by Janet Briggs, News Editor
Love is Blind has been one of the most trending TV shows since its debut on Valentine’s Day. It seeks to answer the question: is love blind, or does physical connection outweigh emotional connection?
Through a series of blind dates where each couple is separated physically by a wall, the contestants must find their soulmates in just ten days of interactions. After finding their “soulmate”, they then embark on the next chapter of their relationships in the real world leading up to their wedding four weeks later. If you have not watched the show, I would suggest watching it before reading the rest because there will be spoilers.
I have always been a sucker for a good romance, so when I watched the trailer for this show, I was excited to see if it could live up to the hype that surrounded it. I had hopes that it would be above the drama that is so often associated with relationship reality shows and actually try to prove their hypothesis. Accompanied by some judgment from my family and friends, I began watching the show, and it sadly dashed my hopes.
I was immediately drawn into the “pod” portion of the show, which reminded me of the social layout for The Circle, another recent Netflix hit. This part of the show seemed a very accurate display of an emotional over a physical connection.
Still, it also felt very rushed, to the point where I started to doubt any of the relationships could have lasted. The portrayal of the couples was unequal, giving some what seemed like half an episode and others only small segments before they were engaged. Specifically looking at couples like Kenny and Kelly or Diamond and Carleton, I felt like I did not know them as well as the others and honestly would have liked to based on the outcomes of their relationships.
After they were coupled up and officially engaged, they were sent on an island getaway to get to know each other in the physical realm; however, to incite more drama, the entire group was at the same resort at the same time. So, the people who days before were dating one another and were now engaged were pushed together to mingle. Yikes!
The dramatic element of the entire group together persisted through the show and making the connections that much more complicated. I thought it forced a genuine trial of jealousy for each of the couples while also arguably making more exciting encounters. This level of stress on the relationship probably wouldn’t have happened naturally so quickly.
The most significant example of this was the Barnett, Amber and Jessica drama. After about two episodes of that, I was over it. The conflict was continually made the focus of the show to the point where it overshadowed other couples entirely. It took away from the purpose of the “experiment” that they were trying to conduct and made it more into a trashy reality TV show.
However, the real test set in when the couples were put back into the real world to try and meld their lives together – still obviously being outfitted with a luxury apartment and living in the same complex as the other couples. While some of this was a good test for the pairs, like meeting the parents and seeing each other’s houses, the living arrangement and forced social gatherings seemed to incite more drama than focus on the couple’s match again.
The final test was the weddings themselves, which were all truly whirlwinds. I can honestly say that I only predicted two of the six outcomes. All to say, the majority of the couples did not get married on their wedding day, which honestly was not that surprising. Also, the lack of screen time for couples like Kelly and Kenny made their downfall that much more shocking.
My primary grievance with Love is Blind was their continual emphasis that it was an “experiment,” but the producers had a set conclusion in mind. The show was not truly testing the sanctity of a relationship based on blind emotion but focused more on the drama that came of these connections and set them up for failure. They were adamant in their belief that love is blind, even if the outcome did not prove that.
Also, the show’s assumption that marriage was the prime end goal for a relationship to prove its stability. Relationships in the modern day have become more complicated and diverse in the way they function. So, I felt like the show was not necessarily with the times.
Specifically, the lack of representation of LGBTQ+ relationships or even one complicated reaction to an LGBT contestant felt like a dark shadow on the show’s reputation. Carlton’s coming out to Diamond struck me as such an unfortunate event that tarnished the show. Diamond’s reaction was not because of a prejudice against LGBT people and more towards Carlton’s lack of openness earlier, which was confirmed in the reunion. However, the way her reaction was portrayed in the show, one definitely could have taken it as a backward reaction to a common situation now.
Overall, I had high hopes for this show when I started it to be a modern romance show, but I think they were a little behind the times in their methods of testing. The lack of representation and old ideals for contemporary relationships made the show less representative of the modern search for romance and not an accurate “experiment.” Hopefully, they will reevaluate some of their methods to make a less biased experiment that could actually prove the age-old question: is love blind? For now, I would have to say that love is very much visible.