‘Celebs Go Dating’ Will Remind You To Never Settle — And Always Order The Fries

When you’re in the mood for something nice, Sweet Streams is a column that explores the unique personal connections we have with pop culture. There are so many pleasant options to stream, and while we’ve all heard, “It’s so good!” this aims to explain the joyful and meaningful feelings certain TV shows, movies, and music can elicit.

I keep referring to Celebs Go Dating as one of my favorite “trashy British reality shows” and that’s not entirely wrong, but it’s also not entirely right. Three seasons of the popular UK series finally landed Stateside on Hulu last month and I’d be withholding the truth from you if I didn’t reveal that I’ve since spent the majority of my weekends in bed watching this show. It might be cold outside but wow oh wow does this one warm my heart.

I know, it’s a reality show about celebrities, and really, it should be “celebrities,” as they are mostly former reality stars looking to collect yet another round of Instagram followers and the bag of cash that comes from sponsored posts. And yes, we’re watching them go on dates with strangers that range from totally cringe to surprisingly sweet. But to call it trash, even affectionately, is dismissive (take note, me!). Similar to shows like Love Island or The Bachelor, these TV staples don’t just take our mind off of the world or help us relax. They are teaching us something as well. Whether you realize it or not, you’re likely asking yourself as you watch, “Would I act like that with a potential partner?” or “Would I let them treat me like that?” Celebs Go Dating is also equipped with “dating agents” that dole out the best dating advice I’ve ever heard on a reality show, ever. Anna Williamson and Paul C. Brunson feel like coaches that are in your corner and want you to behave like a polite, civilized human being while also examining your wants and needs in a relationship in order to live your best life. It doesn’t feel manipulative or sneaky or concocted for drama. It feels…nice!

As did this pivotal moment from Season 6 involving David Potts from Ibiza Weekender, that maybe seemed silly at first, but actually says a whole lot more about relationships. David asks his date, “Do you like chips cheese, and gravy?” An innocent enough question, and a reminder that he’s talking about British chips, so in America, fries. Basically, a dish that most compares to Canadian poutine or in the States, disco fries. Rather international, really. His date, Ben, thinks about it briefly and declares, “No.” David’s mouth drops open, and Ben continues to dig himself into a hole, asking, “Why is there cheese on it?”

“What kind of person has never had chips, cheese and gravy?” David wonders in equal parts, disbelief and exasperation during his interview. He rightfully tells his date, “Honestly, you are literally missing out on so much in life.” But ultimately, he states in his interview, “No, look, I’m sorry, it’s not gonna happen, no, not for me, no way, sorry bye, no thanks.” And he’s right.

David’s very quick realization that this was not the person for him was not just about fries (though even if it was, that would be justifiable). It led to a bigger discussion about class, status, and lifestyle, and if Ben was “too posh” for him. If someone couldn’t understand your favorite snack that also served as a way of life, you should be considering if your lives would mesh, if this guy would want to only count calories and nibble on some salad leaves instead of digging into one of life’s greatest delights.

Watching this brought me back to over a decade ago when I went on a date with a guy who proudly told me that he owned his own brownstone in Brooklyn, NY, but did not own a television. I could not wrap my mind around this. I wondered what he hung on the wall and looked at after work, and this was long before everything was streamable and only having a computer would be acceptable. But as a pop culture lover, I simply didn’t know how he survived without watching the latest sitcom or a loop of perfect romcoms on a weekend afternoon or even the damn news. If he was cool with not having a TV, that’s great — but he would also definitely not have me.

With Valentine’s Day looming, as a very single person, part of me wants to suggest shutting it all down. How could we, at a time like this, subject ourselves to such a holiday? But, as Celebs Go Dating often reminds us, being single is all about being open and strong and resilient and hopeful. So start making valentines with construction paper and markers for your friends and family, draft what you want to say when you slide into that DM, or buy yourself that pricey bottle of wine. And I truly can’t recommend a binge of this show enough — it only makes me feel optimistic about dating and never bummed about being alone. And ultimately, it’s a reminder that there is no point and no joy in settling for someone that doesn’t get you, and especially not someone that doesn’t get the importance of fries.

Stream Celebs Go Dating on Hulu


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