Column: “Reality Bites” | Roses are red, but are dating shows dead?

Posted by thetuftsdaily on February 13, 2013 under Columns | Comments are off for this article

That’s the question. This week, as I watched an episode from the 17th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor” (2002), all I could think about is the improbability of this show doing so well. But is it on its last legs?

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When “The Bachelor” premiered in 2002 with single man Alex Michel, the format of the show seemed pretty revolutionary, but was actually just more of the same in a sense. Dating shows are nothing new after all. In 1965, “The Dating Game” became one of the most popular game shows ever and recurred in various installments until 2000.

The concept of the show was simple – a girl would pick from three male suitors who she wanted to go on a date with, and the catch was that she couldn’t see them. Audiences were delighted to be in on the secret, and kept returning for more as the male companion’s antics were almost sure to make you laugh.

Fast forward about 40 years though, and the television landscape was a completely different place. MTV’s “The Real World” had debuted in 1992 and set off a thirst for more realistic television. It wasn’t enough to see people talk about their dates, you wanted to watch them go on them.

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