Caroline Kepnes
September 21, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

There’s nothing sweeter than a bad date…as long as it’s on TV. While Blind Date is king fish in the dating-show sea, it’s now swimming with a new school of contenders: the syndicated Shipmates and Rendez-View, and The WB’s elimiDATE Deluxe. You’d be a fool to dive in blind, so allow EW to test the romantic waters.

ELIMIDATE DELUXE

HOST None. Then again, would you want to chaperon four ”wild and willing” singles as they catfight over one self-involved member of the opposite sex?
HUMILIATION FACTOR Low. Two hot-to-trot girls, one horny guy, and a Jacuzzi are sexy stuff, sure, but we’ve seen randier footage on The Real World.
SAMPLE DATE DIALOGUE After being booted from the dating pool by a choosy cowboy, one petite princess sniffs, ”It’s okay to be intimidated by me.”
MATCHMAKING SKILLS Poor, but when it works, you get giddily egotistic statements like: ”You were very into me. That is definitely something that I have been looking for.”

RENDEZ-VIEW

HOST Whose Line Is It Anyway?‘s Greg Proops and love expert Ellen Ladowsky (along with rotating B-list celebs), who crack wise at video of the date.
HUMILIATION FACTOR Never-leave-the-house-again high. To wit: A desperate dude dances like a spaz—without music—for his high-maintenance match.
SAMPLE DATE DIALOGUE Most nervous man alive asks Uber-confident date why she broke up with her boyfriend of two years. Miss Thang’s answer: ”He was gay.”
MATCHMAKING SKILLS Fair. But you never know, that self-proclaimed ”lip slut” who’s hung up on her ex could make sparks with that Donny Osmond-look-alike sales rep.

SHIPMATES

HOST Singled Out refugee Chris Hardwick, whose smirky evaluations of the cruise-based dates are like the Shipmates theme song: sleazy, and annoyingly generic.
[HUMILIATION FACTOR] Huge. This could be the first dating series in which a guy finds his date passed out on the floor of her cabin’s closet.
SAMPLE DATE DIALOGUE Tank-top-loving Jersey boy to his midriff- baring date: ”You’re a little hoochie.” Replies the self-described ”debutante”: What’s a ”hoochie?”
MATCHMAKING SKILLS Horrible (perhaps intentionally so). He’s a ”breast man” and lists ”women” as a hobby. She’s a teacher who enjoys mountain climbing. Sounds like magic.

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