First Dates: Ten things we learned from the first episode
First Dates Ireland crash-landed onto our screens tonight and was every bit as toe-curling, hilarious and existentially chilling as we'd hoped. Here are ten things we learned from the first episode.
1: Jedward are now working in typography
With his annoying quiff, American upspeak and weirdly plastic complexion, graphic designer James was an unnerving Jedward clone. He kept saying odd things – "ladies choice..because we're all about pro choice" and "a little secret…video games". On the positive side, he did eventually shut up about typography. Thank you James.
2: We're ALL scared witless of Frederica
"What's your doodle?" the South African emigre demanded of terrified Donegal bloke Lee. He'd already considered bolting for the door after she insisted he douse himself in hand sanitiser before touching his food. "This is mental stuff – would you get out of it!". By the time she put a playful choke-hold on him I was hiding behind the couch.
3: Conor McGregor is now mixing cocktails at the Gibson Hotel
The flowing facial hair, the preening smile, the hard-to-place accent – we knew we'd seen that barman somewhere before.
4: Simon wants to go out with himself
"I'm often attracted to people who look quite like me," said Simon – just before he was introduced to lookalike Tynan. A bit David Cronenberg but they got on famously, so perhaps there was something to his philosophy.
5: When a date asks you to guess her age, never say the first thing that pops into your head
Lee's cardinal error was to truthfully answer when Frederica asked him to guess her age. An already disastrous encounter had turned into the dating equivalent of an explosion at a petroleum refinery.
6: Woah, there were moments of actual human drama
The giggles were interrupted as Simon revealed that, at a low point, he had overdosed. It was too much information given that we hadn't even reached dessert yet. Nonetheless, his honesty and forthrightness were striking amid the endlessly frothy "banter".
7: You could see Amy's heart breaking in slow motion
Amy and Daryl appeared to be getting on famously. And then he drop-kicked her into the friendzone and she visibly wilted on camera. Ouch.
8: You never can tell if people are going to click
James and Trainee Lawyer Amy seemed a horrible mismatch while Daryl and Friendzone Amy apparently bonded over their shared disdain of Cork people (a weird thing to be sniffy about). Actually date number one was a roaring success while Daryl (basically "pints with the lads" in human form) pretty much never wants to see Amy again. Some things are hard to predict.
9: The Maître d' was a bit underwhelming
Mateo didn't do anything wrong. But the most memorable thing about him was his shimmering blue jacket. His asides to camera were forgettable (we'd love to quote one but erm… we've forgotten them all) and he didn't contribute to the tone of the show. Viewers of Channel 4's First Dates UK will have missed Fred Sirieix's wry presence.
10: RTE actually pulled it off
This was a decent facsimile of the C4 original, with enough Irish flavour to feel like its own thing. Most of those tuning in tonight will probably up for a second date.