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I guess I just like liking things

Frankly, I didn’t fancy a movie this week. So I asked my Plurk friends if they could recommend any bad TV because I only watch the good stuff (by which I mean “Endless British Panel Shows”). Lizzie won this week with the line “Take Me Out is crap.” Thanks Lizzie!

My research into “Take Me Out” reveals it began as an Australian show, for which I can only apologise. We’ll be watching the UK version today though. Are you ready for 30 women to judge a man on national TV? Me either. Let’s get on with it shall we?

After an opening theme bit that looks like the 70s merged with the 80s and no one won, we meet the host who arrives on set in an elevator.

This actually looks exactly like the inside of my house

This actually looks exactly like the inside of my house

The stage consists of 30 podiums packed full of LED lights so that patterns and words can be scrolled all over them. Paddy, the host, pops on some nerd glasses, complete with tape in the middle, and tells us we’re about to open the laptop of love. I feel slightly ill. “Bring on the girls!” he screams, and 30 women arrive via a flight of stairs in the middle of the audience. The stairs are also lit up. Everything’s very… lighty.

The women are excited! They are dancing around to some horrible dance music. It’s amazing! They’re all going to find love! Whoo! Each girl gets a podium of her very own. Paddy chats with a lady called Charlotte who was apparently very close to winning her very own man last week. This week she’s bringing out a cheeky wink, a little smile and her lucky underwear. The next lady, Kay, says her ideal man is Johnny Depp. Easy answer. When is someone going to say “Richard Ayoade off of ‘The I.T Crowd”? All the women are smiling like this is the best fun they ever had and hahahaha everything is amazing. It’s kind of unnerving.

We’re down to the nitty gritty. Paddy explains that every girl has a light on her podium. If they “like what they see” they keep the light on. If they don’t like it, they turn the light off. “No likey” says Paddy and the audience joins in with “No lighty.” Terrible. The elevator fires up again to bring on the man all the ladies are apparently after. He’s standing with his legs crossed, bopping to the beat and when the elevator stops he dances out in a pair of jeans that are just ever so slightly too small. Impressive beard situation though. He dances around the ladies a bit, and I’m alarmed to spot a lass in a hot pink baseball cap which she’s popped on backwards. The guy finally stops dancing, and introduces himself as Jay from Manchester. Four women immediately turn off their lights. Beard haters, apparently.

Paddy asks some of the ladies who kept their lights on why they did, and they liked the dancing. One of the ladies who turned her light off says she didn’t like the “big” entrance, and Jay tells her maybe she can’t handle a man with a beard. Jay then refers to the women as thirty smoking hot girls, so I can tell already this is a show based on personality, shared interests, and enjoyment of each other’s company.

Round two consists of a pre-recorded video about Jay where he explains who he is and what he’s about, as well as what he wants in a woman. This is “a smoking hot free spirit.” He works with children as a soccer coach, and throws in a Chewbacca impression. There’s a shot of him in the shower washing his face and then of him shaving. I feel like I’m watching this from a hidden webcam and I don’t like it. He explains he takes a long time to get his hair and beard nice, and a bunch of lights go out because ladies don’t appreciate a man who keeps clean, apparently.

Now we’re on to comic books, and he’s a massive Batman fan. As I’m currently engaged to a massive Batman fan I can’t do any mockery here of gigantor nerds and their comic books. He shows off a pretty awesome sleeve tattoo of Gotham City and no lights go out. Well done ladies. At the end of round two, Jay is still in with a chance with 17 of the 30 women.

Woman having best time ever despite terrible jokes

Woman having best time ever despite terrible jokes

Anna, with her light on, says Jay reminds her of a chocolate bar – half sweet, half crazy, half nuts. That’s three halves and I’ve never eaten a crazy chocolate bar. Paddy says much the same thing, but I said it first, shut up Paddy.

Round three! This consists of a friend of Jay’s who will discuss Jay. The first thing he says is that Jay is an obsessive Michael Jackson fan. This is not a surprise to Jay, at least it shouldn’t be because he’s filmed sitting on a pile of MJ merchandise and doing the moonwalk. Seven ladies decide they’re not into that and their lights go out. Amy left her light on because she’s “a personal trainer and would like to get hot and sweaty” with Jay. There’s really no room for subtlety in these dating shows.

Now it’s Jay’s turn to play with lights. He gets to choose two women from the 10 remaining. With more dancing, and to wild cheers from the crowd, Jay dashes around pressing off buttons all over the place, leaving Amy the personal trainer and Marly who said “If you were a bogie, I’d pick you first.” All class. Normally at this point the chap in question will ask each lady a single question in order to decide if he’ll take her out. Jay however has read “The Diceman” and he is going to choose based on who rolls the highest number. Thankfully Paddy is prepared with two giant, pink, glittery dice. Marly wins. Well done Marly. Jay and Marly leave via the bright stairs while some music plays so the other ladies can have another “HAHA isn’t this FUN!” dance.

I’m dismayed to realise there’s still half an hour of show left, and I google the show to find out there’s three or four chaps per episode. I’m going to watch one more, and then I’m going to get on with my life.

He appears to have done this hair style on purpose

He appears to have done this hair style on purpose

Athena has rocked in to take over the podium vacated by Marly, so we’re still with the full 30 women. Before we bring out the next chap, we get to see how a couple from the previous week got on when they went off for their date. Oscar and Lissy went off to some island beach retreat place, I don’t even know because I am completely distracted by something I have never seen before – a dreadlock half mullet. The whole meeting, holiday, date thing includes an activity which the couple has to do together, in this case it’s Flamenco dancing. This is completely painful. Why is this happening to my eyes? Particularly cringe-worthy is Oscar’s insistence on rubbing up all over Lissy who says flat out in her interview it was a little much for a first date. Oscar is a performer, and talks about one show he did where he wrapped himself in toilet paper and rolled around on the floor. I’m hoping this was free admission because that sounds like something I would not pay to see. Oscar wants a second date, Lissy would rather lick a dead badger. My words, but she was saying it with her eyes.

It’s time to meet our second chap of the day, so here comes the elevator. As soon as his feet are visible, the ladies go wild. These ladies are very impressed by good shoes. This new chap isn’t as dancy, but he does blow kisses to the lasses. He has also chosen some jeans that should be a size bigger. It’s Frankie, and he’s from Surrey. Two lights go off right away. One of these is Gemma, who explains she already knows Frankie and isn’t interested. Awkward.

Kristie, who is a singer, does some singing. I’ve no idea why, but alright. It’s in Mandarin so she could be singing anything, but apparently it’s a love song and she does some creeping all over Frankie. It goes on for ages.

Video time. Frankie is a part time student, part time model who loves fashion. Modelling, says Frankie, is like acting, but with still shots. Very deep. He also likes big meals and stilted winking (apparently). To keep in shape, he dances badly in a studio. At the end of the video, only 16 lights are on. It was probably the line “I’d like a girl who enjoys a cheeky burger occasionally.” I was right, Athena only eats vegetables and sushi. As she’s kind of squeaky when she talks, Frankie might be better off with her light off. Olivia has her light on, because Frankie is a broadbean and she likes that. Thanks for playing Olivia, nap time now I think.

Round three this time is Frankie showing off a skill or talent or something. He disappears into the elevator to return in jogging shorts and nothing else. I’m worried, until I see the hoops hanging from the ceiling. Frankie launches into a gymnastic routine, and some lights go off. One of the girls with a light still on is the woman in the hot pink baseball cap. Frankie looks mildly alarmed. It’s time for Frankie to pick two ladies from the eight remaining. Pink Hat lass is gone. He didn’t even look sorry about it.

The two ladies left are Kristie the singer and Natasha who does something else but we’ve not really seen her so I don’t know what. Frankie has a question. See, he can only watch TV if the volume is on 17 and he wants to know what odd habits the women have.

Natasha claims to have a twitch in her eye, which makes her wink when she’s attracted to someone. It’s a really clumsy attempt at being cute and witty. Kristie flat out says “You’ll have to take me on the date to find out more about me.” These women are terrible at answering questions. Frankie has to turn off a light to choose a lady, and he turns off Kristie and chooses Natasha and there’s still half an hour of show but I am done.

You know that friend you have who gets slightly too loud and flirty when he or she has had a couple of drinks? This entire show is like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the contestants were given a drink or two before the show (which used to happen on an even more painful show over here which I won’t name because people will think I watched it. It involved ladies shoving chaps they didn’t want to date into a swimming pool).

I’m also completely icked out by the snap judgment thing. I mean I know they’re not off to get married, but still – spending a day with someone who’s picked you because you’re good looking rather than because you’re interesting sounds terrible.

Everyone is at such pains to show how fun and amazing they are that they all end up looking slightly insane. Giant big smiles that must hurt the cheeks, big laughs for little jokes. Look at me! I’m fun! I’m so much fun! Pick me! Pick ME!

It’s the wafting air of desperation that’s really sad, and the idea that someone picking you over 29 other people, or over another man, having spent less than 2 seconds talking to you is some kind of great prize… I kind of need a shower.


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