Daisy Buchanan | Contributing Writer | 7 days ago

First Dates 8.1: Heart Thumping, Text Dumping, Otter Humping Love

First Dates 8.1: Heart Thumping, Text Dumping, Otter Humping Love

The Debrief: Dreamy Fred and the First Dates team are back on our screens. Horray! Here's everything that went down in the first episode of the new series.

Will is so fundamentally sweet, awkward and English that he could be Hugh Grant playing himself in a Wallace and Gromit film. His brand of poshness has an inverse dazzle - he's so shockingly shy that it's impossible not to gaze, and be drawn in. It's entirely possible that he was at school with some of the Made In Chelseas, and even more possible that they beat him up and forced him to keep guard outside the common room while they had group sex with the lacrosse team. This only makes us love him more. 'I wouldn't mind meeting a girl who likes her beer,' says Will, as longingly and hopelessly as Ed Sheeran (probably, maybe) talks about Rihanna.

Will is in luck! He's been paired with Fran, who is so closely matched to him that if they looked even slightly more similar, we might worry that they were related. Fran is a nervous vision in brown and admits that she's only ever been on four dates in her life. She visibly relaxes when she sees Will's Guinness (the closest thing to a "proper" beer) and tells Will that she enjoys the odd pint. Will looks as delighted as an extremely posh person is physically able to - picture the light relief that washes over someone's face when their toe stops throbbing.

Next, we meet Emma, a cheery divorcé with hair so shiny that it deserves its own Instagram account. She tells us she's fended off the advances of a 'lunger' and she's looking for someone nice with short grey hair - although she pauses for long enough between the two descriptors to make is think that she's after one of the seven dwarves, or Danny Devito. She is about to meet Peter, who walks as though he's just been eating jalapeños and then absent-mindedly scratching his balls. Peter tells a rambling anecdote which ends in him describing himself as a 'not a grandad, but a gran-LAD'. If anyone can breathe through their mouth and think about such a thing without vomiting, they could make a million by getting Pete's words printed up onto some mugs.

Pete seems nice enough, and as no-one should be able to resist Emma and her lovely hair, this one looks like it might be a runner. It turns out that they're *very* compatible. So compatible that they are gazing at each other with all of the hostility and contempt of a couple who have been together for 12 years and are in Ikea, working out how they might suffocate each other with modular sofa cushions. They've dated before, and from Emma's expression, we can only assume that Peter either slept with her sister or broke her downstairs loo. Ah, he dumped her by text, and then blocked her on Instagram. 

Next we meet Kat, a self-describing 'adult emo', although we might also go for 'sexy goth milkmaid'. Kat is genuinely and adorably nervous - the very best thing about First Dates is that the producers are brilliant at finding slightly shy people who genuinely want to find love, as opposed to slightly hobby people who genuinely want to be on the telly. Kat chews her straw until Squid turns up. Now, if you grew up anywhere remotely rural, you went to school with a Squid - a gentle giant who'd buy the WKDs because he looked twenty years older than everyone else, even though he only liked his Dad's cloudy cider. All he'd want in return was the chance to get you to listen to a Slayer song, and you'd rudely roll your eyes and go off in search of a boy with a car. Unfairly, the Squids did not get a look in at school, which is sad for us but lucky for Kat, because her date seems quite charming. He suggests they order some shots to start things off. The waitress, knowing how this will end, breathes a silent sigh. 'I will get you your jaegerbombs AND SOME WATER.'

Will is in full and nervous flow, but when it comes to anxious inanity, Fran is his dream girl. Does she have any hobbies? 'I don't know!' She squeals. She doesn't cook, but she usually just 'does a fish cake' on the occasions when she does have to eat something. 'I've got fish cakes in for tomorrow!' beams Will. It really is meant to be. Only, when you two inevitably move in together in a month PLEASE get a regular Ocado delivery sorted so you don't die of malnutrition.

The last couple looking for love are Samir and Kieran. Samir is looking for the otter of his dreams - a toned, slender, hairy man. According to Wikipedia, the collective noun for otters is a romp, so Samir might be on course for some sexy times! Kieran isn’t that hairy, possibly because he has the sense of humour of a man who hasn’t reached puberty yet. But he wants to meet ‘a mate who I love’ - awwww! We discover that Samir believes it is the Chinese year of the panda, that, heartbreakingly, Kat has been in abusive relationships and has body image issues, and that Peter doesn’t wear any pants. Well, that explains the walk.

Kieran asks Samir about religion and ethnicity in the same sphincter scrunching way that your trickiest uncle might start on the manager of your local curry house - but we get the impression that Kieran’s questions are born out of kindness and curiosity, even if his Indian Pale Ale reference caused a nationwide intake of breath. Samir says his ‘ovaries have exploded’, which is a worrying statement to hear from someone who is studying reproductive science, but hooray! Another date is on the cards. It’s the same for Kat and Squid, who have a sneaky snog under a blanket and then toddle off for a cocktail, even though Kat refutes the fact that she has a nice bum. Kat, if you’re reading this, YOU’RE GORGEOUS! Obviously, Will and Fran are go, and a fiver says they’re on the John Lewis website making a wedding list right now. Perhaps predictably, Emma has no interest in rekindling things with pantsless Peter, but she’s seeing someone else and they are now Instagram friends again. That’s a modern love story.

Whole lotta love

Will and Fran are so sweet together that the World Health Organisation needs to issue a warning statement about them. Now we can believe in soulmates!

Bad romance

Emma and Peter were a worse match than gravy and mayonnaise, which surprised precisely no-one. You just can’t tame a - urghhhh- granlad. 

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