wedlock consumption. The couples featured on “Wedding Day” have had to put off their big day due to unfortunate, sometimes tragic, circumstances.
Take, for instance, Holli and Steve, the couple featured in the premiere episode. Holli was in a severe car accident four days prior to her originally scheduled wedding day. She was left in a coma for six days and struggled through numerous surgeries and painful rehabilitation for the following year and a half with Steve constantly by her side. Now that’s a deserving couple.
The entire episode is designed to tug at the heartstrings: community folks gathering to decorate the church, the bride and groom’s fathers working together on a project, old friends being flown in to participate. It’s easy enough to defend oneself against such melodramatic manipulation, but, seeing Holli exit the limousine at the church only to experience an acute leg cramp and then hobble into the church on her father’s arm will not leave a dry eye in the house.
“Wedding Day” doesn’t propose anything new for reality television, but it just might be a formulaic match made in heaven for those who simply can’t get enough inspirational reality television.
“Wedding Day” premieres Tuesday, June 16, at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
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