Is The Undateables A Problematic TV Programme?

woman lying on bed eating popcorn with a TV remote in hand

Carrying on with the first post of each month being about a topic that's been on my mind...

Have you ever watched the Channel 4 show The Undateables? I'd always avoided it on principle because it looked obscene; I thought the title seemed unnecessary and frankly quite cruel and it completely put me off. These are people who have most likely faced enough ableism in their lives without being branded as 'undateable'.

However I caught the first episode of the current series by chance and decided to watch it out of curiosity, to see if it was as horrendous as I expected it to be. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised, as the concept of the show is actually really nice. 

If you've never heard of it, the basic premise is that singles with learning difficulties or physical disabilities are brought together by matchmakers to go on their first ever date.

I totally agree that everyone is entitled to love and be loved and a lot of good seems to have come out of it in terms of a confidence boost, and in some cases a life partner, for the participants so the fact that this lovely and well meaning premise is completely ruined by branding these people as 'undateable' is beyond me and a major flaw in the programme.

To find out a bit more I did some researching and watched some of the online videos of past participants of the show, which tell you a bit about how they are getting on now. It was clear to see that they'd gained such a huge confidence boost from appearing on the show; just going on that first date seems to have given some of them the self-esteem to date successfully and go on to find love. 

As much as I adore that the show has done this for them and that hopefully it does the same for others who even just watch it and feel empowered by it,  I just can't get past the fact that the name undermines the whole point and is simply just offensive.

I know the name is probably supposed to be a bit of lighthearted humour and a spin on the fact that the participants clearly actually are dateable (because isn't everyone?), but is it really all that funny or ironic to brand people could already be low in confidence as undateable?

We had a bit of a debate about this at work and a colleague pointed out that the 'un' is apparently knocked away in the titles to essentially make the title The Dateables. As well intentioned as that might be, I managed to miss that (and I work in telly so I really should notice these things...) so I imagine plenty of other people don't notice either.

I feel like I haven't really reached a conclusion to this post, as I have such mixed feelings about this programme! Essentially, the programme itself is lovely and respectful, yet the title isn't. Have you ever watched The Undateables? If so I'd love to hear what you think and if you agree/disagree with me about the title!

Amy x

2 comments

  1. I've watched a few episodes of this and I think it is a good show in the sense that it gives them more confidence to go out and on dates/ask people out etc.. but I've always really hated the title - that in itself could knock someones confidence if they have one of the disorders and see the show!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style, Beauty Blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. I completely agree! I'm glad that it's not just me that thinks that!

    Amy x

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog, I read them all so remember to tick 'Notify' if you want to see my reply!