Meeting your significant other’s family for the first time is a big deal. It usually happens after a while into a relationship, when you’ve got to know each other well and are armed with enough info and advice on how to deal with the judgmental mother or side-eyeing sister or over-friendly dad.
The popular reality show Date My Family has turned that practice on its head. Before you meet the guy or girl of your dreams, you get to suss out their family first.
Every Sunday, we’re introduced to a bachelor or bachelorette on a quest for love who goes on three dinner dates with the families and friends of potential partners. There’s a full course meal, with drama often thrown in for dessert.
The bachelor or bachelorette chooses who they will date based on which family impresses them most. The three potential partners are kept out of sight, watching the action unfold onscreen in another room. They can do nothing but hope their family makes a good impression.
There’s plenty of entertainment, laughter and cringe-worthy moments that will keep you glued to your screen. And if you aren’t watching it yet, here’s why you should.
1. Love – or not – at first sight
The bachelor or bachelorette has no idea of what their potential date looks like, eliminating any bias towards that person – for now. All that changes when the two finally meet face to face to have their first date. The potential date often turns out to be nothing like what the bachelor or bachelorette expected. Cue lots of awkward situations and disappointment for them, but laughs for viewers at home.
2. No taboos
The show has been praised for not shying away from interracial and homosexual relationships. In a recent episode that aired on June 5, Steven dined with three black families in their homes, who were initially shocked to find a white guy at their front door. They recovered well and had a great time.
Since it started airing in May 2015, Date My Family has featured two gay contestants: the downright rude Siyanda Nyemba, who complained about dusty plates and wouldn’t pray; and Kenny Ralenkoane who’s now embroiled in a love triangle after cheating on his chosen date with his friend.
Read more about Steven de Villiers‘s appearance on Date My Family.
3. Never too old for love
While the show initially focused on young people looking for love, it’s diversified to include people of all ages. On Sunday’s show, 41-year-old Golden was in search of a long-term relationship with one of the potential dates, a mother of two children. They had the most heartwarming, perfect first date – they may just end up on Mzansi Magic’s other hit reality show Our Perfect Wedding in the next three months.
Date My Family showed us that it is never too late to find companionship, no matter your age or history. Viewers have been raving about how the show is living up to its potential, portraying ‘real love’ and maturity.
This is a good episode, actually. Real talk. I feel like the true purpose of #DateMyFamily is being realized. Wabona?
— Boity Thulo (@Boity) June 19, 2016
My faith in this show is restored #DateMyFamily
— Azania (@Azania_) June 19, 2016
4. The tweets. Oh, the tweets!
Twitter on Sunday evenings is where it’s at. Date My Family trends religiously every week, thanks to running commentary from fellow passionate followers of the show. And they’re almost as entertaining as watching the show itself.
Want to know what kind of person you are? Ask your family what they would say to your potential date if you were ever on #DateMyFamily
— Ma’Mncwango (@Mbali_Yomhlaba) June 20, 2016
— Matatiele Boy (@Passeks) September 6, 2015
— The Guy (@DfromNA) September 6, 2015
— Thokozani Tk Msomi (@Tk1zn) June 5, 2016
Steve is sent by the DA to confuse us, why is he such a kool mlungu. #DateMyFamily
— pablo (@brxvooo) June 5, 2016
Date My Family airs every Sunday on Mzansi Magic, channel 161 on DSTV at 6pm.