January 5, 2010 / 4:14 PM / 10 years ago

Men seek dates on "Conveyor Belt of Love"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - What a way to kick off the year: A dating reality show that combines the frenetic shallowness of speed dating with the presentation of industrial grade meat.

Welcome to ABC’s “Conveyor Belt of Love,” which rolled out for the first time Monday night with the pacing of, well, a conveyor belt.

Now, you might not think love can ease its way across a stage the way sushi does in a Japanese restaurant, but production company Endemol (“Big Brother”) and executive producer Tom Shelly (“Survivor,” “Dating in the Dark”) would like to prove otherwise.

The premise du jour: 30 single guys, each guided onstage by the titular belt, have 60 seconds to “charm” one of five single gals waiting to quiz them. If a woman likes what she sees (indicated by a raised paddle reading “interested” or “not interested”) the select hunk of beef — er, aspiring date — heads to a platform to wait and see if he is replaced or not. After, the survivors go on a date.

There truly is something to love about a show whose credits include a “conveyor belt operator,” features one woman who tells her date “I want you to worship me” and lets a pneumatic bleached blonde choose a very unconventional guy. “Love” can also be educational (men: never lead off by telling women you still live at home) and insightful (one man cattily outs his competitor’s “body odor” before being ejected from the platform back to the belt).

But the two key problems with “Love” are its glacial pace — for most of the men, 60 seconds is far too long — and that many of them seem to have come to audition for the blooper reel of “America’s Got Talent.” Nearly everyone’s got a half-baked shtick — magicians, an impressionist, musicians, dancers and one virgin who makes balloon animals.

Yet for viewers who endure the slow, dull plod there are slight rewards — the matched pairs have an over 50% success rate, which portends well for a second date. Whether “Conveyor Belt of Love” also has a future — well, that remains to be seen. What’s next on the belt, anyway?

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