Phat Joe, the host of Take Me Out.

THIS landed in my inbox the other day: “The most entertaining dating show South Africa has ever seen! The hour-long, 13-episode show promises laughter, wit, fun and more. The aim of the show is for a single male to do his best to impress a line-up of 30 single female participants.

“Unimpressed females will turn off their white lights. Three rounds of eliminations will determine whether the bachelor selects one female participant to go out on a date with or whether he will leave the show empty-handed.”

Sound familiar? Yes, I could name a few shows with a similar format so I’m not too sure about the “most entertaining dating show South Africa has ever seen” bit.

Of course, we love dating shows, but they have to be far removed from The Bachelor because that has been done to death.

Take Me Out is hosted by Phat Joe, whom we could not pin down to defend why South Africa needs a show like this or why it is the “most entertaining”. However, that did not deter us from looking at what Take Me Out promises against what other similar local shows have given us.

Take Me Out is basically The Bachelor sans the roses. It is based on appearances and first impressions. Although the participants go on a date, they don’t have enough time to explore each other’s personalities with all the cameras around them. Everyone involved is doing it to be on TV and, as with the unions on The Bachelor, these relationships never last.

Let’s talk about some shows that are contenders in the “entertaining dating show” category.

Remember SABC1’s Nyan’Nyan? This show saw struggling couples talk to the host about their issues. In most cases their problems had to do with infidelity and the partners involved stated their cases and defended their positions. After a long chat, and after the host had words with them, they would decide whether they wanted to continue seeing each other. The intensity of the discussions showed how real the show was and most of the issues viewers could relate to.

Then there was’s Forgive & Forget (whatever happened to that, by the way?) which featured people in broken relationships having one last attempt at mending their unions. Again, the stories they shared were easy for viewers to relate to.

Take Me Out, on the other hand, is an incubated process of setting up scenarios just to see how people will respond. At best, it will be amusing to watch, but certainly not “the most entertaining dating show South Africa has ever seen”.

• Take Me Out airs every Tuesday at 9pm on SABC1.