The show involves three potential suitors showing a contestant their "baggage" —personal traits that may be considered undesirable. After the contestant has eliminated all but one of the potential dates, they must then reveal their own baggage, and the potential date must decide whether they want to go through with it or basically say "no deal".
A British version hosted by Gok Wan was briefly aired by Channel 4, only lasting six episodes before being punted off onto sister channel E4 for the last two.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: Technically the part where the contestant reveals his/her own baggage.
"Please reveal your tropes":
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: On one episode, the contestants had in their smallest bags, "I have a gill hole in my ear," "I was born with a sixth finger," and... "I'm obsessed with bananas."
- Catch Phrase:
- Cluster F-Bomb: One of the three women in one episode finds swearing endearing and had no trouble letting her mouth run like a sailor on TV.
- Then again, given what Jerry Springer is subjected to from the guests on his own show, he's probably heard worse.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jerry Springer on everyone's baggage, most of the time.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: After picking out a guy, the contestant's baggage was "I beat up five of my boyfriends", and all the women in the audience immediately started cheering (somehow, we don't think anyone would've done that if the situation had been reversed). And the guy accepted her baggage, despite his misgivings.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Some of the baggage just doesn't seem as bad as the contestants and/or the show make it out to be.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: One woman had in her bag "I sleep in a horse stall," and Jerry said to the dater, "Looks like you might be feeling a little inadequate," and the woman had her hand over her open mouth in mock horror.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: One episode had a woman choosing among both male and female contestants. It came down to the female contestant and a male contestant, and the male contestant was eliminated. The female contestant accepted her baggage, and Jerry said, "Best episode ever."
- Jerkass: Quite a few contestants meet this description.
- Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: The first eliminated prospective date reveals their biggest piece of baggage offstage.
- Minnesota Nice: Discussed, as, on one episode, the dater was a guy from Minnesota. Jerry asked if the guy was excited, and he said he was, although he didn't act like it. Jerry asked, "Is this how people from Minnesota show excitement?"
- Not What It Looks Like / I Can Explain: If a baggage has something very weird or gross, expect the person behind the baggage to use one or both of these tropes. Sometimes the baggage in question is not so bad once it's explained.
- Precious Puppy: Not really a puppy, and even then it was okay until said dog threw up on-camera.
- Really Gets Around/The Casanova: Since, sometimes, it is the guys.
- Refuge in Audacity: Arguably the entire series.
- The Reveal
- Sexy Stewardess: The British version's visual design had more of an airport motif, with the briefcases being of the wheeled variety, and a cast of Lovely Assistants that meet this trope.
- Shout-Out: One episode featuring women from different countries gave Jerry the opportunity to riff on James Bond movie titles.
- Starfish Language: Played for Laughs. During the "Hot Spot" question and answer segment that is part of the second round, where the two remaining contestants get a chance to explain their baggage, a contestant was asked to imitate a bird call to attract the dater. He did so, and she responded with one of her own.
- Take That!: In the "Dealbreaker" (second) round on one episode, a contestant had in his bag "I fantasize about Big Beautiful Women." Another contestant had in his bag, "I fantasize about Oprah".Jerry: Isn't that just the same thing?
- There Are No Coincidences: A completely random subversion happened once during the start of the "Hot Spot" segment. A guy had in his bag that he has sex with his shirt onnote The other contestant was questioning why he would do that, and the first guy randomly called him "Brutus Beefcake." One of the three possibilities, which ultimately was not her secret, in the dater's bag was, "I was arrested for stalking Hulk Hogan."note
- Title Drop: Several times an episode, mostly in phrases where the word is used. "It's time to claim your baggage". "I'm sorry, but you have too much baggage." etc.
- Too Much Information: Essentially, this also a major element of the show as a whole: how much information can you take before just not wanting to be anywhere near someone?
- Visual Pun: All of the "baggage" is revealed using briefcases, Deal or No Deal style.