This is what happens when I get rid of cable: I almost completely miss the fact that TLC will be launching a new show in a few weeks called “Geek Love,” about a speed dating event that takes place at conventions. The show hasn’t aired yet – it premieres December 18th – but already people are up in arms about the trailer.
The trailer features your typical geek stereotypes: the guy who makes Wookie calls, awkward pauses, and geek girls who appear far more socially competent than their male counterparts. Throw in an event coordinator who’s even more obnoxious than the geeks he’s trying to help, and it seems you’ve got a show that will make any geek cringe. Or do you?
The trailer certainly seems exploitative, playing up the awkwardness of the Wookie guy. What might be telling, though, is the fact that Ryan Glitch, who leads the speed dating events, is so terribly grating. He bemoans the fact that geeks need help dating, when he seems just as awkward, proclaiming “Normal people suck!” I’ve never heard anything negative about him or his speed dating events before, which makes me wonder if he was hamming it up for the camera.
Because, after all, what we’ll basically be watching is a pilot. The show needed to be sold to the carnival-freak-show sensibilities of TLC (home of “Toddlers and Tiaras” and a show where a woman eats hair), and perhaps this first episode did its best to deliver. The question is, now that it’s sold, will this show seize the opportunity to grow into something more?
There are all sorts of directions “Geek Love” could go, interesting experiments it could perform. For example, is there a difference in speed dating at conventions that are costume-heavy, as opposed to gaming conventions, where skimpy costumes are less prevalent? Are there more successful matches at conventions that are more genre-specific, as opposed to the large ones where there’s a little bit of everything?
I also wonder if there’s going to be any “personal” development. Will we follow couples after they click at speed dating? Will we be peeking into what makes Ryan Glitch tick? Maybe some behind-the-scenes aspects of the convention circuit? They’re going to have to go somewhere with this, because simply watching a new speed dating round each week will get old quickly, no matter how comical they try to make geek males.
Will I be watching? Well, I’m intrigued by the concept, but wary of the direction TLC has gone in the past. It would be lovely if we were all pleasantly surprised – and there is a fair amount of potential to go in interesting directions – but I won’t be holding my breath.
What about you? Will you be watching Geek Love? If you do choose to watch the show, will it be to get speed dating tips, check if there’s anyone you recognize, yell at the screen, or something else?