The age of voyeurism takes a new slant at ABC in the form of “Street Match,” a half-hour reality-based dating show that attempts to match up people randomly selected off the street. Hosted by Ricky Paull Goldin, the show, shot in real time, is light and often entertaining.
Goldin walks around the streets of New York playing Cupid. When he finds Travis, his first willing contestant, both search for a suitable match to go on a date with him. Cameras then follow the two participants getting ready and on their date. As they prepare for the meeting, questions are asked off camera so the viewer can find out more about them and their anticipations of the evening ahead.
As with all reality shows, much depends on the “cast.” In its premiere episode, “Street Match” pursues two sets of couples. Travis and Emmie are an obvious mismatch, and while this could be funny, it’s almost painful to watch as Travis tries to make the most out of his predicament.
The second seg is more entertaining as Betzy and Matthew seem to enjoy themselves and their personalities are more TV-friendly.
Much about the show seems influenced by MTV — such as the frequent use of Dutch-angle camera positioning — but the music isn’t. The producers, who seem tobe chasing the 18-26 demographic, decided to hire a composer (Mark Mothersbaugh, of the band Devo) for incidental music, and, while the music is not bad, the ploy doesn’t work as well as MTV’s use of familiar songs in its docus. The show plays on people’s fantasy that they could walk down the street, see someone attractive and then ask them out — though in reality (especially in New York), a blast from a can of mace would be the most likely response to such advances.
Goldin does an OK job as Cupid, though he is never seen after the initial meeting: Thankfully, he doesn’t act as a chaperone/commentator for the couple.