I have a love-hate relationship with reality TV.
Even though I’m new to the scene, I already find my interest in the reality TV dating format waning.
I like drama and high stakes, but I hate seeing nice people get hurt and betrayed. I want the spice of shows like MAFS without the grossness of consuming other people’s humiliation and grief for entertainment.
Most of all I want to watch a show that doesn’t just ~make me feel better about myself~, but one that makes me reflect on my interpersonal relationships and why I feel the way I do about certain things. I want something that feels introspective and real, not staged.
Is that too much to ask from reality TV? Some would think so, but season 2 of Netflix’s Love Is Blind actually came through.
In case you aren’t across the premise of Love Is Blind, 15 men and 15 women partake in an experiment where they speed date each other for a few days, narrow down their pool, and then pick one person to propose to — but only if they want to. The catch? They don’t see the person they’re dating until they’re engaged.
The couples — who have now only just met in person — then live together for a few weeks. They work through all the drama that inevitably comes with such a wild dating journey and if all goes well they get married. Like, real married, not MAFS married.
For a show that seems similar to the local binfire we’re used to, Love Is Blind is actually the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely spicy. There’s more than enough drama to keep any reality TV fan entertained. Even the blood-thirsty ones.
There’s toxic relationships, bad behaviour, gossip, the works.
But what makes Love Is Blind stand out to me is how it feels so honest.
There’s a unique transparency to every cast member on season 2 of Love Is Blind.
All of them are multidimensional people with their own quirks, complexes and beliefs. The show does a great job of presenting *both* sides to any conflict or conversation, which is certainly not something we see in some other dating shows.
The “villains” are shown to have moments of sensitivity, kindness and introspection. The “sweethearts” are sometimes mean, bratty or callous.
Basically, no one is ever reduced to one behaviour for the sake of a narrative so everyone actually ends up being relatable. Which is a really interesting (and sometimes uncomfortable) experience when you’re pushed to empathise with people you can’t stand.
And my favourite part of the show? Messy, justice-driven binches rejoice: there is a reunion panel after the finale where we see everyone held accountable for their bullshit. No cruel behaviour goes unchecked for the sake of drama!
— monica acosta (@iMonicuh) March 4, 2022
Which brings me to my argument that this is what reality TV should be — an opportunity to not only present you with people you wouldn’t ordinarily know about or relate to, but then convince you that they have more in common with you than you thought.
We’re so used to reality TV that’s contemptful. Maybe for some of us that’s why we watch it — we want to feel better about ourselves. We want to pat ourselves on the back for being ‘normal’ unlike these unhinged, wine-throwing influencers, right?
But Love Is Blind is my favourite reality dating show because it forced me to consider the views and feelings of contestants on the show that I was repulsed by. It created dialogue between me and my partner (who I watched it with) — we had some genuinely meaningful conversations where we discussed events on screen and mapped them out onto our own lives.
Love Is Blind had me deeping that a lot men and women alike are in relationships with their ‘second choice’ or whoever was available when they decided they wanted to leave the streets. It’s a bit scary but more common than people want to admit
— YT: LifeOfAls (@LifeOfAls) March 7, 2022
And really, that’s what I want from reality TV. I want to find myself caring about total strangers, investing in their stories, and finding myself reflected in them.
I want to walk away feeling more connected with the world, with my friends, and with myself.
Love Is Blind navigates relationships and human behaviour in a way that’s so authentic, I was left a more empathetic person.
You can watch Love Is Blind on Netflix.