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Facebook’s Virtual Reality Dating Show Is Pretty Fun, but Maybe Not Multiple-Episode Fun

First dates don’t usually make the list of people’s favorite things. Blind first dates are even worse. Sure, they can be fun and exciting, but they’re also nerve-wracking and potentially uncomfortable, boring, infuriating or worse. But what if a first date could happen in virtual reality? It may be a gimmicky idea, but what better distraction is there for an awkward date than a good gimmick?

Virtually Dating is one of the first series out of Facebook’s new streaming platform. (Yes, that’s a thing now.) It features a potential couple on a first date, sharing actual space, but only seeing 3-D scanned versions of the other person. So the awkwardness of conversation and chemistry is replaced by the awkwardness of figuring out how to move your body through space without knocking over virtual furniture.

The show will repeat the experiment with four couples. (All of whom are heterosexual from the look of the trailer below, which is disappointingly limiting for a show that clearly wants to be perceived as cutting edge.)

At the end of each date, they have to choose whether they want a second IRL date. Though it feels like that question would be more interesting if the first date weren’t spent as the regular realistic images of these very attractive people, but the versions that look like dinosaurs and space aliens and dragons that they temporarily morph into partway through.

What do you all think? Will you watch? Chances are–this being a Facebook show and all–it’ll show up on your feed anyway at some point. It’s definitely fun enough for a six-minute video, if not four videos.

It also serves as proof that even in VR, a bad date is a bad date. And a date who pretends to hump you, even while taking the form of a virtual cactus, is a bad date.

(via Facebook, image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.