Happiness in Love

Ah… Love in the Dating Game Show World

The Cast of the Bachelor

We love hopefuls have always been enchanted by dating game shows. There was The Dating Game in 1965, then Jenny McCarthy‘s sassy series, Singled Out, in 1995. The Bachelor has been running for an unfortunate 16 seasons since 2002, spawning knock-offs The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad. As if there weren’t enough series around to make a mockery of love, CBS and Fox are launching their own shows chronicling the lives of the lovelorn this year. Fox’s new series is to be called Take Me Out,  and is based around a UK game show of the same name, while CBS’ docu-drama, 3, is based on a popular Israeli game show.

Take Me Out: The Concept

Bear with me: it’s a weird one. A single guy tries to impress a panel of 30 single women. If a woman loses interest based on his answers, she turns off her ‘light’. If he avoids a blackout in round one (re: fails to light the fire of even one female contestant), the tables turn and the women compete for his affections until only one remains. The lucky lady gets to go out with the ‘bachelor’ in question.

More dating game show cheese... the Bachelorette

The rub? All 30 female panelists remain the same throughout the season — only the man changes during each episode. Viewers will feel like they’re ‘friends’ with and become emotionally invested in the singletons, who’s ‘winning’ dates will be shown throughout the season. At least this show isn’t forcing couples to create fake engagements or make singles feel like the last kid picked in gym class if they weren’t worthy of receiving a rose. Can you say ‘cliche’? I can…and I do believe it rhymes with ‘The Bachelor’.

3: The Concept

CBS’ new series, 3, is more of a documentary than a dating show. It will follow the love lives of three women who are at very different stages of their lives,  thus looking for very different things out of a relationship. What they all do want, of course, is to find true love.

3 is a relationship show that won’t perpetuate a fairy tale myth about dating,” Jennifer Bresnan, CBS’s executive vice president of alternative programming said in a statement. “Without any typical game play, it intimately documents the search for love and the reality of dating — the anticipation, the excitement, the rejection. Along the way, we’ll see personalities who are real, and flawed and simply human.”

If this actually works, then hallelujah! It’s about time there was a TV show that showed the truth about single life without glossy stick insects we can’t identify with, situations we would never legitimately be in and dates that even the most romantic of guys wouldn’t dream up on his own (helicopters and caviar picnics come to mind).

Which to watch?

Clearly I’m in favor of 3. Though we often play games to get a guy, love shouldn’t become a game – and it certainly shouldn’t be documented on a gameshow.

I sincerely hope that the producers stay faithful to their original intent. I hope they show how awkward first dates can be, how our starry-eyed aspirations can be dashed by four or five simple words — “You’re not the one”, “It’s not you, it’s me”, “We should see other people” and how quickly Mr. Right can turn into Mr. Wrong.

I hope they show that we want more from a relationship the older we get but don’t condescend to the legitimate romantic feelings of the youngest dater. No matter what age we are — from our first crush to our first relationship to our last love — love is still love. It’s still glorious, it’s still painful, it’s still all-consuming. There’s no winning or losing, there’s no fairytale, there aren’t any magic arrows or sprays of pixie dust. There are just two halves trying to become a whole and hoping that the fit isn’t too imperfect to last. It is two lonely people looking for happiness. It conquers all, and it’s a mystery. It’s beautiful, and it’s our reality. It’s love.

 

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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.

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