“It has to be a white girl.” There are many compelling reasons to watch the premiere of NBC’s new reality dating series Momma’s Boys tonight at 10pm, but that quote is the best. It’s said by Khalood Bojanowski, aka Mrs. B., one of the mothers who tags along to help her 21-year-old hockey player son JoJo find a soul mate.
When asked what she’s looking for in a woman, she reads off a list of things she’s NOT looking for. She doesn’t approve of her son dating a black woman, a Jewish woman, an Asian woman, a woman with a big butt, or a woman who doesn’t cook and clean. And she’s not joking.
Needless to say, this is not your average dating show. Unlike The Bachelor, which is all about finding love, Momma’s Boys is more focused on the journey and how the dating process works when combined with the mother-son relationship. It’s more of a social experiment than anything else, much like NBC’s previous dating shows Average Joe and Age of Love.
Mrs. B. is the perfect mother for a show like this because she represents a certain segment of the population that doesn’t fully approve of interracial or interfaith relationships. It’s important not to simply demonize Mrs. B., but to listen to her and try to understand where she’s coming from.
I’m not saying her opinions are in any way defendable. One of the pleasures of Momma’s Boys is watching the 32 girls reacting to her comments. As one of the African-American contestants observes, even the dumbest white girl in the group is horrified. Even the deeply Christian girls are mortified. It’s a promising sign that the youth of today are wise enough to be accepting of everyone, regardless of how vapid, narcissistic and obsessed with fame they are.
While Mrs. B. steals the show, the other mothers and their sons are also quite entertaining. Lorraine and her son, the hunky firefighter Michael, have a fun, playful bond that makes all the girls in the house swoon, especially when Lorraine takes off her son’s shirt to gush about his 0 percent body fat.
Esther is the third mother, and she dotes over her son Rob like any good Jewish mother would. Esther is so Jewish she makes Mike Myer’s Saturday Night Live character Linda Richmond look like the Pope’s daughter. Esther lavishes her mensch of a son with kisses while kvetching about the meshuga women trying to steal her son. It’s enough to make her verklempt. I’m not being funny, she really talks like that.
In the end, the best part of Momma’s Boys isn’t finding out if these men will find their true love. We all know the odds of that happening are virtually non-existent. What sets Momma’s Boys apart is the way it examines the interpersonal dynamics between a son’s devoted mother and his new girlfriend. If that sounds more like a psychological experiment than a reality show, it’s because it is.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)