Monday, December 10, 2007

date lab: another chance to mock others!

I should probably be ashamed to admit that my favorite part of getting the Sunday Washington Post is because of a little section in the Sunday magazine called DateLab -- a weekly run-down of two DC-tools on a slightly awkward date.

But I'm unabashedly not ashamed. This sh*t could (I can't emphasize the "could" enough here) be genius à la Blind Date, which, I hope you agree, is hands-down the most entertaining television dating show ever created (whaddup Roger Lodge!).

Like Blind Date, DateLab relies heavily on the inherent social awkwardness of a first date between strangers. However, instead of drunken sluts, the Post brings together one hapless male tool and one desperate female tool (once, they even brought together two hapless and desperate lesbian tools) and then edits the recap using the "he said, she said" composition.

I see such great, great potential with this, but rarely am I left satisfied. Why? Well, for one, the dearth of drunken sluts automatically makes for less entertaining fare. But also, it seems everything always turns out so damn average.

Rarely are the two people into each other, but even more rarely (and this clearly would be the most enjoyable type of article to read) do they absolutely despise each other. Instead, the DateLab dates are always "slightly above average," "a 3.5 out of 5," "maybe I'll e-mail her in the future." But however they quantify their bromidic dinner dates, the two people chosen always make for rather boring reads.

Let's take last Sunday's as an example: Cori, 29, a law student, and Tim, 28, a director of marketing, meet at Station 9 on U Street. They order food, they eat, they talk about international human rights law and they go home. Yawn. For God's sake, even the tools on the date realize how dang boring they are: "I wish it were a total disaster or a total success, because it would be a better story," said Cori.

True, Cori. Double true. Now maybe it's just me, but I want these dates to end with these people shambling out. Either they do it in the bathroom (à la drunken sluts) or someone gets a drink thrown in his (or her) face.

Honestly, any activity that goes beyond mundane "small talk" would suffice. Maybe one of them mixes Vicodin and wine and painfully sings "Memories" from Cats in a smoky karaoke dive; perhaps one of them ends up eyeing the waiter (or waitress) and begins making really, really inappropriate remarks; possibly one of them has Tourette's. I mean, honestly, Washington Post DateLab Editor, I'm looking for some action here -- any action -- to spice up these made-to-be-only-slightly-awkward situations.

I tell you, I'm tempted to apply for DateLab myself just to ensure an interesting article (I do a pretty great fake lazy eye and I love -- love -- causing scenes). Yet, even without, well, me on the date, I'll probably still continue to look forward to DateLab each and every Sunday. Why? Because, yes, I'm that easily entertained. And also, the constant influx of two new tools to mock each week provides more fodder for my vapid little blog.


World Champ Stephen Neal said...

Blind Date is government programming aimed at mindless robots who consume fluoride and maintain the status quo. If you like this show, you are a pawn of the Man.

Marissa said...

world champ stephen neal-

I love robots! If I had started my blog in time for Halloween, you could've seen my valiant effort to become one.

How do you feel about Change of Heart? That one's more status quo ante, don't you think? Totally for asbestos consumers.

PS - Your beard is revolutionary.

Anonymous said...

Only attention whores would do something like Date Lab.

Marissa said...


Exactly. Which is exactly why I not-so-secretly want to get involved!