Let’s Recap This Twin Cities ‘ElimiDATE’ Episode from the ’00s
Did Amar go for award-winning kisser Jessica? Downtown flasher Sheryl? Critical Nike? Or butt-lovin' CoCo? Let's find out!
1:30 PM CDT on April 6, 2023
The early aughts were a golden era for trashy elimination-based dating shows: Next, Shipmates, Room Raiders, Date My Mom. We didn’t have Tinder yet; it was a dark time.
One of the most successful of these shows, ElimiDATE aired late night from 2001 to 2006. The premise was dumb but compelling: one person would go on three dates with four people simultaneously, eliminating one person after each date until the winner… er, wins. (It’s not clear if they got anything or even saw each other again after the final selection.)
Sometimes the "elimidater" was a guy, sometimes it was a girl, but it was always a hetero mess served with alcohol and insults obviously fed to contestants via showrunners. The best episodes were the ones where the women chose to team up against the guy and eliminate themselves together. Unfortunately, that does not happen this particular episode, set here in the Twin Cities.
Our puppet-master for this evening is Amar, a full-time student studying Japanese. He got into Japanese because he wants to “make money when he's older” and likes the “business aspect” of the language. I have no idea what that means! He plans to live in Japan someday.
When he’s not studying, he likes working out and dating ladies. “I like a girl who’s nice and caring,” he begins, “but, most importantly, I like a girl who looks hot and she knows she looks hot. She has to have a banging body, nice ass, nice chest, nice stomach—the whole shebang.”
That sounds reasonable for a dude on a trashy dating show. Expectations calibrated!
“If they act like ladies I will treat them like ladies. If they act like bitches well then I will treat them like bitches,” he concludes.
Gross. No sir, you will not.
The elimidaters meet in downtown St. Paul on the Mississippi for some light shit-talking on a dock, followed by drinks on what appears to be the Jonathan Padelford Riverboat—a typical 20-something date night, right?
We’re introduced to the lady contestants. Jessica is a country club manager who loves to surf, Sheryl a waitress who likes eating alone, CoCo is a nursing student whose idol is Tyra Banks, and Nike (pronounced Nee-Kay) is a bartender who is passionate about soccer. None of this comes up later, so feel free to forget it.
Nike tells Amar that she likes to be called “sexy,” and points to her bracelet, which conveniently spells out “sexy.” Amar asks Nike who got her a sexy bracelet; she says she got it for herself.
“If you’re sexy you don’t need something to say that you are,” notes Sheryl in an interview. “It should just show on your body.” Sheryl is a woman who abides by the "show, not tell" rule.
Back at the river, they’re drinking pink cocktails on a boat. Amar asks the women to tell him what makes them sexy. Jessica says she is innocent, but also secretive. Sexy! Pragmatic Sheryl says likes her butt and boobs. Also sexy! CoCo likes her personality… and her butt. Sounds sexy!
Jessica brags that she won a kissing contest. Naturally, she and Amar start pecking like birds at each other. Sheryl, hoping to draw attention away from the makeout, counters that she is “always downtown flashing people.” As we find out later, this statement is legit.
Nike tells the women that they are all very pretty, but are overacting for the camera. Oh shit, self awareness! That’s the kiss of death on reality shows. Will she make it to the next round?
She does! Amar elimiDATES Coco for not being “spicy” enough. In an interview, CoCo says she’s going to go home, change her outfit, and go on a real date. Right on, CoCo.
Round 2 is at Solera!
For those unfamiliar, Solera was a downtown Minneapolis tapas bar located at 9th and Hennepin. (Fun fact: When it first opened in 2003, our review in City Pages actually had to explain what tapas was.) But what Solera was really known for was its gorgeous rooftop, which had a bar, cool skyline views, and dance nights with guest DJs. It closed in 2015; I think Hennepin Theatre Trust uses it as administrative space these days?
Anyway, the ElimiDATE gang are drinking what we probably thought were overpriced drinks in the ‘00s. ($8 cocktails? Crazy!) Amar asks the women to judge each other’s outfits. Sheryl, who is in a mini skirt and halter top, thinks Jessica, who is in a tank dress, is too covered. She wants her to be more scandalous. Sheryl throws her leg on a table so people can touch it. Cool cool cool.
Next, they go to a private lounge that Amar describes as “a little more sexy, a little more personal.” It’s here that Sheryl, staying true to her earlier brag, decides to flash her boobs. The other women give her the side eye, but Amar is feeling it. “Sheryl has a decently good rack,” he concludes in an interview. “They definitely weren’t 10s, but they definitely were nice.”
Nike warns Amar to be careful. Does he want Sheryl flashing boobs outside of this date? Because that is probably going to happen. She tells him she likes rose petals and massages, and offers him one. While she stands behind him rubbing his back, Jessica and Sheryl take turns making out with him.
“Trashy,” notes Nike from behind. “Trashy kissing. Wonderful.”
“Round two had a lot to offer,” Amar concludes. “It was very sensual and felt absolutely great.” He elimiDATES Nike.
“I understand,” she says. “Trash over class.” She shakes his hand, and wishes Sheryl luck with her “saggy boobs.”
Round 3: Rooftop of Solera
There are some shots of the final three dancing on the roof at night, then we cut to them standing at a table and it's dusk—timeline fuckery!
Sheryl decides to flash her boobs once more. She likes to see Amar “light up” at the sight of them. “It’s about being confident, being out there, being willing to do and say anything,” she explains. Girl, you crazy!
Jessica says she is more into playing hard to get. Ah yes, the two schools of ElimiDATE thought. Really makes you think.
It’s now time for the big finale. “This has been one of the best dates I have ever been on,” says Amar, but he’s going with the girl who, in ‘00s gameshow era parlance, “played the game the best.”
Downtown flasher Sheryl wins!
“What else do you think you’re gonna learn about her?” asks Jessica as she leaves.
“I have no idea,” he responds, turning to Sheryl. “Jessica is very cool, but you’re a lot cooler.” They make out again. We can only assume that they’re still together.
And that was the show, folks! You can watch the whole dang thing on YouTube, which I have embedded below.
Were you a contestant on ElimiDATE? Or any other dating show that filmed here in the '00s? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org; I would love to talk with you!
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