Most of the time after watching a show’s screener, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about. But every once in a while a show leaves me a little speechless as I try to figure out what I just saw. And that’s certainly the case after watching ABC’s “The Celebrity Dating Game”. I mean, I knew it was gonna be weird, but this show is on a whole new level that I wasn’t prepared for.
A reboot of the classic game show, “The Dating Game,” the show features singles and singles asking three suitors they can’t see questions like, if I were frozen pizza, how would you warm me up? The twist is that singles and love-seeking singles are celebrities and potential dates have no idea who the celebrity is. Celebrities include Iggy Azalea, Joey Lawrence, Chris Kattan, Carson Kressley and Taye Diggs.
The show is hosted by Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”). Its co-host is Grammy winner Michael Bolton, who intervenes during the interrogation with dry, witty comments. But her main goal is to offer clues to the celebrity’s identity by singing a parody song full of allusions. At the end of the show, the celebrity’s identity is revealed and they choose who they would like to date.
Deschanel gets off to a difficult start, but finds his rhythm in the second episode. She’s more eccentric than ever, because sometimes she seems to be really enjoying herself and other times she seems to be laughing at it all. Bolton’s song is the highlight of every episode because it sounds better than ever and the songs are actually very clever. His take on “I Found Someone” (the Cher smash, which Bolton wrote) in the first episode is particularly strong.
But for the show to work, the questions and answers have to be entertaining, and they fall flat at the premiere with former Bachelorette and “Dancing With the Stars” winner Hannah Brown. But the second episode with actress Nicole Byer features a much more lively exchange, especially when a suitor compares love to a trip to the bathroom. Celebrities aren’t what you would call major superstars, but the majority of them are recognizable enough that they’re always worth a look.
ABC has scored some big points with their classic game show reboots, but even as I write this I’m still not entirely sure about this one. But it’s harmless fun at a time when we could still use more, so I’m okay with that. And whatever prompts Bolton to continue his “Captain Jack Sparrow” silliness can’t be all bad.
“The Celebrity Dating Game” will air Monday, June 14 at 10 p.m. on ABC.