is yet another reality dating show, a genre that seems to have spread across our screens lately like a dose of herpes at a 1970s key party. Based on a Danish format, this show is to romance as speed dating is to … He or she then meets those five with blindfolds off, they kiss again, and the kisser picks their top two. Framed as yet another "social experiment", and spruiked as Seven's latest "controversial" foray into the realm of social anthropology, it pits one person against 12 in a battle to see who will become Australia's Next Top Pasher. The kisser then whittles the pool of potential mono carriers down to five.
Later, they each rock up to the airport with a carry-on bag and high hopes of being the one chosen to join old Loose Lips on a five-day holiday on Seven's dime.
The poor bunny who isn't chosen gets the most public kiss-off in history.
The star of Tuesday night's season premiere was 28-year-old hospitality worker Lisa Fewster, and she summed all this up rather beautifully.
"It's an emotional rollercoaster – kissing someone, meeting them, kissing them again, then sending them on their merry way."In fact, Lisa was a big part of the reason was a lot less tacky than the premise suggested (a premise that had my wife, and a lot of other people I know, reeling in disgust long before it went to air).
She came across as good-natured, open to experience, neither overly savvy nor ridiculously naive.
So what if she was cramming a year's worth of nightclub pashes into a single afternoon? And so what if she had an audience – not just of the million or so who tuned in, but of her sister and best friend, a peanut gallery of two who watched the snogathon via monitor from a neighbouring room (perhaps they were getting a vicarious thrill from all this; for married people, isn't kissing reserved for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas? In the chambre du baiser*, a team of production assistants hustled and fussed. They can't see each other), blindfolds were tightened, Lisa positioned on a weird red oblong of carpet to await the next kissee."Kiss when ready," came the order, and kisser and kissee blindly groped their way towards each other until they clumsily made contact, bumping and readjusting their reciprocal orbits like a shuttle docking with the International Space Station.
Occasionally, a hand strayed to a breast then beat a hasty retreat.
As they connected, the lights dimmed – again I say why?
They are blindfolded, they cannot see – and they slurped and slopped their way through a kiss that occasionally seemed oddly pornographic.
The all-night dates, by contrast, seemed positively tame.
You can blame Tinder for the reduction of the rituals of courtship to a televisual swipe-right.