AAt first, the concept behind new dating show Let’s Make a Love Scene (Channel 4) seems complicated, though it eventually turns out to be a lot of faff around one simple question: out of three options, who makes a person? most whimsical? Host Ellie Taylor, who does a lot of heavy comedy work, says it’s a dating show that “does like the movies”. He’s trying to figure out if you can “test sexual chemistry by pretending,” which doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. “It happens in the movies, so why not in real life? Taylor asks, a question thankfully no one thought to apply to Jurassic Park.
Ultimately, it’s sexy cosplay on a dinner platter. In this week’s first episode, a leading man has to re-enact three steamy scenes from the movies with three leading women, and at the end of all that smooching and grinding, he chooses his favorite woman for a proper date. Apparently, the leading ladies are movie buffs who definitely picked the movies on their own because they love them so much, and are absolutely not given a movie with a sex scene by the producers. They then have to star in their own versions of those sex scenes. This week it’s key moments from 9½ Weeks, Mr & Mrs Smith and Out of Sight, led by lucky Lailand, 22, who plays rugby and clearly knows how to flirt.
Asking two strangers to fake sex for the cameras without first establishing boundaries and comfort levels wouldn’t be very 2022, so naturally there’s an acting coach and intimacy consultant on hand, who will mostly revolve around trying to get the young couple to pretend they’re playing, not just receiving a free pass to kiss while playing dress up. (This show is, surely, a nightmare for anyone in a relationship with an actor.) “What are they thought and feelingsays the acting coach, in an attempt to get Lailand to inhabit his character in 9 1/2 weeks. He thinks about it carefully. “He’d probably get a boner,” he says. Actors Studio, indeed.
Instead of just showing us the recreations of the sex scenes, however, they show us all the work that went into them. It’s not so much that there’s little left for the imagination, it’s that the imagination is completely abandoned: film sets are, in general, very boring places with more waiting than queues. waiting for airports this summer. Now, whenever you see Out of Sight, don’t think of J.Lo confidently and slowly undressing in front of George Clooney. Instead, think of a confessed Welsh cougar and a young man amused by his huge boxers on a shonky platter. There’s a film crew yelling things like “Shove it!” (mind out of the gutter, it’s still mainstream TV) and “Let’s have a little bucket waiting?” Taylor is deadpan when needed, the program has enough self-awareness to recognize its own trashy side, and there are times when the absurdity is fun (“Eggs and jelly bite aside, it’s is pretty hot”). But clearly no one on this show is looking for love. I love the potential for romance in a dating show – this group is just looking for some TV time.
The problem is, once you get past the gimmick, it’s just the familiar format of three dates followed by a winner, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single dating show like this where there’s no It hasn’t been clear who will get him the second they meet. It’s just that here they have to do a little more than cook dinner. Like I said, it looks like a faff.