A press release from Fox about its new country-fried romance-reality show “Farmer Wants a Wife” missed an opportunity to go whole hog on farm puns and other wordplay.
Herewith, the TV Blog hopes to remedy the situation in an attempt to sow the seeds of enthusiasm for this new barn-based “Bachelor” that is plowing new ground in the already fertile field of TV relationship shows.
The show comes to Fox on Wednesday, March 8, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. It has four handsome young men -- all farmers, according to Fox, and each hoping to reap a harvest of love from a crop of eight contenders.
That makes for 32 female contestants from whom these farmers will try to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Of the 32, only one practices a profession even remotely related to life on a farm -- 31-year-old “Rebecca” (no last names were provided).
Described as a horse trainer from Moorpark, California, Rebecca is one of the eight women who will try to win the calloused farm hand of farmer “Allen.”
The women who are looking to say “good-bye, city life,” range in age from 22 to 39. They are involved in a variety of non-farming occupations including sales and marketing, cyber security analyst, dance coach, bartender, travel blogger and many more.
The only reference to the rural, country setting of “Farmer Wants a Wife” in the Fox press release was in its opening sentence. “Fox is putting the heart in heartland with a fresh approach on the international hit dating series ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’,” the release said.
According to Fox, the show has been an international hit, inspiring Fox to produce its own American version.
“ ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’ is the most successful dating show in the world,” the Fox press release said. “The Fremantle-owned format has aired in 32 countries and resulted in 180 marriages and 410 children.”
What the release did not mention is that the show was already attempted on U.S. TV from April to June 2008 on The CW. That version had one farmer choosing from a field of 10 would-be wives. After its eight episodes ran their course, it was never seen again.
Taking a longer view on the subject matter, a Broadway play called “The Farmer Takes A Wife,” based on a 1929 novel, lasted three months in 1934-35.
It spawned two movies -- a 1935 comedy starring Henry Fonda and Janet Gaynor, and a 1953 Technicolor musical starring Betty Grable and Dale Robertson. I just thought I would throw that in here.
The TV Blog has not yet seen any episodes of “Farmer Wants A Wife,” since none have been provided yet by Fox. If they are to be provided, the TV Blog looks forward to reaping the benefits of watching them.
In the interim, the only things I have to go by here in order to gain some understanding about the show are press releases that have come from Fox recently, and the photos the network has made available on its press site.
As a group, the photos show interactions between the farmers and their potential partners that are more like “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” than down on the farm.
Another observation about the photos is that almost none of them depict anything having to do with farming, except for a few hay bale photos like the one above, and one photo of a horse in a stall.
Nowhere are there any amber waves of grain, corn as high as an elephant’s eye or cows or plows.
In fact, it turns out that these “farmers” are not farmers at all, but ranchers. Traditionally (or so I thought), ranchers work on ranches, not farms, since they are two different things.
And what about all of the old movies in which ranchers and farmers clash over water and grazing access? In those movies, calling a rancher a farmer would be considered an insult.
A sentence in one of the Fox press releases adds to the confusion, as it conflates the words “farmer” and “rancher” and renders them interchangeable.
“The farmers will take their group of daters to their farm[s] and show them what it is really like to live as ranchers do -- from tending to the homestead to feeding cattle and baling hay,” the release said.
Prospective milkmaids and anyone who gets allergic-smelling hay need not apply.
Excellent! Thank you, Adam.
I watched The CW version of Farmer Wants A Wife. From the promo, it looks good I'll watch it to see if it's any good or not. Look forward to your review Adam if you do get to review it.