‘Love Is Blind’ TV Review: Vapid Yet Addictive Netflix Dating Series
I never expected to find myself unable to look away from a reality show which is perhaps more clearly than others of its kind (The Bachelor, The Circle), fashioned to fail. There’s nothing about Love is Blind’s execution that honors its original “purpose”: to look beyond what is seen as the ultimate superficiality: physical appearance. You would imagine the contestants on the show would be people who’ve been rejected because they don’t look conventionally attractive; instead what we have are 15 men and women whose biggest problems are that they’re so good looking that sometimes people don’t believe they can hold an intellectual conversation. “It’s cos I ain’t ugly,” a contestant explains. “There’s more to me than looking cute.” Another, a doomed scientist, soliloquies about his trouble in the dating game because his tall, fair person is suited more to that of a model and most astonishingly, the biggest problem of a Mexican immigrant couples’ son is that he looks too white and not Mexican enough. I couldn’t look away from this car crash because it’s a Lamborghini and 30 impeccably dressed drama queens.
The equivalent of the dating game’s first world problems are moderated by the show’s unique idea of contestants speed dating each other in a pod with a wall in between that prevents them from judging each other based on looks. This part of the show is somewhat authentic; some couples do strike up conversation better than others. The season’s player, Barnett, is especially amusing as his bad boy humor amuses some women and offends others. There are genuinely cringeworthy and funny moments as well as in a show which is about embracing personality, the CEO of a mitigation company instantly tells his date that if he had to guess, he would say she’s African-American, and another man declares that what he looks for a woman is shape and beauty. There are even brutally honest conversations and sincere realizations about relatable problems that stem from the distance: trust issues, commitment, the inability to open up emotionally and that often the qualities you first look out for in a person aren’t the same as the ones that the person you fall in love with has.
We move on and watch the couples see each other for the first time, spend their first night together, plan their weddings and bachelor parties and then finally walk down the aisle. One couple meets their end very soon while others deal with problems as they try to adjust to the reality of their new fiances. It’s obvious that barely anyone will make it and it’s entertaining to see how quickly certainties of the perfect man or woman can come crashing down after just a few hours spent together. You can guess how many couples get married in the end, although I was actually surprised by how high the number was. In a newly released reunion episode, the participants themselves squirm as they watch snippets of the drama that unfolded.
I know ardent watchers of The Bachelor who once said this show was “too stupid” but have since switched teams. I know people who’ve never seen any reality show but now helplessly watch episode after episode of Amber’s antics and Jessica’s dilemmas. I know people praying the next season will come soon so they can once again see attractive couples fall fleetingly in love and then go their separate ways after a theatrical few weeks. When the next season comes, I don’t think I’ll be able to look away either.