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Chalk it up to human foibles, schadenfreude, whatever). These also mostly pitted men and women against each other on something of an even playing field, with a game show feel that made both sexes seem pretty idiotic.
They were also launching pads for people who wanted to become celebrities, like Farrah Fawcett and Tom Selleck, who both appeared as contestants on and so on.
This is a vicious cycle, but it works: Women (and men) are confused about dating, because who isn't?
Hoping to get it right, we tune into a show or read a book to teach us "The Rules." And then, maybe, we feel better: We weren't all that bad to start with!
But big brother (not sure he's older, he just acts like it) is apparently the expert because he's the one in a long-term relationship.
The beauty of this show, though it was ridiculous, was that men and women were on a basically even plane: They were both capable of looking like total jerks or insane people, and often did (it's the way of dating, after all, and more than that, the way of the successful dating show.
There are too many to count, but suffice it to say, dating shows are a staple, pairing the big business of reality TV with a universal interest in sex, dating, and relationships.
Then enter the "instructional" element, i.e., how to do it right, or how to watch people who are doing it wrong and compare yourself favorably.
-esque 30-minute "reality" dating program in which host Roger Lodge (loved that guy!
) offered up snarky quips and hilarious commentary about dates that paired up two strangers who were followed around by a camera crew.
Can a dating show ever allow a woman to be happy, to be having fun and owning her life and doing what she wants to do, evolving as she does it?