Take Me Out
It’s tempting to dismiss ITV’s Saturday night dating show Take Me Out as shallow, cruel and stupid – it doesn’t go out of its way to inoculate itself against any of those charges. Similar in concept to 1990s fright night spectacular Man O Man, a man descends like the Son of Man in a lift to be scrutinised by 30 gorgeous girls who each stand in front of a light. The moment they lose interest in dating the man, the girls switch off their lights, an event accompanied by a space invader sound effect. It’s a visual gauge of how badly he’s fucking up. It’s speed dating…TO THE EXTREME(ly derivative and exploitative).
"Homeboy has to talk about himself, show a VT of stuff he does and prance, gurn and shoe shuffle his way into the girl’s hearts. If he’s lucky he gets a date with one of the remaining lights. If not, he gets sent the fuck home. It’s not edifying."
Many of the gorgeous girls aren’t, in fact, gorgeous and generally these will be the first to extinguish their lamps. Knowing full well they are not in with a chance of being chosen at the end they get their rejection in first and, when challenged by host Paddy McGuinness, give reasons like "it’s just not happening with those trousers" and "I couldn’t date a man with ears". You can see them quietly looking at the line of male contestants to come thinking "got any blind ones?"
And let’s pity those poor unfortunate bastards putting themselves up to be judged by this platoon of skanks. Homeboy has to talk about himself, show a VT of stuff he does and prance, gurn and shoe shuffle his way into the girl’s hearts. If he’s lucky he gets a date with one of the remaining lights. If not, he strikes out and gets sent the fuck home. It’s not edifying.
“‘No Likee – No Lighty’ feels like one of those tryhard misfiring attempts at humour shows like this tend to produce with alarming frequency.”
The show encourages women to lie about what they find attractive and encourages men to bust their humps in an attempt to live up to that lie. They show Blind Date style videos of the dates they set up with the briefest of interviews with the couples but it’s very half-assed. A wonderfully compliant audience provide AWWWWs, OOOOHs and HAHAHAHAs without so much as a hint of spontaneity or free will. I’m all for tightly run stage-managed shows but this makes an automaton look unpredictable.
I guess this is harmless fun. It made me laugh on a couple of occasions and nobody was psychologically scarred for life. Paddy McGuinness does a good job of keeping the girls in line and riffing with the boys in what must be a pretty thankless task. His catchphrase "No Likee – No Lighty" doesn’t yet feel like one of the classics. More like one of those tryhard misfiring attempts at humour shows like this tend to produce with alarming frequency.
The best thing about it: One of the blokes being the drummer from 70s boyband Marmalade
The worst thing about it: Making that Essex boy rap a Chinese menu qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.
The verdict on Take Me Out: Tolerable enough.
Marks out of 10: 7
Imagined: Wednesday, January 20, 2010