The madness begins with the host doing a voice-over about five single women going to Alaska "desperately seeking husbands" over a shot of the bachelorettes in wedding dresses trudging up a snow-covered hill, intercut with shots of them making various thimble-brained statements about why they're on this show. The voice-over continues, explaining that the men outnumber women in Alaska more than in any other state and calls them "lonely Alaskan bachelors." So we've got "desperate" plus "lonely," which is always a sure-fire recipe for romantic success. More clips follow of people kissing, laughing, snuggling, etc. By now, I figure an hour must have gone by, but it's only been about a minute. The words "For Better" flash on the screen, followed by shots of people getting it on, then "For Worse" followed by clips of people arguing and some chunky guy going, "This is dramaville" and a shot of one bachelorette rubbing her hands together gleefully, saying, "Let the games begin!" and a vague sense of dread creeps over me as the clips speed up while flashing words like "joy" and "pain" and "sunshine" and "rain." Keep it going, keep it going! Well, not "sunshine" and "rain." Sorry about that.
Now I guess we're into what are the actual opening credits of the show, because this pseudo New Age-y music kicks in, you know, with that annoying kind of singing -- the kind of music that's always being used in car ads, like that Volkswagen one with that guy who looks like James Spader trying to interrupt a wedding, except I think that ad's pretty well done. This music just makes me wince. There are a lot of shots of amazing Alaskan scenery and the desperate women are introduced in these so-serious shots of them in their wedding dresses in the wilderness: Cecile, Andrea, Karen, Rebekah, and Sissie. Meanwhile, more words flash on the screen, like, how much reading do we have to do for this show, anyway? This being the always-subtle FOX, the opening credits let us know this is their "LAST CHANCE FOR MARRIAGE."
Finally the show begins. Stunning mountain vistas; generic reality-show-esque drum music. Float planes flying. The camera swoops in on host Steve Santagati. His bio on the FOX site says his credits include series and specials such as cable's "Secret's [sic] of Travel Survival," World Gone Wild, and Laughlin Superstar Challenge with Carmen Electra and "Ali Landery [sic]." These are the best credits he has, which in terms of pop-culture fame place him somewhere below a contestant on Celebrity Boxing and somewhere above the guy who did Michael Jackson's sixth nose job. Santagati tells us, "Right now, our five women are on their way here from the Lower 48." We get clips of the women already there, checking out the men, and yet another shot of the women climbing up that damn hill in their wedding dresses. The voice-over continues; Santagati solemnly tells us that the power on this show is in the hands of the women, and he manages not to crack up. We learn that the hopeful brides will pick their first "Man on Ice" -- a man she feels could become her husband. Yet more clips we've already seen; how little footage does this show have, anyway? More explanation -- new men are constantly entering the game, and women decide who leaves and who stays.: "Ultimately, these women have one goal: to complete this game with a new husband on their arm." ["Big singular/plural problem in that sentence right there. It makes it sound like the five women intend to leave with one husband draped on a collective arm that belongs to all five of them. Yes, in the middle of this train wreck, I'm choosing to focus on syntax." -- Wing Chun]