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''Blind Date'' revealed

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Love conquers all. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love makes the world…Aww, who are we kidding here? Love is nothing but a cruel joke that reduces strong human beings to quivering piles of jelly. And no TV show captures this process better than the syndicated Blind Date. A voyeuristic cross between Pop-Up Video and Love Connection, this romantic roulette tracks singles on often-calamitous setups. What goes into playing Cupid? We sweet-talked Blind Date‘s creators into telling all.

Does the show try to induce disaster by pairing up incompatible folks?
”It’d be a lot easier if we did,” says Date cocreator Thomas Klein, ”but sooner or later the audience is gonna smell a rat.” The producers insist their hearts are in the right place, pointing to a 1-in-5 success ratio. Notes Date cocreator David Garfinkle, ”If we’re not trying, we won’t get any love connections.”

Are some dates so sexy — or dull — that they can’t be shown?
Nope. Of the 353 dates shot last season, 350 aired. (Three were scrapped because of technical glitches.) ”One date was so boring,” says Klein, ”we ended up having the producer’s voice say to the audience, ‘This is the worst date we’ve ever put on the air. It’s so boring that we’re going to show you highlights from all of our great dates.’ ” As for the X-rated factor, let’s just say several couples have required fleet-fingered editing. ”It’s unbelievable what people will do in front of a camera,” marvels Garfinkle. ”We have people all the time who go into Jacuzzis and just get naked…. But we are a family show.” Don’t despair, the producers may eventually release a too-hot-for-TV video.

Who determines the couple’s activities, the guy or the girl?
Neither. After speaking with daters — who must survive written applications and on-camera screening interviews — the producers determine four to five locales, from restaurants to hot-oil wrestling. ”We just did one at a nudist colony,” laughs Klein. ”It was really funny, because most nudist colonies are inhabited by a lot of not-very-attractive people.”

What was the show’s single most butt-awkward moment?
”These two people had just met and were in the first car ride,” recalls Garfinkle. ”He asks her, ‘What do you do?’ and puts his hand on her arm. She smacks his hand and says, ‘Don’t you ever touch me!’ It just got worse from there. It ended up that she threw a tennis ball at him and stormed off.” Klein prefers a different tale: ”At the end of the date, this guy went in for the kiss and she just turned her head. It was so painful, we did an instant replay four times.”

Any plans for a gay or lesbian match?
Alas, no. ”Remember, this is a syndicated show that goes to a lot of markets around the country that are very conservative,” sighs Klein, citing advertiser concerns. ”We’ve done interracial; there’s not an issue with that. But when it comes to a gay couple, we’re not quite there yet.” Okay then, how about throwing some senior citizens into the mix? ”[That’s] not really who watches our show,” explains Garfinkle, ”although my grandfather keeps asking me to set him up.”

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