This article was first published December 5, 2016.
Your Face or Mine was the relationship-ruining 2002 TV show presented by Jimmy Carr and June Sarpong that was a bit like a live-action Tinder for people in relationships to play – with their partners present.
In the first round, the fame-hungry, cash-poor couples were shown two celebrities and asked to decide who they thought was more physically attractive. At the same time, the audience would vote for who they thought was more attractive and, if the answers matched, the couple would win cash. Audience voting was the lifeblood of Your Face or Mine – like a very shallow Family Fortunes.
In round two, the couples were shown photos of members of the general public and asked who they thought was more attractive: themselves or the person in the photo. Again, the audience’s decision would determine who was truly more attractive. This would lead to some delightfully painful scenes of contestants insisting that they were better-looking than the stranger in the photo, only to have their ego smashed into tiny pieces right before your eyes as 96% of the audience voted for the stranger. Further embarrassment would usually come as June and Jimmy goaded them into being rude about the people in the photos – "What do you think of her nose? Do you think yours is nicer? How about her skin?" – only to reveal that the person was right there in the audience.
Then came everyone’s favourite round, which really put our couples' relationships to the test. As they sat on the sofa, they would be joined by people from their past lives whose physical attractiveness they would also have to assess. These secret guests could be anyone from ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, to siblings, to a previous adulterous fling... Seriously.
He’s just said on national television that his ex-girlfriend is better looking than his current girlfriend so he can win some money
The show's only shortcoming was that you weren’t able to watch the contestants on their silent car journeys home, after he’s just said on national television that his ex-girlfriend is better looking than his current girlfriend so he can win some money, only to have the audience disagree with him. The atmosphere in that studio by the end of each episode was frostier than the garden at the end of the new John Lewis ad.
It’s easy to see why producers think we’re ready for a fresh helping of Your Face or Mine, as Comedy Central announce the show’s return for 2017, with June and Jimmy in tow. The format of the show basically predicted Tinder 10 years before it was released. In our fast-paced culture, people don’t have time for frivolous luxuries like getting to know someone’s personality. We need to know only two things from our dates: are they bang-able, and does everyone else agree with me?
Yes, there will be a lot of hurt feelings; yes, relationships will be torn to pieces like a piñata at a children’s birthday party, but if this year has taught us anything, it’s that no one cares about anyone’s feelings anymore. All I care about is me and mine and if you don’t agree then you’re probably some liberal crybaby with an agenda to take away my civil liberties. Your Face or Mine is TV for the swipe-left, swipe-right generation; it’s Trump calling Clinton a nasty woman for half an hour, every week, for 22 weeks. Most people spend most of the time they’re watching TV on Tinder anyway, so this will just cut out the middleman.
A show where all you have to do is say whether or not you think someone is fit is exactly what people need now. In a post-fact world, where annoying things like the truth are confined to the past and opinions and gut feelings determine the shape of the world, a quiz show with no actual facts, only opinions, couldn’t be more perfect. Each episode will give us several mini-referendums, the results of which will determine once and for all who is more attractive. The will of the electorate – the studio audience – is final. We don’t have to wait months for the triggering of the attractiveness Article 50, there’s no hard or soft option, the decision and its implications are immediate: this person is a minger or a fitty. Then we all move on.
So put it in your diaries, folks. This is what we’ve asked for. Decency, love, facts and David Bowie are dead. Judgement, nastiness, gut feelings and Nigel Farage live on. Your Face or Mine is coming back and we will be watching it, biting our hands from the awkwardness and loving every minute.
The new series of Your Face or Mine starts tonight at 8pm on Comedy Central,