Reality shows are, obviously, the peak of human entertainment. And dating shows make a strong case for best reality genre.
So in honor of “Dating Around,” Netflix’s foray into the dating show world, here’s a confirmed accurate list of the best and worst dating shows, out of the first five I could think of. Here we go:
“Dating Around,” like most Netflix shows, is aesthetically pleasing, shot more like an upscale culinary program than a dating show. But, a dating show it is.
The premise is this: One person goes on five blind dates, with the goal of finding someone they want to go on more dates with. Simple enough.
The execution, however, can be hard to follow. Each date is cut together, so we see Luke (from the first episode) having drinks with five ladies, then dinner with the same five ladies, all at the same restaurant and cut together so it’s real tough to know who’s who. He wears the same outfit throughout, suggesting all the dates were on the same night, but if that’s the case he would be wasted by date three.
But if it’s not all on the same night one of the dates should have been clothes shopping because that’s just embarassing. He had a nice haircut though.
Either way it seems to be a good background show. Like if you’re cooking dinner and want something in your making noise while you do it, put on “Dating Around.” Otherwise I don’t really see the point.
This is the kind of content Netflix is making instead of renewing “American Vandal.” Stop it and bring back “American Vandal.”
Verdict: Meh: 3rd place.
There’s not much to say about “The Bachelor” franchise that hasn’t already been said, except perhaps how Chris Harrison manages to come across as incredibly disingenuous even while hosting a show known for its disingenuousness, so I’ll stick to the highlights,
It’s “Joe Millionaire” without the self-awareness, there’s a huge amount of pressure on the bachelor/bachelorette to become engaged at the end of the show, alcohol is allegedly pushed on the cast members while food is hard to find, the dates are perhaps the most unrealistic setups of any on this list, Chris Harrison is, again, kind of creepy — I could go on.
At the end of the day, this is the dating show that takes itself most seriously, that tries to emphasize that its participants are truly looking for a lifelong relationship.
And in 37 combined seasons, approximately 7 couples are still together, which a great win percentage if you’re tanking for Zion Williamson but an entirely different story if you’re a network television show relying on the illusion of true love to sell advertising slots.
But sure, let’s keep having televised picnics in the Grand Canyon, make people propose in front of millions of people and then prevent them from seeing their fiancee for months so nobody finds out who wins before the finale airs. Sounds good.
You’re better off watching a show making fun of “The Bachelor” (“UnREAL,” “Burning Love,” etc.), which are actually good, than you are watching “The Bachelor.”
Verdict: Skip it entirely and just watch Zion Williamson’s Hoopmixtapes, dude’s a monster: 5th place.
“Love Island” has a lot going for it. Hosted by a former suitor of Harry Styles? Check. Voiceover by a sassy Scottish lad? Double check. A scene where Miss Great Britain loses her crown for having sex on TV? Checkcheckcheck.
It’s one of those shows where people live in a giant fancy house, are forced to couple up, sleep in a bed with their partner and are sent home if they’re left single when elimination time comes. But unlike the rest of its kind, “Love Island” knows it’s a ridiculous format and refuses to take itself seriously.
And despite the horrible interior design of the villa and an earnest attempt by producers to introduce drama, the people of “Love Island” seem generally pleasant and genuine. By the end of the season everyone is the best of friends, and a good amount of couples actually stay together after the show.
Sure, there’s one guy who gets bored every time he successfully pairs up with a girl. And sure, there’s an entire season where people say “metaphor” when they mean “simile.”
But there’s also the scene where, literally, the sweetest woman who has ever been on television and a ruggedly handsome Calvin Klein model fall in love ballroom dancing to a string quartet playing “Africa” by Toto, all while dressed nearly identically to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in “La La Land,” and that’s what reality television is all about so don’t complain.
Oh, and the best part: They air an episode every night, so each season has like 55 episodes and you can watch forever.
Verdict: Call off work for the next three weeks and watch every single episode except not season 1 because season 1 is kind of boring: 2nd place.
Rock of Love
In case you missed it the first time around, “Rock of Love” is a VH1 show from 2007 where a group of women compete for the heart of Bret Michaels from Poison. Luckily for you, all three seasons are on Hulu — including an uncensored season 3 (Rock of Love Bus) which I highly recommend everyone avoid.
It’s a spinoff of “Flavor of Love” and “I Love New York” and “A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila.” Pretty much everything I say about this can also be applied to those shows, all of which I should not have been allowed to watch as a child.
True to VH1 form, the show is a thinly-veiled excuse for the main character to make out with as many people as humanly possible while doing pretty much nothing else of substance. The most interesting thing about “Rock of Love” is trying to figure out where they found so many women who wanted to date Bret Michaels.
Also, if you’ve ever worried you like “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” too much, watch this show and you will hate it forever, as Mr. Michaels simply will not stop playing it on the acoustic guitar that is somehow in every room at once.
Unfortunately, if you watch more than 15 minutes this show it will melt your brain to the point where you must keep watching and watching until there’s nothing left.
Pro tip: If you want more, there’s also “Daisy of Love,” a spin-off featuring the Rock of Love season 2 runner-up, Daisy.
Verdict: Ew, but kind of into it: 4th place.
Have you ever been to a Japanese garden? They’re lovely, relaxing and beautiful. Coincidentally so is “Terrace House,” the last entry on the list.
Coming from Japan, the “Real World”-style, subtitled wonderland is one of the least stressful shows around. Four men and four women head to the house, where they stay in bunk beds and otherwise just continue about their normal lives.
Don’t want to date anyone? That’s just fine. Over the whole experience? OK, just head on home. Don’t want to work hard to reach your goals in life?
Not here you don’t.
At least a third of the dialogue (other than the room of people watching and commenting on everything anyone does) is the characters talking about their passions in life, encouraging each other towards greatness and giving passive aggressive looks when they think somebody is slacking off.
They all go on dates, but there’s also community cooking, product placement from Volkswagen and a whole lot of designer streetwear.
While many of them are there looking for love, nobody is rushing it for the sake of good television — I think in the first Netflix-produced season it took 17 episodes before anyone got as much as a smooch.
It’s pure and good, the reality equivalent of chamomile tea. There is nothing more wholesome than the “Terrace House: Opening New Doors” season and everyone should stan.
Verdict: So lovely it cannot be summed up with words watch it every single night before bed: 1st place.