Written by Laura Hankin for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos: Courtesy of MTV
5 out of 5 stars
MTV’S MADE: LADIES MAN FEATURING ABIOLA ABRAMS
NEW YORK, NY (February 28, 2011) Few experiences are more satisfying than watching dreams come true. MTV’s long-running television series, Made, taps into our longing for vicarious wish fulfillment by helping unhappy teenagers change their lives. With the assistance of celebrity coaches, Made promises, tomboys can turn into prom queens, nerds will become rappers, and shy underachievers just might win the race for class president.
Of all the longed-for conversions, the Ladies Man format is one of Made’s most enduring. Seemingly every few weeks, MTV attempts to transform a new, blundering adolescent boy into a lothario. In Season 11 – Episode 31, the would-be Ladies Man is Atlanta high school sophomore Austin Broughton.
Made’s format often leans towards staleness but, as a protagonist, Austin proves atypically endearing. He utters phrases like, “I could give a flying flip” and, with his stick-thin limbs and gawky movements, resembles an awkward bird. Standing next to his athletic, confident classmates, he looks more like a prepubescent younger brother than a peer. His ambitions, however, are anything but peewee. Besides wanting to wow the ladies, he aspires to become President of the United States. When his mother exhorts him to give a speech in front of company, he comes alive with self-assuredness.
Enter Abiola Abrams, playing the role of celebrity life coach. Abrams, our former Artist of the Month, wears many metaphorical hats: Love guru, author, and Internet and TV personality, among others. She bills herself as a “Passionista,” which she defines on her website as, “One loving life…with a shameless pursuit and indulgence in pleasure, scandal, inspiration and passion.” Indeed, whenever she appears onscreen, always sporting a different pair of gigantic gold earrings and a wide smile, that passion further buoys the episode.
Abrams is determined, over the course of her Made tenure, to harness the confidence Austin displays when giving speeches, and channel it into his interactions with the opposite sex. The ultimate reward she offers is a dream date with the girl of Austin’s choice, involving a limo, fancy dinner, and a few other surprises. Some of her tactics to break Austin out of his shell seem worthwhile: She throws Austin into situations where he has to ask out random girls at the mall, telling him that experiencing intense fear will allow him to eventually rise above it, and makes sure that he starts working out with a personal trainer. Other tasks, however, appear more for her own amusement than for Austin’s benefit. The most bizarre vignette comes when Abrams decides that Austin needs to practice for his first kiss by making out with a piece of bread with olives for eyes at a restaurant. Yes, that’s right. She makes him kiss a bread roll. It’s as unnecessary as it sounds but, at the same time, provides a welcome dose of surprise.
Austin doesn’t seem to care so much about the type of girl he picks up, just as long as she’s a living, breathing female. It’s difficult not to wonder, as (spoiler!) Austin gets that dream date with a willing girl, just how much interest the female sex would be throwing his way if not for the cameras and the private tours of the Atlanta Aquarium. His dream date girl’s eyes dart involuntarily at the camera as Austin moves in for a kiss that seems less passionate than triumphant. Still, the satisfaction of watching a metamorphosis kicks in strong when Austin gets up in front of everyone at a school basketball game to ask her out, and when he asserts that he has proved to himself and others that he can “do whatever I want to do.”
And hey, if things don’t work out with that girl, he can always go back to the bread roll.
For more information about MTV’s Made: Ladies Man, visit: mtv.com/episodes/ccwjj3/made-ladies-man-austin-broughton-season-11-ep-31