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“Are you in this for the right reasons?” Fifteen years ago, that was a question that had zero cultural significance. Now you can’t watch a single dating show without hearing it come out of the mouth of someone who's had too much red wine. With the advent of the 21st century came the advent of rom-competition reality television (we just coined that term, so don’t steal it). But it took years before the genre became the guilty pleasure we know and love today.
After producers— especially VH1 producers—realized that their shows were considered low-brow, no matter how valid the quest for true love, they basically said, “Fuck it. Let’s get as guilty and as pleasurable as possible.” And that’s when things got really good. Rom-competition reality shows have been full of desperate individuals throwing wine glasses, spitting, and pulling hair ever since. Now with ABC rolling out their latest Bachelor spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise (which as far as we can tell is Bachelor Pad in a better location), tonight, it’s as good a time as any to look back on the last decade and a half of televised dating and put everything in its right place.
Here is The Definitive Ranking of Rom-Competition Reality Shows . Andrew Gruttadaro is the Complex Pop Culture news editor. If you want to come at him about ranking, he tweets .
best c5 dating shows - Set and match: the best and worst TV dating shows
The 90's were all that and a bag of chips. From overalls with one strap down to car phones to the Dick Tracy soundtrack, the decade was pretty much America's golden age.
Don't agree? Talk to the hand. Below I round up the best dating shows of the 90's for a reminder of the incredible , , and of the day. Remember brown lipstick? Turtleneck crop tops? Carmen Electra? It's so good/bad! Check it. Studs - I was eight years old when this show first aired and I thought it was the sexiest thing since shirtless Prince Eric in the The Little Mermaid. The way the show works is that two guys, AKA studs, go out with three different women.
Then they all gather on the show and try to guess what happened on the dates and who likes who. It's like the game Clue but someone got fingered instead of murdered.
Make sure to get a good look at the guy with the long curly perm and a lace-up Renaissance top in the clip. FASHION, you guys! Best line from the clip - "Those hungry tiger eyes brought out the jungle beast in me." Singled Out - Dating is a numbers game. On Singled Out the show starts off with 50 horny singles competing for one special someone.
The most important thing about this show is that it skyrocketed Jenny McCarthy to...actually what is she up to these days? Famous for her love of fart jokes and her Playboy looks she is basically Howard Stern's dream girl.
Jenny taught Americans that all it takes to get on TV is a huge gazongas and a terrible personality. Namaste. Best line from clip - "Hi Michelle, My name is Tony, come to Boston, no bologna." - Change of Heart - Change of Heart is the Jerry Springer of dating shows. Every guest is like a feral animal who is THIS CLOSE to breaking some chairs or pulling some hair. In short, it's fabulous television. The basic concept is that a (creepy) couple comes on the show and one of them goes on a date with a new person.
Then all three gather on the couch for some real talk and the contestant decides if they want to stay in their original relationship or break up after ONE DATE with someone else. Nothing says class like dumping your partner on national TV after hooking up with a stranger.
USA! USA! USA! Best line from the clip - "He said he wanted me to meet his mom at his mom's club and when we got there I didn't realize it was a strip club. " Bzzz! - This show was only on for a year because it was kind of boring and there were too many rules. Kind of like actual dating. Basically, a contestant has to choose between four people who are slowly eliminated through a series of ridiculous tests and questions.
The best question from this clip is when the bachelorette asks a potential date, "Where are you taking me to our honeymoon?" Slow down girl! All you know about this dude is that he's a bartender who waxes his eyebrows. Best line from the clip - "I believe in everything; g-d, what horoscope tells me to do, ghosts.
You name it, I believe it!" Blind Date - Before OK Cupid and Match, the idea of going on a date with a total stranger was pure terror. Now, it's just a Tuesday. On Blind Date, the producers set up two people who have never met and follow them around with a camera all night. Then they playback the date on TV adding funny commentary in the form of subtitles, animations, and thought bubbles.
In the below clip, a woman gets matched up on date with a guy wearing a leopard fedora, a neck-scarf and a red jumpsuit. We can't blame the 90's for that fashion, that's all him. Best line from the clip - "So I gotta ask, what's with the outfit?"
It was “Blind Date with knobs on” or, if you prefer, “Blind Date in a brothel”. Either way, it’s fair to say that Channel 4’s new was not entirely to everybody’s tastes. Certainly there was no escaping the full-frontal nudity on the Anna Richardson show, which made BBC2’s look like a particularly dull episode of Midsomer Murders. And on Monday night. Read more But was it a new low for TV dating shows?
It’s tricky to say. Here are a few of the more memorable series – although not always for the right reasons. Dating in the Dark A bit like Blind Date, but all the dates took place in the dark. Only at the end, when the lights come on, do you get to see who you’ve been hanging out with. A bit like The Voice, then, but without the spinning chairs.
She’s an animal! No, she really is an animal Take Me Out The closest ITV has come to a successor to Blind Date – but unlike its predecessor, no one above the age of 40 has ever seen it. It features 30 women, one man, presenter Paddy McGuinness and a “love lift”.
You’ve already clicked on the ITV Hub, haven’t you? “And it’s got a love lift”. I’ll take 26 episodes! Man O Man The show that Take Me Out could have been – or perhaps that should be the other way round. Chris Tarrant presided over yet another ITV Saturday teatime dating show; this one rather short-lived.
Look closely and you’ll spot Nell McAndrew. Don’t look too closely though. Phone a friend. Ask them how they hell I ended up on this show. First Dates Back to reality, and a Channel 4 show that proves the best formats are often the most simple – a blind date followed by a debrief where the couple discuss their relationship prospects. What, no animal prosthetics?
But I wanted to be a badger!
Top 5 Best Dating Reality Shows