Anorak

Anorak | The Undateables is freak show TV for the caring masses

The Undateables is freak show TV for the caring masses

by | 12th, April 2012

THE Undateables is the new troll-baiting series from channel 4. The show follows disabled and less good looking people – Richard-with-Asperger’s, Justin with neurofibromatosis type 1, Penny-with-brittle-bones and Luke-with-Tourette’s – trying to pull. It’s exploitative crap, right? Only the Undatables all get dates via a dating service – even Justin, who treated us to this exchange with his date:

Justin: “What’s your favourite soup?”
Tracey: “Anything.”

Justin: “Tomato.”
Tracey: “Tomato and basil.”
Jason: “I’m with you there.”

It’s the undateable in pursuit of the uncringeable. It might be us. But it isn’t because this is Channel 4 and the “us” are tossers who are targeted by posters depicting the faces of the show’s subjects alongside the word “Undateable”. It’s all about the normal gawping at the freaks, a Bedlam cloaked in orchestreated liberal values. It is all about telly. The Undateable are labelled and dated because they can get a date on the telly.

Tracy Clark-Flory notes:

Lisa Egan, a Brit who blogs about disability issues, says… “My problem with the show is its obsession with ‘confidence,'” she says. One of the issues with “the confidence rubbish” is that “there’s an element of victim blaming going on,” she explains. “If you’re disabled and you can’t get a shag it must be because you’re just not confident enough. ‘It’s nothing to do with our prejudices, oh no. It’s you. You must try harder.'”

Hephzibah Anderson observes:

For anyone who’s ever sifted through online dating profiles, each aiming at something quirky and thus all hitting a single, conformist note, there’s something undeniably impressive about these individuals. Lumping them together is a patronising premise, but in the end, it’s we the audience whom the voiceover really patronises, whether it’s reminding us of what Asperger’s entails or driving home the way modern romance encourages us to commodify one another.

Nonsense. It’s just freak show TV. Channel 4 sticks people on the magic box whom only ever appear on local news bulletins or as props on a celeb’s latest cause and says it’s breaking ground. It isn’t. It’s just TV executives sliding though its own ooze…



Posted: 12th, April 2012 | In: TV & Radio Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink