I was watching First Dates and doing what I think many of us do: Imagining how amazingly funny, deep, entertaining, charming I’d be, if I were in their place. I’d know exactly what to say to anyone — even to the fella who does nude performance art in a bog (“But what about the midges?”).
One thing I hope I would not say is: ‘I’m a gentlemen, so ladies first LOL’ at the end, for the decision. Anyone who says ‘ladies first’ on First Dates is not being a gentleman. They are being a twat. Going first on First Dates is like being thrown first into a pool, where you don’t know if it’s deep enough. Whoever comes next can see you break your coccyx off the bottom and change their mind. While watching, I came up with my most brilliant crap idea yet: First Playdates.
It’s a reality TV show, where two sets/individuals of parents/guardians bring their children to a playground/house/adventure play centre/9th Circle of Hell and go on a playdate together and the parents have to interact, as well. It’s Secret Life of Four-Year-Olds Meets First Dates Meets Judge Judy Meets Potentially Jeremy Kyle. Perhaps we could have them swap children in order for Channel 4 to bite.
And unlike First Dates, which can be saturated with influencers with excessive eyebrow-care routines, people on First PlayDates will be just exhausted and probably covered in their children’s detritus. And therefore far more accessible. Dads in Dad-outfits pulling assorted objects from pockets that had been stored there, out of the way. A vegetable peeler that was on the floor. Mams trying to prevent their hair from getting into the Cow ’n’ Gate.
There would be so much to watch out for in contrasting parenting styles. What will the parents’ reaction be when a soother falls on the ground? Will they discard it and take a replacement from a jar of liquid nitrogen to ensure it’s sterile. Or will they retrieve the soother from the pile of asbestos it fell on, wash it in their own mouths, and then pop it back in the child. Because it’s good dirt and it’ll toughen them up.
What about different snack philosophies? Skittle and Malteser Supreme versus ‘Well, we try not to give Striapach anything that hasn’t originated from the elder tree’.
Or discipline — how do the parents react when there is clear punching going on between the toddlers? Do they sit down and carefully explain what the toddler has done wrong, while the other parent shouts “RIGHT, THAT’S IT, YOU HAVE MADE MAMMY AND DADDY UNHAPPY AND WE ARE LEAVING AND NO-ONE WILL EVER GET ANY TREATS OR ANYTHING NICE AGAIN.”
Will they say “ah, that’s grand, shur they’re only small” or threaten to get a solicitor and tell the other parent to read We Need To Talk About Kevin.
But the kicker is this: if the couples agree to do another playdate, they will be rewarded with two hours of childcare in the bar of the hotel, among themselves. And that’s when they get on famously. Drinking, exhausted, talking about their children — which is how most parents’ day ends, anyway.
There are a couple of challenges to marketing the show. The demographic that are in it will need to be awake to watch it. Those without children may not want to watch it, because who wants an awkward vision of your future? The best audience would be people who have reared their children, saying “I’m glad we got the snip; I wouldn’t go back to them days for love or money.”
TV companies come talk to me. This is my brainchild.