in Television

There is a Surprising Amount of Baggage in GSN’s “Baggage”

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Watching television at public food places is usually more miss than hit in terms of enjoyment. Establishments don’t play the sound because it would be distracting to customers, so most of the time it’s something simple and mind-numbing that you can watch on mute and still get the gist of it. (A CSI rerun, for instance.)

Yesterday, though, I was lounging about at a local boba joint with a friend – conveniently seated in front of a TV screen – when upon glancing up at the screen during a lull in conversation, I (we) came across the greatest thing to ever happen to us in the history of TV.

I’m talking about Baggage, a game show hosted by Jerry Springer.

The concept is simple: it’s a 30-minute dating game with four contestants involved: one date-r, and three date-es trying to win his/her affection. The catch is that the latter three men or women all have to reveal a total of three secrets, hidden in silver suitcases – hence the punny name – and the prospective date gets to choose which person they want to go out with. This usually ends up being the person who gives off the least amount of terrifying serial killer vibes.

There are a total of three rounds that the game contestants go through. The first is an easy one; the three contestants unpacks their smallest suitcase to reveal their ‘smallest’ secret, and the date they’re wooing ooohs and aaahs.

Then they move on to the second round, my personal favorite, because three secrets are revealed but no one knows which baggage is whose. The lucky date picks which baggage freaks them out the most to eliminate – which is sometimes harder than it seems. The contestant who owns the suitcase walks out, probably after saying something appropriately sassy and biting.

In round three, after some heartfelt confessions of love (I’m assuming here; muted TV means we had to fill in most of the dialogue in ourselves, to our absolute glee) the date finally gets to choose the winner, and then confesses a deep dark secret of their own hiding in a pretty red suitcase.

And then the winner gets to decide whether or not that secret is a dealbreaker and dump their date. Yeah, you read right – they actually get a choice. And it is the best thing in existence when they close that red suitcase and shoo that date away.

In the best of the episodes we watched – and we sat there and watched three whole episodes because the bubble tea place we were at was fabulous and seemed to be airing a marathon of them – the prize date was a blonde woman working as an entrepreneur in Los Angeles. She had a choice between three men: a bartender with a blue mohawk, a dapper businessman, and a military consultant who right off the bat looked scary as fuck.

Round One’s Baggage:
1. Bartender Dude likes for women to use cartoon voices during sex (which is funny because he looks kind of like a cartoon character himself).
2. The businessman uses mascara (on his beard).
3. The consultant collects animal bones and teeth as a hobby. Like, what the fuck, Dude Number Three.

Round Two’s Secret!Baggage:
1. Someone is a recovering drug addict.
2. Someone spends three months of the year living in the woods (so obviously Animal Bones Guy, because how else is he supposed to collect his little serial animal killing trophies?).
3. Someone still has phone sex with his ex-girlfriend.

After some deliberation, she eliminates Phone Sex Guy – who happens to also be mascara man – and he’s surprisingly torn up about it. She continues on to the final portion of the show.

Round Three’s Baggage:
1. Bartender Dude used to be a gigolo
2. Animal Bones Guy cheated on his ex-girlfriend twice in one night. (Why would you even confess to that on a dating show, is my question. Did he honestly expect her to pick him? Also, animal bones.)

Blonde chick sticks to her principles, boots Animal Bones Guy to the curb, and claims her prize – ex-gigolo Bartender Dude. But not before confessing her own secret: she used to be a Las Vegas stripper. Bartender Dude shrugs and leaves the suitcase open, going in for a cute hug.

You’ve done it again, Baggage! Two lucky souls have found true love because of your fantasgreat show concept.

Baggage has unfortunately been bagged since late 2011, but reruns are airing on the Game Show Network on Fridays at 8PM Eastern time, and weeknights at 12 AM Eastern/11 PM Central.