How would you describe the Bowdoin dating scene?

Responses to this question varied from a resounding "awful" to a more contemplative "dysfunctional and confusing," to a slightly more optimistic "chaotic" in an informal survey of students. It is this disparity in the responses?the uncertainty regarding sex, love, dating, and relationships?that pushed Samantha Scully '09 and Noah Detweiler '08 to embark on the Bowdoin Cable Network's first-ever dating and relationships show.

The show, entitled "Samantha" after its host, will be four episodes, airing monthly until the end of the semester. The episodes will be a half hour long, each focused on a different issue, with a variety of panelists fielding questions from a studio audience. Unlike other dating shows on popular broadcasting networks, Detweiler said that "Samantha" aims to "create a space for dialogue" rather than matching up people and fostering arbitrary couples.

Scully elaborated on this distinction, noting that other dating shows do not focus on constructing healthy relationships because they often degrade one of the two partners.

"These shows play down the idea that you want and need something good for both people in a relationship, not just for one of them," Scully explained.

Through "Samantha," both Detweiler and Scully hope to hone in on the fact that many Bowdoin students feel they are dealing blindly with issues regarding sex, dating, and relationships. Thus, "Samantha" provides a welcoming and friendly forum with a host and panelist eager to address any and all questions.

Detweiler and Scully are particularly eager to create a show that appeals to as large a cross-section of the Bowdoin population as possible. To promote such broad appeal, the show will house diverse panelists to infuse the show with multiple perspectives. And, as Scully explained, no topic is specific to any type of student.

"If you think a topic is for just one orientation or gender, you're wrong," she said. "It's for guys or girls, heterosexual or homosexual. This show is aimed not just at what women want to know and hear, it's for all those guys on campus, too."

When asked what the larger goals of the show are, both Scully and Detweiler agree that they hope "Samantha" works to remove the bleak attitude that surrounds the dating scene on campus. Scully explained that through this show, she hopes students will come to understand that there are others on campus who are after the same things, are approaching dating and relationships in the same way, and may be equally overwhelmed.

This week's episode, which was filming Thursday evening, is focuses on communication and features panelists Julia Bond '09 and Tana Scott '10. Both panelists and host agree that communication and honesty may be the biggest issues in dating today, particularly on Bowdoin's campus.

The show that coincided with Valentine's Day will also be incorporated in this premiere episode. However, both creators were adamant that the holiday not be the focal point.

"As for my opinion on the holiday," Scully said, "I have a problem with it. All that tension and drama and build up for one day. What about all the other 364 days of the year?"

For that reason, this first-ever episode of "Samantha," despite falling on a holiday laced with romantic and sentiment, does not intend to promote elaborate Valentine's Day celebrations, but rather to foster truly healthy relationships.

The creation of a dating and relationship show on BCN has been met with ambivalence by many Bowdoin students. Despite the fact that sex, dating, and relationships are always topics of interest to students, the efficacy of such a show is in question.

"If I was in a relationship," said one first-year, "I'm not sure a BCN show would be the first place I'd turn."

However, the creators hope that "Samantha" will create an engaging and evocative dialogue.