Friday, June 25, 2021

A Classic Reborn: Celebrity Dating Game (2021)

 During The Dating Game's original run (1965-74, ABC), there were the occasional celebrity guests. This carried over into the initial syndicated version, which included a minor crossover with The Gong Show, with Jaye P. Morgan as the featured guest, and executive producer (and Gong host) Chuck Barris making an appearance, pretending to be a janitor. The ABC run had plenty of star power, with the likes of Don Rickles, Sally Field, Michael Jackson, Richard Dawson, Bill Bixby, Casey Kasem, Andy Kaufman, Adam West (Batman), and the Brady Bunch's Barry Williams & Maureen McCormick appearing as either bachelors/bachelorettes or contestants. Paul Lynde appeared twice, and after H. R. Pufnstuf moved from NBC to ABC, the Krofft dragon was a guest.

22 years after the last syndicated series ended, the Dating Game is back, and this time, common folks need not apply.

Celebrity Dating Game anchors ABC's Monday lineup, and as with the revival of College Bowl over on NBC on Tuesdays, this series airs at a much later time than previous iterations.

Singer-actress Zooey Deschanel (ex-New Girl) and crooner Michael Bolton are the hosts, and, in this video, they explain the new version:

While I'm not entirely sure about this, history was made on the June 21 episode with the first same-sex pairing, as Carson Kressley (RuPaul's Drag Race, ex-Queer Eye For The Straight Guy) played the first game of the night. Maybe that explains the 10 pm (ET) berth, to keep the media nannies from complaining, even though they will, anyway.

Bolton sings some clues a cappella, and while his voice is still as strong as ever, physically, the years have not been kind to him, and this is after his collaboration with the Lonely Island a few years back. Zooey is the gate attraction, but it's clear she's reading from cue cards. Not a good look.

This is the first revival of a Barris property on ABC since Gong spent two summers on the network a ways back with Mike Myers posing as a fictional British comic. The format for Celebrity Dating Game, however, needs work.

Rating: C-.


Roger Owen Green said...

not something I could watch, just based on the irritating commercials

hobbyfan said...

Y'think maybe they should've skipped this altogether, Rog?