Ten years ago, I was preparing to leave the newspaper world and enter the financial services industry. I had to study for my Series 7 and 66 licensing exams and it made for some late nights. And I developed an addiction.
I became hooked on cheesy dating game shows. Channel 56 would air the following shows back-to-back: Blind Date (self-explanatory), Change of Heart (couple going through problems each get set up on dates with someone else, decide whether to stay together or move on), Shipmates (blind date on a cruise ship), 5th Wheel (single, good-looking person crashes a double-blind-date), another episode of Blind Date, and the night would be topped off with my personal favorite, Elimidate (someone goes out simultaneously with four suitors, gradually eliminates three of them over the course of the night). Dating shows nonstop from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m.
I barely passed my licensing exams.
As the 2000s continued, though, the dating-reality-show became passe and by 2006 each show had been canceled. Life went on. I forgot about dating TV.
The other night, I couldn't sleep and was flipping through the channels and I stumbled upon Baggage on Game Show Network. Cheesy dating game shows are back!
On Baggage, a single is introduced to three suitors, each of whom has quite of bit of personal baggage (i.e., "I still sleep with my childhood pillow," "I don't reciprocate oral sex," "I've done time."), each nugget of which is placed in a title card into three suitcases. The bigger the suitcase, the bigger the piece of baggage. The single gradually eliminates the suitors based on how much they feel they can tolerate the baggage, until only one suitor remains. Then, the single has to reveal a piece of baggage of his/her own, and the winning suitor gets the final say over whether the love connection will actually happen.
Jerry Springer hosts (good to see him moving on from lesbian-paternity-test talk shows with chair-throwing brawls). The show tries too hard to give him some canned one-liners. And sometimes the contestants' reactions to getting cut is also a little too scripted.
But, hey, all things considered, it's pretty entertaining. I asked myself what it is about these shows that I've always enjoyed, both 10 years ago and now. I guess it's a number of things -- maybe it serves as a primer on what not to do on dates, or it reinforces my already skeptical thoughts about relationships, or maybe I'm captivated by the eye many of the female contestants provide.
Wednesday night there's been a marathon on from 6:30 to midnight. This means I am enthralled. The news season premieres with another marathon next Wednesday. Apparently Baggage has been on since 2010. How did I not know this was on the air before now?
I can only hope this will lead to the return of Blind Date and Shipmates and Elimidate.