The Dating Game (by JC)

The Cartwright brothers compete against one another on Virginia City’s newest game show.

Rating: T   Word Count: 1717


Good evening everyone and welcome to the Virginia City premier of The Dating Game!

I’m your host, Bob Weebanks, and let’s meet our contestants.

Bachelor #1 is a rancher with a triple major in Humanities, Engineering, and Architecture, also a double minor in Philosophy and Art History from an unnamed but allegedly renowned university back East. He enjoys woodworking, playing guitar, singing, and his newest passion, Wordle. How he’s managed to stay single this long is anyone’s guess. Please welcome Adam Cartwright!

Bachelor #2 is also a rancher, pursuing his continuing education in Animal Husbandry online through Texas A&M. The way to his heart is a home-cooked meal, but please don’t serve him cheese! His hobbies are arm wrestling and bullfighting. He loves kittens, puppies, elephants – animals of all kinds, except sheep – and is a friend to everyone. You know him, you love him – Hoss Cartwright!

Now, isn’t that odd? Any relation? Brothers, well, what a coincidence. All right, let’s meet our third contestant.

Bachelor #3 is again, a rancher (seems to be a popular vocation around here), entrepreneur, and former Pony Express rider. He’s a fixture on the Virginia City social scene who enjoys poker, horse racing, moonlight walks, and kissing (without telling, of course). He currently owns the top spot on the Rancher’s Almanac Ten Most Beautiful list for Sexiest Hair. Let’s meet Joe Cartwright!

Could this be another brother? Really? Well, folks this looks to be a very interesting evening ahead! Let’s get started by bringing out our lovely Bachelorette:

She’s a small town girl from upstate New York, visiting relatives in Nevada on her way to California. An admitted beauty school dropout with no marketable skills, she hopes to become an actress someday. Her hobbies are modeling, elocution, and stamp collecting. She loves Italian food and Coke Zero, and her guilty pleasure is a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Latte. Please welcome – Mary Ann Marie!

Applause applause applause…

Bob: Now Mary Ann, have a seat. We have a very unusual lineup of contestants tonight, and you’re going to be choosing one of three eligible Bachelor Brothers for your dream date. Good luck!

MAM: Thank you, Mr. Weebanks. Okay, Bachelor #1 – I’m new to Virginia City. If you could only show me one thing to impress me, what would it be, and why?

Adam: I would give you a grand tour of the Ponderosa. The size alone is impressive, but it’s also quite beautiful. Seeing it for the first time is something you’ll never forget.

MAM: Mm, that does sound grand. #2?

Hoss: I’d take you on a picnic to one of my favorite spots on our ranch that only a few people know about. It’s so pretty and peaceful you’ll feel like you’re in another world, but you’d be right at home with me. I’d see to that.

MAM: How lovely, thank you. #3, what’s your answer?

Joe: I’d show you my horse, and take you on the ride of your life.

MAM: Is he very fast?

Joe: As fast or as slow as you want, Miss Mary Ann. Either way you’ll have something to remember when you leave Nevada, I guarantee.

MAM: Oh my….

Bob: Mary Ann, next question?

MAM: Yes, of course. #1, if you could sum up your love life in one word, what would it be?

Adam: Unproductive.

MAM: #2?

Hoss: Disappointing.

MAM: #3?

Joe: Predictable.

MAM: I’m sorry. Well, let’s move on. #1 – what’s your best physical feature? Don’t be shy.

Adam: Probably my eyes, though I’ve been told I have nice dimples.

MAM: #2?

Hoss: I’d have to say my size. I’m a pretty big fella, which comes in handy sometimes.

MAM: #3?

Joe: Definitely my hair.

Adam, grumbling: It practically has its own fan club.

MAM: Next question. I collect stamps. #1, what do you collect?

Adam: Books.

MAM: #2?

Hoss: Well, I had a bird nest collection when I was a kid, but these days I mostly collect strays, animals and people.

MAM: How do you do that?

Hoss: I reckon we just sorta find each other.

MAM: Interesting. #3?

Joe: I collect money from people who owe it to me.

MAM: That makes sense. Now, since you’re all brothers, I’m going to ask you some questions about each other. #3, what are #1’s best and worst attributes?

Joe: Well, he’s smart, disciplined, neat…he’s also stubborn, bossy, and sometimes boring.

MAM: #1, how would you describe #3?

Adam: Quick-thinking, creative, resilient…also lazy, impulsive, and frequently vain.

MAM: #2, do you agree with them?

Hoss: I reckon there’s a grain of truth on both sides, but there’s a lot more good they didn’t mention, and they know it as well as I do.

MAM: Thank you, #2. That tells me plenty.

Bob: I think we have time for one more quick question, Mary Ann.

MAM: All right. If you were a father with a daughter leaving home, what advice would you give her, #1?

Adam: Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

MAM: #2?

Hoss: Don’t judge people by appearances.

MAM: #3?

Joe: Never let anyone talk you into wearing a blue dress.

MAM: What’s wrong with a blue dress?

Bob: Oh, I’m afraid our time is up. Mary Ann, you now have a choice to make. Based on their answers, will it be Bachelor #1, Bachelor #2, or Bachelor #3?

MAM: They all sounded nice, but my heart is telling me to go with #2.


Bob: Congratulations #2! All right, let’s meet the other brothers:

#1 is the oldest of the three and has been named Virginia City’s most eligible bachelor for the past ten years. He’s a formally educated renaissance man and part owner of the Ponderosa Ranch who likes his bacon crisp – Adam Cartwright!


MAM: You do have nice dimples!

Bob: #3, the youngest brother and heir to the Ponderosa empire, is a wildly popular man about town and community organizer. He is admired for his skills as a horse breaker and trick rider and hopes to open a Bed and Breakfast someday – Joe Cartwright!


MAM: I love your hair – it looks so shiny and manageable!

Bob: Now it’s time to meet your dream date, Mary Ann. Are you ready?

MAM: Oh yes!

Bob: As you’ve already surmised, #2 is the middle brother, sometimes referred to as the heart and soul of the Ponderosa. Known and loved throughout Virginia City for his easy-going personality and tempered strength, he received the Citizen of the Year award for delivering a colt and a friend’s baby at the same time. A giant of a man with gentle ways, when he talks people listen because, well, you can guess why. Let’s bring him out now – Hoss Cartwright!

MAM: Oh…my…stars…. You are a big fellow…!

Hoss: Are you all right, Miss Mary Ann?

MAM craning her neck to smile at him: Yes, I just had a moment. I’m fine now.

Bob opening an envelope: All right, let’s see what the producers have in store for the two of you. Mary Ann and Hoss, get ready to enjoy an all expenses paid weekend at the brand new Harrah’s in Reno! Accommodations include two courtyard rooms and with private baths, plus meals in the hotel as well as in-room service by Lundberg Catering. But that’s not all! On Saturday night you’ll have front row seating for the opening performance of Lotta Crabtree’s New San Francisco Revue. Round trip transportation provided by Wells Fargo. How does that sound?

MAM: It sounds wonderful. Hoss, is there something wrong? You keep looking at me funny.

Hoss: Well, Miss Mary Ann, first let me say you’re just about the cutest little gal I’ve ever seen and I’m real proud you picked me, but the sooner we get you out of that dress, the better.

Joe: Just what I was thinking.

MAM: I beg your pardon, sir!

Hoss: Oh, no that’s not what I mean! I mean you should put on a different one.

MAM: You don’t like it? I bought it especially for tonight.

Hoss: It’s real pretty, just the wrong color.

MAM: But blue is my favorite.

Adam: Maybe we can find her something in wardrobe, temporarily at least.

Bob: Well, that’s our show for tonight folks. Until next time….

Bob mimes a farewell kiss to the audience as the Cartwrights escort a bewildered Mary Ann from the stage.


Two Weeks Later

Joe: Well, did Mary Ann get off okay?

Hoss: Yep, I put her on the stage to San Francisco this mornin’. She’s determined to try to make it on her own in the big city.

Joe: She’s got spunk, I’ll give her that. Sorry it didn’t work out between you two.

Adam: So am I. She’s a lovely girl, one who could turn the world on with a smile.

Hoss: She sure ain’t ugly.

Adam: If you don’t mind my saying so, you don’t seem too broken up over her leaving. I thought you liked her. Didn’t you enjoy your date?

Hoss: Yeah, we had a good time.

Joe: But not too good a time, I take it.

Hoss: We mostly just talked, you know, gettin’ to know each other. She talked about her family in New York; her folks, her cousins, her great-grandpa who served under George Washington; her boyfriend who joined the priesthood; her best friend from beauty school; her voice teacher, her acting coach; some lady she met on the train from somewhere, and how she thought she lost her luggage but it wasn’t really lost, and something about a feathered hat…or maybe it was a fluffy cat. I’m not sure. I was half asleep by then. And that was just on the way to Reno.

Joe: Hoo boy, my ears are ringing just from listening to you tell it.

Hoss: If that had been the only thing, I think we coulda worked around that. But there was another problem.

Adam: And what was that?

Hoss: Well, she ain’t no bigger than a match stick, and every time I got close to her I was worried I was gonna squash her like a lady bug. It hurt my head to have to think about it all the time. It just wasn’t meant to be, that’s all.

Adam: Ah, sorry big guy.

Hoss: Dadburnit, sometimes size does matter!

Joe: It’s not like no one’s ever said it.




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Author: JC

A drop in the sea of humanity. And I write a bit.

30 thoughts on “The Dating Game (by JC)

  1. We need emoji’s to post!! I’m laughing and smiling to beat the band. This was such a fun read. I loved the Dating Game and sure would have liked to see the brothers there.

  2. What a delightful story! Naturally, the boys would bicker during the show. I smiled through the entire reading.

  3. Read this four times and it just keeps getting funnier! It’s funny enough just for those of us who remember that show, but the perfect twist is the dreaded blue dress. I pronounce this ridiculously funny.

    1. Thanks, sandspur. There always seems to be a blue dress lurking, and I guess the brothers have learned not to take any chances. Looks like they’re no better off than they were before, but maybe they’ll have better luck with (I hear that’s where Mitch Devlin met his new wife, Bunny). 😉

      1. I was a fan of The Dating Game in the 60’s, so this was especially fun to write. Thanks for reading, BF. 🙂

  4. Sympa l’idée de mettre les frères Cartwright en scène sur un jeu moderne. Mais ne sont t’ils pas toujours modernes ? Bien que l’histoire se passe au temps des westerns.
    Cette histoire est plaisante, fait rire, détend et nous montre très bien les facettes des personnages.
    Le jeu met les frères en présence d’une belle “nouille” (mot français pour désigner une fille pas très futée),
    mais cela ne reflète t’il pas bon nombres d’épisodes Bonanza ?

    1. Les Cartwright étaient toujours en avance sur leur temps, n’est-ce pas? Je suis heureux que vous ayez apprécié ce peu de plaisir. Notre petite « nouille » a été en partie inspirée par un personnage nommé Ann Marie dans une sitcom appelée « That Girl ». Merci d’avoir lu, Monika. 🙂

      1. Merci pour votre sympathique réponse. J’aimerais bien en savoir plus sur ce sitcom, pour bien comprendre qui est cette Ann Marie.
        😒😮😍, Adam, Hoss, Joe 🤩Ann Marie

          1. Merci, cela me fait rire. Un rôle difficile, jouer ‘la nouille’ 😊 et ne pas être si bête qu’il n’y parait.
            J’imagine la roue de voiture dans la boue avec les trois frères chevaliers servant. . .

          2. Oui, les trois frères à la rescousse! Ann Marie serait une fille chanceuse. J’ai adoré ce programme quand j’étais jeune et j’ai immédiatement pensé à elle pour cette histoire. Elle est mignonne, douce, drôle et aime beaucoup parler. 🙂

    1. I watched The Dating game when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s (Wow, I must be old). A lot of celebrities were on as contestants before they were stars. And since our lovely bachelorette in this case didn’t get to see her suitors, she could only judge them by their answers. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed my bit of nonsense, Elayne. As always, thanks for reading!

    1. I needed to switch gears and write something silly after being mired in deaths of Cartwrights (which I don’t recommend). I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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