We were sat down and given a list of things that weren't allowed to discuss: movies, music, TV shows, politics — basically anything that would set the date in a specific period of time.

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It's 1997, and Jenny Mc Carthy appears behind a crowd of several dozen men in an MTV studio, wearing a tan lace-up shirt and grabbing her own ass. To understand dating-as-sport TV, we have to start with the date itself.

Jenny casually gyrates on a guy wearing a straw hat, while a woman in a masquerade mask is paraded in front of the group by a man in a Cupid costume, complete with saggy white briefs.

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After several rounds of questions, the bachelor or bachelorette would make a decision. starred Farrah Fawcett as the bachelorette in March 1969, just a few days before April Fool's Day.

After a sleepy question-and-answer round, a fake brawl broke out between the male suitors, all of whom were actually professional stuntmen. Another infamous episode featured serial killer Rodney Alcala as a contestant.Dates as we know them first became popular about a hundred years ago, when courtship rituals moved outside the home and into the public arena.According to historian and University of Kansas professor Beth Bailey, the word "date" was first used in the late 1800s in lower-class communities to signify an act of prostitution.explains that "especially in urban areas, new public diversions like dance halls, amusement parks, theaters, and parks enticed courting couples away from the safety of their parlors." Courtship had officially transformed into a public act.Television, which became a familiar device in people's homes in the 1950s and ‘60s, further contributed to our understanding of what a date should be."The popular culture was a world within which people formed their understandings of how to behave, and what romance was like, and what the conventions of dating were." It makes sense then that TV execs would realize a show solely devoted to dating could be hugely successful.