Channel 4 have released another series of ‘The Undateables’ and there has been an element of controversy over the name of the show.
The programme features an array of disabled people who are in the search of love. They apply to specialist dating agencies who partner them with someone of similar interests and then they film them on their dates.
Channel 4 is renowned for screening controversial programmes. Examples would be ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, ‘Benefits Street’ and now, ‘The Undateables’. Channel 4 and BBC 3 are to me, the equivalent to tabloid newspapers, with their shocking headlines and unusual, thought provoking stories about minority groups which grab the public’s attention. The show got a BAFTA last year, presumably because it addresses disability as an issue that’s not really talked about, a subject that’s still quite taboo? The fact that the show brings together physical and mental disability, does this highlight this group of people to be some sort of segregated minority group? Why should this be?
The question is, are they helping disabled people or making things worse? It’s certainly not helping by calling them ‘Undateable’ is it? Who decided these people were ‘undateable’? Does society have this unwritten rule that only the ‘perfect’ body image is ‘acceptable’? What about in the past, where people with different race or sexual orientation were treated differently, why hasn’t society moved on? All these questions…
The people who go on the show, are they brave? Have they gone on to raise awareness of their disabilities and plight, or have they just appeared for publicity? The show is great for raising awareness of the disabilities, but if they changed the name, would it be better? I didn’t really know what Asperger’s was before the show started and now I know, it gives me a better understanding as to why certain people with that condition react in certain ways in social situations.
As far as I’m aware, there haven’t been any deaf/hard of hearing people featured on the show, but if you take disability as a whole, why are we portrayed to be different? As a deaf person, I know I can do everything a hearing person can, except hear. There have been times in the past where I felt ‘undateable’ because ‘normal’ guys didn’t really want to know me. Boys didn’t want to talk to me- it’s like they saw my hearing aids as a force field around me and if they went near, it would be a catastrophe!
It’s like the people with Tourette’s syndrome. They look perfectly ‘normal’, except they might let off a few tics every now and again. Why should that stop them from being able to date?
In a way, I admire this programme, particularly after Monday night’s episode: ‘Wedding Bells’ [link: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-undateables/on-demand/61401-005 ] as if it wasn’t for the show, some of these couples might have never met. The show is giving those with disabilities a chance to find love and once they do, it could inspire and encourage lots of other people with similar disabilities to do the same thing.
It’s complicated isn’t it?
Disability can affect people mentally, so they need extra care and support when it comes to dating. They need somebody who’s suitable for their emotional level, and won’t take advantage of them, especially those with learning difficulties. The programme title suggests the majority of society wouldn’t go on a date with a disabled person, but it’s up to the individual whether they are able to see the person for who they are, not just their disability.
The show itself, has elements of humour in it. But, are we meant to laugh at them? I enjoy and love watching it, but is it right of me to be entertained by it? They’re almost making us laugh at the fact that disabled people can’t date ‘normal’ people because of something that’s wrong with them? We’ve all got something wrong with us… nobody’s perfect. On the other hand, are the TV producers creating this so called humour to educate us and make us aware of disabled people out there, so ‘normal’ people aren’t wary of them?
Chatting to some disabled friends of mine, they refuse to watch the show on the belief that it portrays disabled people in a ‘freak show’ type of way.
I understand that this is a delicate subject, but the show just got me thinking. I’m just trying to look at all the angles without imposing my personal opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave them in the comments below.
Love E x
8 thoughts on “It’s all about ‘The Undateables’”
I enjoy the show as its nice to see them find someone who cares but yes for someone who has no awareness of autism or other disabilities their behaviour can be very odd for them, which doesn’t really help their judgements as not all autistic people are the same. I have a friend with aspergers so am used to the effort of talking to them and nervous behaviour they can get when socialising but sadly other people often see them as being intentionally unsocial and treat them as such. It’s a hard battle as sometimes maybe the best relationship for someone with a hidden disability is someone who genuinely understands and doesn’t judge as they’re going through the same thing. I’m hard of hearing myself and my boyfriend is also deaf and its just so nice to be able to share my frustations that only deaf people have as my hearing family just don’t understand how tiring it is to lipread etc.
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Thank you for commenting Rachel! It’s great to hear others sharing experiences.
Hi to you all.
Firstly I’d like to point out that my following comments are based on my life, and the title of the TV programme “Undateables”. Not on the fact whether the programme is factual or PC.
If you have suffered from any disability whether it’s, visual, physical or it could be a mental disability. Who has the right to judge you.
I suffer from achondroplasia, which is a form of dwarfism yes I’m only 1:32 metres tall 4’3″ old money. I never classed myself as disabled really, until I hit my teens. When one of the biggest impact of my life happen.
It was one sentence said to me by a “friend” a friend who I had true feelings for, a friend where I wanted to take our friendship to the next level shall we say. So I asked her out on a date, the reply is one I’ve remembered for nearly 40yrs.
“I can’t go out with you because you are small.!!” Well as a teenager that was like a blow in the never regions! I guess in sometime of our lives we’ve all suffered rejection, but when it’s like that and at that age it hurts. So then you start to blame why.
So my point is about the show is, all these people want is to be loved. Love is possibly the strongest emotion one can have. Who has the right to deny them of this, regardless to what measures they’ll go to find it. So aslong as the production team doesn’t make this a freak show of any sorts what is the problem. It’s not to dissimilar to a very popular show called Blind Date.
We all have vaired opinion, but the is a small section of mine.
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Thank you for sharing! 🙂
I like watching the show, and I think it’s good because to be honest it is really difficult for disabled people to form relationships. I believe that people without disabilities would choose not to date a disabled person if they had the choice, and I speak from experience as a wheelchair user. I also have a hearing loss but I’m not completely deaf. Like you say it would be good if they have someone with a hearing loss on the show, because in social situations it is a pain to communicate.
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Thank you for your comment it’s great to hear other people’s views!
I’ve never seen this series, so I can’t comment on this particular show. But I’d like to try to answer some questions. The title – it’s difficult to gain attention of today’s people, so I think “The Undateables” does the trick. What each human will gain from this series depends on him, his environment and empathy. Some will just treat it as entertainment, and will laugh all the time. Some will be taken aback by the fact that such human beings at all exists. Will this rise some awereness? Sure. For some people. For you it did – you now know something you didn’t before (about Asperger’s).
I sometimes wondered too why there are no deaf people shown on such shows. I thing it’s just easier for people making show, as deafness makes communication difficult. And communication is the key in real life and in bringing life in show too. Imagine – if there will be deaf person on show with great skills in lipreading, most people won’t notice her disability. For producers and viewers wheelchair looks better – is visible. If the person will have problems communicating, other competitors will probably leave her alone and there will be nothing interesting enough for viewers. Because let’s be honest, how many hearing people (percentage, please) are REALLY willing to communicate with hard of hearing or deaf? Yes, there are some, but when there are other hearing people around, it’s really hard for them not to forget about one person’s problem with hearing. After all, deafness is one of most invisible disabilities 😉
I wanted to say something about “freak show” thing. Even if some people will look at it like that, it’s all fine to me as far as producers are fair to contestants. If people who entered show are fine with how they were shown on screen, it’s ok.
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Wow, thanks for your long detailed response! I totally see your viewpoint. They probably chose that name to draw people’s attention. Mmm, I never thought about the whole wheelchair instead of deafness aspect… maybe they might choose more invisible disabilities in the future? Thank you for sharing though, it’s great to hear people discussing their thoughts and experiences!