reviews

Sophie’s Choice: First Dates (TV Review)

Published by Student Rag.

I’m a bit of a long-time fan of First Dates. As a bit of a cynic myself, I appreciate and commend the nervous, hopeless-romantic singletons as they toddle sheepishly into the First Dates restaurant – an eatery where nobody, apart from the staff, have ever met before – for their blind date with a seemingly compatible stranger, carefully selected for them by the good folks at Channel 4 – what could go wrong?

Moving away from our new Tinder-obsessed society and taking a step back to the traditional-ish, meet cute approach to love is a breath of fresh air in comparison to some of the “dating” shows we see on TV today. First Dates is surprisingly charming, funny and heartwarming as underneath the superficiality of the long list of requirements (height, hair colour, build, dress sense etc.) and past experiences of dodgy relationships and casual flings, the singles are – for the most part – genuinely decent people who really are looking for love.

Of course, in the First Dates restaurant, there is still a fair bit of cheese (pun intended) with embarrassing pick-up lines, cringe-worthy compliments and those singles who simply don’t have any manners – saying you’re off for a “slash”, as we saw in the previous series, is hardly appropriate first date etiquette by any stretch of the imagination. But even these occasions are not in fact rage-inducing and painful to watch as we might expect. Instead, they are comical and innocent enough that the viewer can laugh them off.

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On Thursday night, we saw the opening of the new series of First Dates as we met Louis, 25, from Oxford – a painfully shy, hilarious and extremely chivalrous gent who had viewers saying “Aww” at his cute demeanour before his date had even arrived. Louis’ date was 26-year-old Adele from Manchester who was looking for someone who, unlike her last date, wouldn’t burp in her face. Who says romance is dead?

As they pair met and began to chat, we soon saw Louis crumble under pressure, trip over his words and clam up as he tried to initiate conversation with Adele. As it quickly became apparent that Louis’ confidence issues were getting the better of him, Adele graciously started chatting and soon put him at ease.

One of the funniest moments of the episode was as the pair sat down at their table, Louis reached for his go-to conversation starter: politics. As they conversed and we discovered that Louis is a Tory and Adele leans towards the right, Louis made the argument that differing political views should never stand in the way of love:

“I find Labour supporters saying ‘I could never go out with a Tory’, but why not? Coalition is flavour of the month!”

To which, Adele answered: “That should be your new pick-up line!”

Sadly, love did not blossom between the adorable pair and while Louis was disappointed, he took the rejection well, and taking on board Adele’s honest and admirable advice that he has every quality a girl could want – manners, intelligence and wit – but lacks confidence, Louis has decided not to give up and will be set up on another date next week.

As well as being a fan of the show, I now have another reason to watch next week as I’m dying to see my new favourite First Date-r.

The next episode of First Dates is on Thursday, 10pm on Channel 4.


Featured image courtesy of Brent Moore via Flickr.

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