With Valentine's day around the corner, its only natural that we would turn to TV to reflect the love in the air. So in the spirit of love, what better show to discuss this week than Take Me Out: a reality dating show that has one man parade in front of thirty women with light bulbs in the hopes of winning himself a date.
At its core, Take Me Out is shallow as a puddle and has the intellectual stimulation of a wet paper bag. It appeals to the most superficial way we form our relationships, using instant attraction to determine if someone is worthy of winning a date and worthy of our time as an audience. If you’re looking for some thought provoking, deep blossoming romance, I suggest you look elsewhere. As far as the male contestants go, I’m truly not sure where they find some of these guys. It feels less like a vigorous application process and more like they taped a flyer on a tree in the park for the weirdest, most offensive men they could find. How half of them get dates is beyond me.
"If you’re looking for some thought provoking, deep blossoming romance, I suggest you look elsewhere."
However, the panel of women also presents its own problem. While they do possess the power to choose their own dates, the way they are presented only furthers the blatant objectification that the show relies on. The women are required to be dressed to the nines, and the women who choose to dress differently, or are not conventionally attractive are ignored at best and receive outright criticism from the tactless contestant at worst.
But as is often the case, it’s not all bad. A reality TV show is often only as good as its host, and as far as presenters go, Paddy McGuiness is top notch. He is not only witty, funny and charming, but also possesses the remarkable ability to turn around any awkward situation (which lets be honest, is a necessary skill having seen some of the answers these contestants give). Paddy is the master of the catchphrase and it’s hard not to join in with the variety of phrases he’s coined, with such classics such as ‘No likey, no lighty!’, or one of the many variations on ‘Let the butter, see the crumpet’ that crop up every show.
"There have been seven weddings and two babies from the couples who met on the show"
If you watch more than one episode, you’ll notice that the same girls stay throughout the series until they get a date. This of course prompts the development of favourites, and it can be quite entertaining to root for your favourites. And although Take Me Out might come across as another superficial dating show, it has had its love stories. Over the course of its seven year run, there have been seven weddings and two babies from the couples who met on the show, meaning that it can’t be all bad.
I know when I watch Take Me Out that I’m not watching quality television, and yet I do it anyway. There is something appealing about cheesy, throwaway reality shows, and Take Me Out is no exception.
Although Take Me Out does of course appeal to superficiality, it’s only fair to remember that the majority of dating conventions these days do too. People who use dating apps often form their opinion of someone before even reading their bio, and it would be unfair to say that first impressions don’t matter in real life too. For that reason, I for one am willing to overlook the bitter elements of Take Me Out in favour of the sweet, sweet, cheesy joy that it brings me.