One thing is clear from the first episode of Seven’s new dating show Take Me Out -Joel Creasey has this show wrapped around his finger, baby.
Owning the stage from beginning to end, Creasey is given free rein to ad-lib and double-entendre his way through the gameplay. And when the host is having such natural fun, chances are high so too will the audience.
Take Me Out owes is derivation to Taken Out, a FremantleMedia Australia-devised format which screened on TEN in 2008 with host James Kerley. Although it didn’t survive too long it was tweaked and produced overseas, most notably as China’s cult If You Are the One.
Now it has come full circle, returning to Australia in a one hour format with a shinier floor and a “Knight in Shining Armani” host.
The format is invitingly simple. There are 30 single woman who are presented with 1 single bloke. The more info they learn about him -his work, his hobbies and romantic aspirations- the more they will like or dislike him.
“No likey, no lighty” Creasey instructs, as 30 lit podiums are whittled down to just 2. Then the power shifts and the bloke decides who he wants. Sometimes the prospects are cruel, with the majority of women unimpressed with the offer. On other occasions it’s a polite catfight for a hottie and the challenge of standing out without looking too eager.
The lucky couple, and there are 4 across the opening episode, win a sublime beach getaway, “and by that we mean the Gold Coast” divulges Creasey. Yup, even in the 1980s Perfect Match stretched the budget to Great Keppel or Tangalooma Resort.
Amongst the 30 girls is an endurance hula hoop performer (who knew?), model, Indigenous artist and the giddy Mallory whose celebrity shoulder-rubbing thus far extends to meeting Paul “Fatty” Vautin. Producers have encouraged them to dance, whoop and deliver punchline responses, which is part of an over-producing problem.
The single blokes also play to the studio audience, with one proving to have stripper skills and another acrobatic flair (we now get demonstrations). It makes me question if they are straight from casting agents and whether their intentions are as genuine as Mallory’s….
Yet while this doesn’t enjoy the quirky cultural insights of China’s version (“When you came on stage you looked like a noodle”) it is an easy watch. The format has fun with speed dating in a way that The Bachelor would never entertain, although could be short and sweet at 30 instead of 60 minutes.
Viewers will probably be demanding a gender swap with 30 men after the first 2 episodes and a same-sex version after 3. Seven is understood to have filmed a short-run with all remaining contestants rolled over from episode to episode, so they won’t be happening anytime soon.
Nevertheless, Creasey as Camp Cupid is in his element as master of ceremonies here and if dating shows are your thang, you’ll want to swipe right.
Take Me Out screens 7:30pm Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th September on Seven.