15 Dating Shows From The 2000s That Would Never Air Today
What network executive signed off on
Date My Mom?
Reality dating shows today make up some of the most dramatic and ridiculous television out there.
However, they pale in comparison to dating shows that aired back in the '00s. Back then, contestants didn't even
pretend to go on dating shows to find ~love~ — they were there to become famous, thus blessing audiences with some of the most dramatic and ridiculous moments in TV history.
Here are some 2000s dating shows that were
The premise: An RV full of daters went one by one on dates with a stranger who could at any time call "next" to get a new person to date. For every minute the date lasted, the dater earned a dollar, which they got to keep if they got "nexted." If the date ended with the stranger requesting a second date, the dater had to choose between going on the date or keeping the money they'd earned.
Why it was so wild: The daters' personal facts were iconic, and the premise was essentially Tinder with a financial-incentive twist. On the other hand, most episodes were just a series of awkward dates until someone turned down like $50 at the end. The one true highlight was the terrible daters, who, admittedly, made for great reality TV — but where was the love?
Date My Mom (2004–2006)
The premise: Each episode, a contestant met with three moms who would try to convince them to date her child. At the end of the episode and based solely on the dates with the moms, the contestant would choose which mother's child to date.
Why it was so wild: Okay, I will start by admitting I laugh every time I see a picture of the moms lined up on the beach like they're on a late-season episode of The Middle-Aged Bachelor. Beyond that, let me just say: Hometowns are only one episode on The Bachelor for a reason, folks!
Parental Control (2006–2010)
The premise: Parents who hated their child's significant other chose for them two new romantic prospects. The child would then go on dates with these prospects and decide at the end whether they would stay with their current S.O., start dating one of their parents' choices, or just reject everybody. They almost always chose the person they were already dating.
Why it was so wild: Most families on teen- or young adult–centered shows in the 2000s needed some serious family counseling. Parental Control was no exception.
The X Effect (2007–2009)
The premise: A pair of exes who had each moved on to a new relationship would go on a romantic vacation together and then decide whether to stick with their current relationship or get back together with their ex.
Why it was so wild: For anyone currently looking for a way to ruin their relationship, I'm sorry to say you can no longer audition for this show. You'll just have to reveal all your flaws like the rest of us.
A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila (2007)
The premise: Similar to The Bachelor, this dating show allowed both men and women to compete for the love of the bisexual queen of Myspace, Tila Tequila. A Double Shot at Love was rebooted earlier this year, but the new season with Vinny and Pauly D from Jersey Shore is very different from its predecessor.
Why it was so wild: Now, I'm not saying a dating show where contestants woo social media influencers is a terrible idea. I might even be saying that I would definitely watch that show and that there should be an episode where the suitors have to compete to take the perfect Insta pic of the influencer. But let's branch out from just Tila Tequila.
Joe Millionaire (2003)
Fox Broadcasting Company
The premise: This show followed the wild ride that was Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire (which you should definitely google), and it was pitched to contestants as a Bachelor-type show where they would try to win the affections of a handsome millionaire. However, after the winner was chosen, the contestants found out he wasn't a millionaire at all! But, wait! There's another twist! If the winner decided to stay with him anyway, she won $1 million and became a millionaire (if you don't include taxes)!
Why it was so wild: Unfortunately, the series of plot twists that made up the show worked only once, even with the second season going all the way to Europe to find contestants who hadn't heard of the show. The idea was snake-y as hell, though, and I respect that.
For Love or Money (2003–2004)
The premise: This show was essentially set up like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette where a bunch of suitors competed for the affections of one person over the course of a season. But here's the twist: If you won, you got the chance to reject the person you seduced all season in exchange for $1 million.
Why it was so wild: First of all, the ~drama~. The Bachelor could NEVER. This show had the two-faced G*mini spirit that defined all reality television in the '00s, and I can't imagine how we let that die. Okay, well, I sort of can.
Chains of Love (2001)
The premise: Someone with $10K to distribute was chained up to four potential suitors for four days. I will pass on explaining the rest in favor of telling you that some terms the show used included: "picker," "playmates," "ritual room," and "lockmaster."
Why it was so wild: Before the show aired, the network explained that the show was about "the chains of love, not the chains of S&M." I don't see the difference.
The premise: People just went on blind dates on Carnival Cruise ships.
Why it was so wild: That's barely a premise. How did this show get two seasons? That's more seasons than Freaks and Geeks.
Average Joe (2003–2005)
The premise: This show featured average-looking guys competing for the love of a beauty queen (who was told the contestants would be attractive). Then, halfway through the season, a group of attractive men would join to compete, too.
Why it was so wild: Can you imagine casting this show? Can you imagine meeting the beauty queen as she realizes that the producers had lied about how attractive you are? Can you imagine the moral intentions of your show failing as the beauty queen picks a hot guy over and over? I really wish someone would make a behind-the-scenes docuseries about this show.
The premise: Each episode, a contestant went on a date with two people at once to decide if they wanted a relationship with either of them. Secretly, the contestant's friend listened in and watched lie detectors call BS on both dates.
Why it was so wild: This premise itself isn't too far-fetched for today. What's so wild about this show are these three things: One, somehow no one knew they were hooked up to a lie detector. Two, they lied so much! Like, an unreal amount of lying! Three, they would never admit that they'd lied even after finding out they were hooked up to a lie detector.
Boy Meets Boy (2003)
The premise: For most of the cast, the show seemed like a groundbreaking Bachelor for gay men. However, the twist was that half of the show's suitors were secretly straight. If the final winner was a gay man, the two lovebirds would win a prize and hopefully live happily every after. If the winner was a straight man, he would win a prize and leave the man he had seduced heartbroken.
Why it was so wild: I can't imagine who the audience for this show was. Like, I'm sad just thinking about it. As if gay people didn't have enough to deal with in 2003. At least "Crazy in Love" came out that year.
Date My Ex: Jo & Slade (2008)
The premise: Each episode, three or four guys would take Jo De La Rosa (of The Real Housewives of Orange County fame) on dates to see who could win her heart. The twist was that Slade Smiley, Jo's ex, would host the guys in his house for the week, secretly watch the dates, and help Jo decide at the end.
Why it was so wild: This might be a controversial opinion, but I don't think dating three or four people a week while vetting them with your ex qualifies as "moving on."
My Own (2006)
The premise: Each episode introduced a new superfan of a certain singer who desperately wanted to date their favorite celebrity. And for whatever reason, people competed to convince the superfan they were just like that singer and worthy of their love.
Why it was so wild: This is possibly the most love-less take on a dating show, and I have no idea how producers convinced anyone to compete for the attention of these extremely undateable people. I am gonna go back and rewatch the Beyoncé episode, though.
Flavor of Love (2006–2008)
The premise: This was a Bachelor-type show where a bunch of girls competed for the love of a guy. Except the guy every season was Flavor Flav, member of the rap group Public Enemy. I don't know what adventurous executive decided to make this show, but it was wildly successful, launched the career of the legendary Tiffany Pollard, and inspired at least eight spin-offs. Eight. That includes Rock of Love With Bret Michaels, I Love New York, and an etiquette competition that Sharon Osbourne hosted for a season called Charm School. Yeah, I'm confused, too. Why it was so wild: Tell me who today would agree to take even a week off work to compete for the love of Flavor Flav. Especially knowing he'd leave you immediately after the show wrapped to film a new season. This show is still an enigma, but I kind of live for it.
Maybe the 2000s did it best.
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