With Valentine’s Day just over, it only seems right to weigh up the pros and cons of First Dates. The dating show has taken the nation by storm, with the flagship show having started in the UK, RTE picked it up for an Irish reboot. Since then the show has become one of the most talked about series around, filled with the awkward, the laughable and the tear jerker moments we can all relate to when it comes to first dates. So which show is better? Well I’ve taken the liberty of weighing up the good and the bad of each show and determined who does it better.
The Good: UK
Obviously, First Dates started in the UK, the show is based in London and there’s far more potential for the producers to find celebrities such as Brad Simpson from The Vamps to participate in the show. When his first date aired, viewers had the opportunity to see another side to the frontman of the band. The constraints of touring meant that he didn’t go on many dates and of course in First Dates fashion his date was star struck and went to call her bestie from the bathroom. Turns out it really is a small world, she had seen him in concert with friends and was then sitting across from him on First Dates. It was the, oh so relatable reaction any fan would have if they went on a date with their star crush. It’s provided us with some laugh out loud moments, and a chance to see how the other half live.
The Good: Ireland
The matches on the show have got to be the best part. There are so many characters, and the show does play on a few Irish stereotypes every now and then, but recently they’ve started bringing in a few viral stars, like Paddy. His first date went viral the next day and half the country was talking about his date with Lauren as if they were on about their own friends. It’s relatable. We all know a Paddy or a Lauren out there, and we’ve all been there on that awkward first date encounter. It’s familiar with a few new faces, and filled with hilarious one-liners. The show has had dates stood up, old flames reunited, matches made, and all the while entertaining the nation.
The Bad: UK
There are funny and awkward moments on the show but the one thing the UK show is missing is probably the best part of the Irish show, which is a bit of craic. The UK version is funny don’t get me wrong here, but it’s missing that bit of banter, the cheekiness that the Irish show has. The couples are interesting and there are a few cheeky chaps and lasses, but it’s a tad dry sometimes. There’s nothing worse than seeing a couple get matched and it’s a dead awkward conversation or the guy likes the girl and she’s not that interested or vice versa. At the end of the day it is a dating show and there are going to be some fails, not every couple is compatible, but honestly I think it’s more entertaining to see the reactions on the Irish show, it’s more unpredictable.
The Bad: Ireland
The show is guilty when it comes to leading the audience on. For instance, an episode aired earlier in January saw Richard McNeil and Timmy Murphy go on what was arguably a great first date. There were no awkward pauses or moments when the conversation seemed to go flat, however when it came to the post-date interview and when asked if there would be a second date, Timmie encouraged Richard to answer first and if you watch the show regularly it usually means a second date is on the cards. However, after Richard expressed his interest in Timmie and admitted he would go on a second date, he was rejected by him in what fans have tweeted out as heart-breaking. Timmie has been called many things online such as ‘cruel’, ‘cowardly’ and even a ‘gowl’. The show has a tendency to set up situations like this to stir up drama online and create a bit publicity for the show. Likewise, the UK show is as guilty.
The best version of First Dates, has to be a home win. First Dates Ireland has that edge over the UK version. It has more craic, banter, and you can relate to how the stars of the show are feeling. Both are brilliant dating shows but this time it’s a win for the Irish side. Personally, I think it’s more to do with the humour and mannerisms in the show – it’s a bit of a laugh and you do become invested. It’s clear that viewers do want to see the dates go well, and they voice their opinions online which is probably even more entertaining.
-By Aileen O’Leary