The new series of The Undateables kicked off with a bang on Channel 4 two weeks ago. This week’s episode was no different.
This is one of my favourite shows. Not least because of its honest and touching portrayal in dealing with disability. The long running series has proven to be a hit with viewers as they get a peephole view into the innocent and childlike dating world of these charming people.
The show deals with conditions like anxiety, Tourettes, Aspergers, and Autism and the difficulties they pose to our lovable romantics as they attempt to navigate the already nerve wracking task of dating.
This week focused on comedian, Richard, as he bewitched Lucy with his unique sense of humour. This involved numerous flexes of his rock hard arm biceps, and an attempt to rip his shirt off in the middle of an ice cream parlour.
Richard, who suffers from Autism, was famed for staying within five miles of his house, downright refusing to venture any further. However, the lure of Lucy was so great, that he undertook “an extremely difficult and stressful journey, all the way from Surrey to..well..Ramsgate”.
But it seems his venture was worth it. With the help of his dancing biceps, he gained himself a third date and the hope of a girlfriend.
The episode also revisited Daniel, another sufferer of Autism, and showcased his new singer songwriter career. Touring the country as a confident single man, the ladies were flocking towards him, and he was loving the attention.
He revealed to rather sheepishly to us after his tour, that he had indeed found a lady over the past year. And she had agreed to be his girlfriend.
Another familiar face was Tom, who suffers from Tourettes and Aspergers. The rugby player, who was described as something of a hunk when he first appeared on the show, told us how his nerves are threatening his romantic life. He was getting plenty of female attention, but his anxiety was crippling him, and he was struggling to even get past a first date.
A snippet of hope appeared with date Megan but it didn’t work out. Tom was just too nervous to continue the relationship, and the intensity of his disabilities were causing him difficulties. He was convinced that any potential date wouldn’t be capable of handling them. He was just too afraid of getting hurt.
Another heartbreak of the show was gentleman James who has Aspergers Syndrome. The South African serial first dater got his first girlfriend in last year’s show. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the one, and James was back in the game again.
A fairly enjoyable date with new girl Josie, involving some falconry and a discussion of The Hound Of The Baskervilles, seemed to be successful.
Alas, it was not to be. A staged “I left my phone in the car” ended with the exchange of email addresses which were continued for a few weeks, before the truth came out. She would be friends. However it didn’t seem to deter our James, as he insisted anyone would be lucky to have him. He was a catch after all.
The show does feel very voyeur, as if we are watching something that we shouldn’t be. But only because it’s so raw. The couple’s exchanges are tender and innocent and it’s a joy to go through their journey with them. We could take some pointers from them.
Be as excited as they are to do something new. Say what you feel when you feel it. Don’t be ashamed of being yourself. Be proud of who you are and the right one will love for all the things you hate about yourself.
I think we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be children. Some of these conditions revert people to childlike habits, and though it can be debilitating, cruel and downright difficult, especially when it comes to love.
It also opens up a new way of viewing love. That to love is to hurt, no matter who you are. That you should retain that childlike wonder and excitement. That everybody gets anxious on dates. And that there really is someone out for everyone.
Especially if you have dancing biceps.
Catch the latest episode, here.