Being a loving connoisseur of ’80s cheese, my heart leapt at the news that Fox was rebooting the old-school dating show Love Connection. But alas, some things are better left in the past. The new reboot — debuting this Thursday at 9/8c — turns out to be the TV equivalent of a hot-pink leotard stuffed full of floppy disks.
The original Love Connection, hosted by Chuck Woolery, is a charming relic of the video-dating era, with singles choosing a date from three options and reporting back to Woolery how it went. It’s corny and hopelessly dated… but that’s part of the fun. (Remember the chik-chik-chik-chik sound effect when the studio audience’s vote was tabulated?) Unfortunately, Fox’s new version has retained all the worst elements of the format, while making some truly hideous updates.
Here, the contestant dates all three prospects before reporting back to host Andy Cohen (the ringmaster of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise) in front of a hooting studio audience. Each date recap plays out like the original, with the main contestant sitting next to Andy and their date chiming in via video chat. The new version does add a few modern tweaks, like the daters recording selfie confessionals after the date, but the too-talky format feels oddly sterile. Couldn’t they just film the dates and let us see what happened for ourselves? (This isn’t the ’80s anymore! You could film it on an iPhone!)
Before we get any further, I need to address the show’s set… because it’s remarkably awful. I don’t know why every TV game show set has to look like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? — which debuted almost two decades ago! — but it’s an especially jarring fit for a dating show. Having Cohen and the daters seated in the center of a dark, dystopian room filled with giant video screens and dramatic lighting is about the least romantic setting I can imagine. There’s also an ominous, glowing-red drawbridge that reveals each dater’s final choice and looks like something out of the Death Star. This show is supposed to be all about love and romance… and they go and use the set from The Running Man.
Any faint glimmer of romance that’s left is extinguished by a rather crass twist: Before the main contestant picks their favorite among the three dates, the audience votes on who the best match for them is. If they pick the same person, the contestant wins $10,000. If they don’t, the contestant has to choose between the date they picked… and the cash. I thought we were trying to build relationships here! It’s a cynical ploy to inject some drama into the show, and it just ends up undermining all the talk of “love” and “connection” we hear from the daters. (If you’re wondering where all the crassness comes from, The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss is one of the executive producers.)
Fleiss and the other EPs needed to make a choice: Either embrace the cheese of the ’80s original and keep it kitschy and old-fashioned, or bring it into the Tinder age with high-tech updates. Instead, the new Love Connection tries to awkwardly straddle both eras, and the result is a mess.
The only redeeming factor here is Cohen, who does an admirable job making all of this as fun as possible. After hosting dozens of Real Housewives reunions, he knows how to dig for dirt, and he strikes up a friendly rapport with each dater that encourages them to open up. He also tosses in a few bawdy observations of his own: When two daters start silently flirting, he exclaims, “You two are, like, banging each other with your eyes right now!” His enthusiastic hosting job lifts this entire show up a full letter grade, but it’s not enough to salvage it. If Love Connection were a real-life date, you’d be texting your friend to call you with a fake emergency before the entrees were served.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Though Andy Cohen does a capable job as host, Fox’s Love Connection revival is hopelessly stale and deeply unromantic.
I feel like Andy would be a great host for a dating show, but the blend is odd. I know that IP is important but I think they should have creating something new that was crass but fun like a studio version of Are You The One?
I knew it was going suck. Might as well bring Blind Date back if you’re going film the actual date tho.
I misread it as SANDY Cohen… interest was piqued.
Realized my error…interest faded.
There are shows that film the dates, but part of “Love Connection” was about hearing the “he said/she said.” I’d rather have that than have them selectively edit a 1-2 hour date into a series of 20-second clips.
I like the old love connection better don’t like the money aspect and the three date thing and that the contestant goes out with all three people if your going to to do love connection than do it the d way which was never about money
The only good thing that will come from this new “Love Connection” is that it will infuriate the ultra conservative Chuck Woolery.
His eyes freak me out. I can never tell where he is looking, and it’s very distracting and bothersome. You’d think with his money, he’d have it corrected….
I just don’t get that. I have watched him from the first day he appeared on screen on every who he is on. Hmm that sounds stalkerish..anyway. I have heard of his eye situation but can honestly say looking at him right now I cannot see it.
I hate all the shows that adopted a dark dark set with flashing somethings. It hurts my eyes to watch so I didn’t.
I loved the original. Maybe they will tweak the show and it will evolve into a popular show again.
I loved the Chuckster on the original and though there are some elements of the new one I don’t like, the biggest one being the $10,000.00 twist (seriously, how many decent dates are going to be dumped just so the contestant can have 10 grand,) I still intend to give this a chance.
I kind of think that they probably take the money, then call the one they really like and go on from there. Why not get $10000 AND a love connection? I mean it’s cheating, but I’m pretty sure that is what most people would do.
Very horrible. At least the 80’s love connection was funny. This reboot is pathetic.
most stupid show on tv, are you that desperate you have to go on one of theses shows or you just have to be seen on tv because you think you are something special really,assholes rating each other
I knew it was going to suck the minute I heard that Andy Cohen’s name was involved – Cohen turns everything he touches into a low-class fight fest – he just loves degrading human behaviour and goes for the lowest common denominator – and his come-on’s to all the good-looking male contestants were pathetic – Hey Andy, it’s NOT all about YOU, ok?
love the retake on the classic show. They do need a catchy theme song like “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” or “LOVE WILL FIND A WAY” ——are you listening producers/remixers. Trust me-the theme intro music will work wonders.
I loved the old Love Connection and I really wanted to love this new show, but it sucks big time!
The producers really let Andy down here. He must not have had much control. He slays it most episodes but the situations/dates seem very scripted to me. Some of these people just cannot be real…if they are, kill me now. The lighting is horrific and the bridge…please!!!
I also hate the audience part. I guess it needs some suspense beyond the connection which sometimes is burning up the screen it needs a “hook”.
Actually I didn’t hate it. I kind of like it.
I’ve been watching the show and so far I love it.
I thought the review was spot on that’s why I looked for reviews because the show is horrible but once again showing that chivalry and romance are only in the movies and I not even there soso much…it was Mom’s fav game type show. They should have left it be…why bring it back only to ruin it…I don’t get it!
Madison seems absolutely wonderful. Her date is just an idiot
I just saw a few minutes of the show. Do they have to start the discussion by rating one another’s looks? The set isn’t an accident. It’s dark and dystopian because it suits the spirit of the show.
Bad review. Record the dates? Are you kidding me? Who wants to be on a recorded date? Like you just lost all credibility from that one statement.
And the 10k choice isn’t crazy. What if you liked more than one person? It would get awfully repetitive if they had the same exact formula as before. Show wouldn’t even have been picked up.
And It gives a testament to what kind of person you are dealing with. What if the person really only cared about money? You wouldn’t get that knowledge without the 10k trial. You get to really so if someone is down for you or if they even care that much about love in the first place
And finally……:::Hot pink leotard full of floppy discs? Wtf is that? Awful analogy.
I think the show is entertaining. I don’t like the $10k thing, but it shows character. I don’t know much about Andy so I no criticism about him. At least people are dating. It’s not just a hookup. Three different people gives you a choice. I do think a few only chose the money to get $10k and wasn’t serious. They should add a little more stipulation like three date minimum after the over night date. And a catchy theme song I agree M. I loved Chuck Woolery but it is 2017 everything has changed.
having andy cohen hosting a dating show is like having Adolph Hitler hosting a show on Jewish cooking.
I loooooved the old show, and I really like the new show. I will agree with what someone else said about the dates seeming staged. A lot of the daters appear to be “acting”, so it’s not hard to guess who the audience will pick and who the dater will pick. I thought the “engagement” episode was so cheesy and so fake. I hope they just stick to doing this with real people. It’s a decent dating show, though.
And I don’t really care too much about the ambiance being “romantic” given that the whole “dating on TV” thing kills any romance anyway. I also don’t care to see the dates, I like hearing about what went right and/or wrong. Andy is the perfect host, as he has a way of getting the juicy details out of people. The money thing is kind of random, and I agree that it’s only there for “drama”, but it works, I guess.
After watching the first episode i had to look for reviews to see if others think it is as bad as i did….first off, the background music is way too loud and obtrusive, i had to keep turning the volume down because it was so loud with all the intros. The next thing was that i kept wondering why Andy Cohen kept touching the male contestant….he kept putting his hand on the guys arm and leaving it there….just who is looking for a love connection on this show???
Unromantic and Andy is an awful host.
Now that they are including same sex dating…I’m DONE!