No. 389: "Brand Aid"

No. 389: "Brand Aid"

No. 389: "Brand Aid"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Feb. 25 2000 3:30 AM

No. 389: "Brand Aid"

Snuggle fabric softener, Brut deodorant, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!—what's the connection?

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Send your answer by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Monday's Question (No. 388)—"Wedded Blitz":

Fox has canceled Tuesday night's rerun of Who Wants To Marry a Multi-Millionaire? Why?

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  "Because Dan Savage licked the wedding rings."—Jennifer Weiner

"Hillary Clinton convinced the bride to at least hold out for a loveless marriage to someone with greater political ambitions."—Daniel Barenholtz

"Replacing it with Who Wants To Vote for a Multimillionaire?—live from Michigan."—Neal Pollack

"Why rub it in?—a comedian/motivational speaker/stalker—all the good ones are taken."—Julie Anderson

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"Key demographic mourning the recent engagement of not one but two Backstreet Boys."—Matt Sullivan

Click for more answers.

 Randy's Wrap-Up

There's something vexing about second-rate remorse. "Ratings crack"—that's how one chastened Fox executive described shows like Marry a …, presumably meaning "shows many people want to watch," something unusual for Fox but not, on the face of it, a bad thing. "I'm a Christian gal," said the contrite bride, explaining why a wedding isn't really a wedding if it doesn't take place in a church. This I-had-my-fingers-crossed defense has proved ineffectual in avoiding your credit card bills. Still, Darva says she's learned her lesson, although she's keeping the car, the ring, and the $50,000. And the chagrined groom? If Rick Rockwell had been a nicer guy would that have made the program OK?

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But Fox shouldn't renounce Marry a … too quickly. After all, 90 percent of TV pilot scripts and 50 percent of all marriages fail. So rather than drop this thing, Fox should do it better. That is, the problem is not making entertainment out of an arranged marriage, but that it was such a poorly arranged marriage. First of all, slow down. Take the time (and the videotape) to gain a real understanding of various potential mates; bring on the psychological tests with their way-too-intimate probing questions. Let us hear the marriage arrangers explain why they're pairing up particular people. And then during sweeps, a big church wedding with a real "preacher," just the way Darva wants it. After that, air biannual specials as we check in with the happy couples to see how their arranged marriages are working out. You'd watch. Hell, you'd want to be a contestant. And by "you," of course, I mean "me."

Quality Viewing Answer

Fox dropped the rerun after reports were published that multimillionaire groom Rick Rockwell had been the subject of a Los Angeles restraining order after allegedly threatening an ex-girlfriend. In 1991, a judge barred Rockwell from coming within 100 yards of her for six months.

Rockwell makes all the appropriate denials.

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Fox makes all the appropriate declarations of shock and dismay.

Millions of viewers make popcorn and keep watching.

Fox initially announced that while it may do similar shows in the future, those involved—unlike Mr. Rockwell—would have no connection to show business. That is, they would exclude as morally unreliable people like themselves. Subsequently, Fox decided not to do any similar shows because, said Mike Darnell, a Fox vice president and the show's creator, "It's just not worth the risk."

Of what?

Darnell is also the creator of When Animals Attack, When Good Pets Go Bad, Alien Autopsy, and Secrets of Magic Revealed, Fox's highest rated special. "I will be back in May with something interesting," he threatened.

Andy Aaron's Teen Talk Extra

From the transcript of AOL's Chat with this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl:

Question: How would you say modeling has affected your life?

Daniela Pestova: It has changed my life altogether. I was just a 19-year-old girl living in Czechoslovakia, and I've become a woman. For my next trick, I'm going to become a 19-year-old girl living in Czechoslovakia again.

(Perhaps she didn't say that last sentence, but my point is still valid.)

 

Rainy Day Fun Extras

No. 1—Arts and Kraftverk

The German TV distributor EM.TV & Merchandising A.G. has agreed to buy the Jim Henson Co. for $680 million. Can you make some new German Muppets?

What you'll need:

Several yards of anti-Semitic felt

An affection for national stereotypes

A knowledge of history

No. 2—Fun With Science: Ballpark Figures

According to the New York Times, "In relation to his body size, a man's testicles are considerably smaller than a chimpanzee's, but larger than a gorilla's." Can you confirm this assertion?

What you'll need:

A man

A chimpanzee

A gorilla

A ruler

A first-aid kit

Festive Reminder

See you at the News Quiz second anniversary party, Monday, Feb. 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the back room of Cucina Della Fontana, Bleecker and Charles Street, New York.

Common Denominator

Contempt for Fox, if not all television, and indeed, all humanity.