One of the go-to plot devices for writers of drama and comedy has been the double date. Put two characters on the same show together in a situation in which they both have dates and decide to make it a double and you have the making of TV gold. Usually. Very rarely does the double date trope fail. As you may recall from some of these double date highlights.
After finally working up the nerve to ask out his dream goddess Sonny (Sonny, Sonny, Sonny) for a date, no one is more surprised than Kip when she actually says yes. At the very same time that Kip is excited to finally get a date with Sonny, his roomie Henry is excited about going out with his boss’ niece Cecily. Unfortunately, for Henry, Cecily has gone through a few changes since she posed for the picture of her he saw. For one thing, she’s got green hair. And she’s changed her name to Andrea Puss. Kip has no intention of a letting either a punk rocker or an overly familiar French waiter ruin his big night. That job, it turns, out, is already taken. By Kip. This memorable TV double date winds up with Henry and Ms. Puss unexpectedly hitting it off and with Kip being inundated with water from the lobster supply. Of course, Cecily/Andrea is never heard of again, but that is actually the norm in these things.
The Brady Bunch
Peter Brady is really too young for the cousin of the girl who will only go out with Greg Brady if he can get a date for the cousin. Confused? Don’t be. It’s a standard plot device extension of the double date. Not only do we get a double date, but a double date in which one of the characters disguises himself. In this case, Peter Brady puts on a very fake mustache to look older. Of course, the real fun is that both girls are onto the caper from the beginning, giving them the opportunity to get even for the boys thinking they are so stupid by both pretending to be overcome with desire for the younger Peter in his fake mustache.
“Cheers” makes a genuinely classic episode out of the double date. And also manages to add a little extra something. Sam and Diane are both convinced they can pick out the perfect date for the other. Of course, Sam gets it into his conceited head that this is just a ploy for Diane to reveal herself as his perfect date. So he doesn’t bother to pick one for her until he realizes his error and then he must scramble to find someone to go out with Diane. That turns out to be Andy, a small time criminal bordering on the psychopathic. The double date episode of “Cheers” manages to be a classic in the canon as well as one that introduces one of the series’ most memorable minor recurring characters.
The Big Bang Theory
Then there are those very rare occasions when a double date not only creates a recurring character, but that character goes on to become a regular. And as if that weren’t enough, the double date is the impetus toward a future marriage. When Wolowitz reminds Leonard of a pact they made to get a future girlfriend to set them up, it does not bode well. Wolowitz is being his generally tacky lounge lizard self and Bernadette seems to be opposed to anything that interests him. Finally, at the restaurant, they bond over a mutual issue: their domineering mothers. Who knew such a mutual interest could lead to matrimony?