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Blind Date

A basic romantic set-up. Alice and Bob have never met each other, but they do have a common friend, Carol. Carol, being a total Shipping Fangirl, gives off a delighted Squee when she realizes that Alice and Bob would be totally perfect for each other, and she quickly sets them up. Carol's role in all this is, naturally, fungible.

Sometimes they hit it right off. Other times it is pretty much the worst date ever. Ironically, which of these scenarios occurs has little to do with how the characters will fare long term — rather, it depends entirely on what the work in question is trying to accomplish. Comedic works will go with the bad date simply because it makes for better and funnier slapstick. Dramatic ones will go with the good date because it does a better job of stretching Will They or Won't They? tension.

Obviously, this trope was popularized because of its preponderance in Real Life as the result of parental match making and people actually going on blind dates, sometimes assisted by a dating service.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Alternate Reality Games 
  • I Love Bees: Kamal's mother sets him up with Sophia because she's the daughter of a friend of the mother.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The manga Love Lucky takes this to a whole new level, since not only are Fuuta and Kirari set up on a blind date by a match-making service, but afterwards Kirari hides her appearance from Fuuta by wearing a mask during their first and subsequent dates.

    Comics 
  • A running sub-plot in the early years of the Spider-Man comic book involved Aunt May's occasional attempts to set Peter up with a blind date with the niece of one of her friends, which Peter always dodged because he assumed that any girl his aunt approved of would have something wrong with her. Eventually he gave in and agreed to meet this Mary Jane person, and the rest is history. Except not.

    Fanfiction 
  • In the Reading Rainbowverse, Vinyl sets Rainbow Dash up on one... with Lightning Dust. It goes horribly.
    • Amusingly, a drunken Fluttershy has much more success setting up Gilda with Galaxy.

    Film 
  • The movie Blind Date, featuring Bruce Willis, rather unsurprisingly.
  • In the movie Burn After Reading, the female maincharacter Linda is desperately searching for a soulmate through the use of blind dates. With varying results.
  • When Harry Met Sally: Double blind date turns this on its head; Harry sets Sally up with Jess and Sally sets Harry up with Marie; the four go out and in the end Jess ends up hooking up.... with Marie (and marrying her).
  • Sleepless In Seattle has a montage of blind dates Tom Hanks' character endures.
  • In Something New, this is how the two leads meet. However, it does not go well at their relationship only develops further when they meet again later.
  • The Rebound has Sandy going on a succession of awful ones while in contrast the perfect guy for her is her nanny.

    Literature 
  • In a short story, Jean Shepherd tells of his experience on a blind date in which he gradually figures out that HE is the blind date, not his date.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Seinfeld uses this trope, having Jerry and Elaine set up George and one of Elaine's friends (who, naturally is never heard from again).
  • In one episode of Sex and the City, Carrie is set up for one of these by her married friends (of course, we haven't heard from that friend before or since said episode). Carrie and the young man hit it off, but break up amicably once it becomes clear that Carrie isn't looking for the same kind of relationship he is. She then sets him up for a blind date with Charlotte, who is — but the date quickly goes downhill when he expresses a preference for garish pottery.
  • The reality TV series Blind Date fits this trope well; it seems, indeed, that the series deliberately mismatches people for laughs—typically at the man's expense—as in a cartoon (the "cartoon-overs" are a dead giveaway; almost like the Road Runner holding up a sign saying "What an idiot!" when Wile E. Coyote falls off a cliff, they often critique whatever the man does).
    • It really depended on the couples themselves. Some hit it off, others were disasters that had to be seen to be believed.
  • Used a few times in Frasier; the one has Roz setting Frasier up with a girl, and they agree on a codeword he'll use if he wants to get out of it once he meets her. Less than a minute in, he's saying the codeword repeatedly, and she keeps looking at Roz and repeating a word as well.
    • Another time, Frasier's dad set him up with his buddy's dateless daughter: Teri freakin' Hatcher.
  • The reality show Dating In The Dark takes the "blind date" concept to its logical conclusion.
  • The second episode of Taxi revolved around Alex going on a blind date with a witty phone operator named Angela, only to discover she was considerably overweight and very sensitive about it after getting burned by various men in the past. Alex spent the episode trying to prove he wasn't that shallow and help her learn to love herself. The episode also introduced the song, "Angela", which ended up becoming the show's theme song.
  • The Big Bang Theory has "The Girlfriend Pact". Basically, if Howard or Leonard has a girlfriend while the other doesn't than they must ask their girlfriend if they can set the other up on of these with one of their grilfriend's friends. When Leonard was dating Penny the pact was invoked and thus the two of them accominied Howard on a blind date with Bernadette, a waitress/microbiology student. Things were awkward at first, but they eventually bounded over their overbearing mothers. And as of the end of season five they married each other. Things went a lot less well in season four while Leonard and Penny were "off again" and Bernadette set Leonard up with a body builder that kept talking about how strong she was and that she could rip a guy's nuts off. For a little perspective Leonard's an asmatic geek that's constantly teased about his short stature.
    • There was also the Arranged Marriage candidates Raj's parents have set him up with. He was drunk out of his mind with the first one in the first season and the second one in the fifth season was a nice girl that was interested in his cooking and the date went well...except she was gay and only agreed to meeting/considering Raj because she wanted a a beard. There was also the time Penny set him up with a Disabled Love Interest, Cute Mute. Come to think of it the Big Bang Theory does this particular plot a lot...
  • In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted recounts how he and a girl named Jen went on a blind date ... twice without realizing it! The first time was in 2002 and the second time was in 2009. They realized they were repeating their disastrous first blind date when they exchanged the same dialogue as before. Frightened by the prospect of running out of people to date in New York, they decided to retrace their steps to find out the mistakes of their first blind date.

    Video Games 
  • If you play as the female character in the game Sprung, then you get set up on a blind date with a short, overly-aggressive nerd and have to find a way to ditch him.
  • In The Sims 2, some NPCs will randomly offer to set your sims up on a blind date. Of course, how it goes varies. If you ask the Gypsy Matchmaker to give you a blind date, how it goes depends on how much you pay her. For example the maximum amount $5000 guarantees someone who fits all the Sim's turn-ons and vice versa, meanwhile giving her $1 will get someone that probably fits the sim's turn-off.

    Webcomic 
  • An early Sluggy Freelance story has Sam setting Torg up on one of these. Unfortunately, Sam's intentions are highly devious and evil. How do we know this? He found her on the Internet.
  • Freefall's Florence Ambrose had, apparently, been set up on one or more of these when she was in college, judging from a mental comment she made in strip 1285.

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