Dan Snierson
March 10, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

I am a bad, bad man. The kind who derives pleasure from the pain of others. And I just can’t resist the two-dogs-sniffing-each-other mating ritual that is Blind Date. An amalgam of Love Connection and The Real World — complete with cheeky Pop-Up Video commentary and an ”Awkward Moment” countdown clock — this syndicated setup show follows two complete strangers on their invariably clumsy-bantered, spinach-toothed first rendezvous. A rude surfer guy gets the brush-off as he leans in for the kiss? (Ouch.) A voluptuous woman named Kitten blurts, ”This whole weekend I was horny…. Not horny now.”? (Oooh, that’s gonna leave a mark.) A cocksure fellow, trying to casually stroll with his date, walks directly into scaffolding? (Hello, slo-mo instant replay!) Affable host Roger Lodge (a latter-day Chuck Woolery) whisks viewers through countless permutations of (mis)matches with equal doses of hokey optimism and wow-guess-he-won’t-be-seeing-her-thigh-tattoo smirking. Sure, sometimes one has to suffer through that odd successful pairing. (Toe-sucking at a bar? Ewwww.) But mostly I’m white-knuckling the remote, primed to flip the channel if things turn too excruciating — after all, there’s only so much soul-crushing rejection even a bad man can watch.

Guilt-o-meter: 4

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