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Genius

Genius

My Little Princess: the best dating show ever?It’s set in a fairytale castle and features giants in armour, trampolines and karaoke. Surely something this silly could only have been created by geniuses.
The last couple of years have thrown up some genuinely appalling dating shows. There was Dating in the Dark, where adults took turns to lunge at each other’s genitals in an abandoned Barratt showhome at midnight. There was The Love Machine, which was basically Chris Moyles shouting at a gigantic toilet seat for an hour. There was Sing Date, broadcast round the clock so you could discover, enjoy and then hate it within the space of a single afternoon. Make no mistake, these are bad television programmes.

E4′s My Little Princess, though, is not. It isn’t just the best dating show I’ve seen in years, it might be the best dating show I’ve ever seen. It transcends the genre. It’s unlike anything else on television. And that means it’s going to take some explaining.

Like most other dating shows, My Little Princess parades a handful of eligible men before a single woman. Unlike most other dating shows, it’s all set within a fairytale castle, with the losers hurled off a bridge into a moat by a giant in some armour. The woman, dressed as a princess, is aided in her decision by her father – who as the king in this scenario wears a wonky tin crown and sits on a throne. (More on that later.) None of the contestants see what the princess looks like until about three seconds before the show ends – and the first time we meet them, they’re doing an assault course in slow motion to the sound of a 1980s power ballad. It’s astonishing.

In truth, My Little Princess wears its dating show credentials as loosely as possible. It’s from the same production company that made Banzai, and the similarities are telling. The single men aren’t just eliminated by a diminishing bank of lights as in Take Me Out, they’re knocked out one by one in a series of high-concept, deliberately humiliating stunts the tao of badass pdf.