Dating shows have been big for a long time. Blind Date was the biggest programme of the week when I was growing up. I spent my teenager years avoiding revision and watching crap like Date my Mum where potential suitors date three mothers and pick the one who's daughter they think would be sluttiest. I vaguley remember a programme in my pre-teens where a whole crowd of people try to date one single person by answering questions correctly.
Well, now there is a whole new breed of dating shows, and they're getting more and more obscure. Gone of the days where you were allowed to have a conversation with your potential date, or even see them. So which of the latest dating shows are the most addicitive?
Take Me Out
If anything was going to replace Blind Date, this is it. Take me Out involved a single man coming down a 'love lift' to 30 women eagerly waiting to pull desperately excited smiles, or clearly underwhelmed frowns. The man then has to impress the women in three rounds involving some sort of freak-show performance and embarrasing stories from a family member. The women turn off for the most minor things, such as a mention of vaguely odourous feet, bad breath first thing in the morning (Come on... who doesn't?), or even being intersted in exercise. I'm not sure if all women are this fickle or they have to be especially recruited.
Once all the women the men actually fancied have opted out of a date, the men get to choose between the dregs who are desperate for a free holiday no matter who they have to spend it with. The men choose the most conventially pretty out of the women left, and they go off ready to spend an awkward weekend in a hot country together and to realise they actually live about 4 hours apart in the UK so the relationship would never work even if they were a great match.
The good thing about Take me Out is the couples do actually have a chance to have some sort of face-to-face interaction, and there is power for both genders rather than one person simply picking the other. However, relationships are very very unlikely to work out, most men who appear on the show seem to sleep with at least 3 of the girls anyway, according to backstage gossip, and it is distinctly unromantic. It also inevitably ends in 29 single girls at the end of the series with no one to date, a little unfullfilling for them and the audience.
Dating in the Dark
Apparently, this programme sets out to show looks aren't important in dating. Unforunately, it does the opposite. Three single men and three single women have dates in the dark, often involving some snogs and a quick feel. They then decide who they want to see in the light. They can then decide if they would like to meet up again. The uglier one of the two inevitablity wants to meet again, wheras the better looking will walk away without a second glance, and comment of "I can't believe I snogged that!". I can only imagine how humiliating and crushing it must be for the contestants to watch afterwards .
This is a new programme shown on Sky Living. The format is: a member of the public who thinks they have an amazing singing voice and just wants to get on TV for whatever reason possible, usually a little overweight or looking slightly like a drug addict, picks three other members of the public that could be described in a similar way to sing on a webcam with them. They then travel all the way to London to do a duet in the flesh in a pokey studio on some slightly-too-tall stools. As if meeting a man for the first time wasn't akward enough, but worrying about holding a note too is pressure I could easily avoid. Most of the time the invited member of the public doesn't fancy the other person in the slightest and makes it quite clear to them on National television. It actually sounds like a nightmare I once had, and I can't imagine anything worse. Perhaps Sky Living commissioned so many of the episodes in one go because they knew no one would want to be on the show once they'd seen an episode of it.
This is probably the most plausible of the shows. One man or woman is asked to decide on three dates based on their menus. They then meet with three potential matches, who seem to be fairly well selected in terms of attractiveness and ability to hold a conversation. The three selected individuals cook dinner in their own homes. It's a bit like Come Dine with Me, but with dating. The combination of cookery and being able to nosey round a person's home keeps the programme entertaining. The 'picker' then decides who to go on a master date with in a restaurant. It sounds like it should be amazing, but I think the fact that it's pre-filmed and there is little connection with the audience it does become a little dry.
So, the moral is, if you want to create a dating show, you gotta have a gimmick. So what's next? A dating show involving the contents of someone's underwear draw? Date my pet where pets are enlisted to pick a date for their owner? A dating show where you pick your potential partner based on their bowel movements or medical record? Whatever it is, the fact is, I've gotta watch it!
Can you think of any new dating show ideas?