FOX jumped on the flash mob bandwagon a little late (the term was first used eight years ago) with a new special, Mobbed, which aired Thursday after American Idol. The special’s premise was simple: use a flash mob to create a once-in-a-lifetime event. This time it was for a man named Justin who wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Nikki.
UPDATE: After being watched by nearly 11 million people, FOX has officially ordered eight new episodes of Mobbed, turning it from a one-off special to an actual reality series.
I’m not going to lie, I totally teared up during the actual flash mob, when hundreds of dancers broke into choreography as a weepy, confused Nikki saw it all unfold before Justin showed up to propose. She said yes, but that wasn’t the only surprise Mobbed had in store.
Hosted by Howie Mandel, the lead-up to the actual mob was as different from the happy moment as you could’ve hoped for, and while Howie might seem like a nice guy on Deal or No Deal and America’s Got Talent, Mobbed unleashed his inner a-hole.
Reason #1: He Hoped She’d Say “No”
When Howie first saw Justin’s video, Howie learned that Nikki had a bit of a jealous streak, which excited him because he meant there was a possibility that she’d say “No.” I’m pretty cynical, but even I don’t actively root for a woman to shoot down a marriage proposal. Luckily he didn’t get his wish, because that level of schadenfreude might destroy civilization as we know it.
Reason #2: He Wanted a Wedding
A flash mob proposal is pretty spectacular, but it wasn’t enough for the cruel and devious machinations of Howie Mandel. He wanted the couple to actually get married immediately after the proposal. Sure, he flew in the bride’s family and friends, but even so, half the fun of getting married is the anticipation and build-up to that special day. Nikki got robbed by Mobbed and was forced to go from a single lady to a married woman in about 15 minutes.
Reason #3: He Wanted to Add the Other Woman
I probably could’ve accepted the first two reasons as just Howie wanting to make a more dramatic show, but then, due to Nikki’s jealous streak, Howie got the idea to start the performance off by having an actress play a woman from Justin’s past who comes up to them, flirts with him, then throws a glass of water in his face for leaving her. Even Tabitha (from the choreographer team Tabitha and Napoleon who did the flash mob performance) was horrified by the idea. But Howie did it anyway.
And when it happened, Nikki immediately started crying and swore that if Justin was pulling some sort of practical joke on her that it wasn’t funny. I feel you, sister.
Of course, in the end, it all worked out for the best. Nikki cried, Justin proposed and the two got married. But that doesn’t make Howie Mandel’s increasingly disturbing additions to the flash mob any less cruel. After earning plenty of goodwill as a nice guy, in a single hour, Howie Mandel revealed that he’s a pretty mean a-hole.
As for the future, I’m sure that in the eight additional episodes FOX and Howie Mandel will continue to feature extravagant flash mobs and hope for the worst. He teased other ideas like a person quitting their job or someone coming out of the closet to his or her family, and those could definitely end a lot less happy than Nikki and Justin’s flash wedding.
(Image courtesy of FOX)