Dating shows have been around for a number of years, but the format of dating shows has changed dramatically in the last decade.
In the past, contestants chose a date from a pool of video entries or live contestants, such as The Love Connection and The Dating Game. These shows were shallow, because contestants had only a cursory knowledge of their potential hook-ups. They found out all they could based on a short video vignette or a series of silly questions. These dating game shows were popular, but diminished the importance of long term relationships based on compatibility.
During the last decade dozens of dating shows have premiered, from perennial favorites like The Bachelorand The Bacheloretteto competitive dating shows on VHI like Rock of Love, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, and Flavor of Love. Current dating shows feature contestants competing to impress the premier bachelor or bachelorette. At the same time, contestants back-stab each other and plot against each other using any means possible to gain an advantage over their competitors.
Dating shows are unrealistic, demeaning to both men and women, and are a bad influence on relationships and modern interpretations of love, dating, and marriage.
Dating Shows build relationships based on appearances first
I can’t think of one dating show that has had an ugly bachelor or bachelorette. If the bachelor or bachelorette is not handsome or beautiful then they have something else to offer – money and notoriety, as is the case onMillionaire Matchmakerand Flavor of Love. Physical attraction is one of the things that attract us to others, but lasting, meaningful relationships are based on shared values, interests, and compatibility.
Reality dating shows don’t allow contestants enough time to get to know each other and initial decisions, especially when contestants are voted off episode by episode, are largely based on looks. This sets a bad example for those looking for relationships. It encourages them to focus on looks ahead of character.
Dating reality TV encourages sparks instead of love and commitment
There is a big difference in physical chemistry and sparks versus love and commitment. Reality TV dating shows have too many relationships that begin based on chemistry. This was true of the last season of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love.
The problem with this is that when the spark dies what is the left for the couple? If they have not established meaningful bonds based on shared ideas, hobbies, and values there is nothing left to hold a relationship together when the thrill is gone.
This sets a terrible example for people in relationships or seeking relationships. It twists traditional values and places emphasis on the physical above the emotional, spiritual, and mental elements that are crucial to a successful relationship.
Dating Shows set an unrealistic example for relationships
Dating reality TV shows are a bad influence for relationships. They are unrealistic, contrived, and edited to entertain. These shows are nothing like dating and finding a lifetime mate in the real world.
If we can keep this in mind when watching dating reality shows, there is little harm in their entertainment. Impressionable couples, both young and old, should be careful not to create expectations for their relationships based on what they see on TV. It may be called “reality,” but there is nothing real about dating reality TV shows.
A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila, MTV
The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love, ABC.com
The Bachelorette, ABC.com
Flavor of Love, VH1
Millionaire Matchmaker, Bravo Network
Rock of Love, VH1