Three's a Crowd
The BBC have tried out many new formats in their BBC2 6:00 weekday slot that's been vacated by The Simpsons defecting to Channel 4. They've ranged from rubbish (Nobody likes a Smartass), through to the OK (Traitor) through to the really quite good (the remake of Treasure Hunt). However none of these seem to have made the grade. So what has then? Well, it's a cheap dating show. But, you understand, not just any cheap dating show but a quirky cheap dating show that's based on a Japanese show called Alternative Love. It's also a show that in my opinion rises to the top of the much maligned televised reality dating hybrid gameshow sub-genre.
There's a fairly simple conceit behind the show. It's a dating show with three people in it. On each episode there is either a girl and two guys or a guy and two girls. Each day there are two activity dates lined up for them. On each occasion, the single gendered one (the "picker") has to pick a card at random to determine who they go on the date with, whilst the third person has to sit off to the side and just watch. This means that although probability suggests they'll both go out on a date, somebody might luck out and win both (meaning conversely somebody won't get to go on any).
After the dates our contestants go back to the flat. The picker now has to make a choice as to which person she wants to keep and who she wants to dump by leaving a photo of her desired pick on the kitchen table. The dumped has to leave immediately. The pair left in have to retire to seperate bedrooms. Each night at 11:50, our players have to make a decision. Do they want to leave as a couple (in which case they must both leave their rooms before midnight) or do they want more time to think it over (in which case one or both of them stay in their rooms). The danger of not leaving, however, is that the next day a new person of random gender comes to join them and the game begins again. But will the picker get to pick again or will the balance of power have shifted? It's all so intriguing.
Reasons why I quite enjoy this then, despite the fact I don't normally give a toss about dating shows:
Christ, I'm such a girl.
This is actually a show that began out on BBC3 and has been the only show to successfully keep the BBC2 timeslot for over a week, so well done it.
In summary then, a cheap dating show that is surprisingly engrossing.