First Dates is fun and instructive

First there was The Bachelor, then The Bachelorette, followed by dating shows for those who are large and lovely, have a huge age span between them, first meet in complete darkness, etc. In other words, almost every kind of angle on making that first love connection has been explored through reality TV. Some have endured through many seasons, others had such a short life that we missed them entirely and/or can’t remember their name or what their specific focus was. Yet, the subject continues to draw viewers as so many people are out there seeking ways to find and connect wit that right person for them.

Now there is a wonderful new dating show called First dates, and airing (ironically?) on Friday nights on NBC. It’s appropriately titled First Dates, and is exclusively about that. What is unique is that it doesn’t feature one specific age, weight, gender category—it’s about bringing couples together who range from young to older, are from different backgrounds and demographics—and the only thing they have in common is their desire to meet compatible others for dating and maybe more.

The show has a funny angle to it, influenced no doubt by Executive producer, Ellen DeGeneres. It is narrated by Drew Barrymore, and is based on a hit U.K. show that uses the same format. The first dates it features are all held in the same posh, Chicago restaurant used exclusively for the show on the night of taping. Their dates are not scripted, and the audience gets to be a fly on the wall, watching and listening to their first glances, impressions, awkward exchanges, positive connecting—even their quick phone calls from the rest room to friends, as they offer their thoughts about their date. My favorite so far, “he’s me with a penis.”

Single viewers have a unique opportunity to sit back and observe the body language of the individuals and see how this lines up with what they say. It’s a great way to get good at reading what someone is really thinking and feeling—which is where many folks get tripped up on first dates. Pay close attention to what people say and do and how this comes across to a date. What is good, what falls flat—and why.

I know, it’s on Friday night. Isn’t that what TiVo is for? You can learn something from this funny, candid and at times, very endearing show. I loved the two seniors who met and connected, both in recovery from the death of a beloved spouse. There’s hope for everyone here. Give it a look.

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