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<< Previous: Crossing The Line | Next: I'm Back >>

Television: Hooking Up
Thursday, 2005 July 14 - 11:21 pm
ABC's newest reality TV show explores the world of Internet dating, from the perspective of single women in New York.

This is a show about "eleven real women" who are single, living in New York, and dating people on-line.

Of course, just because they're "real" women doesn't mean they're typical women... and it doesn't mean they're not putting on a performance for the sake of the cameras. It's just like any other "reality" TV show in that respect.

I'm a little bit worried this show will give people the idea that, in the on-line dating scene, the women are all incredibly hot, and the guys are all liars and assholes. The opening sequence of the show seemed to promote that message, and I almost turned it off right away. It's a concept that women love to buy into (and one that will help the ratings). But to us guys who are struggling to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions in the on-line dating world, messages like this are irritating.

Still, I felt I had a duty to watch the show, so I could report on it.

In tonight's episode, we meet Claire, a 26-year-old advertising executive who is looking for "chemistry". We meet Lisa, a 36-year-old gynecological surgeon who doesn't want her dates to know about her job or her real first name. We meet Cynthia, a 33-year-old salon manager who "keeps meeting jerks". And we meet Amy, a 28-year-old real estate broker from South Dakota, who "wants to make babies".

As I watched the show, I started to see that there was a subtle morality lesson being pushed with each of them. With Claire, after she dumped a "nice guy" via e-mail for not having enough chemistry, she was in turn dumped by a guy in a similar fashion. Lisa's dishonesty about herself caused a promising date to fall apart. Cynthia seems to be more of a jerk than the guys she meets, but she doesn't think the bad dates are ever her own fault. And Amy is so anxious to be in a relationship that she ignores all kinds of warning signs about an obnoxious guy, just because the guy is a good kisser.

Know any people like these? I think each of these women was chosen to represent an archetype. Maybe this show should have been called "How Not To Date." The problem with this show is that, as a reality show, I'm not sure we'll ever get to see redemption. I don't know if any of these women, or any of the guys they meet, will "see the light" and see what they're doing wrong. I'm worried that we'll ultimately see these women being rewarded for their bad behavior, thus perpetuating all the myths and misconceptions that lead to bad dating experiences in the first place. We don't have a Stacy and Clinton on this show to fix these people.

And also, I'm afraid that this show doesn't really have much to say. It certainly doesn't have much to say about the particular nuances of on-line dating. It just seems to be a show about eleven women looking for "Mr. Right". (Odd that this show is produced by Mr. Wrong... namely, Terence Wrong. Okay, no doubt a million other people have made already that joke.) Is there really anything about this that we haven't seen before?

Look, I'm glad that there's a show that explores dating and singlehood. But I'm pretty sure I could teach them a thing or two. And because of that, I'm not sure this is a show I really want to watch.

The one really good thing I saw during this show? a commercial for "Boston Legal", which is returning on August 9th.
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Posted by Ken in: datingtelevision


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