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The Pickup Artist: A Review

Written by Anonymous, Saturday, March 14th, 2009 in Dating Columns, Sex & Dating

the-pickup-artist-vh1If you’ve read virtually any of my sex or dating articles, you know fairly well that I absolutely detest the “Pickup Artist” mentality- be it via David DeAngelo, “Mystery”, or any of the other proverbial snake-oil salesman who make money hand over fist trying to (somewhat literally) sell sexual success to men. In a nutshell, all of these books, seminars, tapes, and TV shows send the same old message: Women are to be lied to, tricked, and generally approached with algorithms to get them into bed, then ignored once you get what you want.

Despite the obvious misogynistic tones of these materials, they have popularity- and, it comes as no surprise that VH1, the channel arguably most famous for being like a stunted retarded MTV (which is an admirable feature in and of itself), decided to give the guy a show.

Naturally, I can’t sit here and do nothing- so, much to my own mental stability, I decided to watch the TV series and really try to “get” it- I tried to get into the “Mystery” mode and really understand what Erik von Markovik is running his mouth about today. Needless to say, it’s not good.

The Show in a Nutshell

In a nutshell, The Pickup Artist is about taking 8-9 guys (all equally stereotypically nerdy- think the guys from Beauty and the Geek) and puts them with Mystery (Erik von Markovik), an equally nerdy but nonetheless cocky and overpaid “pickup artist” who proceeds to instruct these 8-9 guys on how to pick up women in bars. Of course, much like any other “reality show”, they throw various challenges at the geeks- picking up women in different situations, that sort of thing- but fundamentally, the idea is that, following the Survivor trend, only one person will be crowned the “Pickup Artist” at the end of the show.

Deconstructing The Pickup Artist

If you can’t tell from the dripping hatred in the above paragraphs, I’m not a fan of The Pickup Artist. Allow me to explain why.

First off, the basics. The Pickup Artist, and the books that inspired the TV show, are all children of what I like to think is the destruction of the dating world. Blame it on what you will- the Internet and games keeping people indoors nowadays, weakening belief in marriage, that sort of thing- dating has changed fundamentally, which has driven on the popularity of matchmakers, online dating services, and more recently, pickup books. Thanks to the media and even porn, guys are being convinced that unless they are having copious amounts of sex with random partners, they aren’t “men”- and books like Double your Dating swoop in to fill that perceived need, convincing men they have all of the answers to their woes.

mysteryFrom a casual glance, The Pickup Artist is not meant to be taken very seriously. In fact, from one viewing, one could even stipulate the entire television series is one big joke, intended for girls to watch and laugh at the men participating. Much like von Markovik’s appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, there’s a laughable, almost comedic stupidity to The Pickup Artist‘s instruction- it’s all campy, corny, ridiculous pickup lines. I even had a female friend sit down and watch one episode with me to make sure: and yes, I will confirm, the show is full of laughs for any female viewer. As I’ve explained before, a lot of the pickup technique taught by Mystery is really simply casting a wide net and using cheap pickup lines that only work on bland girls- and to some degree, it works through the magic of TV.

The problem is, this show is meant to be taken seriously by men. The instructions are portrayed as legitimate- Mystery is portrayed as a master of pickup artistry, following along with his own self-masturbatory statements in his books. While women obviously laugh their heads off at the show, The Pickup Artist, like From G’s to Gents on MTV, is meant to be like an instruction manual reality show: while you watch the people, you are presumably supposed to be encouraged to emulate their actions and “grow” with them. Unfortunately, unlike G’s to Gents, which is actually a somewhat interesting attempt at refining the subjects, The Pickup Artist is less about being refined as it is about getting laid and finding a girl stupid enough to go along with your whims.

All that’s on TV isn’t real.

But here’s the fun part about the show: It’s all an act. No, I’m not kidding.

I have Wikipedia (as unruly of a source that is) to back me up on this: the top tier people on The Pickup Artist are actors. Kosmo (Alvaro Orlando), the winner of the first season, was an actor, disc jockey and cameraman. Brady Sprunger, the runner up, was not only a “shy cameraman”, but a model. Fred, the third tier, is now an actor and a comedian. “Joe D.” is now acting on E.R.

Spoiler: Mystery did not make these men suddenly confident to model five years before the shooting of the show. VH1, very intelligently, picked a bunch of people who had talent in acting and the like, perhaps with minimal (if not nonexistent) confidence issues, and put them on TV dressed up as geeks, giving them bad haircuts and poor skin tone and parading them around for the amusement of the VH1 viewerbase.

I’m going to say this very clearly, in bold for a very big reason: Mystery did nothing in the show: he was given people cherry-picked for the show, with the show having absolutely no basis in real life. Sure, the contestants may not have known the Mystery Method in the whole format, but the people on the show undoubtedly were MUCH better off than they were potrayed to be. The Mystery Method did nothing that a new haircut, better clothing, and enough free experience in nightclubs would have given any of those men, and the inference by VH1 that Erik von Markovik had anything to do with their “transformation” is ridiculous.

What it all means

What it all means is simple: like the book, The Pickup Artist is nothing more than a stupid, misleading caricature of the ways to really make connections and date women. It needlessly flaunts the (unused) “talents” of “Mystery”, it uses actors and models dressed up like “geeks” to give you someone to empathize with, and it makes it all seem incredibly serious to mislead guys into buying the book. The Pickup Artist is no better than a VH1 sponsored infomercial, with the ridiculously dressed Mystery talking about how he went from playing Dungeons and Dragons to picking up women and how you can buy his book for $29.99.

Long story short? I just wasted about 4 hours of my life. I want them back, Erik.

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10 Responses to The Pickup Artist: A Review

  1. Yum22Yum23 says:

    almost comedic comedy to The Pickup Artist’s
    almost comedic comedy to The Pickup
    almost comedic comedy to
    almost comedic comedy
    comedic comedy
    do I need to apply more emphasis? (Deconstruction, 3rd paragraph, ~middle of paragraph)

  2. Jenx says:

    You mentioned Beauty and the Geek – what’s your opinion on that show? I’ve watched all it’s seasons (except the first one, that one sucks) and I found it to be a very amusing show with some awesome people in it.

  3. Frances says:

    Sex is overrated anyway and The Game and the Pick-up artist all do it for the money.
    Don’t get me wrong on this, I’ve read a lot of pick-up books and articles but never bothered trying them out. I’m fine with my social and sexual life. Also, sleeping with more girls isn’t going to solve my problems anyway.

  4. Anonymous Poster says:

    Not all Pickup books are bad. There was a guy who went by the name Juggler, and had a book that was basically common sense with little tips here and there. Also, If I remember, “The Game” ended with the author realizing how empty his life was, and decided to give it up.

  5. pi4arctan1guy says:

    Reasons why The Pickup Artist is something good to watch with friends:

    You’re out with your friends shopping for clothes. You find something spectacularly horrendous. You hold it up like you’ve just found the holy grail and proclaim that the article of clothing is “not just for picking up girls. It’s about building a life.” (cue laughter)

  6. pick.up.women.in.vegas says:

    Hi, good clause, you carried still if you don’t mind I’d lend few notes about approaching young ladies or guys. Particularly it can be serious when it gets to man woman relationships. The significant thing is your mental attitude, which should be warm and open. If you have an position like that, any individual shouldn’t discover any troubles that you have speaking as pointing. When you start a conversation, you normally desire to demand safe queries that are trusted not to cause her any uncomfortableness. Once the conversation takes some momentum, you can exact more personal questions. A good illusion is to memorise some questions she made a point of so whenever the conversation slows down, you can boot one of these questions.

  7. i.attract.the.wrong.men says:

    Hi good post. I imagine these points might be utilizable also. Now the great pick up arguments are the ones that lighter the woman. At Present some of the lines might just be in all respectable fun to help discover the ice. That is main and it can finally lead to fetching up in make love with her at the end of the night. Heck what man doesn’t want that, but knowing what to read and how to pull it off can take on a bit of employ. A main pick up draw will take you in the door but from there you have to be assured sufficient to maintain the conversation running.

  8. Kevin says:

    Thank god I am not alone. I have never understood the whole PUA community. I have read some of the forums and “advice” that a lot these “gurus” have offered and just think to myself…”what dumb woman would fall for this garbage?” I can totally see these techniques working on some thick headed gutter slut that sleeps with 3-4 random men every weekend but these would not work on a woman who isn’t half retarded. All these techniques are meant to play mind games with woman and basically trick them to sleep with you. Even on a one night stand I would like to feel that I got the woman in bed on my own accord..not using some stupid disingenuous pick up techniques. These books should be called: “The Fast Track to Herpes”.

  9. Clay says:

    Most people don’t get the PUA community. I received huge benefits from DeAngelo’s inner game and body language materials. While the orgins of the PUAs was about how to bed women, it has become more. It’s about transforming into a man that naturally attracts women – mature, confident, and composed. All the lines and routines are just training wheels and the PUA gurus say as much. But lines, routines, and the prospect of bedding any woman you want are what sells. You have to look deeper and take the time to do difficult work on yourself to really reap the benefits.

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