COLUMN: Dating game restart scarred by the kiss of death

Vintage TV show reboots are all the rage, but as our columnist concludes, some programs should just rest in peace

Reboots of old TV shows seem to be all the rage these days.

I don’t know if it’s a deep need for nostalgia and a simpler time or just that today’s producers don’t have original ideas. Probably a bit of both.

Summer replacement shows always leave a lot to be desired, but there’s one reboot that both distressed and yet fascinated me.

Have you checked The Celebrity Dating Game? I desperately wanted to like it because one of the hosts is Michael Bolton and I love him.

The main host is Zooey Deschanel and although she is perky and pretty, she is a prime example that not everyone is cut out to host a show. She looks like a deer in the headlights reading the teleprompter. The association seems awkward.

If you remember the original game of seduction, which aired in 1965, it was a very hip program hosted by Jim Lange. There have been a few other remakes of the series over the years.

Bachelors and bachelors (the first time I heard this term) asked questions of the unseen candidates sitting behind a screen. The questioner had to base his choice solely on the answers and the tone of voice.

In this new incarnation they tried to copy the original set, which I guess looks vintage. It’s supposed to have a groovy, flower-power vibe.

I don’t know if Zooey chooses her own wardrobe, but if so, she needs her boyfriend’s help when it comes to styling. Jonathan Scott from Property Brothers. In fact, he should also rearrange the whole thing.

They have Michael sitting next in a chair who looks completely disinterested and robotic. It’s not until they use a cattle prod halfway through each show that it comes to life to sing. He does one song per program, which is a parody of a classic song rewritten with hints of who the mysterious celebrity is.

He still sings very well, but now his face doesn’t move. Like, not at all.

The banter between the two is also painful to watch. I don’t even think a laugh track would help.

In the original show, we had Farrah Fawcett, Tom Selleck, and Steve Martin, all before they were household names.

This time we have Bachelor franchise scum, male models, former sports stars and a few D-list stars. Even when the big reveal happens, it’s like the contestants have no idea who the celebrity is!

There are several reasons why this can never work today.

At the time, it was sweet. It was picturesque. It was innocent. If the questions were phrased in a certain way, it made the audience blush. There were hints.

It no longer works. Everything is too blatant.

Take some sample questions:

If I were a banana, explain in detail how you would peel me?

What is your best body part and why?

In the 70s, that would be so risky and would make some people blush three shades of red. Now that just seems tacky.

Of course, the contestants are all gorgeous and the men are all handsome, so it hasn’t changed from the original. However, they now include LGBTQ contestants.

In the end, the chosen one goes on a date you never see or hear about.

Apparently it is because there is Nope Date. According to television executives, this would be too problematic and potentially dangerous. So, I guess the star could take them out to dinner, but that’s not part of the contract.

At the end, they give the giant old air kiss on screen, but they didn’t sync it, so it looks goofy and stupid.

Michael never leaves his chair to participate. He rarely smiles, and I don’t blame him.

But, here’s the crazy thing. I log in every Monday evening. I can’t stop watching. It’s like a train wreck.

Here is the other shock. This is the number one ranking of the summer!

Guess it’s because there’s nothing else to watch on a Monday night at 10 p.m.

And it could actually be renewed.

Hey, I love vintage TV shows, but some should just be left on a shelf living forever in our memories and never given new life.

This one deserves the giant kiss of death!

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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