I am not sure if it is the time schedule or the seemingly random nature of events that occur in the course of an episode, but ‘Dating in the Dark‘ continues to confound me. Yet I can’t turn away from the eerie dark room imagery. Remember that scene near the end of Silence of the Lambs?
Tonight, the brave contestants to brave the dark were cancer survivor Chris, USMC Phil, and product of multiple divorces Billy Ray (seriously, each parents was married 3 times and one step dad upped the ante to 4). On the girl’s side there was Airforce Jen, “Oomphy” Sasha and nanny Megan. The Group Date gets off to a strange start when Sasha says that a perfect date for her is being made to laugh so hard she barfs. Vomit is usually not high on my own list of likes. It gets stranger when Megan says that for her, it would be a retreat to Zimbabwe to rehabilitate lion cubs. Um. For a date? Really?
For the first Individual Dates, Billy Ray and Megan chose each other and he waxes rhapsodic about his father, whom passed because- in his words – “he was a nutjob”. Sasha invited Billy Ray and found out he’s allergic to cats – an immediate deal breaker for her. Jen invited Chris and demanded that he do a push-up with her on his back. Which is so dreadful that my ovaries stopped watching in protest. Phil invited Jen and they each talked about their military service. Chris invited Sasha and revealed that his father had died when he was 8 and that he fought cancer at 15 – totally melting her. Thus the segment ends with Jennifer and Sasha competing over Chris as not a single other date ignited a spark.
The Exchange this week is wallets and purses. And in quid quo pro, just as I was appalled by how Doug immediately checked for bra sizes last week, this week it is how Sasha looks for how much cash and credit cards are in the wallets. My ovaries decided to write a strongly worded letter. Seriously – must we play into stereotypes? The strangest part of the segment is what Jen’s purse reveals about her – mainly that she’s tightly wound as her purse strap and lipstick tube show more than signs of wear and tear. They show signs of actual gnawing.
For the Compatibility Dates, neither Sasha nor Jen win Chris – Megan does. Which is starting to feel like engineered drama. Sasha is paired with Billy Ray – a date they both seem baffled and bored by. Jen is matched with Phil and they salsa together – proving to have no rhythm with each other. The next dates are men’s choice and both Chris and Phill invite Jen. BUt where she and Chris are fast tracking it, her and Phil just as quickly find an understanding that she’s not interested in him. Billy Ray invited Megan and seems just as ready to fall asleep as all the previous dates.
The Final Dates are ladies choice – and they all pick Chris. Which is fine with Phil and Billy Ray, really. Chris makes it his mission to kiss all three girls, which is not without challenge. He has to Megan to stop babbling, Jen offers a cheek peck before an actual kiss (which wows him) and Sasha attempts to devour him, aggressively biting his lips in the process. By the time we get to Final Reveals, all the girls are smitten, and Chris is undecided.
So how important are looks? In this case – VERY. Megan immediately questions whether he could cut it in her social circle with his clean and healthy appearance and he things she’s too big. Sasha is turned off by how he looks like he borrowed his dad’s suit (totally forgetting how he told her his dad died) and his spikey hair and he takes issue with her size as well as having a general aversion to redheads (which I take offense to!). With Jennifer, Chris is pleased with size and attractiveness, but she’s uncertain by how young he appears. The final moments feel completely manufactured, as Chris waits on the balcony and waits for who might join him, only to watch Sasha, Megan and finally Jennifer all walk out the from door.
Did it feel forced to you? Did you notice how all the women at least looked at why Chris’s appearance changed their view of him and what that meant about them, whereas he was fine with shrugging it off as “she’s not my type”?