The Dating Game

Long before “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” (1965, to be precise), a popular TV show called “The Dating Game” debuted in which a young lady was invited to ask questions of three potential suitors who were hidden from her view.

At the end of the show, she’d decide which of the trio had left the most stellar impression on her and declare that this was the one with whom she’d like to go out on a date. He would then step from behind the screen, they would embrace, and then jet off on a chaperoned adventure paid for by the producers. Over the course of its two-decade run, the format underwent several alterations but still speaks to the notion that sometimes Cupid needs a little outside intervention.

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TABLE TOPICS

These discussion questions provide a good foundation prior to choosing which exercises to try first.

1. Have you ever been on a date? Who was it with and where did you go?
2. Would you ever go on a blind date? Why or why not?
3. Define the “perfect” Date Night.
4. Who should do the asking?
5. If halfway through a date you realize that it’s not going well, would you cut it short or stay for the duration?
6. If you wanted a date for the prom but had not yet been approached by the person you really like, would you continue to wait or go with the first person who asks you?
7. If you wrote a classified ad about yourself in the Personals section, what would it say?

IS HEIGHT AN ISSUE FOR YOU?
Rumpelstiltskin

One of The Dating Game’s popular twists featured a reversal format in which it was an eligible bachelor posing the questions to three young bachelorettes. Even celebrities got in on the act and surprised many a giggly winner when the star’s true identity was finally revealed.

Your assignment: In a reboot of the series, you’ve been asked to script the first installment as a teaser for the audience. The bachelor du jour is none other than Rumpelstiltskin and the trio of prospective dates includes Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and Snow White. Write a four-page scene in which the participants are precluded from asking/answering questions that would disclose their real names.

BOY TROUBLE
Ophelia 375

Even in the age of Shakespeare, getting the object of one’s affections to commit was no easy task. Romance is especially encumbered if (1) his parents and your parents hate each other, (2) your beau is obsessed with conspiracy theories, and (3) the guy you’re crushing on thinks that you’re another guy.

Your assignment: Juliet (“Romeo and Juliet”), Ophelia (“Hamlet”) and Rosalind (“As You Like It”) are meeting for coffee and to catch up on each other’s love lives. Write a three-page scene in which they offer advice on how to get their respective sweeties to pay more attention to them.

THE SET-UP
Girl

When I was in high school, a well-meaning friend offered to be the go-between and let a certain guy know that I’d be interested in going to the dance with him. He was surprised and flattered by this and everything was set up for him to meet me at my locker and spring the question. Imagine my reaction when it turned out that she thought the “Steve” I liked was a geeky guy in my class instead of the swoon-worthy “Steve” who was a senior.

Your assignment: Using this premise, write a three-page scene in which a guy has been set up with the wrong girl. Or has he? It might turn out they have more in common than they ever knew and that his friend’s “mistake” was actually intentional.

THE NO-SHOW
diner

Once upon a time when there were no cell phones for calling or texting someone if you were running late, you just had to hope that they wouldn’t give up on you and go wandering off. As the person doing the waiting, you could always give them a call to see if they were still at home or at work…but only if you had a dime and could find a pay phone.

Your assignment: The protagonist of the scene you’re writing can be male or female and is waiting at a diner for her/his date to show up. It’s actually their very first date and s/he runs a full gamut of emotions aloud trying to speculate what may have happened (including being purposely stood up). Express this in a 1-2 page monologue.

WE INTERRUPT THIS DATE…
people 375

What ever happened to simply being “in the moment” when you’re on a date with someone? Technology can clearly wreak havoc with a romantic conversation when one or both participants just can’t leave their cell phones turned off?

Your assignment: Write a three page restaurant scene in which neither party can get through a whole sentence without taking a call, making a call, sending a text, looking something up or taking a selfie.


ChristinaHamlettAs part of my ongoing commitment to supply great lesson plans for today’s classrooms, I always enjoy getting feedback on how the material is used and what kind of new content you’d like to see in future columns. I’m also happy to answer any questions related to specific problems your students may be struggling with. Just drop me a note at  or through my website at http://www.authorhamlett.com.

Former actress/director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author, professional script consultant, and ghostwriter. Her credits to date include 31 books, 157 plays for young actors, and 5 optioned feature films.