Brains beat braun as Fox pageant turns tables on men

Tuesday, October 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Let's do in a span of seconds what Fox TV took (tick-tock) two hours to do on Monday night. The winner of The Sexiest Bachelor in America contest was Tom Gill, a schoolteacher from Virginia.

There was, however, some good news for Texas viewers. The Lone Star State's sexiest bachelor, local martial-arts champion Guy Mezger, was eliminated – along with all but 10 of the field of 51 contestants – 15 minutes into the show, so at least home-state boosters could flip on to more interesting fare. The Weather Channel, for instance.

With the special's ladies-night, happy-hour packaging, it was plain what Fox's motivations were: turn the pageant tradition upside down and parade a bunch of beefcake men around a stage. Hosting the cattle call was Sabrina, the Teenage Witch star Caroline Rhea, while up in "the crow's nest" Jillian Barberie and Lisa Joyner (co-hosts of Good Day, LA) provided color commentary.

What that translated into was two hours of Ms. Rhea making sarcastic come-ons and the two gals up in the booth exchanging "he's hot" banter. As the title Sexiest Bachelor made clear, this was a pageant with one thing on its mind. No scholarship contests or charity work here; this production was a celebration of the young and the buff.

With over $100,000 in cash and prizes at stake, interview questions ranged from "What is the most provocative place you've ever had sex?" to "Would you sleep with a friend's ex-girlfriend?" For the swimsuit competition, meanwhile, each contestant came out and performed a partial striptease. All of this occurred before an audience that, judging from the shrill screams and frequent camera sweeps, was made up entirely of women – a gambit that seemed part of a pre-emptive plan to keep the proceedings unambiguously heterosexual.

It's too bad the show was produced with such ladies-night presumptions, because the results of the pageant would have given men reason to cheer. Amid a stage full of sculpted bodies and smooth talk, the winner was a soft-spoken guy who felt compelled to suck in his gut when surrounded by so many gym jocks.