Channel 4's smash hit show The Undateables comes to the end of its second run tonight, and as we reflect on another compelling series we can't help but wonder what it is about this show that has had us totally hooked.
There's no end of debate when it comes to this documentary/dating series with a difference. Does it exploit some of the most vulnerable in society or is it an eye opening and empowering series that takes a look at a very human struggle to connect with another person?
It's easy to understand where both sides are coming from. Finding yourself laughing when a poor lad with Tourette's Syndrome comes out with something incredibly offensive is nothing short of mortifying. It's made all the worse when you realise that you've just chuckled at the expense of a person who is basically being labelled an outcast as it is.
There was uproar last year when Series 1 aired with The Guardian's Film and TV blog criticising Channel 4's marketing campaign for the programme. "You do wonder why Channel 4 didn't go the whole hog and just use the title 'You're weird and no one wants to have sex with you'..." one blog post read, and it really wasn't hard to understand why.
When it comes down to it though, it just ain't that simple. For one, the show itself is incredibly well made and you do get a sense that all of the participants know exactly what they're doing. They're breaking down barriers by revealing that they aren't just 'extraordinary singletons', they're people, just like you and I, who have been labelled 'Undateable' by virtue of the fact that they have a disability.
At times though, you do have to wonder what it is that keeps us coming back for more. If we look back at the Twitter feed from episode one of the current series for example, it would appear that the appeal is rather varied. It was easy enough to find someone poking fun at 26 year old Michael for reading questions off his phone during a date, but when he pulled that cracking "A gentleman never tells" line later in the episode, there was a collective cheer of support across the Twitterverse for the man with Asperger's Syndrome.
Are we really rooting for The Undateables? Or are we being entertained at their expense? Watch the show and decide for yourself.
Catch the last episode of the series tonight at 9 on Channel 4.