Everyone's talking about the short-lived TV show "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" and I want to offer my own expert commentary.
First, my complaints:
The show discriminated against women by encouraging them to marry down.
These days, every college kid with a dorm room filled with the pungent scent of weed has an Internet company that he has taken public for billions of dollars. So why should women settle only for a multimillionaire? Do you expect these girls to starve? If a guy these days is only a multimillionaire, it's a sure sign that he's a total loser. If you're going to marry anyone, choose instead some prepubescent computer whiz who, while not legally of marriageable age, will soon have enough money to wipe out Third World debt.
The show discriminated against nontraditional types.
Not everyone today wants to marry. A lot of people don't even believe in marriage anymore. They feel it's outdated, oppressive, insipid, and boring. By encouraging marriage, the show was a clear attempt on the part of ultra-right religious conservatives to impose their narrow view of life on 25 million viewers.
The show was anti-Semitic and, in particular, discriminated against rabbis.
Notice that Fox didn't name the show "Who Wants to Marry a Short, Unshaven Jew?" (Yes, I'm referring to myself. What am I--chopped liver?) And since there's a greater likelihood of the Reform party becoming respectable than there is of any rabbi ever becoming a multimillionaire, this is a clear act of discrimination. The unmistakable implication of the show's title is that rabbis should be like priests and never be allowed to marry.
Now, here's my alternative: The next time Fox produces a program of this nature, it should be titled "Who Wants to Have an Affair With a Multi-Millionaire?'" The logic is simple.
I recently met a young, attractive Jewish woman who was one of the 50 contestants on "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" and asked her if she had any regrets about her participation. She said she had none. When I pressed her, she responded, "Look, even if I had been the winner of the competition, I would have gone through with the marriage. But it would have been no big deal because you can get divorced the following day, or you can seek annulment. Either way, you can get out right away."
With that kind of thinking running rampant in America--that marriage is no big deal and, if it doesn't work out, you can just get a quickie divorce--it should not be repugnant to do a show where we try to find a mistress for a multimillionaire. After all, once you argue that marriage is no big deal, then by extension adultery is no big deal either.
So here's the treatment for my soon-to-be-produced television hit, "Who Wants to Have an Affair With a Multi-Millionaire?"
The CastHost: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (It is my idea, so bug off.)
Multimillionaire: Donald Trump (Okay, so he's not currently married and therefore cannot technically commit adultery. But heck, that's only a technicality, and he'd be perfect for the part.)
Contestants: All the girls from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, past and present.
The ActionFirst round: Multimillionaire is at his computer in his office, buying a million shares of eBay. The 50 mistress contestants, all playing the role of secretary, enter dressed in swimsuits and carrying Starbucks white-chocolate mochas, venti (after all, size does matter). The first 10 to get him to look up from his computer monitor advance to the next stage. If the multimillionaire looks up at one of them and hollers, "Hey, you flattened my shag carpet," she is automatically thrown off the show.
Second round: Multimillionaire and his wife (we'll persuade Ivana or Marla to do a cameo) are sitting at their table waiting for dinner. The 10 finalists walk in, all dressed in French maid's outfits, and serve the couple dinner. The first two to get him to look up from his rib eye steak and put down his glass of merlot become the finalists. (However, anyone who gets the wife to look up from her organic salad in a jealous rage and yell, "I'm not going to get even, I'm going to get everything," automatically wins the competition.)
Third round: The scene is the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The multimillionaire is at the roulette table about to make a bet. The finalists are standing on either side of him dressed in lycra (because lycra doesn't lie). Whichever one the multimillionaire turns to and says, "Go ahead, baby, pick a number and make my moment" automatically wins. She gets whisked up to a hotel room, where she gets to have her affair with the man she loves.
They lock themselves in the hotel room and emerge exactly five minutes later--the multimillionaire's got deals to make and people to see--and the woman proclaims her joy at their short but satisfying tryst. (She must say it was the best she's ever had or she loses her prize money.) She then receives her reward: a $10 gift certificate to purchase one copy of Donald Trump's latest book, "The Art of the Pickup."
Ending: Rabbi Boteach offers a moral lesson, admonishing the contestants that money does not make the man. He then tries to marry Mr. Trump himself, pleading that he has six children to support. When Trump turns him down, he begs the multimillionaire to at least purchase the thousand unsold copies of his 1995 book, "Moses of Oxford."