9 Awesomely Bad Dating Shows From The 90’s And Beyond

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Before there was The Bachelor and cheesy rose ceremonies, there were good, old-fashioned dating shows. Although there were a few notable dating shows before then, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no other decade did bad dating shows quite like the 90’s.

After binge-watching episodes of Elimidate during a bought of insomnia (psh, like you haven’t done something equally pathetic!), I was inspired to create a list of my favorite forgotten dating shows from the 80’s and 90’s, along with a few more recent ones.


1. Elimidate

The premise: Group dating gone bad

Four contestants would vie for the attention of one single throughout a series of dates, which predictably resulted in plenty of passive-aggressive behavior, snide remarks and catfights. After each date, another contestant was cut until one remained. True love ensues.


2. Change of Heart

The premise: The Jerry Springer of dating shows

An unhappy couple appears on the show so that they can cheat on their partner go on a date with someone new. After the date is over, the unhappy half of the union will make a big decision: should they stay with their significant other, or dump him/her for an actor/actress they went on one date with? Check out this episode featuring The Game!


3. Next

The premise: The Tinder of dating shows

Five clueless Millennials between the ages of 18 – 24 hang out in a bus, just waiting for their opportunity to be rejected instantaneously and say god-awful sexual innuendos that have obviously been scripted by MTV. Getting “Nexted” was clearly the “left swipe” of the late 2000’s.


5. Blind Date

The premise: A mashup of your worst OKCupid date, bad 90’s fashion and Popup Video

Emotionally unstable singles, snarky commentary via popups, awkward pairings and a host named Roger Lodge? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Blind Date may be one of the best bad dating shows ever. EV-ER.


6. Singled Out

The premise: This is what MTV Spring Breakers are doing the other 364 days of the year

Ah, Chris Hardwick – the totes perf 90’s guy. I wonder what he looks like today? (Don’t look it up and ruin it for me. DON’T!!) I have no recollection of what actually happened in this show as I was too busy lusting after Chris Hardwick and hating my 12 year old self for not looking like Jenny McCarthy. OK so I may or may not have Googled Chris Hardwick right after I typed that sentence and apparently he’s still on TV and I don’t get out much. Um, HI! Call me, Chris.


7. Love Connection

The premise: “Where old-fashioned romance meets modern-day technology” …from three decades ago 

If you’re over the age of 25 or so, you may remember catching episodes of Love Connection on your parents’ Zenith console TV. The real entertainment comes from the bad 80’s / 90’s hair, Burt Reynolds mustaches, crazy fashion (proof is at 7:40 on this episode) and cheesy slang: “She was really radical!” Totally gnarly, dude.


8. The Big Date

Premise: Jon Hamm gets rejected

OK, so I’ve never actually heard of this show until recently, but it belongs on this list for a very good reason: A CONTESTANT REJECTS JON HAMM… for a man with crazy eyes. Skip to 3:15 on this video to see it all go down. OK, so he does go overkill with the “fabulous” schtick, but… JON HAMM.


9. Room Raiders

Premise: If Mr. Clean had a dating show…

Thank you, Room Raiders – you’ve officially scarred me for life and made me terrified to invite a guy over if my apartment is the slightest bit dirty. Which is, like always. Seriously, who are these guys that get all bent out of shape over dust on a TV screen, or hair in a hairbrush? I’m not entirely convinced that this show wasn’t one big ploy orchestrated by moms to convince teenagers to clean their rooms more often.


What dating show was your favorite?

What bad old-school dating show would you add to this list? Tell me in the comments section!


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