Ever since I saw this mysterious title, Love is Blind, appear on Netflix several weeks ago, I was intrigued. The show seeks to answer that very question, “Is love blind?” by having 15 men and 15 women try to form a love connection without ever seeing each other.
Recently, the hit 11-episode series has made headlines for its interesting catfish casting methods, as one of the participants exposed on The Ellen Show.
In short, cast members sit in “pods” that share a thin wall so they can go on hours-long “dates” without ever seeing their partner. Each cast member ranks their dates and only continues “dating” the other cast members with whom they have a connection, based on how they rank each other.
Here’s the catch: the cast members only have 10 days to fall in love, at which point they can get engaged in order to see each other.
The show then follows a short engagement period, until each couple’s small wedding where both partners reveal whether they still want to marry the other. While the research methodology of this “social experiment” would not hold up to peer review, the show definitely offers some entertaining case studies.
Episodes of the show do not make clear how they selected cast members, but the common thread between all of them seems to be their desire to find love and get married.
Also, while the show claims to prove that appearances aren’t as important as emotional connection, every member of the cast falls within conventional beauty standards, so none of the cast members are really that disappointed when they first see their fiances.
The show is able to do what few reality shows can — it humanizes its cast while simultaneously being mindlessly entertaining.
I would consider it a mix of The Bachelor, 90 Day Fiance and Dr. Phil. There are some very healthy relationship habits shown, as well as some very unhealthy ones. Spoiler alert: not every engaged couple ends up getting married.
Lauren and Cameron are arguably the best couple on the show. They have been praised on social media for the refreshing way that they support each other through the complex nature of being in an interracial relationship. This is one aspect of the show I particularly appreciate, as reality shows generally fail to present this dynamic in a way that does justice to interracial couples. It’s definitely wrong not to mention and discuss race as it intersects with your relationship, but it’s also wrong to depict only the difficulties of being part of an interracial couple.
While I definitely cringed a little when Cameron performed a rap for Lauren’s mother the first time he met her, the couple is able to work through hard conversations on camera.
They consider how their children, who would be biracial, will have a different experience of the world than them, which is one of the most self-aware reflections I’ve ever seen on reality TV.
Beyond being an incredibly cute couple, Lauren and Cameron are an example of a healthy relationship that needs to be represented more in mainstream media.
On the note of representation, the show could have done a better job of creating a more diverse cast. There is only one engaged couple in which both partners are non-white, and (spoiler alert) they don’t last the entire season.
Beyond this, not only is there no same-sex dating shown on the show, but all of the couple matching is between cisgender individuals, which does not allow for representation of different gender identities. As the show (hopefully) continues, the producers need to cast people of more diverse backgrounds.
The show manages to include the perfect amount of drama — not so much that it’s the main component of the show, but enough that it’s realistic and entertaining. While there is one instance of jealousy between members of different couples, most of the cast is genuinely concerned with making their own relationship succeed.
This is particularly a breath of fresh air compared to shows like The Bachelor, which pit cast members against each other for the affection of one person. Love is Blind shows that the real competition involved in dating is a fight against the challenges of everyday life and society, not a match between the contenders.
One cast member who has received significant criticism online is Jessica, who many see as having treated her fiance on the show, Mark, poorly.
While I can definitely see some problematic aspects of her behavior, on camera she seems to be giving the relationship a genuine effort, even though she was clearly not that into it.
Some might argue that she should have broken off their relationship sooner, but she justified her decision to stay the length of the season by explaining that she wanted to give the experiment a fair chance.
Though at times she did come across as a bit shallow, it is valid to want to try and make a relationship work, especially given how short their engagement was.
Ultimately, Love is Blind is an extremely binge-able dating reality show that will not make you feel stupid when you watch it. The best part of the season, hands-down, is watching Lauren and Cameron grow as a couple and show real, deep love despite the odds.
The unconventional next few weeks of break and online classes may leave you with extra time to watch some Netflix. And if it does, check out Love is Blind.