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Saturday 16 December 2017

Date with Ray is a guilty pleasure

As boy meets girls, it's base, brutish, scary -- and totally watchable

I was embarrassed watching last night's Take Me Out. I was embarrassed for the contestants. I was embarrassed for myself when my brother poked his head around the door to find me watching a dating show. Most of all, I was embarrassed to be a woman.

Like the UK version, the new TV3 show rounds up 30 ladies to partake in a dating game of almost gladiatorial cruelty. The women stand behind light-filled podiums, some unfortunate man performs various party pieces for their approval and if they don't like what they see, they turn their lights out. Imagine a hen party crossed with a public flogging and you get the picture.

The women -- who return each week -- are an example of everything that is wrong with the "Because I'm Worth It" generation. One contestant was looking for a man who's "a bit of a ride".

One demanded size 12 feet.

"We were promised good-looking guys," complained another. It was base, brutish and, frankly, a bit scary.

Shoes

TV3 says the dating show is "designed to put the powers of female intuition to the ultimate test". I wonder how they'd justify it if the roles were reversed and a woman was singing Shania Twain or showcasing her salsa moves to 30 sneering men.

There was as much misogyny as misandry, however. Host Ray Foley fell foul of the feminist movement when he announced that the women had one thing on their minds: "Shoes!" Still, they seemed perfectly happy to indulge him in his Foley's Angels fantasies.

In his TV debut, the host reminds of a young Dale Winton. He has adopted the pantomimic routine of repeating his questions twice for added effect. The same can be said of his jokes... he announced every ad break with variations on "those (noun) won't (verb) themselves."

A little twist of the hips announced his arrival on stage, but this was considered a faux pas for the male contestants. In fact, dancing preceded the two 'black outs' (all lights out) of the night.

Brendan from Mayo, whose suit wasn't so much shiny as reflective, bounded on stage dancing like a well oiled uncle at a 21st birthday party. He later took to the microphone to sing Jason Mraz's I'm Yours. The sound of lights flicking off provided the backing music.

The women lambasted his attire "it's just all so wrong" and his lack of height "he's so small I could hide him in my hair". A contestant who tried to console him ended up delivering a hilarious Freudian slip. "I like your shiny shorts." He was wearing trousers.

The ladies also failed to light up for financial analyst, Ben, who announced that he had recently turned a corner in his life (read: spent the last year reading self-help books).

I hasten to add that he almost hit the prize (or price) of the mercenary Minerva who explained that she "heard financial analyst and was counting money in my head". And Jesus wept.

The biggest success of the night was some baby-faced fella (the coven like young blood) who had the chance to turn the tables and choose his lady out of a final six.

Think back to your school days and the hysteria that a 'gushy' would spark. It was worse. I'm nearly sure I saw one of the women lick her lips.

The big question is why women choose to partake in this show. If a man is willing to put himself through spirit-crushing rejection on national TV, he can only be one of three things: a masochist ("I deserve it"); a narcissist ("you don't deserve me") or a half-wit ("spell deserve"). Methinks most of them were more interested in small screen exposure.

And you know what -- that makes it all the more watchable. Take Me Out is a guilty pleasure, the TV equivalent of a 3am kebab. As much as I hate to admit it, I'll probably be tuning in every Friday.

Take Me Out (TV3) HHHII

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