Blogging Wimbledon.

Notes on tennis.
July 9 2007 6:25 PM

Blogging Wimbledon

The whiny, batty, beautiful finalists.

(Continued from Page 2)
Still from the Age of Love. Click image to expand.
Mark Philippoussis with his potential love matches in Age of Love

The first day of Wimbledon ended with the beginning of the end of a great match between Carlos Moya and Tim Henman: The Club shut down for the night at five-all in the fifth set. To diffuse the tension, The Point unwound with the second installment of Age of Love (NBC, Mondays at 9 p.m), a dating show starring the former tennis prodigy Mark Philippoussis.

Age of Love's opening sequence gives prominent play to the February 1999 issue of Australian GQ. Trim in narrowly spaced pinstripes, Philippoussis leers decisively from its cover, and the show intends the image as supporting evidence that Philippoussis, who took Federer to two tie-breaks at the Wimbledon final in 2003, is an "international star … in the prime of an impressive career." Though the author of the piece, John Philp, went into the interview with some trepidation—"He'll almost certainly try to run me over with his Ferrari"—he discovered that meeting Philippoussis, "a.k.a. The Scud," was essentially "like talking to a big, bashful adolescent. His manner is modest and endearing." This comes through on Age of Love, and it alone saves the show from reeking like a fishmonger's alley in a heat wave.

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The Scud—30 years old and finally ready to settle down—will select a mate from one of two tribes—women in their 40s ("cougars") and women in their 20s ("kittens"). He didn't know this at the start of the pilot. "Mark thinks he's signed up for a typical dating show," we're told. Instead, he gets jumped into "the ultimate dating experiment."

Age of Love is indeed experimental in some respects. For instance, it nicely exploits the Los Angeles high rise that serves as its primary set. The cougars live on 40, and the kittens live on 20, and there's a helipad and so forth. Also, NBC is breaking new ground in terms of which parts of a woman's ass it will put on air at 9 p.m. The attentive viewer has taken firm glances at the coin slot on Mary (a 24-year-old dialysis technician) and elsewhere appreciated the lower glutes of Kelli (a 40-year-old legal secretary), as cusped by the orange hem of a pair of American Apparel shorts.

Further, the evil geniuses in the editing suite have a wittily salacious way with cuts and juxtapositions. The 42-year-old photographer Maria: "All the women I know in their 20s are, like, messes."

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Mary, a kitten, sobbing into an expanse of earth-toned fabric, cursing her nervous poor performance, speaking in tongues: "I have the positive power within me to prevent all this. ... "

Despite some initial shock and disappointment—initially, The Scud thought all his Cinderellas were stepmother-age—he took a liking to dating older women as a general principle, at least the ones who didn't allow their eagerness to overwhelm their guile. We were not far into the pilot before their practiced charms made a convert of him. "At this point, age ... so doesn't matter at all," The Scud said.

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A kitten, down on 20, with a hula hoop: "Oh, it's so cold on my belly!"