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A basic romantic set-up. Alice and Bob have never met each other, but they do have a common friend, Carol. Carol, being a total Shipping Fan Girl, gives off a delighted Squee when she realizes that Alice and Bob would be totally perfect for each other, and she quickly sets them up. Carol's role in all this is, naturally, fungible.
Sometimes they hit it right off. Other times it is pretty much the worst date ever. Ironically, which of these scenarios occurs has little to do with how the characters will fare long term — rather, it depends entirely on what the work in question is trying to accomplish. Comedic works will go with the bad date simply because it makes for better slapstick. Dramatic ones will go with the good date because it does a better job of stretching Will They or Won't They? tension.
Obviously, this trope was popularized because of its preponderance in Real Life as the result of parental match making and people actually going on blind dates, sometimes assisted by a dating service.
Alternate Reality Games
- I Love Bees: Kamal's mother sets him up with Sophia because she's the daughter of a friend of the mother.
Anime and Manga
- The manga Love Lucky takes this to a whole new level, since not only are Fuuta and Kirari set up on a blind date by a match-making service, but afterwards Kirari hides her appearance from Fuuta by wearing a mask during their first and subsequent dates.
- A running sub-plot in the early years of the Spider-Man comic book involved Aunt May's occasional attempts to set Peter up with a blind date with the niece of one of her friends, which Peter always dodged because he assumed that any girl his aunt approved of would have something wrong with her. Eventually he gave in and agreed to meet this Mary Jane person, and the rest is history. Except not.
- The movie Blind Date, featuring Bruce Willis, rather unsurprisingly.
- In the movie Burn After Reading, the female main character Linda is desperately searching for a soulmate through the use of blind dates. With varying results.
- When Harry Met Sally...: Double blind date turns this on its head; Harry sets Sally up with Jess and Sally sets Harry up with Marie; the four go out and in the end Jess ends up hooking up.... with Marie (and marrying her).
- Sleepless in Seattle has a montage of blind dates Tom Hanks' character endures.
- In Something New, this is how the two leads meet. However, it does not go well at their relationship only develops further when they meet again later.
- The Rebound has Sandy going on a succession of awful ones while in contrast the perfect guy for her is her nanny.
- Lane gets set up with an... unfortunate blind date in Better Off Dead—a girl who might have been rather pretty if not for her Braces of Orthodontic Overkill. They don't actually go anywhere—she estimates the total cost of the date they might have gone on and has Lane write her a check.
- In a short story, Jean Shepherd tells of his experience on a blind date in which he gradually figures out that HE is the blind date, not his date.
- Seinfeld uses this trope, having Jerry and Elaine set up George and one of Elaine's friends (who, naturally is never heard from again).
- In one episode of Sex and the City, Carrie is set up for one of these by her married friends (of course, we haven't heard from that friend before or since said episode). Carrie and the young man hit it off, but break up amicably once it becomes clear that Carrie isn't looking for the same kind of relationship he is. She then sets him up for a blind date with Charlotte, who is — but the date quickly goes downhill when he expresses a preference for garish pottery.
- The reality TV series Blind Date fits this trope well; it seems, indeed, that the series deliberately mismatches people for laughs—typically at the man's expense—as in a cartoon (the "cartoon-overs" are a dead giveaway; almost like the Road Runner holding up a sign saying "What an Idiot!!" when Wile E. Coyote falls off a cliff, they often critique whatever the man does).
- It really depended on the couples themselves. Some hit it off, others were disasters that had to be seen to be believed.
- Used a few times in Frasier; the one has Roz setting Frasier up with a girl, and they agree on a codeword he'll use if he wants to get out of it once he meets her. Less than a minute in, he's saying the codeword repeatedly, and she keeps looking at Roz and repeating a word as well.
- Another time, Frasier's dad set him up with his buddy's dateless daughter: Teri freakin' Hatcher.
- The reality show Dating In The Dark takes the "blind date" concept to its logical conclusion.
- If you play as the female character in the game Sprung, then you get set up on a blind date with a short ginger nerd and have to find a way to ditch him.
- In The Sims 2, some NPCs will randomly offer to set your sims up on a blind date. Of course, how it goes varies. If you ask the Gypsy Matchmaker to give you a blind date, how it goes depends on how much you pay her. For example the maximum amount $5000 guarantees someone who fits all the Sim's turn-ons and vice versa, meanwhile giving her $1 will get someone that probably fits the sim's turn-off.
- An early Sluggy Freelance story has Sam setting Torg up on one of these. Unfortunately, Sam's intentions are highly devious and evil. How do we know this? He found her on the Internet.
- Freefall's Florence Ambrose had, apparently, been set up on one or more of these when she was in college, judging from a mental comment she made in strip 1285.