The Big Issue : Edition 479
THEBIGISSUE6–19MAR2015 43 But it only takes a quick search to reveal a large assortment of unique dating apps aimed at connecting people from all walks of life. And by connect, I mean, make it easier to find people to have sex with in either a public bathroom, airport bathroom or in the convenience of your own bathroom. Luxy bills itself as a millionaire matchmaker intended for only the rich and beautiful. It claims to have CEOs, investors, fitness models and doctors as members. Wow! Investors, you say! Providing proof of income via a tax or bank statement unlocks the door to a world of attractiveness. It also means you’ve handed over your tax info or bank details to a bunch of people who run an app. Carrot Dating openly encourages its ‘HIGH THERE!’ SOUNDS like a stoner movie from the 1990s but is, in fact, yet another addition to the wonderful world of dating apps. After prospective dates on other matchmaking sites turned up their noses when it was revealed he was a pot smoker, Todd Mitchem from Denver decided to take matters into his own hands. And so High There! was born. If marijuana’s your thing, the High There! app aims to connect likeminded people or, at least, makes it simpler for a narc to find a possible arrest if they’re short of their monthly quota. Tinder is probably the most referenced dating app of recent days. Swipe right and you might find yourself hooking up with Shane Warne and pocketing a juicy tale to tell the tabloids. users to offer up an incentive to entice prospective dates. Options provided include lunch, dinner or dessert, but soon descend into the bizarre. Pay for a tattoo, plastic surgery or a tank of petrol and you might find yourself going on that magical first date. And then there’s Icelandic app Íslendingabók, which helps you find out whether you’re related to the person you’re hitting on. I imagine that’s handy in a country of just 323,000 people. When you take these apps into account, then why not one that matches up pot users, letting them find that special someone to stare blankly at a TV screen with at 3am in the morning? So if you excuse me, I’ve got to go. I’m working on an app that allows millionaire pot users to find out whether they’re hitting on their cousin. It’s going to be huge. by Michael Chamberlin (@ChamberlinM) asked themselves existential questions like: why don’t I turn this off and go outside? Fonzie, though, is a character so strong his catch-cry is recognisable decades later. Today’s television character probably most likely to partake in a shark- jumping stunt would be How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson. The character of Barney was snappy, funny, different and well performed. Sadly, the show was so tangled up in its premise that its characters had to do all the heavy lifting. Week after week, Barney repeated catch-cries and in-jokes until viewers were just tired. But if you’d been exposed to the early promise of the characters, a small part of you hung on in desperation, wanting to trust that they could wriggle out of this and return to their full potential. Early episodes of Community were full of interesting characters who became cardboard cut-outs as the show HUMANS ARE SOCIAL animals. You may not always feel very social (after, say, eight hours in a team-building exercise during a workplace-planning day) but most of the time, quite deliberately, our interactions are with each other. Our stories are peppered with “he said this” and “she did that”. In other words, they have characters in them. Characters we warm to, characters we don’t like, and characters we trust who surprise us or let us down. Characters are so appealing, in fact, that out of loyalty to them we forgive enormous holes in a plot and, often, a supremely lacklustre premise for a show. Characters who survive better than the shows they started out on include, most obviously, Fonzie from US sitcom Happy Days (1974–84). The TV term ‘Jumped the Shark’ was coined after a spectacularly lame Happy Days episode climax, which showed Fonzie on water skis jumping over a shark. Fans finally MEDIA TELEVISION WHO NEEDS FRIENDS? ONLINE DATING JOINT VENTURES became so inward-looking it forgot what was appealing about it in the first place. Tantalisingly, the echo of Abed and Troy, as they once were, resonated through the actors who played them, which somehow made it worse. The characters in the very uneven, often hilarious but awkwardly stitched together Parks and Recreation suffer from this, too. Thankfully, there are one-liners good enough to remind you that these people are capable of being very funny, but a not-good episode makes you feel like you’re missing your old friends. In reality, the analogy holds. Some friends start out promising and dissolve into overblown caricatures after a series of disappointing dramatic episodes. It’s even less fun in real life. Chances are, in both cases, there’s something better you could be watching. by Lorin Clarke (@lorinimus) FONZIE IS NO FLAKE!