Travis Kelce’s Saturday Night Live hosting gig won’t be the first time the footballer makes us laugh on-screen. While the rest of the world may have forgotten his 2016 E! reality dating series Catching Kelce, I couldn’t if I tried.
In honor of Kelce’s SNL debut, I found myself thinking about some of the weirdest dating shows of all time.
These days, we look to The Bachelor to satisfy our dating show needs, but its stuffy, formal format always lets us down. We get distracted by things like: Why do these women own so many evening gowns? Why is “being a twin” considered a profession to the producers who wrote the on-screen banners? Why are all these people pretending they aren’t having sex for most of the season?
Things weren’t always so buttoned-up, so what happened to the most juicy shows of our television dating past? I’m talking about the shows that were weird, uncomfortable and unhinged! Below is a list of the five weirdest dating shows that live in my mind rent-free, meaning I ask nothing of them but to stay and entertain me with their memories on any given afternoon.
To be clear, these are not necessarily the greatest forgotten dating shows, just the ones that left me, at least, wondering “WTF?” enough times that I’m still thinking about them.
Which dating shows of the past do you think are the absolute weirdest? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.
Before he was a Super Bowl star, Kelce was a regular old pro-footballer with his own reality TV show. Catching Kelce‘s first episode treats us to a montage of Kelce dancing (rather poorly) in front of a green screen, and a clip of fifty women (one from each state) running toward him with pom poms on a football field yelling, “America!” This is what cults are made of.
If you haven’t seen the series, know that Kelce’s unexpected dance parties and strange exclamations are giving Cole from Love Is Blind. I couldn’t pick Kelce out on a football field, yet I can’t shake his reality TV image from my imagination.
It seems E! is embarrassed about the series, as it’s not streaming on any platforms online. Sorry, Travy baby, we aren’t going to let this one go!
I Wanna Marry 'Harry'
OK, Fox, you really did something here.
In the first episode of the 2014 series I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’, the star “Harry” explains to viewers, “I have to convince them I’m Prince Harry, but the goal is for them to like me for who I am.” So basically, Fox and “Harry” embark on a journey of epic proportions, including emergency evacuations via black SUVs and faux security breaches, to gaslight a group of 12 women into believing this regular guy is royalty.
This show lives in my mind for mainly one reason: I have to believe that, had I been a contestant on this reality show, I wouldn’t have fallen for it. A man with red hair does not a Prince Harry make!
The premise for this early aughts MTV dating series (which truly shaped millennials) was simple: One single person goes on consequential dates with five contestants waiting in a nearby RV. If the single person dislikes a contestant for any reason, they yell “NEXT!” (often as obnoxiously as one can). The contestants earn money based on how long the date lasts.
The most shocking aspect of the series is the contestants’ get-to-know-you facts that are listed on-screen prior to each date. Some standouts that we can never forget: “Kasandra, 26, fears her own smell,” “Jenny, 19, can fold her body into a basket,” and “Janet, 21, held a dead snake for a day to overcome her fear.” I don’t know where MTV found these people, but ladies and gentleman, we had a hit!
Mr. Personality walked so that Love Is Blind could run. Before there were “the pods,” there was a group of masked men concealing their faces in an attempt to win a woman over with their personalities. To make things even more random, it was hosted by Monica Lewinksy. (What is it with Fox and cooking up these bizarre one-season reality shows?!)
Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch
This absurd dating experiment, inspired by Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson’s jersey number, begins with a group of 85 women. Eighty-five! Could they not have selected a professional athlete with a lower number on his back? Perhaps an Aaron Rodgers, who wears 12? Or, a Marshawn Lynch, who wore 24?
The series’ first episode introduces us to Ochocinco’s
fanssuitors, as they perform jumping jacks while chanting out the spelling of his name. (More of the cult-like behavior we love!) The women endure various physical exercises as Ochocinoco makes the rounds whispering, “You’re cut,” into many of their ears. It’s Ochocinco’s tender little rejection whispers that have stuck with me throughout the years.