There’s an esports dating show and it’s (somehow) worse than you think

In case you didn’t know (and judging by Twitch views, chances are you didn’t), an esports reality dating show appeared on the Internet last night.

The show, produced by eSports Arena and called “Fireside and Chill” (for the millennial Robert Frost, apparently) features five men and five women meeting over games of Hearthstone. They mix and match dates among them (because permutations), and at the final ceremony take turns asking each other on second dates — in front of the entire group — in a scene more awkward than than every forced date in “Bachelor” history.

The show seemed as if it was a satire at times, almost as if the people were in on the joke. The bad news? It failed. The good? There was still plenty of unintentional comedy. Don’t worry. Let’s start with the MVP of the show:

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

Each contestant (victim?) was introduced by giving information about their job, residence, relationship preferences and why they’re single. And yet, EVERY SINGLE GIRL had a scene where she was cuddling the dog. There’s no sexist undertones in there anywhere. Sure.

The dog, though, was the star, and infinitely more interesting than anybody else on the show. The other contestants could learn something from our furry friend, who if nothing else expressed its most primal characteristics at all times:

“Get me the fuck out of here.”

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

“I’m not your friend.”

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

“No, I will not be your valentine.”

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

“So over this bullshit…”

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

“Fuck this. I’m eating your rose.”

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

We never learned anything else about the dog and then, as soon as the introductions were over, we never saw it again. Who’s dog was that? Why was it there? Why is it eating rose pedals?

Let’s meet

The five men are all pretty well-known in esports. Two are professional League of Legends players (Alex “Xpecial” Chu and Cristian “Cris” Rosales), one is the manager of a professional League of Legends team (Bao “Bao” Lam), one is a journalist (Travis Gafford), and the other works at Riot Games (Patrick Scarborough).

The second girl we meet is Mika, who promptly decries: “I want a guy who games, but it’s not his whole life.”


Later on we are introduced to Kaitlin, who had this to say about why she’s single:

“I think I’m single because I have a very strong personality. I grew up as an only child. I’m very independent and stubborn at times, so I think it takes a very special type of man to handle that. It’s probably been difficult for the ones in the past, but there’s someone out there who can handle it.”

Translation: You’re not a very nice person. Moving on.

Let’s meet Travis:

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

Maybe not.

Later on, we find out one of the contestants, Nina, not only doesn’t know anything about gaming, but she didn’t know this was a dating show based on gaming. Uhh, what? So she just signed up for something not knowing what it was. Seems like a fruitful life decision.

The contestants tried to get to know each other while playing Hearthstone, with conversation going in and out in favor of romantic-sounding interludes that could have served no other purpose than to shield the audience from all the awkwardness.

Which reminds me, let’s run down the top five craziest actual quotes said by people on this show, ranging from “If I had a drink or two I might say that” to “please send help now.”

5. “How weird are you?” -Patrick.

I mean, that’s not the route I would go on a first date, and I’m the guy who once kept a running tally (on Twitter) of days since his last awkward moment. But Patrick is defensible here. You’re in the middle of a conversation, the girl says she’s weird, and you’re just trying to let her know you’re listening to what she says. It’s a small slip up but understandable.

4. “Sometimes, you have a lot of feelings. You know what happy and sad is. There’s also a feeling of love and wanting. You want to sometimes act on those feelings of love and you wanna share that, and you share that feeling of love with somebody.” –Nina

So who’s ever had a conversation about “the birds and the bees” on a blind date? Nina and Alex did. And it was RIVETING. In a conversation that lasted six, seemingly-unedited minutes, they discussed how to have the sex talk with the children they don’t have. Because why not?

In Nina’s defense, it’s actually not that bad of an overview of “The Talk,” but why bring that up? We just met. I don’t want to think about having kids with you. I sure as hell don’t want to hear how you’d talk to them about sex. Can I get a next?

3. “I’m looking for someone who doesn’t want me to make his life better, but complement it.” -Kaitlin

You literally just said you don’t want to make your significant other’s life better. Why should anyone date you? Isn’t the whole point of dating (or doing anything, really) improving the quality of your life?

Her honesty is admirable, but I have no interest in dating anyone who EXPLICITLY STATES the intent to not make my life any better than it was before I met her. Sorry.

2. “The one thing I would want my date to know about me is that I woke up this morning, without getting out of bed, and ate a whole sleeve of girl scout cookies by myself before even getting up to start my day. I think that says a lot about me.” -Mika

She ate an entire sleeve of girl scout cookies. Good job. That’s of no importance. But how the hell did she eat them WITHOUT LEAVING THE BED? Did she sleep with girl scout cookies in her bed? Does she have somebody who just brings her girl scout cookies on demand? Did she get them there by using telepathy?

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

Wait. Look at the eyes. Definitely telepathy. I’m scared.

1. “I think romance and creepiness goes hand in hand almost. So I found out where this person lived, and I sent them flowers for their birthday.” – Bao


“It ended horribly, though.”


I can’t believe the relationship with the girl you quite possibly stalked didn’t work out. Shocked.

Come on, Bao.

Get it, girl

Although a few couples at the end agreed to go on second dates (I’m already ‘shipping Patrick and Nina and Mika and Travis, y’all), there was only one true romance to emerge from this four-hour train wreck: Danielle and her drink.

The contestants were given complementary drinks throughout their dates, and Danielle made sure to take advantage of that. Let’s take a look:

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

That’s not so bad. First date of the night. Didn’t have time to finish the drink. Move along. Nothing to see here…

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

Wow, there’s a lot of wine in that glass.

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

Oh, what’s that? They gave her the whole bottle? Well that’s weird.

Fireside and Chill dating show Slingshot

Well, then.

Keep in mind that last frame happened after the camera operator asked Danielle if she knew the name of the guy she just met. She did not.

A friend once said, “When the mood strikes, don’t hesitate.” And it’s clear Danielle took that to heart and went for the one she wanted most: The wine bottle.

More power to her. At least somebody found love in the cold world of reality esports TV.

Well, and the dog.

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