Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and while that might mean fancy dinner dates for some, for others there is nothing more romantic than curling up on the couch with some popcorn and bad TV. Romantic comedies are an obvious choice for February the 14th, and many less cheese-inclined lovers are choosing to indulge in horror flicks, but we’ve got another suggestion for your V-Day viewing: terrible reality shows about love.
Over the years, there have been plenty of reality shows about love, from the iconic Blind Date (where potential suitors were chosen on the basis of their answers to cheesy questions, not their looks), to the massive popular Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises, to lesser-known ridiculousness like Man O Man (where men competed in front of an audience of drunk women to be crowned ‘manliest’ and win a motorbike), there’s a reality show for every preference… and we’ve got the best of the worst for your streaming pleasure this Valentine’s Day!
For Fans Of Gold Digging Gals
Who wouldn’t want to marry a millionaire? Of course, for most of us, the millionaire would also have to be someone that we love with the money as the cherry on top, but as multiple reality shows prove, there are plenty of people for whom the money is the most important thing. Fox’s Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire only ran for a single "season" (a two-hour broadcast), and pitted 50 women against each other to win the heart of a mystery multi-millionaire. The women saw their groom-to-be only in silhouette until he made his decision…and married her on the spot. Shockingly, the marriage didn’t last, and the bride sought an annulment the moment the honeymoon was over.
If you’d rather something a little longer to binge, there’s always The Millionaire Matchmaker—all eight seasons of it. The abrasive Patti Stanger hosts as she sets up matches for her millionaires, so get ready to see some gorgeous dates and impressively swanky mixers for these uber-rich types looking for love.
For A Little Risque Viewing
Most dating shows culminate in a kiss, although some of the more popular ones hint at all kinds of sexy activity when the cameras are turned off. However, there are two shows that bare all, right from the start. Dating Naked takes the standard reality-dating-show format (attractive people compete to win the heart of the main singles), and gives it a twist. A naked twist. Voyeuristic viewers will be disappointed, though; the key areas are usually blurred out on screen.
This isn’t the case for the second terrible naked dating show, Naked Attraction. This British reality show is nowhere near as coy as Dating Naked, and shows the viewers absolutely everything. It starts with a "chooser," and six naked contestants in boxes. Each round, a little more of the contestants is revealed, from the feet up, and one is eliminated until the final round, when the chooser also strips off to have a chat with the last two contestants, and pick the one to go on a (clothed) date with.
For Close Families
If you’ve ever felt that your parents were a little too involved in your dating life, watch these shows and you’ll feel much better. Date My Mom does exactly what it says on the tin; sets up suitors with the mothers of potential partners. The Moms spend the date talking up their children, and the suitors can make judgments about their suitability based on the mother. At the end of the show, everyone lines up to meet the potential partners, but only after the chooser tells the mom why they did (or didn’t) decide to go on an actual date with their child.
For an even more invasive child/parent dating experience, check out Momma’s Boys, a dating show that ran for a single season, and put 32 women in a house to compete for the affections of three men. Also living in the house with the contestants are the mothers of the three bachelors—who are there to spy on the women and try to influence their sons’ choices. The…ahem…conservative natures of the moms make things even worse, especially when many of the female contestants seem chosen just to make them unhappy…
For Good Old Fashioned Shock Value
If nudity, gold digging, and overbearing mothers aren’t quite shocking enough, there are definitely some shows that up the *gasp* factor. Baggage, for example, is hosted by Jerry Springer, and is based on the idea that potential suitors should reveal their darkest secrets right off the bat. Each contestant has "suitcases" of different sizes, that are revealed to the chooser (who has one "suitcase" of their own). As the secrets come out, the contestants decide if they can stomach each others biggest flaws, and if so, they get to go on a date. How romantic!
Another, equally salacious offering is Ex-Treme Dating, a reality show that sends contestants on a blind date…which sounds lovely, until you learn that one of the daters is listening to the other dater’s ex-partner through an earpiece. If the ex manages to direct the date so that the partner doesn’t want a second one, they win a prize. If a second date is on the cards, that is the prize.
More Bad Dating Shows
Of course, these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad dating shows. There are dozens of other offerings in the world of reality TV, from shows that have attractive women competing for less attractive men (Beauty And The Geek, Average Joe), to an entire subgenre of wedding series, to a series that turns the old game of Seven Minutes In Heaven into a series (Dating In The Dark).