First dates are the worst. Before you’ve let your insanity fully show, and the conversation runs in circles as you each desperately rack your brain for something interesting to say. And what’s more, we all have that one disaster story that, while great to tell at parties, was a horror to live through.
Modern TV writers are, after all, people too – so we have to wonder if any of the following are drawn from real life experience, or simply products of the “worst case scenario” part of their minds. Hopefully none of us will ever experience anything quite this bad in real life.
Here is Screen Rant’s list of the 12 Worst First Dates on Television.
12. Rachel and Steve – Friends
In season 9’s “The One with the Blind Dates,” Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) devise a plan to set Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) up on terrible blind dates in order to push them closer together and reignite their on-again/off-again relationship. While Ross is left alone in a restaurant, stood up by a woman who was never invited, Rachel is on a date with Steve (guest star Jon Lovitz), a man who repeatedly lists his flaws and disappears every few minutes to get high, whilst explaining that he lost his business to drugs.
While Rachel initially attempts to make the best of a bad situation, the date rapidly descends in to a nightmare scenario as Steve proclaims “I have no money, I’m not funny, I live in a studio apartment with two other guys, and I’m pretty sure I’m infertile.” At least he likes his hair…
11. The Naked Man – How I Met Your Mother
The first dates in this season 4 episode of How I Met Your Mother are numerous. Many of them could be considered awful, but ultimately it is Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) that sees the worst outcome.
After Robin (Cobie Smulders) sleeps with less-than-perfect Mitch (Adam Paul) on the first date, the gang become embroiled in admiration and intrigue at the technique Mitch used. He calls it “The Naked Man,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Mitch goes up to the woman’s apartment, waits for her to leave the room, and gets naked. His proclamation is that it works two out of three times, guaranteed.
As the episode moves forward, three of the gang go on to try out the new potential addition to the Play Book. While Ted (Josh Radnor) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) both succeed in their Naked Man attempts, Barney’s date with Cristina (Candace Moon) doesn’t go quite as well – and he is thrown out of her apartment butt-naked without his wallet and phone.
10. Mark and Jeremy double date – Peep Show
Early in the first season of Peep Show, the show established the foundations for its main comedic themes – sexual disappointment and horrendous social awkwardness. This episode celebrated both, and saw Jeremy (Robert Webb) and Mark (David Mitchell) go on a double date to the local bowling alley – Jeremy bringing his bitter, married, pyramid scheme selling neighbor Toni (Elizabeth Marmur) and Mark bringing a fishnet-clad, pierced teenager (Flora Newbigin) he met at a party a few hours earlier.
The cataclysm of events that follow include an enormous argument between the two women about the merits and pitfalls of Peter Gabriel, Mark’s first experience with drugs, and a chance encounter with Mark’s office crush (who just so happens to be on a date with his office nemesis). Mark winds up manically throwing his groceries down the bowling lane and ultimately getting banned from the bowling alley.
9. Moe and Selma – The Simpsons
When Lisa (Yeardley Smith) becomes interested in astrology, she is becomes disillusioned when she is unable to see the stars for the light pollution. Eventually, she manages to convince the town to shut the lights out at night so that she can study the skies – and when the lights come back on, Moe (Hank Azaria) and Selma (Julie Kavner) are revealed to be making out, and both are horrified to realize that neither is whom the other thought.
In a much later episode (“Lisa Simpson, This Isn’t Your Life”) Moe takes Selma on a cheap, Moe-style date – responding to allegations of being a cheapskate with the ever romantic pick-up line “I’m not cheap baby, I’m just embarrassed to be seen with you. Big difference.”
8. Sheldon and Amy – The Big Bang Theory
After several seasons of seeming very much like an asexual loner, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) decide to enlist the help of a dating site in order to set Sheldon (Jim Parsons) up on a date. Whilst skeptical at first, Amy (Mayim Bialik) soon reveals herself to be something of a “female Sheldon.”
While the date might not be awful for the new couple, it certainly becomes terrifying for Raj and Howard as it dawns on them what they have done – they’ve doubled the amount of “Sheldon” in their life. “Oh dear God, there’s two of them.”
7. Roy and Patricia – The IT Crowd
Poor Roy (Chris O’Dowd) never has much luck in love throughout the series – but the worst of his dates has to be with Patricia (Alice Lowe), one of the girls who works on a higher floor in the office. As the taxi drops the two of them back at Patricia’s house, she finds herself unable to point out that which has been obvious since the opening moments of the episode – Roy has poop smudged on his forehead.
While Roy is clearly angling for an invite into Patricia’s flat for a “cup of tea” (yes, that is a genuine pick-up line in the UK), she caves and tells him “you’ve got s**t on your head” – he examines the faux pas, claiming it to be chocolate. They both have a good laugh – “I thought you were some sort of disgusting weirdo!” – but Roy never does get that “cup of tea”…
6. Leslie and Dave – Parks and Recreation
In this cringe-worthy episode of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) has landed a date with police officer Dave (Louis C.K). Leslie’s best friend Ann (Rashida Jones) takes her on a practice date where she realizes Leslie has over-prepared, with note cards and a practiced fake-laugh.
However, when trying to loosen Leslie up for her date with Dave, Ann gets her friend extremely drunk and Leslie turns up at Dave’s house, berating him for making her so nervous, and throwing up – before being rushed to hospital to have her stomach pumped.
5. Clara and Danny – Doctor Who
In true Doctor Who style, Clara (Jenna Colman) – the Doctor’s companion – is committed to the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), despite the fact that he has suddenly grown a new face and turned Scottish. However, this particular first date is not with the Doctor – rather with a fellow teacher from the school in which she works, Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson). At the very start of the date, the two offend each other straight off the bat, and Clara decides to leave to avoid further confrontation – and finds the Doctor in her house.
He asks her to use the TARDIS’ telepathic link to take the time machine back to her youth – but preoccupied with the night’s events, she takes him to Danny’s childhood instead. Inspired by what she sees, she later returns to the restaurant to apologize… but accidentally reveals what she now knows about his childhood. This time, Danny leaves. The episode continues back and forth through time, as Clara learns more about Danny’s past and future. There’s a happy ending, though, and she returns to Danny’s house at the end of the episode to apologize, and the pair kiss.
4. Princess Carolyn and Vincent – Bojack Horseman
In season 1 of the incredibly funny Bojack Horseman, Bojack (Will Arnett) has recently broken up with his on-again/off-again girlfriend Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), when he bumps in to her at a bar while out with his roommate, Todd (Aaron Paul). Princess Carolyn is evidently attempting to make Bojack jealous when she hits on the closest “man” in the bar – who says his name is Vincent Adultman (Alison Brie), a business man who works in business.
While she doesn’t appear to see anything wrong with the situation, Bojack sits in the corner of the bar repeatedly pointing out that Vincent is, quite clearly two children wearing a trench coat. This doesn’t perturb Princess Carolyn, who responds very well to the question “would you like a alcohol?” before embarking on a season long relationship with the “gentleman.”
3. Owen and Christina – Grey’s Anatomy
After a pretty interesting introduction to each other – (he pulled an icicle out of her abdomen) – Christina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin Kidd) make plans to go on an official date. Sadly, Owen – who hasn’t dated anyone since before he went to Iraq as an army doctor – lets nerves get the better of him, which triggers his PTSD.
He decides to take the edge off by going for a drink… and ends up having more than just the one. He arrives at Cristina’s apartment several hours later, after the restaurant has closed, steaming drunk. She tells him he needs to go take a shower, which he does – fully clothed, in her apartment.
2. Buffy and Principal Wood – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) date with Principal Wood (D.B. Woodside) initially starts off well – after Willow (Alyson Hannigan) has convinced her that it’s a good idea – and the two of them get chatting. He soon reveals, however, that he is an amateur demon hunter, and that his mother was a vampire slayer who was murdered by a vampire. On paper, that’s a match made in heaven for Buffy – but as we know, her orientation tends to be more of the Hell Mouth persuasion.
However, the date is interrupted when the scoobies are summoned to rescue Xander from his own awkward date – ending up with Principal Wood sharing his car with Buffy’s soulless evil vampire ex-lover, Spike. It’s not a comfortable moment.
1. George and the Unemployment Worker’s Daughter – Seinfeld
When George (Jason Alexander) gets busted by his unemployment counselor for not looking for work, he latches on to another scheme to get his benefits extended, by resorting to dating the counselor’s unmarried daughter (Carol Ann Susi).
She seems particularly keen, despite being taken for a Big Mac for dinner, and George does his best to dodge any progression of the relationship – given his extremely high standards for a short, bald fat man – despite her tenacity and offers for him to come upstairs. At least she manages to sneak in a cringey kiss goodnight before taking off and never seeing her again.
Can you think of any other terrible first dates that were shown on the telly? Let us know in the comments!