Unless you live under a rock, you've probably already heard of Netflix's newest reality TV show Love Is Blind. Hosted by real-life married couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey (who literally recite the same drawn out monologue almost every episode), the show is poised as a social experiment. The question? You guessed it: Is love blind? Can two people truly fall in love without ever seeing each other? As it turns out, it is possible. For a select few couples, at least.
The show's as heteronormative as it gets. The men and women are separated from each other and can only interact, or in this circumstance, date, through small yet cozy rooms called "pods." Within a period of 10 days, if they fall in love with another participant, they can propose marriage (through a wall), finally see each other for the first time, and live happily every after, right? Well, not quite.
That said, is this unhinged experiment worth the watch?
What I Liked About It
It’s deliciously entertaining.
Just like any other reality TV show out there, Love Is Blind is chock-full of drama. Thankfully, it isn’t the kind to make you cringe every five seconds due to second-hand embarrassment. Instead, you’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat at 11 p.m. on a workweek clicking at the next episode button just to see how your one favorite—in my case, I'm pertaining to the only interracial couple on the show—will react when they finally see each other face-to-face for the first time. Spoiler alert: It went perfectly, and we’re all hoping Cameron and Lauren get their happily ever after. I mean he, a white Caucasian man, rapped for his fiancé’s African-American mother while she danced in the background, for crying out loud. That’s true love right there, ladies.
They’re never directed or coerced off screen for drama.
Everyone knows that reality TV, for the most part, is manufactured off screen to ensure scandal and drama at every turn. Chris Coelen, the show’s creator however, says the hosts and producers for Love Is Blind aren’t allowed to interfere, hence giving them the chance at a hundred percent genuine emotional connection. "We wanted them to make the decisions and for them to control their destiny," he told OprahMag.com.
What I Didn't Like About It
All the contestants are conventionally attractive.
Here’s the thing, if you conduct an experiment in the hopes of finding out if two people can fall in love, sight unseen and can continue that emotional connection even after seeing each other, throwing in a mix of people that fits society’s definition of attractive—muscular guys and thin girls—might as well render the entire research moot. Of course, you’ll have willing participants join in on the fuss when they’re confident that, one way or the other, they’re bound to end up with a “hot” fiancé. At this rate that proverbial “soul connection” is just the icing on the cake. Love Is Blind was hardly racially diverse, and the lack of contestants with more realistic body types was more than questionable.
They're only given a short time to "date" each other.
Part of the drama engineered by the show comes from the fact that all the relationships are forced to progress at lightning speed. What I assumed was a whole 10 episodes of participants navigating mere walls and voices as they try to find their perfect match, turned out to have two episodes of people “dating” around before they propose and prepare to get married in only four weeks for the rest of the season. You definitely can’t blame the couples when tensions arise once they’re sent back into the real world—I mean, they are engaged to a person they said “I love you” to after holding a conversation with them for a total of five times. Behind a wall, no less.
It perpetuates damaging stereotypes on bisexuality.
PSA: No, bisexuals are not more prone to cheating just because they like both genders. No, the chances of them being unfaithful to you are not doubled just because of their preference. That is an unfair and, quite frankly, ignorant view of bisexuality that apparently still exists in the year 2020 if one contestant’s reaction to her fiancé coming out to her is anything to go by. Diamond and Carlton, a couple that got engaged but only made it until the honeymoon phase in Mexico, broke up after Carlton revealed his sexuality to a shell-shocked Diamond who then accused him of the abovementioned assumptions, after speculating that he can’t truly be in love with her if he’s also attracted to men. I have one question. Are the straights okay? Thankfully, the two called it quits the next day after Diamond realized that she could not, in fact, "deal" with the situation. But now, let's be clear here: A lot of factors also came into this breakup even before Carlton disclosed his sexuality. Not least of all him being absolutely disrespectful towards his fiance in other regards. Conclusion: These two were zero percent compatible.
Entertaining as it may be, there’s always one or two people in a reality TV show that will drive both the other participants and the audience insane. Watching the show, half the time I found myself wanting to yell at the screen, and most, if not all, of that riled up frustration would have been directed at one Jessica Batten. Referred to as Messica in an episode by one contestant, and now the entire internet, Jessica’s a 34-year-old regional manager, who’s also probably your mercurial, over-the-top friend in college. You remember her. The one who will fall for the nearest boy ready to show her a smidge of attention.
While in the pods, this resident baby talker makes a connection with two guys, Mark and Barnett. She ultimately has her heart set on the latter even though her and Mark are both loyal Chicago Cubs fans. In a turn of events, Barnett does a 180-degree turn the next day after telling Jessica that he’s ready to marry her, thus shattering her little heart and pushing her to do the reality TV version of drunk calling your ex. She says yes to the next guy who proposes to her, a.k.a. sweet, naïve Mark who gets down on one knee ready to give her the whole world. She accepts, of course, and spends the rest of the season unabashedly unsure of this guy.
One gets to thinking: What decent human being would willingly walk down the aisle with her second choice, all smiles and words of love, fully knowing that at the end of the day she’s prepared to say “I don’t”? At least one participant (*cough* Damian *cough) had the decency to look like a terrified, tortured calf before he broke his fiance’s heart at the altar. A whole mess, I tell you. And that’s not even the whole story.
So Should You Watch It?
Love Is Blind is no doubt an enjoyable watch for when you’re home alone and have literally nothing else better to do. Word of advice, though: Don’t take it too seriously.