If it’s getting increasingly difficult to distinguish one dating show from the next, here comes one that cuts to the chase.
Kiss Bang Love dispenses with the romance and asks one single to smooch 12 others, all blindfolded, to find their dream partner purely by touch, taste and smell. There are no rose ceremonies, no awkward dinner dates or fake weddings. There’s not even a host nor a set, really. Instead the crew, dressed in black, guide their singles into a bare room fitted with cameras as they find each others lips and get down to business.
In some countries public displays of affection are discouraged. Here it’s put under the spotlight as part-reality, part voyeurism in a show that could arguably be retitled Get A Room. Should I feel bad for watching?
The single in the first episode is 28 year old Lisa (why do Reality participants never have surnames, anyway?) who is attractive, engaging and could easily understudy Sam Frost.
“I’m just looking for the man of my dreams,” she insists, which includes having the qualities of her late father.
Her sister and best friend, seated in another room, watch a monitor and provide plenty of reactions. Ok, I guess they are the voyeurs, not me.
There are 12 single guys who will be escorted blindfolded to the kissing room. Once in the same space there’s no talking allowed, save for the producer who instructs, “When you’re ready guys.” With that the two lovebirds fumble towards one another until they embrace and kiss.
Josh, the first guy -who just happens to be a hunky firefighter- wastes no time. There’s tongue, more tongue, touching, caressing, giggling, and trepidation. It’s speed dating for kissers, but not all of the 12 are as smooth.
Lisa’s onlookers provide plenty of euphemisms and commentary, intermingled with reactions of the singles:
“Soft and sweet. He had like a good rhythm.”
“He gave it a red hot go.”
“Room for improvement.”
“I couldn’t really find her lips.”
“Get a bit of a pash rash from him”
“Look at him coming up from the rear.”
The show probably works best when Lisa warms to one kisser who her friends think is totally not her type, because it reminds us not to judge by appearances. Foxtel’s Dating in the Dark relied on similar principles. There is also one guy who is a bit of a plant…
When Lisa faces her guys for a second kiss, interestingly she becomes more nervous with the blindfold off than when it was on.
Lisa’s two favourites are whisked away to an overnight date. I figure this is when the Bang part of the title kicks in, but the cameras decide not to let me be a voyeur here. Should I call in the ACCC?
The final act comprises Lisa and her two guys, bags packed at the airport ready for her to ask just one on a romantic holiday.
The production draws upon very warm hues and grading that made the show more inviting, but I felt the length was a stretch for the premise. Once the kissing portion is done the show is also at risk of becoming a Bachelor copy.
Narrated by Sancia Robinson, at least this avoids some of the volatile partner arguments of others in the genre, and zeroes in on physical compatibility (no sign of Dexter, for those of you who remember).
I have little doubt this will appeal to female viewers ready for an awkward night in.
Kiss Bang Love premieres 8:45pm Tuesday on Seven.