As we’ve all heard, traditional cable and satellite television are in jeopardy. There are now so many options for us to choose from that it’s hard for network television to stand out in the midst of all of the noise.
And this is why the ABC brain trust has finally figured out the one thing that everybody, regardless of age or gender or ethnicity, wants to watch. A cheap and possibly ironic remake of a 1956 dating show? That’s right. Those of you who tuned in are all set.
The Dating Game, as this show is called, is an updated version of Chuck Barris’ original format. What distinguishes this version from previous ones? Glad you asked. It has Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton as co-hosts. From left: Fred Sirieix; Anna Richardson; and Love Island
When it comes to finding true love, I’m on cupid’s side. What do you think of Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton as hosts of a dating show??” you ask yourself. Sadly, that’s not the case.
It appears that Deschanel’s talents do not extend to “reading from a teleprompter without looking genuinely terrified” based on the first two episodes of the series. Michael Bolton’s role is more difficult to pin down, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
Because the biggest problem facing any show that calls itself the “Celebrity Dating Game” is that it doesn’t feature any celebrities and no one goes on any dates.
It’s more appropriate to call it The Game, but that might lead to confusion with David Fincher’s film, in which Michael Douglas is unable to tell whether he is taking part in a game or being tortured. So, in the end, it may be a good fit.
In the first episode, there’s a scene that reveals the show’s lack of star power. Three sentient ham puppets, all shielded from the mystery bachelorette by a large wall, are asked if they know who she is.
Blake Lively, according to one of them. Demi Lovato is mentioned by one of them. Taylor Swift is mentioned by one of them. In reality, the answer is a generic woman who appeared on the reality show The Bachelorette. I immediately forgot her name when it was announced. This is the level of star power the series has to work with .’s
Slightly better episodes follow in the following weeks. Iggy Azalea and Carson Kressley from RuPaul’s Drag Race both appear in episode two and are at the very least familiar faces. Nikki Byer of Nailed It!
No one knows who Deschanel is, which means the winner has to hear her resume yelled over the closing credits every time she appears. By the way, Byer does an outstanding job. She should be hosting this type of event. It’s an awkward way to end a date, though.
And that, my friends, is the end of the road. An awkward 15-second dance break ensues as everyone is introduced to each other and the episode ends.
What happens to the people who have been chosen as the winners? Is the celebrity a part of their social life? In the backstage area, do they even speak to the celebrity? An unsatisfactory viewing experience is created because there is no resolution at all.
However, there is one legitimately bizarre format quirk that helps The Celebrity Dating Game. Michael Bolton is the co-host, in case you forgot. That essentially means that he spends the majority of each episode sitting quietly next to a grand piano.
When asked how he is, he shrugs and says, “I’m busy with this,” but for the most part, he serves only as set dressing for the show. Until that time comes.
Bolton is called upon to help the contestants about two-thirds of the way through each episode. Due to the tepid nature of the celebrity on offer, Bolton must sing some clues to the contestants’ identities
. In an aggressively artless manner, he’s worth the price of admission on his own. He sings a reworked version of Cher’s I Found Someone for the bachelorette from The Bachelorette, for example. He sings, “I found someone.
” Tuscaloosa native / former contestant of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop is updated to include the fact that Azalea is an Australian rapper in the version he sings for her. After that, he identifies one of her most popular songs. In the end, he says, “Five Grammy nominations / Five Grammy nominations,” to be sure.
It’s as if these performances are coming from a different, better iteration of the show. In the end, that’s where The Celebrity Dating Game goes down. It’s hard to tell if it’s a straight remake of a classic format or a mockery of it.
The former option may be more popular. The latter option is what I’d prefer. But when it’s pushed between these two extremes, no one is really satisfied. The Michael Bolton Describes C-List Celebrities In Song album might be a better option.