Dates

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Dates TV Poster Image
Online daters meet for the first time in witty Brit series.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The characters featured are looking for love, but they don't always treat each other with kindness or respect. They discuss their personal lives in realistic and revealing conversations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters judge each other over superficial matters such as fashion but then talk on an intimate level, revealing that even the uncool are worthy of attention and love. 

Violence
Sex

There's some flirting and references to sex both visual and in conversation. 

Language

Vulgar expressions, many British ("tosser"). References to bodily functions. 

Consumerism

Characters frequently check phones for messages; no brands are visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink cocktails, beer, and wine on dates, get tipsy, and act silly. Electronic cigarettes are smoked on-screen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dates is a British dramedy in which different couples who met online go on their first date. The show is mild and talky; there's little to upset younger viewers or to interest them. The show does include some flirting, references to sex and kissing, and British insults such as "tosser" and cursing ("ass"). Character drink cocktails, beer, and wine, and act tipsy and silly; they smoke electronic cigarettes. They also say unkind and insulting things to each other and judge each other superficially, but there's some learning as characters end up having realistic and revealing conversations. 

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What's the story?

There are millions of lonely people in the world, and on British series DATES, some lovelorn Londoners attempt to find each other using online personals. On some episodes, a different couple goes on a first dinner date: salt-of-the-earth widower David (Will Mellor) develops a crush on flighty Mia (Oona Chaplin) despite the fact that she was so turned off by his fashion sense that she decided to pretend she was someone else; kleptomaniac Jenny (Sheridan Smith) steals hard-driving businessman Nick's (Neil Maskell) wallet as revenge for his having sex with their waiter during the meal. Later, characters befriend and betray each other in intertwined story lines. These characters may be looking for love, but they're not necessarily finding it. 

Is it any good?

Starring a set of up-and-coming Irish and British actors who are given terrific, meaty, realistic dialogue, Dates is the kind of pleasurable adult TV show that's difficult to describe, because nothing much happens: Characters meet, talk, chat on the phone, and arrange to meet up for coffee and brunch. No one has TV-sitcom-style misunderstandings that could be cleared up with one good heart-to-heart; no one falls into a pool dressed in a tuxedo or winds up naked on a roof, in time-honored romcom fashion. Mostly, the characters just talk about themselves -- truthfully and not so much, as viewers are granted glimpses of each character's private life to see what he or she is really up to. Teens won't be warped by anything they see, but neither will they be interested, since the actors on Dates are well above teen-dream age and mostly not doing anything sexier than revealing their private thoughts, not their private parts. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Why does Dates show a first date, not a second, fifth, or 17th? What dramatic possibilities does a first date offer that others don't? 

  • How old are the characters on Dates? How do you know? Why does the show concentrate on people of this age rather than younger people or older people? 

  • Love, and the pursuit of it, is a very frequent subject of televised dramas and films. Why? What audience are these types of movies and shows attempting to reach? 

TV details

For kids who love reality romance

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