July 21, 2012
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TV Show: Bachelorette

TVís most horrible dating shows
By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Bret Michaels and the cast of Rock of Love. (Handout)



If you're counting the minutes until the season finale of The Bachelorette Sunday night, you're certainly not alone. But you might think you are, given the number of people who will never publicly admit to watching ABC's gladiatorial arena of love.

You could argue The Bachelor and The Bachelorette represent the high watermark of dating reality shows, in the sense they get good ratings, they're slickly produced and they don't immediately make you want to scrub your skin raw in a scalding hot shower when you watch them. Not always.

The same can't be said for all -- or even most -- dating shows. In fact, there have been so many cringe-worthy dating reality series, we've found it hard to compile a list of the worst. Because really, where does the line between really awful and truly diabolical fall? The bar is so low it would give a limbo dancer a herniated disc.

Thus, we've decided to look back at the short and terrible history of TV dating by category rather than by show.

Date a D-lister

These shows basically follow The Bachelor template, replacing the dashing young hunk with an aging rocker (Rock of Love with Bret Michaels), aging rapper (Flavor of Love), bisexual model (A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila) or rappers/brothers/reality show contestants (Real Chance of Love). Train wreck TV at its finest. You can't help but stare.

Plenty of fish

Don't like your date? Get another one, instantly! Sometimes it requires whittling down a group of four suitors over the course of an evening (elimiDATE), or sometimes choosing between "just" two (Dismissed). If you're really lucky, you get a group of five potential partners to select from and can simply yell "next!" when one doesn't strike your fancy (Next). And we wonder why divorce rates are so high.

Family knows best

The somewhat misleadingly titled Date My Mom had mothers trying to convince contestants to date their sons/daughters, while in Momma's Boys the moms simply tried to help their offspring choose from among 32 romantic interests. What could be more awkward? Easy: Who Wants to Marry My Dad?, in which the kids had to pick a new mommy to cuddle up with their father.

In it for the money

There's no force more powerful than love. Oh wait, yes there is: Greed! Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? was like The Bachelor for women seeking a sugar daddy (and -- shockingly! -- was saddled with controversy), while For Love or Money let contestants choose between the guy/girl of their dreams and cold, hard cash. Joe Millionaire tried to inject some morality into the whole thing by presenting an average schlub as a wealthy man, giving him the unenviable task of separating the gold-diggers from the hearts of gold.

Trouble in paradise

The heinous Temptation Island let us watch relationships get ruined against a backdrop of sun and sand, while Paradise Hotel was more like the unholy union of Big Brother and elimiDATE, except in a much nicer setting than either. Of course, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette routinely rely on exotic locales to bring out the sexy/randy/crazy in their contestants. Hopefully the finale won't disappoint. Or is that asking too much?




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