Dating in the Dark
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Dating experiment sheds light on personality vs. looks.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Couples must choose whether personality is more important than looks -- and those who choose looks over personality aren't celebrated here. Still, physical attributes are frequently discussed as both a good and bad thing.
Positive Role Models
While all of the participants place some importance on outer beauty, most of them try to look beyond the superficial and get the know the person inside.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A fair bit of kissing/making out (often during the dark-encounter scenes that are viewed via infrared camera) and sexual innuendo. Some conversations deal with levels of sexual experience. Words like “boobs” are audible.
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Words like “hell” and "damn" are occasionally audible. Occasional profanity (like “s--t”) is bleeped, with mouths blurred.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol consumption (beer, mixed drinks) is frequently visible during one-on-one dates.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dating series -- in which men and women choose prospective partners without actually seeing what they look like -- has a fair bit of kissing/makingo ut and sexual innuendo (including discussions about looking "sexy" and some brief conversations about prior sexual experience). The language is generally mild ("hell," "damn"), with occasional stronger profanity (like "s--t") fully bleeped/blurred. Participants drink on one-on-one dates. Overall, it's not the best fit for tweens and younger teens, but older teens should be able to handle it.
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What's the Story?
DATING IN THE DARK explores whether or not love is really blind. Three men and three women move into a house, but they can only meet their housemates of the opposite sex in a dark room. Unable to actually see each other, they must get to know their potential partners through talking, listening, touching, and smelling. After a series of challenges and one-on-one dates, each must choose whom they think they're most compatible with based on their blind exchanges. And then, once they finally see what the person they've chosen looks like, each must decide whether they want to keep seeing each other.
Is It Any Good?
This series creates a unique -- and, frankly, voyeuristic -- social experiment that allows viewers to experience the awkwardness and vulnerability of dating accompanied by the excitement of watching people (thanks to infrared cameras) interact in a very intimate setting. While there are no grand prizes or eliminations here, it definitely feels like someone has "won" when couples choose to see each other in broad daylight. That said, watching people getting rejected is also a little painful.
There's plenty of discussion about physical looks throughout the show, especially as each person builds up their potential partner in their head to match what they want them to look like vs. how they really look. And, like most dating shows, there's some kissing/making out and sexual innuendo, including references to people looking (or not looking) sexy. But overall, this series is an interesting way of encouraging people to reexamine the criteria they use when choosing romantic interests.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why people agree to be on dating reality shows. Do you think the people on these shows actually find compatible partners? Why else might they choose to participate?
Should looks matter when you're choosing someone to date? Is wanting to date someone good looking a bad thing? Overall, what message does this show send about relationships?
- Premiere date: July 20, 2009
- Cast: Rossi Morreale
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: March 2, 2022
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