I’ll start this with a confession about my past reality show addiction. Back in the day, I used to watch more than what’s healthy for human consumption. I would plan evening activities around certain shows I needed to watch live (so not to have outcomes ruined by spoilers) and which could be recorded. I had three VHS tapes that would be filled during each week with shows I needed to catch-up on. The weekends would be late evening viewings of my shows. PopStars, The Real World (grandma of them all), Road Rules, American Idol, The Mole, Survivor. A show was created, I watched.
Of this assortment, add into the mix the reality dating shows. Remember the hot mess that was Paradise Hotel (copied by the new Bachelor Pad)? I do. The twist of Joe Millionaire? I was there. The original The Bachelor when we actually believed? I thought not giving people roses was a bit high school, but the romantic in me trusted the couple standing at the end.
Now we are blessed with Dating in the Dark. I’d long sworn off of watching these lust fests and started just waiting for the true love then break-up People magazine covers to fill me in. But a former colleague of mine insisted that I join in his addiction, describing the show as being like the “Bachelorette all in one episode during a blackout.”
The basic outline is three women and three men, separated by gender and staying in different sections of a house. They first meet as a group in the dark room and then each go out on one date. It’s a completely in the dark one-on-one (the audience gets to see the action via night vision cameras). There’s just a couch in the room so people stumble to it to sit down and chat.
After the dates, the individuals pick who they want to go with for a second date in the dark. Then they view some compatibility test info and go on final dates. Next, each picks who they want to see. The final couple selections go in the dark room and have a light what each other looks like. After this process, one gender (I think it switches each week) is put on a balcony. Then they wait there to see if their final date joins them on the balcony or walks out the front door and leaves.
So I watched this on Monday and was quite disturbed to find myself sucked into the muck. My take:
- I hated the beginning and thought their intro statements were pathetic (“I’m going to find out blah about myself..in the dark.” “My instincts about blah blah…in the dark.”).
- The people were like adult, high school caricatures. There was even a (former?) male dancer.
- A Chippendales dancer, really?
- How many of these folks are recycled contestants from reality love shows past?
- Why did all the women share key details about their dates and thoughts? Isn’t this a competition? You come back and talk about stuff the guy told you and the next girl is armed for a better date.
- The viewing of each other’s cars was so staged. The participants are from varying states.
- One woman got dumped in the dark by the Chippendale’s dancer. How embarrassing.
- I wonder if any people wanted to “date” the same person at the end?
That said, the hook (smart producers) is the payoff at the end. Watching the “hot tart” character be blown off by the “moral motivator” character because of her lack of moral compass was cold. She’s looking over the balcony seeing him walk out the front door, pulling his suitcase down the drive without a single look up her way. You have been DISSED MISS. The scenario is total production, yet there is a sick thrill in seeing the hypocrisy of these characters making such quick judgments on each other. Checking the ABC website for updates, I see that none of the couples are still dating, but all remain “very close friends.” Yeah, sure.
So, now I’m hooked. I’ll be sitting munching popcorn and watching again next Monday, 10:00 EST. An intervention may be needed…unless you want to join me.