Welcome to the TV Dating Club! We all love a bit of television time between learning how to write the perfect online dating profile and finding love over fifty. So in this series, we take a look at the dating programmes which tickle our funny bone, play the strings in our heart and plaster a grin across your face. In our first article, we’re taking a look at ITV’s Dinner Date, as reviewed by our guest blogger Sophie!
Dinner Date, ITVBe
If you’re a sucker for Come Dine With Me and still miss Saturday nights with Cilla Black’s Blind Date; a dose of Dinner Date will be right up your alley. First aired on ITV in 2010, Dinner Date successfully combines reality TV, cooking and dating into one delicious ball of awkward moments, funny scenarios and laugh out loud revelations.
Each episode focuses on one single love-seeking man or woman who has the choice of five set menus produced by five very different hopeful dates. The chosen protagonist must choose the three most appealing dishes to them which will determine three separate mystery dates. The cameras then follow the single hopeful as he or she goes on three various dates at the homes of the secret potential partners. The conclusion of the show sees our lead character picking one of their cooks to go out on a date to a restaurant. They even have over fifty daters from time to time!
The format is so simple, and yet this low-budget tea-time programme is very entertaining and extremely popular. It follows real-life people looking for love -something most of us can relate to- and can be therapeutic in the sense that it’s shamelessly honest. Dating is hard work! Dinner Date reflects the realities that we face when meeting new people and searching for a relationship; it’s great television if not a chance to escape our own problems and peep in on someone else’s for a wee while.
True, though some people criticise the show for being a copycat product, I believe that Dinner Date offers its audience something a little different from your typical reality show. There’s something very enticing about having a sneak peek into other people’s lives, especially when it comes to looking for love. A certain curiosity about what other people are looking for in a mate leads me to become engrossed in their journey, fascinated by the differences in human communication and connection, entranced at the chemistry between contestants as well as cringing along with the couples as they share those long dreaded silences we’ve all experienced.
Of course, the idea of the show is that the protagonist judges their dates on their cooking ability, but there’s so much more going on. As if first dates aren’t nerve-racking enough without having to cook up a three-course extravaganza?! Dinner Date really does pull you through the screen, making you feel like you’re right there with the contestants. You sympathise, cringe, laugh, support them and judge them. And yet at the end of each show, you can’t help but hope that they’ll be a happily ever after…
Even though the show follows the same structure each episode, Dinner Date is addictive, with each episode introducing you to a collection of new weird and wonderful characters, you can’t resist tuning in and loving or hating, cheering on or booing the various people that pop up. I think that Dinner Date is an excellent portrayal of the realities we face when dating in today’s society, and it makes me feel a whole lot better about my personal blind date experiences!