Originally created 09/30/03

Reality TV crosses line for appropriate dating



Reality TV has been pushing the limits of decency and taste since people began competing to marry a complete stranger in order to get their money. Sadly, TV producers keep devising more degrading experiences to draw the fascination of the masses. The reality dating genre abounds with such horrors.

Imagine having two or more attractive members of the opposite sex competing for the affection of a dream guy or girl like on the dating show Elimidate, which airs at 6 p.m. on WB. Theoretically, it sounds interesting, but it just turns into senseless bickering and people sloppily kissing each other.

Seriously, do people really determine how much they like someone by tasting their saliva? Evolution must be taking a new turn.

At least the participants on these shows are rather inventive. They conceive more ways to get their dates undressed than should be allowed to air.

MTV's Burned focuses on revealing the shady tactics men employ to make advances toward women. Hidden cameras are scattered throughout bars to observe as "playas" fumble hopelessly. Watching some guy attempt to use the exact same line on four different girls can get tedious. But obviously TV producers will not stop there. They even throw ex-love interests in the mix.

On Extreme Dating, which airs at 11:30 p.m. on weeknights on WFXG-TV (Fox Channel 54), ex-boyfriends or girlfriends try to persuade the dater why he or she should not date the person trying to win his or her affection. As old grudges come into play, the humiliation just gets brutal.

Scorned lovers trying to sabotage chances of a new relationship just makes dating so much more interesting.

What can the participants possibly hope to gain from being on such shows? They embarrass themselves in front of a national audience, including their parents, who probably end up wondering where they went wrong.

The daters also showcase their lack of morals: Most people keep their indiscretions to themselves and try to behave well while large numbers of people are watching.

With such shows already polluting television sets, what will come next? The answer may shock and disturb. Yet, many people will watch anyway.

Patrick Johnson is a senior at Augusta Preparatory Day School.