I’m going to apply Sigmund Freud’s ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’ to the ITV show Take Me Out. It sounds absolutely ludicrous but hear me out, you could be pleasantly surprised. The aim of the show is to choose a date, it also doubles up as a visual demonstration of an organism’s psychological judgement of the qualitative benefits of the action of picking a certain mate who meets a good balance of eros or libido – the tendency toward survival, sex and propagation – and, hopefully less of the opposing; death drive.

The death drive is the tendency towards self-destruction and in the extreme; death, which is often referred to as Thanatos the Greek daemon personification of death. If we adhere to Freud’s theory, which I fully intend to do, it would be most obviously detrimental to the organism’s health and growth if it made the wrong decision. So, the pressure is now on for the male contestant as he stands fixed to the spot, surrounded by a semicircle of women eyeing him behind brightly lit monogrammed podiums.

Eros is continually in play, this is highlighted by the women’s sexualised clothing, application of provocative make-up and the studio’s choice of low romantic lighting. Psychology tells us that a couple is most likely to have a longer lasting relationship if both parties share the same music interests. Thus, it is most intriguing that the music of the male contestant’s choice, can be heard at a high volume as he descends in a lift like a gift from the ITV ‘Gods’.


Promptly after this, Paddy McGuinness steps into stride and begins to act as a visual representation of the brain’s figurative arrow of choice wavering and weighing the pros and cons of each female as he asks them, ‘Why did you turn off your light?’, in turn, filling the brain with useful information, which can be used later when the male contestant must make his choice.


When the presenter, Paddy McGuinness, bellows ‘The power is in y’er hands!’ It really is, as the brain of the male contestant begins its pain and pleasure calculation of how much, if chosen, each female may or may not cause. But, not before posing a single final question. The pressure builds in the brain as the body of the male becomes animated and finally he begins to pick off his options of women, running from podium to podium, playing out the pleasure principle in full visual effect before a gawking audience.

Finally, he has narrowed the contenders down to two lucky females. Time to choose a girl! Paddy, the embodiment of the pain or pleasure gauge offers up a last conclusive tit-bit of information which is relatable to one of the girls, the last hope for making the right decision. The selection process is finalized when the male contestant turns off the light of one of the two remaining competing females. We see relief wash over his face while, simultaneously, congratulatory music is played and he walks back somewhat triumphantly to the side of Paddy. However, the ‘power’ is now out of his hands and he will have to wait to see if he did indeed triumph. Will this woman provide the right ratio of pain and pleasure? Did he go Beyond the Pleasure Principle? He’ll have to find out, on the Isle of FERNANDO’S!


By J.M. Burrowes

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