The revival of beloved classic “Baked Buzzed Bored” continues: This week, three lovable Daily Arts staffers lose their minds to “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry,’” a reality show banished to the forgotten depths of network television hell when it was cancelled only four of eight planned episodes. The premise? Twelve American women are thrust into competing on a “Bachelor”-esque show vying for the heart of none other than Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex himself. Except he isn’t Prince Harry, he’s Matthew Hicks, some garden-variety English goober. What could possibly go wrong? If the frustrating amount of quotation marks in the title is any indicator, a whole lot.
Some call me a stoner with too much free time to watch television. I call myself a cultural anthropologist who, with the assistance of THC, has the ability to consistently (sniff out?) the top tier of pop culture. The next throwback on my queue was a little ditty called “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry,’” originally broadcasted on none other than FOX, the Rupert Murdoch owned-network responsible for such greats as “My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss” and “Mr. Personality.”
Entering into this show in a post-Meghan Markle world, I was a bit critical. How would this make my Lord and Savior/part-time Queen of the Blacks™, the Duchess of Sussex look? Is this their meeting story? Then, I realized that this show was not only American-produced, but also was made years ago, and I looked in the mirror and felt like a reallll dipshit. So, here we are at the beginning of the show. The show started off on a strong foot by hiring a man who isn’t even British, but from Papua New Guinea. His accent was great. Apparently, the FAKE Prince Harry they hired has a “93% face match” to the actual Windsor. Nope, you read that correctly. The FOX Network used fake science as a justification for a mediocre doppelganger. His name is Matt Hicks, and if you’re wondering if he seemed stable enough to participate in this pseudo-social experiment and not experience an immense power trip, he most certainly is not.
This particular quality in Matt — the gradual formation of the belief that he truly is Prince Harry — comprises the bulk of the reason why the meat of the show became unwatchable for me. Or, at least unwatchable without wincing because I was locked into that baby for a good three ‘sodes. The biggest question I ran into was whether or not the women (read: Charlotte Russe managers turned “actresses”) actually knew that this guy was a nobody, or if some of them actually lived in the delusion that the royal family would actually participate in a reality show wherein the women wear jean cutoffs as formal wear. Legally, they dodged the whole “identity fraud” thing by only referring to Matt as “sir.” So, if you think about it, there was a lot of leeway for the women to actually believe that this really was Prince Harry, so much so that the entire B-arc of the show was centered around the few daring women inside the house that began to question — weeks in — if this all seemed a bit too good to be true.
Spoiler: it was. But you should have guessed that, even the title of the show comes with smug quotations around the name Harry. God, I need the legal team behind this show. Airtight.
The best part of the show easily was skipping to the last 15 minutes of the last episode just to see which woman would get to escape a life of retail work in the states and live out their fairytale of marrying a guy who extracts rocks for a living!!! Not going to lie here, I completely forgot the woman’s name, but she was white and brunette (that should clear things up). The show then takes a unique “Baggage”-like turn in which Matt gets put in the hot seat, and the woman now has to simultaneously admit to America that she is both OK with a middle-class lifestyle and with being made a fool of on national television.
Clearly no one watched because it got cancelled before the remainder of the episodes could air, but unlike America, I was able to appreciate this show for what it was: A big middle finger to Prince William. Thank you FOX Network for this gem, and for continuing to provide me with the content I crave intravenously like “The Masked Singer.”
Man, this show is really boring. It’s not even bad in the fun way, it’s just a huge drag.
The premise is as ridiculous as it sounds — a “Bachelor” type show with the man in question being a “lookalike” of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Twelve vapid stereotypically-American women vie for his affection over the course of several weeks. At first they are not told that the man is Prince Harry, it is merely suggested that it may be. Later, they are told that he is, in fact, royalty. Aside from being stupid, the concept is pretty creepy as well, the deception being a stone’s throw away from wearing a mask of human skin a la Ed Gein.
Most reality television requires some suspension of disbelief, but this is insane. There is a less-than-zero percent chance that these women did not figure out that that this bland rock-kicker was not in the line of succession to the British throne. It’s not like they didn’t have clues — aside from the important fact that he doesn’t resemble Prince Harry in the slightest, his accent isn’t correct, he suffered from an acute case of flop sweat and his “security detail” was wearing sunglasses that look like they came from the clearance rack at Bass Pro Shops.
I had hoped that getting drunk would make it more enjoyable, but alcohol was no match for the fucking awfulness of this show. It did, however, help me identify what the intended purpose of this trainwreck was — performative cruelty, designed to make you laugh at the vapidness and greed of the contestants. I can see how this could be a funny concept, even if it is mean-spirited, but it just wasn’t. The contestants weren’t interesting enough, the “prince” was bland and the drama wasn’t that dramatic. There were two good characters on the show. One is Kingsley, the overacted butler who I am very suspicious of. The other is a contestant who cannot seem to stop herself from getting way too drunk at every single event, which is a personality trait that I can really relate to.
It is a fake show in every sense, which sounds more interesting than it is. There’s no lesson to be learned, no important takeaway, no underlying sense of parody. It’s just worthless. I should have saved my bottle of pink moscato.
I dabble in dating shows. Bachelor in Paradise is fantastic. However, I dabble less in the Royal Family, and this is apparently true for the average American, hence the mere existence of “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry.’”
This obscene show works as follows: A bunch of women who share the acute, American awareness of the celebrity of the Royal Family, their knowledge fueled by tabloids depicting Prince Harry’s Las Vegas buttox scandal and the Queen’s hats, are taken to an English estate to be the victims of a seriously creepy ruse in which an “Environmental Consultant” pretends to be Prince Harry in the hopes that one woman (or many — this guy was horny as shit) will fall in love with him and remain in love with him when he finally reveals his true identity as a “Environmental Consultant.”
That was a mouthful, and it’s almost impossible to believe that such a ludacris show actually aired on FOX before it was pulled after four episodes. Now, I could easily deride the show, but I’m not going to do that. The show is supposed to be derided. Instead, I’d like to interpret it charitably.
I’ve really never seen anything like “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry.’” It poses quite an interesting interplay between fantasy and reality, something akin to a reality TV-regular TV hybrid. Kingsley, fake Harry’s butler, is literally acting, granted very poorly, like a royal butler for the entire show, even when interacting with fake Harry. The same goes for all of the other service members that are meant to create the illusion of royalty — it’s like the Walmart version of the Walmart version of Downton Abbey. On the other hand, the show is riddled with typical reality TV tropes: mean girls, random shouting, the sense that the entire episode is one big trailer and surgically repaired audio clips that sound like Siri explaining why the girl who gets to stay in the master bedroom with fake Harry is actually a bitch. So in one foul swoop, you get people playing a part alongside people that are supposedly “real.”
Another aspect of the show I didn’t expect after the first episode (yes, we watched more than one) was its sense of self-awareness. A major plot-point was the paranoid avoidance of discovery of fake Harry’s true identity, and the tactics employed to convince the women of the bachelor’s royal credentials became kind of entertaining. Particularly, the security agents forged a chaotic scenario in which they pulled fake Harry from a conversation with one of the women for his safety from an attack, with loud voices yelling and Range Rovers flying. This transparency granted a bit more respect to the women on the show and the people watching, as it tamed the super, super dumb premise of a fake Harry.
In short, the show sucked. It sucked to the high heavens and back again, twice. But like anything, it could be slightly redeemed with a little perspective shifting, even as bored as I was.