A first kiss can be a strange experience; you may go on a date and wonder, “Will it happen? What will it be like?” In many romance films, the post-first-date-kiss question is solved at the end of the evening, after the two lovers get to know each other a little better. But what if they had skipped that step? What if the kiss happened while they were still total strangers? Would it feel different, awkward or equally as comfortable if the chemistry was right? TLC’s new show Love at First Kiss attempts to answer these questions.
Love at First Kiss premiered on Aug. 3; since then, there have been seven episodes. It seems to get a rise out of most people who watch it, as they cringe but also can’t turn it off, myself included. Over the course of the hour-long episode, a complete stranger is placed in an all-white room and awaits a stranger to walk in. Once the person enters, the person must walk up to the other and kiss. If the kiss goes well, the two can choose to go on a two-minute speed date. If this goes well, the couple meets up for a regular date on a different day. Sometimes it works and sometimes people get stood up, which is part of the drama that keeps the audience guessing.
Certain people get paired up on the show and seem as though they could really be a couple outside of the production. These people seem to hit it off and engage in genuine and smooth conversation afterwards; other pairs seem to have been placed together for the audience’s entertainment. For instance, in the first two episodes of the show the audience was introduced to Josh, a 27-year-old who had never kissed a girl before; he was then sent Annalisa, a young woman who had plenty of kissing experience. The scene was uncomfortable as the young man stuttered and trembled, keeping his eyes open wide the entire time; he returns three more times and assures the audience that he’s more prepared because he has been watching videos online, but what’s to follow may show the audience otherwise.
One thing that the show seems to have done right is the type of people they bring on the show. The participants selected for the show are an eclectic group; no two people are exactly the same. The show includes a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations, which helps the show appeal to a larger audience. Because people identify with those that are similar to them, it will encourage the audience to watch if there is an inclusion of various types of people.
The worst part (for me) is that the producers keep the sound-effects in while the participants are kissing. This is what truly makes me (and probably many others) cringe with disgust. The producers likely do this to get a rise out of the viewers and it certainly seems to be working.
“I’d never go on a show like that,” said a senior and Education student Lauren Palladino. “It just doesn’t seem natural. What if they (the producers) sent me someone I wasn’t into? I’d feel so bad saying no to them but I also wouldn’t want to kiss a stranger that I wasn’t into. That’s weird.”
“I don’t think I’d have the guts to go on national television and kiss a stranger,” said a senior and Marketing student Cassie Stiansen. “I don’t see how the producers would even find a real true match for me. Just because I fill out a sheet for them to review based on my ‘type’ they think they can find me a real match? I don’t think that’s realistic.”
Sherry Wien, an associate professor of communication, said that the experience isn’t that practical for a real-world situation. “It’s a risk that both participants are taking, but the risk isn’t in the show,” Wien explained. “They signed up to be there. It’s not as if a person walked into a club and kissed someone; this show is planned. Hence, it’s not actually reality.”
This begs the question, is the show really as authentic as it wants the audience to think it is? Is the set-up realistic or is it done purely for entertainment? I certainly think that it’s just another reality TV show competing to capture everyone’s attention for a moment. It doesn’t seem to be a show that could really last for several seaons because the plot will get old. It is a fad for a moment that the producers want the audience to buy into.
The most unrealistic thing about this show seems to be that you do need to sign up to be on the show. This means that everyone that actually appears on the show and knows exactly what’s to come. There’s no real element of surpise aside from who the person will be. Each person that comes on the show expects to kiss a complete stranger.
So can a person actually find love at first kiss? It’s a foreign concept, but because the producers of this show are also the producers of ABC’s The Bachelor, I wouldn’t expect anything less. If you’d like to keep up with the show, turn on TLC on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
IMAGE TAKEN from www.youtube.com
IMAGE TAKEN from www.tlc.com