5 thoughts on “What Was the First Movie or TV Show to do a Computer Dating Plot?

  1. I’m not sure exactly what year it was, but in the very early 60’s, there was a pilot for an Archie tv series that did an exact computer-as-date-matching plot. The pilot didn’t and so the producers move on, and their next pilot project was Bewitched.

  2. People always comment on how new technologies (especially cell phones) kill certain types of plot points or tropes, but I’ve always been more interested in what new kinds of plots can now only happen thanks to these technologies.

  3. I was going to note the computer-dating plotline on “I Dream of Jeannie,” but it was relatively late (1969) AND it wasn’t particularly computer-y (the woman who ran the place realized Jeannie was looking for a date for an astronaut, so she set herself up on the date with Major Healey instead).

    I caught a little bit of a “Benson” the other night (“Human Element”) in which the very 1980s robot could interact with humans, cook and even write on at least a ChatGPT level, and I watch way too much “Three’s Company,” so my two suggestions for this feature are:
    — First TV or movie in a contemporary setting to have an authentic, believable real-world robot (so nothing set in the future, and nothing like that “Benson” episode that we could look at 40 years later and say “Robots STILL can’t do all that”).
    — First TV or movie to do the “ATM spits out way way too much money” plot. (I know “Three’s Company” did it.)

  4. The instant that I saw the banner to this entry, I thought of the My Three Sons episode, “Steve and the Computer”, so I was gratified to see it as your selection.

    Aye, the dream sequence in the episode is over the top, but it’s still one of my (and the Good Mrs. Benson’s) favourite episodes of the series.

    For those who came in late, the thrust of the episode occurs when, on a lark, eldest Douglas son, Mike, and his fiancée, Sally, submit completed questionnaires to a dating-service computer. They expect that the computer will find them a perfect match. However, as Mr. Cronin indicated, the computer finds them unsuitable for each other, and they are dismayed.

    On a hope that the computer is unreliable, Mike asks his father to fill out a questionnaire for himself and another with the answers his late wife (Mike’s mother) would have entered. Those answers are fed into the machine, and it reports that Steve and his wife were an almost perfect match.

    This dejects Mike to the point in which he is ready to call off the engagement—until Steve calls him up to the attic and shows him a letter that Louise had sent to Steve during their engagement. I won’t reveal the result, but the upshot is that there are things about the human condition that a computer cannot assess or attribute.

    It’s notable, as this is one of the rare episodes that involves Steve’s late wife.

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