Thoughts on VH1′s “The Pick Up Artist”
Posted By Mark On October 13, 2008 @ 5:34 pm In Pick Up Girls,Pop Culture,Society | 6 Comments
There are few things in this world that I loathe more than cheesy reality TV, but like a bad car wreck, I couldn’t help but watch The Pickup Artist. I mean, imagine if VH1 created a reality show that completely butchered and made a fool out of your profession? You’d probably watch it every day too. Here are some of my random accumulated thoughts, from a professional pick up coach’s perspective:
- The students are a pretty representative demographic of pick up bootcamps. You’ve got the token nerdy guy, the token nervous hyper guy, the guy who is already got everything together who just undervalues himself, the token fat guy, and of course, the ever-present Asian contingent.
- The show is more or less an infomercial for Mystery and his company. It’s nauseating how many times Mystery is referred to as, “The Best Pickup Artist in the world,” as if such a thing is possible. Guys going on for 20 seconds at a time about how he can “pick up any girl” or how he’s “a legend.” These are the beliefs that poison that whole movement and the reason I ended up leaving it behind .
- What really disappoints me about the show is that Mystery is still teaching the same outdated material. He uses the same terms, jargon and catch phrases that he did in 2001. Sure, he invented it all and he’s brilliant for doing so. But honestly, pick up advice has evolved WAY beyond the stuff that he’s still espousing. In previews for future episodes it shows him getting frustrated at the guys telling them, “I don’t know if ANY of you have it in you, I just don’t see improvement.” Guess what dude, if you coach guys for weeks on end and they don’t improve, it may not be entirely their fault. Sure, there are hard cases, but I see noticeable improvement in almost all of our students only after a couple days.
- The eliminations on the show are pretty harsh and take nothing more into account than technical performance. For instance, on season 2, they eliminated a guy in the first episode for not being able to talk to a girl who came up and talked to HIM. Now I know that’s pathetic, but honestly, I remember doing this on a couple occasions when I started years ago. The real reason he was eliminated: he’s a ridiculously hard case. Overweight, probably gay and doesn’t realize it, seems to have massive confidence issues. He’s the only guy on the show who I said to myself, “I have no idea how I would coach him,” when he was introduced. The rest are all salvageable.
- Most of the guys aren’t bad looking, although they all have AWFUL body language. The makeovers were pretty standard. In typical Mystery fashion, a few of them were overdone. But whatever, makes for good TV.
- The editing and acting were so bad. It’s painfully obvious that many of the scenes were forced — probably rehearsed, even. I know that Tara has come out since the show and said that she is a hired actress and has absolutely no relationship with Mystery whatsoever. I’m also pretty sure the Asian guy Kevin is a mole (actually good but pretending to be bad), as some of my former students know him and he’s been part of the PUA community for a while. The feigned excitement by the students is painful to watch over and over again.
- Mystery and Matador’s performances were pretty standard for a coach’s skill-level. You can tell by the editing that they were in there for at least a few hours, but the highlights and “cool moments” were edited down to a 30-second montage making them look like Gods. Don’t be fooled.
- For how dramatic the rest of the show has become, the in-field footage is pretty damn accurate. That’s how harsh rejections can be, especially when guys act the way these guys are acting. The rejections in the club are all pretty standard. You have the guys who are just rude and don’t realize it, the guys who are too timid and get ignored, and the guys who just make really boring small talk.
- The massive amount of rejections on the show just reinforces my idea that Mystery’s material is simply outdated. He’s basically teaching the same thing he taught in 2003. Guys should not be getting rejected repeatedly after a basic seminar. I’ve worked with too many newbies to know this. I think the problem stems from the fact that this old school material is so centered on WHAT you say, not HOW you say it. Seriously, if you fixed these guys’ attitudes, gave them a pep talk, explained basic calibration and body language, told them to relax and be friendly, they’d at least not get rejected. But instead, they with these rehearsed lines and have no clue when or why they’re using them. They’re oblivious to all social feedback, because they’re TAUGHT to be oblivious.
- I actually met Kosmo (the winner of season 1) one night in New York City. He was a little awkward but very friendly. He was wearing his medallion that he won on the show, which I found uhh… strange. Honestly, I just kind of felt sorry for him. It was obvious that he was kind of an clueless geek growing up, and now his 15 minutes of fame had given him the false impression of importance. I imagine that in a couple years he’ll return to his former self… not to mention have to get a real job.
To be frank, I can’t recommend the show. If you haven’t seen it, you’re not missing anything. If you have seen it, realize that it’s a cheap bastardization of what real pick up coaching  looks like, and that 90% of the advice and approaches done on the show are either piss-poor, or just plain wrong.
- Who Are PUA’s Trying to Impress? 
- Thoughts on “The Game” by Neil Strauss 
- Successful People Never Imitate 
- Pick Up Artist Shoots a Woman in the Face 
- My Life as a Pickup Artist 
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 ended up leaving it behind: http://www.practicalpickup.com/pickup-artist
 pick up coaching: http://www.practicalpickup.com/coaching/live-training
 Who Are PUA’s Trying to Impress?: http://www.practicalpickup.com/who-are-puas-trying-to-impress
 Thoughts on “The Game” by Neil Strauss: http://www.practicalpickup.com/thoughts-on-the-game-by-neil-strauss
 Successful People Never Imitate: http://www.practicalpickup.com/successful-people-never-imitate
 Pick Up Artist Shoots a Woman in the Face: http://www.practicalpickup.com/pick-up-artist-shoots-a-woman-in-the-face
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