A MinD in MoTown

“Love is blind”? I’m not so sure about that.

From an early age, we are told by our mothers, grandmothers, teachers and countless others that “it’s what’s inside that counts” and “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, one new dating reality show on ABC is pushing those idealistic concepts one step further by proving that looks truly do matter regardless of what people may want to believe.

dating-in-the-dark-show-logo“Dating in the Dark” premiered two weeks ago on Monday nights and, if you’ve yet to see it, I suggest tuning in for at least one episode* if you have an hour of your life to spare for non-thought-provoking television.

So what’s the general gist** here? Three male and three female contestants move into opposite wings of a house for several days, never having a single opportunity to see each other until the very last moments of the dating scenario. Rather, they meet in “the dark room” on one group date then single dates to decide if chemistry exists sans appearance.

Through the use of infrared/night-vision cameras, viewers are able to watch each awkward moment the contestants experience in the darkness. Yep, we see everything from the sad attempts to eat food in the pitch black room to the ass grabbing and haphazard kissing they engage in. Personally, I find this both amusing and somewhat intrusive, all which keep my eyes glued to the television.

Outwardly, one might think the reality show proves that you can fall for someone without having a clue what he or she looks like. Whether the contestants discover that through fun activities – eating an assortment of fruits or dancing, for example – conversation or simply making out, they are able to judge each other based on personality alone.

This is what we see, thanks to the infrared cameras. They, however, see complete blackness. Creeeeeeeepy.

This is what we see, thanks to the infrared cameras. They, however, see complete blackness. Creeeeeeeepy.

… That is, until the big moment where each individual’s appearance is revealed to their “match” and both persons have to decide whether or not to continuing dating now that physical attraction is a factor.

The final ten minutes of each episode I’ve watched – three total, in case you were curious – have been more superficial than anything I’ve yet to see in my life***.

The majority of these men and women seriously grapple with the decision to “stay with the person they fell for in the dark, or leave them behind,” as the ABC Web site states. The viewer actually witnesses people experiencing a strange yet real struggle to decide how important the other individual’s appearance is. Some daters choose to depart while others stick around because the connection formed in the blackness prevailed. But did it?

I haven’t exactly watched enough episodes to completely judge, but, thus far, it seems as though the men and women who claim not to be entirely attracted to their date (yet choose to “meet them on the balcony” and continue dating) have this self-righteous attitude that they, unlike others, were able to put personality above appearance. As if they are doing their dates this huge favor by sticking around, and that part certainly disgusts me a bit****.

Either way, I find it all quite intriguing because the show, to some extent, does ask the “is love blind?” question, forcing us all to somewhat think about how important appearance is to a relationship. If in their shoes, would we be able to continue seeing someone we aren’t exactly lusting for just because of an emotional connection? Or would we, too, depart the house, never to see that person again? It’s something viewers likely cannot help but consider while watching.

If you’ve seen “Dating in the Dark,” I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, good or bad. And if you haven’t watched yet, do you think it’s something worth checking out? Lastly, what do you guys think about a reality show trying to answer relatively deep questions about the role of physical attraction?

* Unless you hate reality TV and/or dating shows. Then go watch CSI.
** Until this very moment, I thought “gist” was spelled with a J. Oops.
*** That’s likely a bit hyperbolic, but it fit well into my sentence.
**** Although, perhaps I’m simply reading into this television program a bit more than necessary, which is always a possibility.

13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

but cant they still tell if someone is hot by their voice?


Anyway… its the total package. Its not JUST whats inside or out… its both.

Definitely both. You can’t have a relationship devoid of emotion attraction or physical attraction. Simply won’t work.

Comment by Matt

I watched the premiere. As far as social experiment reality TV, I much preferred Beauty & the Geek. Haven’t watched enough to form a real opinion but I love the idea although I can see massive drama potential (say if two people of different races were paired up and one wasn’t kosher with that).

Basically I’m taking the Wait & See approach on this one.

I watched quite a bit of “Beauty and the Geek,” but never loved it enough to keep watching. It was one of those “there’s nothing else on TV” shows.

You have a good point though about different races being paired up. That would make for an interesting episode to see how that dynamic unfolded.

Comment by Kendall

I’ve heard lots of interesting talk about this show. I hate reality TV in any shape, fashion, or form, but I’ll admit — this concept has interested me from afar. Mostly because the potential for a serious (but tragic) train wreck is there. Unfortunately, its broadcast time conflicts directly with wrestling on Mondays, so that’s a no go there. However it is on hulu… I’ll give it a go and get back to you.

Wrestling, really? Whatever floats your boat. Let me know what you think after you watch it though. A train wreck is certainly possible – but has yet to occur!

Comment by TOPolk

Between this and “More to Love”, I might be put off reality tv all together…

“More to Love” is a whole other story. That show is not for me whatsoever. I find even it’s concept too bothersome to watch it.

Comment by LiLu

Well, I think you’ve told me all I need to know, and no I thankfully don’t have to watch it. I was feeling a little “Are you effing kidding me?” about both this and More to Love. Yeah, have you seen that one? Wow.

I saw about five minutes of that show and it was enough for me. It was elimination time and girls were crying left and right about not being loved. It was sad, for sure, but that show is not something I care to watch at all.

Comment by Lost Artist

What a weird concept! I like it in theory but it sounds like it would be clunky to watch, maybe I’ll have to check it out and see.

I think the reality is that sight is our most powerful sense in navigating the world. It’s going to come into play in relationships.

Even though appearance is bound to be at least a factor in relationships, it is great to see – in this show anyway – people not dismissing others off the bat because of it like most reality shows, such as The Bachelor or anything on MTV and VH1.

Comment by Kyla Roma

a reality show that’s trying to be deep? isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?

I haven’t watched (and don’t plan on doing so). When it comes to these dating/relationship reality shows, I always feel like the producers are constantly looking for a way to embarass the contestants, in some way, shape or form. And I just don’t find that entertaining.

Uh oh, what does it say about me that I sort of do find it entertaining? =/

Comment by thatShortChick

I haven’t seen the show, but I have heard about it. I hate when these shows pretend to be deep. I think reality tv can be a genuine human experiment, but when these shows are used to prove or disprove silly idealistic notions, they always fail. They either take themselves too seriously or not seriously enough. And, you’re right, when they do the “right” thing, they get all self-righteous about it. On top of all that, I find the whole point of love being blind ridiculous. Love isn’t just a meeting of two personalities; it includes all kinds of things, including physical attraction.

You can’t have love without all factors adding up. That’s my definite opinion. And although this is an experiment – testing the importance of appearance – everyone knows that it matters, so it’s seemingly superficial to test it anyway.

Comment by Ashley

I was wondering how that show was. I might tune in just to cure the curiosity. Seriously, they come up with EVERYTHING for reality t.v.!

They seriously do. It amazes me the ideas some people have for reality tv.

Comment by Amber

Hmm, interesting. I’ve never seen this show (thanks, work!), but I kind of want to check it out now. It sounds like an interesting concept, even if the people who choose to stay with someone in spite of their appearance seem slightly smug. (I’d read into this, too. A lot.)

I read somewhere yesterday that a good portion of the “contestants” are also actors or actresses. I wonder what role that plays in their smug attitudes. Perhaps those are done for effect.

Comment by E.P.

I’ve never seen this show and I’m intrigued, it’s certainly different so kudos to that.

Different is right. I’d heard of dark rooms and eating in the dark, etc., but dating? That’s new.

Comment by andhari

ineteresting! never heard of this. its like lab experiments 😛

That it is. You should watch it.

Comment by floreta

I’ve seen two episodes. I was intrigued at first, but now I think the novelty is wearing off. I think this kind of reality TV can give insight at times…but it’s also TV — edited and condensed. Anyhow, I’m shocked by how superficial people have been on the show. I feel like everyone is pretty average looking; who are they to judge?

Agreed. They are all pretty run of the mill, but I expect that to change in time. Did you see the episode where he felt the girl in the dark room and discussed how she was a bit “thicker” than he’d prefer? Even in pitch black, people can still be completely superficial. But it’s like a train wreck, you can’t help but watch (at least I can’t).

Comment by Akirah

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