The day before Valentines Day, Netflix released the first few episodes of new reality show Love Is Blind, showing they are in fact moving into the reality streaming space. February 13th was also the day that a large part of the population lost their collective minds.
If you haven’t seen it, the premise of Love Is Blind is insane: 13 men and women spend 16-hour days in isolated pods talking to each other on the other side of a wall, one of which they will eventually choose to marry. The idea is an emotional connection will be formed, which is truer than physical, so they say. Once they pop the question, five of the couples are followed as they are fast-tracked through their engagement, including meeting the parents and moving in together, before their weddings a month away.
The thing is, it works. Love Is Blind is the rare reality show that doesn’t relish in the disaster and drama. The characters seem genuinely happy, and this “emotional connection” seems to be working. Yet, even to the most inexperienced reality viewer, it’s clear that the show relies on some heavy-handed help from producers to keep it moving.
For one part, every contestant on the show is young, fit and attractive. So, this connection they are making in the pods probably would have been made outside of them anyways, due to the physical attractiveness of the contestants. It also avoids the awkward, but far more realistic, problem of meeting your fiancee and finding out you’re not attracted to them. And yet, we are elated to find out the couples are in fact attracted to each other, and cheer them on, which is a testament to the genius of the show. The closest we come to this problem is Jessica being clearly uncomfortable with Mark being 10 years younger than her, but also this seems to be a constant cover up for her more clear issues with drinking and abandonment (it’s as uncomfortable as it sounds).
There are also the inexplicable rules that the show relies on, with no explanation to the audience. For one, the show has clearly told the couples to avoid breaking up until they are literally on the altar. This keeps the contestants in the show and allows the producers to highlight the happier moments. It also provides some great drama, like Gigi running through the muddy woods outside the venue after Damian says “I do not”. Also, some grosser moments. Jessica was never going to marry Mark, yet we had to wait until the biggest day of his life for him to find out.
Even with the holes, a great show is created. The show, unlike traditional reality, pushes off the grandeur of the drama and almost sets up the couples to be happy. This creates great moments, and one finds themselves smiling along with the love-drugged couples. This allows more real-world problems to engross us, like Amber revealing to Barnett her $20,000 student debt, or Cameron dealing with Lauren’s family’s disapproval of her dating a white man. These are relatable issues that are far more enjoyable to watch than traditional reality television drama.
So the show doesn’t actually answer whether love is in fact blind, and requires some heavy assistance to persuade us. Yet the show creates such a romantic and addictive product, that we all lost our minds and thought it made perfect sense. The show’s premise is so insane and nonsensical, and would never work in ‘reality’. Yet there we all were, believing it.