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Play-er: (noun) an over-charismatic, over-charming person who isn't willing to settle down with just one person.

Used in a sentence: Thirteen players try to get with a Miami model, but if their playing ways don't get them in trouble, her girlfriends - and the unseen Player Operator - will!

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:
EP: Don Weiner, Happy Walters
Packager: Ureal Productions
Airs: Tuesdays at 9:00pm ET on UPN


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"I'm America's Dream Guy!" - August 3

Imagine trying to woo a model/club hoppin' VIP that would probably put Paris Hilton to bloody shame. AND you have to get past her girlfriends. AND you only have 45 seconds to do it. That's your basic synop of the premiere of "The Player", UPN's answer to every dating show that ever existed. And since it's UPN, you can expect either oversexification or a Star Trek reference, so stay sharp.

Welcome to Miami, city made famous by David Caruso, Will Smith, and Bea Arthur. This is where we meet 24-year-old Dawn, a local model and clubber from St. Petersburg. In a word... DAYUM. Not a bad body, but what's up with the teeth? As good as she is in front of a camera, she's also a player with some game (note to players-in-training: eventually this game will fail, and you'll end up falling for your conquest. Good if you're into that sort of thing. Bad if you're a player). She would consider abandoning the game for someone that meant something, but just in case she too would fall prey to the game, she has her friends Jinelle (also a model) and Ananda (an insurance agent) looking out for her.

Now to the 13 players who want to get with this player. Kyle (confidence), Eian (competitive nature), Marvin (intellect), Federico (honesty), Bryan (mystery), Ben (difference), Chyno ("Love hurts from what I heard"), Trever (charisma... and a van down by the river), Alex; or "Big Al" (sincerity), Jason (thinking), Byron the Loverboy (love), JJ (white guy with street), and Acie "Viva Las Vegas" ("creative consultant").

Rules are simple: if you get played, you're going home.

Oh yeah, there's one more player we haven't yet met... The Player Operator, the voice of the game, conveniently disguised to keep his identity secret. He informs the guys that at the end of the week, one player is going to get played. Also, there's a party in the crib... in an hour. Get ready now.

So they do... Dress, groom, drink. You know, the whole nine. And since this is a Miami beach party, expect women. Lots and lots of women. Could one of them be Dawn? We don't know. They don't know. So they'll just hit up with every chick in the place. But she isn't there... Yet. DJ brings her out. Group mentality the same: definitely the whole package. Yeah, just don't watch her mouth as she talks...

Of course, as a player, Dawn does not walk alone, as she brings forth the double whammy that is left hottie and right hottie (aka Ananda and Jinelle). And before we can get further into intros, the Player Operator messages Dawn on her two-way:

"Gentlemen, we will now begin our first challenge. Each of you will have 45 seconds to give Dawn, Jinelle and Ananda a little taste of what you're all about. It's a battle, playa style, you can do anything you want... Just represent. Five men will win this competition; Dawn will choose one, Jinelle and Ananda will each choose two. The winners will accompany Dawn on a player's tour of Miami's hot spots. Good luck, gentlemen. Let the game's begin."

"OKAAAAAY!" Creative. Acie lays down a rhyme. Byron goes for the funny. Apparently, he hates dumb people. Jason just comes at it with the honesty approach. Bryan tries stripping. Chyno sings. Ben is just "him". A sweet talker. JJ also rhymes. And dances. Marvin also rhymes about "a Cali lawyer". Thank God Eian shows him how to do it proper. Kyle.. no clue. Trever... even less of a clue. Alex... might just be a dork. Federico breakdances and flips into the pool. But in the end, it's Ben, Federico the flipper, Eian, Chyno, and Dawn's choice JJ going clubbing tomorrow night. A real cross-section.

Meanwhile, the others play cards and laugh at the guy in the fat-stripper suit. Everyone loves it... except Marvin.

Next day, 7am. Doorbell rings. Everyone is still asleep everywhere. And place looks like... well, a bachelor's pad. That's about to change, because the ladies are moving in! The girls are living upstairs, while the men (and Alex's hair, lot of product use, that man) stay downstairs at "their little homeless shelter".

Bryan puts this in its proper perspective: "The queen is upstairs, while the horny peasants are downstairs." Dawn makes it clear that the upstairs lounge is invitation only. Meanwhile, Marvin, not unlike at least six of the sixteen, has a higher-than-absolutely-necessary opinion of himself.  Again.

Everyone wants to approach the queen in the kitchen. And everyone goes about it in a different way. Except touching. She can't be touched. Except in a way that a date and her so-called heart is involved.

5:35pm - the guys head out to the club, and Eian wastes no time trying to make the big score. But Dawn, as you know, is a player, and she comes back with "We haven't even been in the car for five minutes." Mistake #2: Federico just keeps on correcting her on name pronunciation. He's thinking too much. Dawn loves men to say the right things at the right time. Test, the one-on-ones, as JJ is just "cool" ("A true player never reveals himself."). True.

Back at the Player Mansion, it's nothing but a chill thing with the girlfriends. They just want to get to the meat of these guys... mentally. All the while Marvin is dropping the knowledge: "Somebody's getting eliminated TOMORROW."

Back on Ocean Blvd., the dates continue. Chyno wants to play her average-like, but Dawn feels like she's the one playing all five (well, she IS!). Well, Ben's not the playing type, per se, as he takes his time falling for her.

It's 8:45am on elimination day. Federico desperately tries to find some common ground. "Just chill, that's all," she says. So much for that. Player Operator phones again with news of the elimination. Jinelle and Ananda will each nominate one man for evic... sorry, elimination. Then, it's Dawn's choice. Bryan doesn't want to be the first gone, because "Dawn doesn't know him." Well, tough rocks, pal. That's the way of the game.

But first, it's the Board Room, player-style. Jinelle nominates the way-too-immature Federico, and Ananda marks the princess-like Marvin. Of course, each person gets one more chance to defend themselves. Federico was trying to be funny, and he realizes that he's wrong to do so. He acknowledges his age, but hopes that that will not be an issue. Marvin hasn't run up on her like that and says that he has a lot to bring to the table.

In the end, an effort to make an effort may save him, but at the same time, Marvin hasn't had that many chances to run his game. Dawn looks forward to it, so he's staying. "Federico.... Game over, player. Don't hate the player, hate the game."

My take... that catchphrase: "Don't hate the Player, hate the Game." Well, okay, if you say so. Here's a big post-it for every TV producer out there: If you're going to create some reality TV... MAKE IT WORTH MY F(^_^)KING WHILE! Don't just rush some crap on the TV to sell the genre and make these reality fanpeople happy! Brothers, you want to find out how to make the score, you may want to pass this one.

More game next week. Play on, playas. Oh, and my guess... Dawn's the Player Operator. It would only make sense.

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