Jhe fact that Love Is Blind was Netflix’s breakout dating show took me by surprise. I thought the real hit would be the trashier Too Hot To Handle, which banned its contestants from having sex and then did everything it could to encourage them to do so. Instead, it’s the show that tried to prove a seemingly heartwarming theory. He argued that if the digital age of dating apps is superficial and appearance-based, maybe we should allow two people to fall in love with each other, not seeing what the love was like. other.
Now he’s back for a second season, returning to the exact same clothes he wore last night. The focus is smooth and the music soars. Whenever something emotional happens, the background music cranks up and sings about the couples feelings, like a toddler trying to express themselves. “I am scaredgoes the music, as someone reveals their vulnerabilities. “I feel allhe beats, as someone tries to figure out who they prefer, while enjoying a golden goblet. This is a series that’s very pleased with its own work, its theory seemingly “proven” by the first season, which has provided two couples (Lauren and Cameron and Amber and Matthew) with what seem to be truly happily ever after marriages. It is, host Nick Lachey insists, “a proven approach to find love.
Well, it is, and also, it isn’t. It’s a tried-and-true approach to creating undeniably captivating television, but it’s as concocted and massaged as any other reality show. We meet 14 men and women, all saying they’re exasperated by the superficiality of modern dating, all willing to propose to someone they’ve never seen. But first, the “pod” scene, which is speed dating behind ground glass, with the couples taking more notes than Gogglebox’s Jenny watching an episode of Line of Duty. We do not see these annotations, it is a pity. One contestant proudly writes another’s name at the very beginning of his book, suggesting that his understanding of true love peaked in elementary school.
Topics go deep, quickly. The couples talk about difficult childhoods, relationship histories, racial stereotypes and class-based assumptions. Men talk about being macho, or not macho enough; women have a thinly veiled hatred of their own bodies and worry about being too old. It’s depressing. But it seems more brutally candid than most dating shows, if not in what they actually say to each other, then in how they talk about themselves.
It quickly becomes clear who the “stars” of this series will be and what their “stories” are. Many competitors fail to hit their match and simply fade into the background, and the ones that last tend to be the bigger, louder, more complex characters. If you’ve ever wondered if your evolution-believing partner (or not) would be a romantic dealbreaker, then allow this show to put that to the test. Insecurities run rampant, as people try to put aside their preconceptions about what constitutes physical attractiveness.
For all its chanting about finding evidence that physical attractiveness is irrelevant, it often proves otherwise. It shows that everyone is judgmental, to some degree, and it wickedly makes viewers feel the same way. The most illuminating moments in these early episodes are when the couples finally come face to face, running towards each other or not, behind Blind Date-style screens. (“I think you’re a beautiful person, inside and out,” one contestant says to another, just before the reveal, which is, surely, jumping the gun.) I firmly believe you can tell in an instant whether they fancy each other or not, no matter how much they claim to be attracted to the “energy”.
A vacation in Cancun, Mexico tracks pods and marriage proposals, so new couples can get to know each other better before they walk down the aisle. See if you can spot the fearful looks away that attendees have when they think no one is watching. It’s all so excruciatingly, unbearably intimate. You see arguments, quarrels, deeply personal discussions, betrayals, regrets. Entire relationships come together and fall apart at a staggering rate. Program creators throw key on key in the works.
The show is undeniable. It’s hard to look away. Netflix is staggering the release of this one in a semi-binge, dropping the first five episodes into a single episode, followed by the next four a week later, and the finale a week after. I will be there until the bitter end. But am I proud of myself for that? I’m not so sure.