Falling in love one date (and nugget) at a time
As the digital sphere became an excellent avenue for artists to market themselves one way or another, many reinventive formats populated the scene. We see it in Vanity Fair’s Lie Detector Test, BuzzFeed’s viral Thirst Tweets series and even Wonder’s own library of behind-the-scenes content. Of course, everyone wants to learn about their favorite celebrities while keeping things extremely interesting. Enter British journalist, comedian and YouTuber Amelia Dimoldenberg, whose Chicken Shop Date show with stars like Daniel Kaluuya, Phoebe Bridgers and Jack Harlow arguably embodies the modern romcom.
Amelia still has her guests for a usual sit-down interview. The twist is, though, they’ll be having their “first date” with her at local chicken shops, where the experience will be as weird and awkward as possible. This includes the extra second-guessing that comes with the first date. Long silences, the question of “Will they or won’t they click?” Will one person only carry the conversation, or is their chemistry through the roof? All these questions (and more) get answered in seven minutes. This format skyrocketed her channel into fame and notoriety, birthing a viral TikTok sound and even earning the attention of one Andrew Garfield.
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It’s awkward and funny, but a lot of sparks-inducing interactions have me convinced that it’s actually a modern romcom. (Amelia thinks so, too!) Before we get into the analyses, let me lay down the test Chicken Shop Date will undergo to see if it counts. In a story with NPR, critic and author Scott Meslow dives deep into the mystery of the genre. The article follows the release of his book From Hollywood with Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy, making him credible in talking on the subject. In this exploration, Meslow coined a simple three-item test to see if the film is a romantic comedy:
- Is the plot centered around a love story?
- Does it make you laugh more than it makes you cry?
- If you remove the love story from the movie, is there still a film, or will it collapse?
So how does Chicken Shop Date hold out? First things first: does it center around a love story? I would argue yes because we wouldn’t have these interviews and reactions if they don’t do these dates. But in terms of comedy and the story’s romantic independence? Let’s run down some fan-favorite episodes to see if these Chicken Shop Dates pass Meslow’s test.
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One of the best Chicken Shop Date episodes stars Daniel Kaluuya. While this interview might be three years old, it’s arguably one of the best, thanks to Kaluuya. Even if he needs his time to process and recover from the questions and jokes, the actor bounces back right after. And if we remove the romantic component from Chicken Shop Date, then will we even have an interview? No, not really, because we won’t have the “What’s your type?” conversation that makes Amelia Dimoldenberg immediately stronger than any soldier.
Rating: A romcom.
Chicken Shop Date has Amelia pushing boundaries, sometimes to the point where she mocks the guest to see their reactions. A fan-favorite episode is The 1975’s Matty Healy, who also got some heavy jabs from the host. Honestly, watching this feels like a slow-burn indie romcom because of Healy’s deadpan intellectualism coupled with Amelia’s eccentric personality. It actually kind of leans toward the enemies-to-lovers territory, especially the fight over the cigarette and B&W filter. The episode closes out with Matty Healy trying to beg for a kiss, which Amelia shuts down as soon as possible. Messy, but we love it.
Rating: An indie film-slash-romcom.
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With a whopping 13 million views, Jack Harlow’s Chicken Shop Date appearance has become one of the most popular in the bunch. And yes, we can excuse his subpar English accent and getting his drinks mixed up. The rapper knows how to play along with her antics, even if he fails in some parts. But TBH, the show struck comedic gold at the get-go, with Amelia Dimoldenberg asking Jack Harlow if he could read. Again, will this hold without the love story? Definitely not, despite them not really coming out as a perfect match.
Rating: A cringe-y romcom, but a romantic comedy nonetheless.
In the most recent Chicken Shop Date, Amelia Dimoldenberg takes Kehlani out. Amelia tries to impress the singer with her spookylicious faces, the out-of-place-ness of it all making it funny as hell. But honestly, their chemistry is through the roof. Amelia’s a little more flirty and less awkward, with Kehlani’s innate seductive energy creating the best chemistry to ever come out of Chicken Shop Date. Amelia doubles down on wooing her guest by bringing out a bottle of alcohol and taking a shot together before singing Kehlani’s Toxic. Will all this still happen without the love story component? Not at all.
Rating: A romcom, and we are absolutely whipped for Kehlani.
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There you have it, folks! These three episodes really show that Chicken Shop Date embodies the modern romcom. Deny it all you want, but Amelia Dimoldenberg knows how to corner our favorites for the best awkward first date that will make us fall in love with even more. Now, when will the Andrew Garfield episode come out? We’re dying to know.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver