So tonight I finally got around to watching the last episode of \”The Pickup Artist 2\” on TiVo.  (Unsolicited side note: TiVo is perfect for hipsters who want to show that they\’re into a TV series, but not so into it that they actually rush to the TV when it is on.  It\’s a perfect way to appear to remain detatched, since caring strongly about anything other than Barack Obama is frowned upon.)

For the uninitiated, The Pickup Artist series airs on VH1 – it is a reality show where some gangly Canadian bozo who dresses like a space pirate deems himself the \”Master Pickup Artist,\” and teaches a house full of dorks all the tips to pick up women.  This man goes only by the sobriquet \”Mystery,\” and molds twitchy little freaks into sleazy douchebags who get spray-on tans and wear their headware askance.

For some reason, I can\’t look away from this show.  (Unsolicited side note #2: I subscribe to the Chuck Klosterman theory that there is no such thing as a \”guilty pleasure.\”  Either something gives you pleasure, or it doesn\’t – and if it does, there is absolutely no reason to apologize for it just because some hipster jackass might look down on you for it.)

Every week, the contestants go on \”field tests,\” in which Mystery sends them into a local bar to use whatever invaluable tips he taught them that week to pick up chicks.  The show goes to great lengths to point out that the entire field test exercises are done via hidden camera in real bars with real people.  In many cases, these aspiring lotharios strike out in such spectacular fashion that you actually have to shield your eyes from the painful awkwardness exuding from your television.  But in some instances, the contestants get a phone number, or even a brief makeout session based on their newfound skillzzzz.

But in the real world (in which I sometimes live), these \”field tests\” raise some questions.  At some point, the show\’s producers have to convince the targeted women in that bar to sign a waiver to use their image and voice on television.  This would have to be done after their encounter with the twitchy, freakish contestant.  At this point, the woman would know that she has essentially fallen prey to a scam, which for 98% of human history may have actually embarrassed her a little bit.  But apparently, the desire to be on television at all costs is so strong, they go ahead and sign a waiver saying \”I agree to be on television to show my parents that I am willing to get drunk and play tonsil hockey with a nerdy stranger who just duped me with some pickup ruse.\”

The series finale was interesting, as well.  For one of the field tests (see below) the final two contestants were released into the wild, and the first one to kiss a girl won the contest.  The flaw in this game is obvious: it doesn\’t take into account quality.  One of the contestants could make a bee line for the first ugly woman in the bar, throw out their standard pickup line, and be having a tongue fight within minutes.  What exactly does that prove?

This year\’s winner was the large-lipped Simien, and there\’s an 80% chance he\’s gay.  (One of the previous episodes, in which one of each of the contestants\’ \”friends\” was brought to the house from back home,  heavily alluded to this fact.)  And he really had the lamest pickup line, (or \”opener,\” as Mystery calls it) and he beat it to death.  (\”What movie is \’nobody puts baby in a corner\’ from?  DIRTY DANCING!\”)  His pickup line almost made \”I like pickle juice\” (which was actually used to great effect by a contestant) seem erudite.

Finally, in the last episode, Mystery stocks the house with \”perfect 10s,\” of which the two remaining contestants must choose one to successfully seduce.  (In some cases, the only \”10\” in that house could be achieved by standing three hoochies together.)  Mystery claims that these women are his \”friends.\”  Yet all of the techniques the two romeos use are methods taught by Mystery in Season One of the show.  So if these women were really Mystery\’s friends, wouldn\’t they have watched the show last year and been able to recognize the dopey tricks being played on them?

The real star of the show, however, is Mystery, who treats the entire affair as an infomercial, getting people to sign up and pay thousands of dollars for his traveling seminar on picking up women.  And if you\’d like, you can also fork over some cash for a book detailing his methods called \”The Game.\” The seriousness with which Mystery takes his instruction simply has to be a put-on.  There\’s just nobody that can be that earnestly ridiculous without it being an act.

To get a flavor of the show, click below and see our last two contestants work the room.