The work that comes with being a science major is hard. On top of weekly readings, most classes assign weekly problem sets that, at least in my case, inevitably take hours upon hours to complete and often end up having answers that nobody without a Ph.D. would ever be able to come up with on her own.

I somehow avoided the dreaded all-nighters freshman year, but since then they have become a regular yet unwelcome part of my life at UR and, because I like background noise when I do work, I often have the TV on in my room.

Though having shows that I actually like on in the background probably makes me less productive, I can never resist the marathon of ‘Fresh Prince” that Nickelodeon plays each night. I quickly got used to hearing the show’s catchy theme song every 30 minutes, while simultaneously trying to find how big a grain of dust has to be in order to be sucked into the Sun or computing some integral that I couldn’t understand.

So naturally, I was devastated one night as I settled in with a cup of coffee, Bagel Bites and my physics book, only to find out that, for some reason, Nickelodeon thought it would be a good idea to play a marathon of ‘Roseanne” instead of my beloved ‘Fresh Prince.”

After getting over my initial anger at the TV station for changing things up on me, I picked up my remote to see what other late-night shows I could distract myself with. And that is when I discovered the wonder that is the bad dating show.

My personal favorite is ‘Next,” where five hopeful guys or girls the daters get on a bus creatively called the ‘Next bus,” drive to some location of the main contestant’s choosing and take turns going on a date with the contestant, trying to get asked on a second date. The moment the main contestant finds some flaw, however, he or she says ‘Next,” and the dater is sent back to the bus with $1 for every minute the date lasted.
The show’s trademarks are rhymes and bad lines. The narrator speaks almost entirely in rhyme (‘The girls each want to advance; Preston wants to see how they break dance.

There’s a good chance for romance on the Next bus.”), while the nexted daters, who, only seconds before, seemed really into the date, master corny comebacks to make us think they weren’t having a good time anyway (‘That date was short and simple, just like him.”). Then the contestant sums up why the dater was nexted (‘That chick was too puffy for this daddy.”) before the next date begins, which is a truly entertaining part of the program.

I guess you could call bad dating shows my guilty pleasure because I am no longer mad at Nickelodeon for making the occasional decision to scrap ‘Fresh Prince” for a night and replace it with ‘Roseanne.” And while it’s true that I’d probably get more done if my TV were off, and maybe some of my all-nighters would become just late nights, at least now I have a list of bad comebacks to use in case I ever get dumped.

Lombardo is a member of the class of 2010.

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