Watch an episode of “Love Handles,” hosted by Stu Jeffries, a Newlywed Game-type show that made history by allowing same-sex couples to play!
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The floral love seats, neon backdrops and corny lines from host Stu Jeffries set “Love Handles” firmly in the 90s, but this Canadian game show was actually ahead of its time by including same sex couples.
Associate producer Jackie Swanson believed it was important to bring depth and social conscience to “fluffy” game shows and pitched the idea to producer Blair Murdoch, who was fully on board.
The decision was met with both praise and controversy. Some local broadcasters even refused to air the show.
“In some territories it was a little risky to air a game show that blatantly featured gay couples so it was pulled off the air in some communities across Canada,” says Swanson.
She adds that most of the local stations that pulled the show did eventually decide to air it.
Swanson now looks back proudly on the show that aired on Global TV and other regional broadcasters from 1996 to 1998.
“I feel like we really had a stake in Canadian history and bringing a society together.”
An offshoot of “The Newlywed Game,” “Love Handles” featured three couples competing against each other for cash and exciting prizes like a weeklong motorhome holiday (this was the 90s after all).
Similar to its American counterpart, one member of each couple was asked a question about their partner while the other member waited offstage.
Couples would later be reunited on their love seats to see if they could get a match in both five and 10-point rounds. What differed from “The Newlywed Game” was contestants could earn bonus points if they were the first to buzz in and then got the question right.
The third round featured a word association game where one member of the couple tried to get their partner to say a word before a member of another team could steal.
The show’s announcer, David Kaye, has gone on to renown as a voice actor in Los Angeles, voicing Megaton in five of the “Transformers” series and acting as the announcer on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Fun Fact: Prior to “Love Handles” Stu Jeffries hosted CBC TV’s “Good Rockin’ Tonite” from 1985 to 1993. He is now a morning show radio host on Toronto’s Boom 97.3.
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