A new series of Channel Four’s ‘The Undateables’ has recently started, I almost feel guilty admitting to watching it and even more so to enjoying it. Particularly, one episode which features a young deaf lad sparked interest.
The show brought lots of conflicting questions, such as; ‘Is this taking advantage of disabled people? Is it poking fun at them trying to find love? Is it positive and educational, as it raises awareness of different health conditions and disabilities? Who decides these people are ‘undateable’?’ And so on…
In fact, far more questions than answers.
Why do I enjoy it?
I think mostly as I believe the show is produced sympathetically, but of course it’s only my opinion. I have disabled friends who refuse to watch it as they believe the programme makes fun of, and is exploiting disabled people.
One thing that strikes me from all the series I have watched, is that all the people featured seem so lovely, therefore making it almost impossible to believe they haven’t been able to find a suitable partner.
The one thing they have in common is that they want to find love and have been unable to. That’s all most of us want isn’t it? To love and to be loved? To find our soul mate? Is it more of a problem for people with disabilities and why is this?
Does this show offer hope to others in similar situations or does it highlight their dilemma and suggests the idea that love is not available to them? Does it mean that having a disability makes us different?
I know I’m asking more questions than providing answers, but the nature of the subject is one which will provoke controversy. In 2019 diverse and equal Britain, why is there a programme which documents a large section of society, with the title suggesting that these people are in some way excluded from dating?
Shocking if you think about it, as the only common factor it seems is they all have some form of health condition. It seems sad and disappointing that these people are viewed differently from the average dater because of their disability.
Everyone is equal. No person can be treated unfairly because of an individual characteristic, so why are disabled people and people who have a health condition still treated and viewed differently to the masses? Who decides who is dateable?
Deaf and dating
The episode introducing the young deaf lad clicked to me more, as I am profoundly deaf myself. He appeared a funny, clever, outgoing student who was looking for someone to share his life, his bubbly, infectious personality shone through.
His date went well, and he seemed like a genuine guy who deserves a relationship like everyone else, but it got me thinking as to why he needed to go through a specialist dating agency and why he ended up on this programme?
What does that make me?
Although I am in a relationship, it got me thinking IF I was single and seeing as he is classed as ‘undateable’, what does that make me? Do I fall in the same category, why?
Change of name?
As well as entertaining, the show pulls me emotionally in different directions. I want all the participants to find love and live happily ever after, they deserve happiness, no disability should be a barrier to that.
I hope the show will teach viewers to become more accepting and the audience will learn important lessons about individual conditions as well as changing perceptions around disability.
Perhaps if they changed the name of the show to ‘Dateables’ or something more positive, it may have a better reputation?
I’m sure many of you either love or hate the show and if nothing else, if it gets the subject talked about, eventually society might begin to question why…