There’s something about reality television that draws the eye. Perhaps it’s the trainwreck quality of the people living within this bubble universe. There’s no way people in the world really exist like this?! There’s no way the Kardashian sisters would really wipe their lady bits with a towel and have each other smell them to see who has the best smelling lady bits, right? That’s not how real people work. Could you imagine your best friend or sister proposing this to you on a Saturday night? You’d probably tell them to go to hell and open applications for a new best friend/sister. Cause that shits effin weird. Yet somehow through the prism of reality television it sort of… makes sense?
Think of all the reality shows you’ve watched, whether publicly or in secret. There’s always at least one character who takes things just a little too far. That one person who crosses the line from actual human to degenerate crapbag almost effortlessly. And it’s these people who have lead to the development of some pretty sketchy programming. Shows like Temptation Island where you go to an island full of hotties and try not to cheat on your significant other. Shows like Born In the Wild where couples live in the woods and give birth to children without the aid of doctors (yes, this is real and I believe it was on Lifetime). Or who could forget anything that’s come out of Jersey, Shore or Housewives? Reality television stopped focusing on reality a long time ago and decided to go all-in on celebrating what makes people kind of awful and icky.
With all that in mind, I turned to Netflix’s new dating reality program, Love Is Blind fully expecting the equivalent of watching a car drive full speed into a brick wall. I’m not going to lie, I was curious. Outside of anything hosted by Guy Fieri, Nicole Byers, or the panel of The Masked Singer, I don’t watch a lot of reality tv. Sure, I would watch the Soup, which has thankfully returned, but that’s really as far as it would go. But there was something about Love Is Blind that was too tempting to ignore. Possibly it was the fact that it was on Netflix and easily accessible. There was no DVR shame. I could just turn to my wife and say “want to give this a try” opposed to setting my cable box to make a conscious decision to record some trash. Sure, this will most likely mess up my algorithm but it was a chance I was willing to take.
The premise of Love Is Blind was actually kind of interesting. A select group of men and women set to build relationships without seeing each other first. What a novel idea. The people had to actually get to know a person and be attracted to their character as opposed to their twelve-pack or enhanced bits. Pretty tremendous idea. The thing is that once a relationship has been established, through proposing to someone after like ten days which is the most bananas thing I’ve ever heard of, they finally get to meet. This is where the show turns a bit shallow. If your new fiance doesn’t match what you imagined and you find that you’re not physically attracted to them… well, you can call it off. Ouch. This is the epitome of “you have a great personality but…”
As much as I would like to admit being an evolved human being, I can’t deny that this experiment interested me. It’s awful and cruel but I had that morbid curiosity to see how things turned out. Like how would someone react to hearing they weren’t attractive enough? Cause if it was me, I’m not sure if I could mentally recover from something like that. From a global scale, I mean. It’s one thing for someone in high school to look at you and go “ewww gross” and a totally different ballgame when eight gazillion Netflix viewers and one reality contestant think it too. That’s part of the draw of reality tv though. You need to know how this shit show is going to turn out.
The trick with Love Is Blind though is that they stack the house with all attractive people. Seriously, there isn’t one ugly person on this show and to me that kind of skews the experiment. I’m not saying you have to bring cast members who are unattractive to embarrass them but at least give me some average looking people. Make me wonder if there’s going to be an issue when the couple meets for the first time. The attractiveness of contestants takes away any wonder. It’s like “of course they’re going to be attracted to each other, look at them” opposed to “I hope no one gets stabbed.”
As for the rest of the show? It sucked me in pretty quickly. Honestly, I was pretty mad during the first episode as I learned that everyone was super attractive but by the second episode I find myself yearning for the cast members from the first episode. I wanted their drama back. I didn’t want to meet new people, I was already dealing with this first batch of people. By the third episode, I was turning to my wife and asking “do they all have to go to vacation together?! What’s going to happen when they see people they went on dates on?! What is Jessica going to do?!” For those of you who have watched the show then you know that Jessica is the worst. She’s your bad human. A drama tornado that is soooooo self-absorbed and clearly is not interested in the person she’s with but refuses to tell the producers so she doesn’t have to go home.
My wife and I sat in our dimly lit living room Saturday night, eating candy and effortlessly plowed through five hours of Love Is Blind. Like it was nothing. I started rooting for couples to make it completely ignoring how prosperous this entire thing is. You’ve got forty days or so to meet someone, “fall in love”, move in together, and then get married. Like married for the rest of your life married. That’s insane! I couldn’t help but think what the families of these contestants thought of them as they were watching because neither the producers or contestants have a true understanding of what the concept of love is. I couldn’t imagine knowing someone for ten hours and being like “yeah, let’s get married. Eff it”, but within Love Is Blind I was rooting for characters to make it. We were looking up their socials after we finished watching looking for clues to see who made it. My wife and I had bought fully into the machine. She even cried… three times.
I thought after the fifth episode ended that I would sit in my chair and feel a little bit of shame. A little bit of, “what did I just do with my Saturday night” or “that’s five hours I’ll never see again” or even “I watched five hours of Love Is Blind but still have yet to start The Irishman”. But I wasn’t though. I was ready for the next four episodes to drop this week. I was invested. I had favorites. I had people I couldn’t stand (*cough* Jessica *cough*). And I have zero shame in this. The way I view it, this could be much worse. I could be watching the Kardashians have a smell off, and let’s be honest, none of us need that in our lives.
Love Is Blind is what reality television has become. It’s kind of cringey, a wee bit shallow, full of attractive people, and something that once you lay eyes on you can’t quite turn away from. And full disclosure, it’s kind of fantastic. Like in all the worst ways but fantastic none the less.