Friday, August 17, 2007

I Might Consider Staying There

While past episodes of Welcome to the Parker made me not want to stay there, this week's had the reverse effect - partially. I'll get to that shortly, but first I want to talk about the writing on the show. Have you ever noticed that all these "reality" shows have writers? If this is supposed to be real, then I would think there was no need for writers. However, Welcome to the Parker makes full use of their writing staff. Each shows begins much like Fastasy Island did. The show starts with John Federbusch, Chief Concierge, acting like he is checking the computer to see who is checking in that day. He will announce one of the people/parties checking in and then we see the guests getting out of their car and the grand front doors being opened for them. It is beyond bad acting and writing. I know John is not an actor, so I will cut him some slack, but the whole thing is just so cheesy.

Last night focused on two groups at the hotel. The first executives from an adult toy store called The Pleasure Chest. They want to get their products put into the Parker's minibar. The second group was Charisma Arts Charm School for Men. The group consisted of the 2 men who run the school and 3 students. They were here to learn how to talk to women. And of course there was more of the behind the scenes drama with the Parker Staff.

The Pleasure Chest group walked around the property talking to various members of the hotel staff to see what they thought of having sex kits available for guests. Everyone seemed to think it was a good idea from the guest perspective, but there were reservations about how management would react. Staff members said they often got calls from guests requesting things like massage oil and other intimate items. As General Manager Thomas put it, "The Parker is all about sex." Now you know why I want to stay there. And I will admit that seeing this place makes it very clear that it is designed for people to come and get freaky - in the privacy of their rooms of course. There is even an indoor pool that is clothing optional. In fact the woman from the Pleasure Chest group is shown taking a naked swim - not something I needed to see. The Pleasure Chest exec show their products to Lynn, the HR director in an informal meeting. Lynn says, "Our clientele is sophisticated as far as sexual ideas and experiences, that's the atmosphere. But, at least it's done in good taste." In a private moment, away from the execs, she says, "I don't want open vibrators or dildos all over the place. I think that would be inappropriate." Ya think? As the HR director, her concern is about staff being uncomfortable at what they might find walking into a room.

To test staff reactions at seeing sex toys on display in a room, the woman from the group puts all the products they have all over her room. She then calls room service to get some coffee delivered. When the woman from room service delivers the coffee, she is visibly uncomfortable. After this, the Pleasure Chest gal says that she now understands Lynn's concerns. The group realizes that they need to modify the packaging so it is subtle and suggestive, not in your face, "a whisper, not a shout," as they put it. When the time comes to meet with Parker management, they show the managers the new packaging they created. Now each kit is in a box or sleeve that the guest can open to see the contents without opening the items themselves. The mangers decide to test market some of the kits. Bravo! Keep reading to see who they tested one on.

On to Charisma Arts. The 3 students in the group were so sad. They were so shy and awkward. One of them is an emergency room psychiatrist who admits he is afraid to talk to people. Not such a good career choice there genius. In one scene the 3 men are having drinks at the bar and the server asks what they are at the hotel for. They explain they are here for classes in how to "be ladies men," to which the server replies, "Oh! You're socially retarded." I know that is so not PC, but it is hysterical. The guys who run the school ask Michael to get them 30 young, attractive, single women for a cocktail party so these guys can try their new skills at the end of the weekend. Michael has now become a pimp and he knows that if he screws this up, his job is done. Thomas even says that Michael better get the girls or he is in trouble. So Michael, asks every woman on the staff to round up their friends and bring them. Michael admits that he doesn't know how to talk to women and doesn't know any outside the staff. Michael even sits in on one of the classes hoping to pick up some tips that he could use to pick up a guy. Here's tip Michael, stop being such a prissy queen.

We get to see part of one of the classes in action. It starts with one of the teachers saying, "Welcome to Charisma Arts Charm School. We're going to teach you how to meet and connect with women." This doesn't sound like a charm school to me. It sounds more like, "How to be a player." Various Parker staff members spy on the class as it goes on. One staff member says, "it is like an AA meeting for guys who can't get chicks."

When the cocktail party finally arrives, Michael is saved because 30 women are there. Watching the men interact with these women is so uncomfortable. It is almost as if some of the women, if not all, were told to act interested in these guys. It is so awkward. However, one of the 3 students, a little asian man named Nghia (you figure that one out) appears to make a connection with one woman. The teachers pull him aside and tell him to take her somewhere more private. Nghia and this woman walk to a more secluded spot and start talking. He keeps asking for a kiss and she keeps laughing it off. Finally one of the teachers pulls him aside again and tell him to tell her to close her eyes and then give her a kiss. What the hell kind of advice is this?!? Hey, go assault that woman! But being an obedient student, Nghia does it. And surprisingly, the woman reacts favorably and kisses him back. Nghia later admits that was his first kiss. The man is 30! He says that the whole thing was "natural and organic." Um, you have someone telling you what to do the whole time. How is that natural?

Now for the staff drama. In the staff meeting, Samir says they are overbooked by 14 rooms. The Who is checking in and they need the room. So the staff sets about trying to get 14 rooms. Samir talks about how they will have to "walk" guests to another hotel and pay for it. With only 4 hours before check in, they still needed 9 rooms. Of course by the time The Who got there, they had all 14 rooms needed. What really shocked me was that they would 1. overbook the hotel - they have a computer system that show availability; 2. they admit to doing it; and 3. they would treat guests so badly as to force them out just to make room for someone else. Yes, I know the hotel is there to make money and a rock group is likely to spend a lot more money than a couple, but still, this is not right. If I have a reservation at a hotel, I expect it to be honored when I show up and not told I am being sent elsewhere.

We got to see this exact thing happen. A couple comes to check in and get told the hotel is overbooked, but that the Parker arranged for them to spend the night at another hotel on them as well as comping the rest of their stay at the Parker. Not too bad, but still. When they are told where they are being put up for the night, the woman in the couple says, "No way." She says she is willing to be put up at the Marriott though. Thomas eventually comes back to them and says he got them a room at the Marriott for the night and of course the Parker is paying for it. When the couple returns the next day, at check in they are handed a gift, compliments on the management. You got it, one of the sex kits from The Pleasure Chest. The episode ends with the man from couple putting the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and you hear a buzzing sound coming from in the room.

Once again, the hotel appears to be poorly run. But they do compensate their guests well for inconveniences and there is definitely a sexually charged atmosphere on the property. So maybe it is worth going for a night.

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