Save the date ... then watch some­thing else

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP -

For­get love and mar­riage – now it’s all about pash and dash. Wife swap­ping. Hus­band swap­ping. Saliva swap­ping. Let your mum choose. Let his mum chose. Choose his mum.

Dat­ing naked. Dat­ing with­out gen­i­talia af­ter dat­ing naked goes wrong. Dat­ing in the Dark. Blind Date- ing. Bach­e­lor in Par­adise. Polyamory in Par­adise. Preg­nant in Par­adise. You get the pic­ture.

This year is all about peo­ple who can’t get a date eat­ing take­away in their un­der­wear while watch­ing losers on TV get re­jected un­der the glare of stu­dio lights. With hope in their hearts and mi­cro­phones strapped to their backs, th­ese poor souls will do any­thing they can to snare love, or at the very least a ra­dio gig with Rove McManus.

Once upon a time, there was no in­ter­net and women wore blue eye shadow and cinch belts and lined up to be matched by a ro­bot called Dex­ter over­seen by a guy in a peach taffeta cum­mer­bund called Greg Evans.

They were asked ques­tions such as “What piece of fruit are you most like and why?” and tele­vi­sion switch­boards lit up with com­plaints.

But now we live in a world where re­al­ity TV is get­ting more un­real all the time. Pro­duc­ers green­light shows such as Are You Hot? The Search for Amer­ica’s Sex­i­est Peo­ple and Who’s Your Daddy? where adopted chil­dren win $100,000 if they fig­ure out who their bi­o­log­i­cal father is. Yes, re­ally. And so we find our­selves with a flotilla of poorly con­ceived, badly made dat­ing shows to make us feel bet­ter about the fact that we haven’t been laid since last June.

So in hon­our of Valen­tine’s Day, here’s a run­down of the re­al­ity dat­ing shows the net­works have in store for us this year.

First up, there’s First Dates, the show where com­plete strangers are thrown to­gether and forced to en­dure each other’s com­pany for a three-course meal in a Syd­ney restau­rant. I can just imag­ine it.

He’ll try to im­press her with his knife-and-fork bal­anc­ing act, spill wa­ter down the front of his trousers and then for­get his wal­let.

She’ll spend the whole night try­ing to get up the courage to tell him he’s got spinach in his teeth then will leave half way af­ter an emer­gency pre-ar­ranged res­cue call from a friend. Oh, good times. A Chan­nel Seven spokes­woman says the se­ries is “Warm, kind and gen­er­ous, and served with a good dol­lop of hu­mour”.

What I think she means to say is that any­one who is gen­uinely warm, kind and gen­er­ous got picked for Farmer Wants a Wife, and th­ese are the re­jects served up to the masses with a good dol­lop of hu­mil­i­a­tion.

Chan­nel Seven will also bring us Kiss Bang Love . Bet­ter this than the way it usu­ally hap­pened to me, which was Kiss, Bang, Bang, Bang, Good­bye. Or as one wit on Twit­ter sug­gested, Kiss, Bang, Her­pes.

In each episode, some­one en­ters the stu­dio blind­folded and kisses 15 sin­gle guys or girls. They then choose the five best kissers to meet again for a se­cond kiss with­out the blind­fold.

Pro­duc­ers ob­vi­ously had their best dat­ing years at blue light dis­cos when they were 15 and are now try­ing to recre­ate this feel­ing with a full stu­dio au­di­ence and canned laugh­ter. Should be a huge hit.

There’s also Seven Year Switch, which in­volves strug­gling cou­ples swap­ping part­ners. Who comes up with this stuff? Ask your­self: are you likely to end up with a stud or a dud when all you’ve got as your tal­ent pool is other peo­ple’s castoffs?

Nine will also run a new se­ries of Mar­ried at First Sigh, above, pair­ing peo­ple that psy­chol­o­gists say are per­fectly matched, which means they’re guar­an­teed to hate each other. In any case, it should be called Not Mar­ried at All, Just Pre­tend­ing for the Cam­eras.

Over on SBS there is go­ing to be lo­cal tal­ent on the Chi­nese dat­ing show If You Are the One. The real ti­tle should be: If My Par­ents Like You, You Could Be The One, Please Make Sure You Give Me a Son

The show’s in­tro says: “Are you ter­ri­fied you’re go­ing to die alone? Do you worry that no one will love you – ever?” What they should say: Are you so des­per­ate to find love that you’re will­ing to end up a freak show on na­tional TV?

So there you have it, folks. Get set for heaps of voyeuris­tic trash in­volv­ing the rit­ual sac­ri­fice of poor souls who just want to meet some­one nice. Should rate its butt off. Twit­ter @susieob, Face­book.com/ newswithsuse and blog susieobrien.com.au

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