RTL5's new dating show Adam zkt Eva sounds like an ordinary dating show. A bachelorette, and two suitors she needs to pick from. Nothing new. Oh, did I mention they are all completely naked and on a deserted island?
Not far from there -- over in cold Denmark, a small channel, DR3, had phenomenal success with their show -- Married at First Sight. Another dating show, only instead of the couple first meeting and then getting married -- here they get married first, and only then get to know each other.
All around the world dating shows are a staple of the entertainment industry. From the safety of our living room we enjoy the plights of those who left their comfort zone for the battle-fields of love. A cynic might say that seeing the contestants fail makes us all feel better about our own choices -- no matter if we are happily married, simply married or singles and spend our nights in front of the TV.
Dating shows used to be so simple -- a bachelorette in the studio and three bachelors behind the curtain. A few questions. She makes up her mind. Drums. The curtain opens. They hug and while the end credits run the audience gets the catharsis that Cinderella found her prince and they will live happily ever after.
The route of the prince to its princess changed dramatically in this era of Tinder and fake Facebook pages. We don't buy into the old shallow narrative anymore. We are skeptical and demand a more serious conflict. In return for our time and emotional engagement we demand the participant take greater risks and to be complete open and honest -- only then can we feel we are witnessing something real is happening and get insight into ourselves, our happiness, our relationships and the connection between those three.
Today's sophisticated audience gives shows developers a run for their money. To stay relevant, development people have to take the genre and break it into its components as if it's a mathematical equation. Every component must be replaced to create a new relevant story. Catfish (MTV) examined whether in a social-networks world there are actual princes? I Wanna Marry Harry (FOX) took the search for the prince to the extreme; Married at First Sight increased the risks when they changed the order and Adam and Eve, well, it's pretty obvious what they did...
On a personal note -- a year ago I developed a show for German television called Eye Contact. The premise was using a bachelorette and five men -- only she can't see them but only the world through their eyes. They all wore Google Glass and she watched as they interacted with the world (and other people's reactions to them). At dinner with her parents or where their eyes go when having a drink with her busty bestie. The outcome was another take on the topic -- from a different angle (pardon the pun).
The current wave of dating shows is just the beginning and just like real-life relationships in the 21st century, it's complicated and different and will generate loads of new perspectives on the subject. But at the end of the day -- we still want to see the princess find prince charming and go to bed with the feeling that fairytale love can happen.