Tag Archives: dating shows

Can we please have your dignity?

20 Apr

Has reality television turned us all into a*******?

They say sex sells, but shame and failure are way better. See, I really wanted to hate Married at First Sight. I promise I did. But I have a dirty confession; not only have I watched it, but I also kind of love it in the worst way and I DON’T KNOW WHY!

Actually, that’s a lie.

I do know.

It’s because, deep down, I’m a bit of an a**hole.

Ironically, my new obsession with MAFS comes at about the same time as my Bachie nemesis, Blake Garvey, a.k.a. Blake Vader, announced his tragic split from Lipstick Louise via a poignant breakup shoot with New Idea. Yes, you read that correctly. They legit got together on some windy beach-side lookout and posed for photographs looking forlorn and heartbroken. Relationship goals AF.

And a big part of me has absolutely revelled in it. The deep-voiced, shallow-minded lothario and his controversial third-choice bride have given back their Bunda rings and commemorated it with a flipping GLAMOUR SHOOT! It’s heaven on a stick. (On the other hand, another, somewhat smaller, part of me is sad I won’t be able to make sarcastic jokes about their beige wardrobes and personalities anymore, but that’s just a cross I’ll have to bear.)

 

new idea split

This is a thing and it really happened. (Image via New Idea)

 

But through these two reality television goldmines, what’s really become super clear to me is just how much we enjoy watching people suffer. And not just us, the viewing public of Australia, but the very contestants themselves. Apparently sacrificing their dignity, their bodies, their emotional well-being, and anything else remotely sacred is the only way wannabe television stars can make a coin these days. Forget the happy endings, we wanna see you tear shreds off!

Take Monday night’s ep of Married at First Sight for example. Although the surface-level focus was the anticipated meet up of all the couples and their incessant arm-stroking at Bilbo Baggins’ house, anyone with half a brain knew that it was really about Jono and Clare breaking up and the ensuing awkward AF dinner party showdown. And the other contestants kind of loved it. It was legit all they could talk about. I mean, they put in a solid effort pretending to care, but really the smugness was palpable…

 

cersei smug

Ohhh…you’re not together anymore?

 

The psychologists kept saying that Jono and Clare were matched for a reason, but unless that reason was to make good television out of emotional turmoil, I’m fresh out of ideas as to why these two people were married in the first place. Sources tell me that Clare suffered through an abusive relationship in the past, and so she was expertly paired with a man who lost his shit at a couch in Ikea. Obvi it had serious potential from the start, guys. But perhaps the best and most telling part of the whole shemozzle was the serious “psychological support” Clare received from the three “experts” when she and Jono officially decided to split and she found herself sobbing alone in the middle of the Blue Mountains.

 

there there gif

From left: Clare, John Aitken

 

And Australia loved it. It was a major talking point on Tuesday morning. But after a brief discussion with my fellow MAFS- addict and writer friend, we agreed that the schadenfreude doesn’t just stop at dating shows. Basically every reality tv program requires a significant element of suffering and embarrassment for us to want to tune in. And for what? Despite the small wins, occasional monetary remuneration and, at best, fleeting fame, what do the participants really gain from the whole experience? An entire nation of people enjoying their shame.

Because, deep down, we’re all a bit of an a**hole. But has reality television itself conditioned us to be this way?

So my friend and I played a little game. We decided to write the production briefs for some of Australia’s biggest reality shows. But in a much more honest way.

The Voice, X Factor and any others from the trolley of talent shows out there: Sure, sing us a beautiful song, but you ain’t gonna get any screen time unless you tell us about how you saw the life leave your little brother’s eyes after he was squashed by that tractor. For those of you not as fortunate to have a tragic backstory, don’t worry, we’ll put together montage episodes of all the really bad, delusional contestants who never had a hope of succeeding so that our viewers can have a good laugh. Maybe you can get on one of those.

Biggest Loser: We really want to help you lose weight, but we also really want to hear again and again how much you want to be a parent and keep dwelling on those failed pregnancies you suffered because of, you know… how overweight you are.  And while we focus on all aspects of your health, we’re going to starve you on a low cal diet for weeks, then roll you through the middle of the Chadstone food truck festival and see if you eat your body weight in dim sims. Surprise! Temptation! But don’t forget to be healthy, kay?

The Block: Come on our show and we’ll ‘challenge’ you by ringing every drop of stress and anxiety out of your relationship while we give you a shitty budget, rush you through something you have never done before, but also don’t forget to stay in love with your partner and be attractive. (Meanwhile, did you see Cherie’s wall paper… hideous amirite?) Then deal with our smugness when your over-decorated apartment doesn’t reach reserve at auction and you realise you’ve worked your balls off for, like, $3000.

My Kitchen Rules: We’ll invite the biggest pack of a**holes in Australia, sit them around your dinner table and watch while your hope curdles like the cream you forgot to refrigerate as they pick apart all the reasons why you are a terrible cook and overall person.

 

Reality television is basically taking over. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but I can’t help but worry that it’s only going to feed our hunger for suffering and embarrassment. Don’t get me wrong, I (and I think a lot of people) want to see Ordinary Joe realise his hopes and dreams, but not before he hands his dignity over.

Just like Blake and Louise did. At the end of the day, someone had to have OFFERED them that photoshoot. Or, at the very least, thought it was worth publishing. Because they knew Australia would love it.

 

I mean, really, would you ruin your life for a guest spot on Ready Steady Cook and a 2012 Hyundai Getz?

 

 

 

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Why can’t dating be more like ‘Perfect Match’?

30 Mar

Is it just me, or has the concept of new age dating and romance just about blown up to Death Star-size proportions of late?

If it wasn’t already clear through the endless wheeling out of new apps and websites promising true love with the click of a button, the significant increase in popularity (and in my case, obsession) with reality TV dating shows has pretty much cemented our collective addiction to dating. We love doing it, we love talking about it and we really love watching it. It is legit surprising anyone manages to get anything bloody done anymore.

But it seems we have taken a bit of a wrong turn of late and things are going rapidly south ifyouknowwhaddamean?

Australia’s rekindled romance with our home-grown version of The Bachelor in the last couple of years appeared to trigger an influx of new trashy programs, each with their own spin on both the dating game and relationships in general. There was Dating Naked; the more politically polarizing Married at First Sight; Dating in the Dark and now, more recently, First Dates and The Seven Year Switch. (Unfortunately, this post is NOT about The Seven Year Switch and it’s thinly veiled premise of straight-up adultery. But if it was, I would have all the opinions on it, don’t even worry.)

But I gotta say, none of these shows really measure up to the glory of Perfect Match. A stalwart of late 80’s television, Perfect Match was what gave my life meaning. Back when staying home on a Friday night with your parents was not only acceptable, but preferable; at my place that meant fish & chips and a can of Coke. When you’re seven, that is the equivalent of a bottle of red in your underwear.

Perfect Match was and is by far the best dating show ever created and anyone who disagrees is kidding themselves. Obviously I am going to explain exactly why that is. But first, please enjoy this nine minutes of 80’s heaven:

Five Reasons Why Perfect Match is Everything

Greg funking Evans

The host of the show and quintessential Stone. Cold. Fox. Evans kept the ball rolling and the jokes flowing. He was kind of like a hotter version of Andrew O’Keefe. When unsuspecting and nervous contestants would put their awkward foot in it, Evans had the kind of suave charisma and quick wit to smooth over any potential law suits or inappropriate sexual innuendos. Most of the female contestants secretly hoped to bone him and I do not blame them one bit.

greg

Would swipe right

 

Dexter

I mean, who DOESN’T want to have their romance score with a potential Romeo calculated by a sassy robot? Srzly, it would make life a hell of a lot easier. Forget swiping right, or even sending endless kisses/winks/charms, Dexter did all that dirty work for you and delivered the results in a bowler hat and give-a-f*** attitude. (For the record though, what even is a “charm”? It just makes me think of Hogwarts. Not sexy. Unless we’re talking about the Weasley twins…damn those hot gingers…but I digress…)

Dexter

#sass

 

The format

Essentially, Perfect Match operated on a process of elimination. Contestants started out with three possible matches who they were separated from by a v festive, pastel-coloured partition. They asked them each a question or two about dream dates and so on, then they picked one person from the line-up whose mullet they thought they could take home for a family BBQ. Basically, there was no reliance on physical appearance or abundance/lack of gym selfies. The contestants actually based their decisions on personality alone. If I really think about it, I can barely imagine a functioning world where this is a thing anymore.

 

seats

So…no chance of sending nudes, then?

 

The holidays

Forget a badly disguised d*** pic; once contestants had chosen their “perfect match” for the evening, they were gifted with a flipping holiday! Newly matched pairs were flown to the Gold Coast or the Whitsundays with a TV crew who would capture every awkward moment in their budget motel rooms. The following week, their post-holiday interview would be screened, where one half of the couple would reveal their true love, while the other had to admit they just went on the holiday for the complimentary biscuits and ironing service.

 

choosing

Can I still choose Best Western?

 

The time slot

Guys, do I have to say it again? Perfect Match screened on a Friday night! It was like Date Night when you didn’t have a date. These days, the best thing you can hope for on TV should you find yourself alone on a Friday is Better Homes & Gardens or a smart repeat of The Shawshank Redemption. It’s like Reg Grundy and his production company KNEW that if you were gonna be flying solo, a chandy or two just wasn’t going to cut it.

 

logo

Television, if you’re listening, THIS is how you do romance! Actually, I take that back. I don’t just mean television, I mean the world. For realz. I’ve had jack of all the apps and the swiping and the messaging. Put me in a wicker love seat and let me ask three dudes in pastel suits who they’d like to have dinner with dead or alive.  I guarantee the results will speak for themselves. Because…

Like Peaches and Cream
And a Coach and her Team
Like Sand and the Seas
And the Birds and the Bees
Lie an Oyster and a Pearl
And a Guy and a Girl
What Have You Got?
You Got a Perfect…
Perfect…
Perfect Match!
It’s a Perfect Match!

greg debbie

Life goals AF