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Love Lessons from E!’s ‘Dating #NoFilter’

There are few things in this world more entertaining and delightful than creeping on other people’s first dates. Since I tend to black out from sheer panic during my own, it’s nice to experience one (even second-hand) consciously. But beyond that, there’s nothing quite like the indescribable thrill of watching people banter and brag through the vulnerable thrill of being on a first date.

Each Monday through Thursday, E! brings together two new LA-based couples for a blind first date, while three sets of comedians watch the taped footage and weigh in. Like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 for romance, half the fun is in the commentary. But beyond that, the daters themselves come up with the self-serious gold that you just couldn’t find in any other format. If you’re down for a no-stakes half hour of watching people be wacky, Dating #NoFilter has something special just for you.

“There’s a few things in life you should never say.  And referring to yourself as an ‘international playboy’ is one of them” – Ben on Andrew, Episode 11 ‘Drag Queens & D-Bags’

Sure, Andrew may not pay rent or own a car. And yes, as he’d be quick to tell you, he has many wealthy and powerful female friends who would like nothing more in this world than to have his baby. But this ‘digital nomad’ made for some excellent TV – even if at the (temporary) expense of his poor victim date Seyline.

I know he’s not rich, and I know that was one of my deal breakers, but he’s a really good kisser” – Derly, Episode 9, ‘Purr-fect Match’

There are times when the E! powers-that-be get a little heavy-handed with the matching. Children are a deal-breaker for you? Cool, your date will have a six-year old child (that, ironically, she eventually uses as an excuse to bail). Or, in Derly’s case, you’re a self-described aspiring trophy wife? You’re getting paired with a tennis instructor who rents a room in his friend’s San Diego condo. But dating outside your comfort zone can lead to some surprising results — to be sure, on more dates than one.

“You’re in a spacesuit…but the CONVERSATION will make it awkward?” Nina on Lira, Episode 7 ‘2019: A Dating Odyssey’

For every Dating #NoFilter couple that seems even remotely normal, there are at least three that are anything but. And with the Marco-and-Lira pairing in particular, it’s difficult to determine which one out-weirds the other. Sure, Lira shows up with diamonds for eyebrows and a holographic collar. But Marco, moving too uncomfortably close to many of my own first dates, spends most of his time saying “shut your butt” and issuing none-too-subtle sexual innuendo. Underneath the metallic outfit and blue lips, Lira’s a (relatively) relatable human being. But as for Marco, well…the jury’s still out.

“I go off how my body feels.  And then I go out into the world and decide what to do next.  And sometimes it’s just sit in the grass and do nothing” – Bijan, Episode 12 ‘The Art of Love’

Quips aside, if you’re going to watch one episode of this show, let it be episode 12. As I watched faux-guru Bijan spout off nonsensical inspirational quote after quote to his poor date, I managed to execute the kind of spit-take I thought only possible in movies.

Dating #NoFilter airs Monday – Thursday at 10:30pm Eastern on E!. Recent episodes are available on demand.