If you had a television in the mid-2000s, you might remember iconic reality shows like Big Brother, The Bachelor, or Survivor. However, there are also many shows that ended up fading into obscurity after limited runs with little to no success.
Specifically, awful dating shows were something we had a plethora of that just never seemed to stick around for long. Whether it was the concept or controversial incidents that happened on the shows, some of these "gems" were forgotten for a reason, and quite frankly probably shouldn't have existed in the first place. Want to take a trip down memory lane? Let's see how many of these awful dating shows are buried in the recesses of your mind!
10 Dating in the Dark
A spin-off of a Dutch franchise, Dating in the Dark originally aired on ABC. The premise seems to mean well: men and women interact and date each other inside a dark room before choosing which of the group they would like to see revealed. During the reveal, they must stay silent, and then decide if they want to pursue a relationship or not by waiting for one another on the balcony or exiting the house.
Though the program asserted that love could blossom based on personality alone, audiences weren't biting, and the program was canceled after just 2 seasons.
9 For Love Or Money
For Love Or Money took the concept of dating shows to the extreme by promising its contestants a million dollar prize if they rejected the main bachelor of the show. Of course, the male star was not notified of this twist until the end of the series.
To avoid the premise being spoiled after the 1st season, Seasons 1 and 2 were shown back to back, as were Seasons 3 and 4. The twists and turns became too hard to follow, though, and audiences checked out after the airing of the 4th season.
8 Boy Meets Boy
Masquerading as a progressive version of the Bachelor, Boy Meets Boy cast a gay man as the main decision-maker who chose from a mix of gay and straight contestants to find his perfect mate. However, he was not informed that not all the men were gay, as were the gay contestants.
If he chose a gay man as the winner, they both would win a trip, and he would win money. If he chose a straight man, the man would win money and he would get nothing. For those thinking that this show is as problematic as it sounds, we suppose that audiences agreed, since the show never returned to Bravo for a 2nd season.
7 Momma's Boys
This trainwreck of a show only lasted 1 season, and for good reason, while 32 women for vying for the affections of 3 men, the men's mothers were also living in the house with the female contestants and had a say in who was eliminated, effectively choosing who their son should date.
Momma's Boys was even more famous for the insensitive remarks made by one of the mothers, Khalood Bojanowsk, a 50 year old Iraqi-Catholic woman who, in the premiere, stated that she can't have her son dating "a black one; I can't have an Asian one; I can't have a fat-butt girl." She also stated, "Nooo! No Jewish girl... I'm sorry, but I can't handle them. It has to be a white girl." Ouch. Did we mention that Ryan Seacrest produced this show?!
6 Beauty and the Geek
If you think some of our modern dating shows enforce gender stereotypes, then wait until you see this show! Produced by Ashton Kutcher, Beauty and the Geek pits teams of super attractive women against nerdy men, creating the ultimate "social experiment," to find out if the two can learn from one another, and also make money in the process.
The show wasn't specifically about dating, but that didn't mean that kisses weren't exchanged! The geeks ended up with makeovers by the season's end, and the beauties were usually able to gather some further intellect from their geek counterparts, so we guess that counts for something!
5 EX-Treme Dating
Have you ever had an ex that tried to foil your new relationship? Have you ever had it happen on live television? Well, Ex-Treme Dating took that idea to a new level when it paired two people together, along with their exes, who spoke to them in earpieces in order to try to break up the couple and win a prize for themselves.
The show lasted for 2 seasons, until it was promptly cancelled. We're just surprised this concept didn't lead to more off-screen drama between the disgruntled exes!
4 Average Joe
Average Joe focused upon a beauty queen who was led to believe she would be dating super attractive men, but was surprised with a group of "average" men that didn't quite fit that conventional mold. The Average Joes tried to woo her into making a connection, however, they were unaware that a group of handsome men would join the competition halfway through to have their shot at love.
The series lasted 4 seasons, spanning 2005 to 2008. To avoid the twist premise being leaked, season and 1 and 2 were both filmed before the first aired. Average Joe is an average show that is probably better left in the mid 2000s where it belongs.
3 I Wanna Marry "Harry"
This doozy of a show made its way to air in 2014, pitting ladies against one another for the affections of none other Prince "Harry." Okay, so it wasn't actually Prince Harry.
In a move that many would call deceitful and others would call disgusting, Fox execs picked what turned out to be a very convincing Harry lookalike, casting him in the role in order to fool the contestants into thinking that it was the actual Prince Harry. The audience that watched the show wasn't fooled, however, and it only lasted 4 episodes before being pulled from the air and dumped online.
2 Megan Wants A Millionaire
Megan Wants A Millionaire starred previous reality show contestant Megan Hauserman, who had come to prominence on the aforementioned Beauty and the Geek, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, and I Love Money. Hauserman received her own VH1 spin-off, mimicking the style of the Bachelor franchise, in which she was able to date and eliminate multi-millionaire contestants.
The show gained more notoriety, however, for featuring a contestant named Ryan Jenkins, who was the suspect of a homicide investigation. After this information came to light, VH1 cancelled the rest of Megan Wants A Millionaire, as well as the third season of I Love Money, as Jenkins was reportedly the winner.
1 Playing It Straight
Yikes. This problematic program would definitely not make its way to post today. The premise: an attractive single woman lives on a ranch with a bunch of male contestants that she will date a la Bachelor-style.
However, the twist is that some of the men are actually gay pretending to be straight, and the others are actually straight. The woman must determine which men are gay and which are straight by going on dates, and if she ended up picking a gay man in the end, she received no prize money. However, if he were straight, then the couple would split the money.
Not only is this concept controversial--it is offensive nowadays to the LGBTQ+ community, enforcing harmful stereotypes about gender and orientation. Maybe this one is better off forgotten!