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11 Of The Most Outrageous And Bizarre Dating Shows

05/07/2017 2:51 AM AEST | Updated 05/07/2017 2:51 AM AEST

There’s no denying it, dating shows are having a real renaissance right now.

Whether it’s Paul O’Grady taking over from Cilla Black on ‘Blind Date’, the whole nation watching through their fingers as strangers bare all on ‘Naked Attraction’ or the slightly more tame efforts of ‘First Dates’, it seems we can’t get enough of seeing how a load of strangers behave during their search for The One.

As shows like ‘Ex On The Beach’, ‘Just Tattoo Of Us’ and, of course, ‘Love Island’ thrive, producers are having to be a little creative when it comes to new dating show formats.

However, while more extreme new offerings might feel like they’re pushing the envelopes, boundary-pushing dating shows are actually nothing new - and here are 10 of the most outrageous offerings from recent years gone by...

  • 1 'Playing It Straight'
    Channel 4
    It all seemed like a bit of a laugh at the time, but in hindsight, a reality series based entirely around whether you can guess if a group of men are gay or straight is guilty of perpetuating stereotypes at best and outright homophobic at worst.
  • 2 'There's Something About Miriam'
    REX/Shutterstock
    Of course, that's nothing compared to Sky's 'There's Something About Miriam', during which the titular Miriam chose a match from a variety of suitors, only to drop the bombshell at the end that she is transgender.

    The men in question played along on camera, but prior to the series' airdate, they collectively tried to sue Sky, alleging conspiracy to commit sexual assault, defamation, breach of contract, and personal injury in the form of psychological and emotional damage.

    Wow.
  • 3 'I Wanna Marry Harry'
    Fox
    The premise of this completely ridiculous show was that a group of women were flown to the UK, where they competed for the affections of a man they were led to believe was Prince Harry.

    As you can see, the man in question was not Prince Harry, but a rather dubious lookalike. As the contestants figured out fairly quickly.

    Eventual winner Kimberly Birch later hit out at the show, claiming the girls were manipulated into thinking they were just being paranoid when they voiced their doubts to producers, who even went as far as urging them to speak to a fake therapist for reassurance.

    Surprisingly dark, for a seemingly frivolous dating show based around the fact that "marry" rhymes with "Harry".
  • 4 'Baggage'
    Channel 4
    A dating show (for some reason hosted by Gok Wan) that revolved around contestants putting their worst foot forward, by exposing their most annoying habits and airing their dirty laundry.

    We can't think why this didn't work, tbh.
  • 5 'The X Effect'
    MTV
    The premise of this bizarre American show is that a couple would be treated to a luxury weekend for two. The only downside? You have to spend it with your ex, rather than your current partner.

    At the end of the show, both halves of the pair choose whether to stick with their current partner or return to their ex.

    Brutal, but admittedly we'd probably tune in if they made a British version.
  • 6 'Man O Man'
    ITV
    This '90s show gave the female contestants all the power.

    Each round, they'd be presented with a line-up of men, and if they didn't like what they saw... they pushed them in a swimming pool behind them.

    A simple - but no doubt satisfying - format.
  • 7 'The Cougar'
    TV Land
    Exactly what it sounds like, but what was particularly special about this was show was the way the eponymous cougar would whittle down her suitors.

    The "Kiss-Off" would see Stacey Anderson, the cougar in question, kiss a hopeful either on the lips or cheek, depending on whether she wanted him to stay or go.

    Biblical.
  • 8 'Married By America'
    Channel 4
    Sort of a 'Married At First Sight'-meets-'American Idol' affair, viewers at home paired up the couples, who then immediately became engaged, via a public vote.

    They then moved to a ranch for a three-week period, where they were eliminated one by one. Eventually, none of the couples chose to follow through with their engagement and actually tie the knot, rendering the whole thing totally pointless.

    Money well spent.
  • 9 'The Littlest Groom'
    Fox
    After just two episodes, and a whoooole lot of negative reaction from viewers, 'The Littlest Groom' - centering around 4'5" Glen Foster looking for love - was cancelled in 2004.
  • 10 'Chains Of Love'
    Endemol
    As the title suggests, this show revolved around one 'Picker', who found themselves chained to four prospective dates for four straight days (all at the same time) while cameras filmed their every move.

    Each night, the so-called 'Picker' would cut one perspective date, with whom they would then share a hefty cash prize.
  • 11 'The Ultimate Merger'
    Mike Coppola via Getty Images
    A show that saw 'Apprentice' US star Omarosa on the lookout for The One. To help her is everyone's favourite matchmaker, Donald Trump, who helped choose her initial shortlist.

    Because who would you want playing Cupid more than the always-tasteful Mr Rational himself, Donald J Trump?

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