In this thirty minute game show, thirty single women, mostly in their 20s, put themselves in contention for a chance to date a single guy.
As the host, James Kerley, tells us this is the first time anywhere in the world this show has been attempted (it’s apparently an overseas format tried first by TEN).
The premise is alarmingly simple. One guy tells us a bit about himself, all the girls get to decide if they want to keep competing for him or not. If not they press their buzzer and they are out. A la 1 v 100, their light goes out and we can see how many girls want to keep hearing more. There are a couple of filmed grabs that shed a little more info on our single, for better or for worse.
The game continues until there are two girls standing, until the guy chooses over them.
So like an impromptu exchange in a pub, the more you talk the more you increase or decrease in the love stakes.
Kerley chats to a few of the girls about why they decided to opt in or out of each round. As expected, some didn’t like his eyes / attitude / attire. The first single guy, Alex, admits he prefers to let his first date pay their own way, and he’s experienced in sex from the car to the dancefloor.
Given that the show is something of a first date, nobody is polite in this show, which presumably will be part of its charm. Most of the girls are surprisingly blase in dismissing Alex and his ‘man rig.’ Several are entirely charmless. “Shutup and take your top off, Alex,” says one. Somehow I can’t see the 30 men (who will come later) getting away with commenting on a single woman’s bust-size in this timeslot.
Alex is equally complacent about his chances in romance, and in understanding the game format and eliminations. “What happens, do I go home by myself?” he asks. I had trouble understanding the point too.
Kerley is confident as host, sounding as punchy as an Austereo DJ. He’s very ‘matesy’ in delivery, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The whole first episode feels very laconically Australian with a lucky couple who aren’t really that fussed about winning. Maybe they didn’t feel like they had won?
By episode’s end when Alex wanders up the staircase with his lucky girl, she is replaced with a new girl off the bench, along with a new single male.
It appears we will also be witness later to a post-date analysis, one of the best elements of the long-running Perfect Match.
Taken Out has guitar music to fill the “think time” in between rounds. It’s the same riff over and over. Elsewhere, Rogue Traders is used as the show’s theme.
One of the shortcomings in the format is there isn’t enough at stake. If the girls buzz out it seems they just stick around for the next unsuspecting male. A game show needs good jeopardy, and preferably a last-minute twist. I suspect there is more drama happening at a Desperate & Dateless Ball than there is here.
TEN’s best chance at this working will be in the youthful audience seeing themselves, identifying with the opening lines and rejection we’ve all experienced at the local pub. Of course they could also just get off the couch and go and experience it for themselves instead.
Taken Out airs weeknights on TEN at 7pm.