A new crop of peas have entered the pods: “Love is Blind” is back. The first five episodes of season two are out on Netflix. And five more are dropping on Feb. 18. (Psst...if you've been living under a reality TV rock, here's how the show works. Think: "The Bachelor" meets "Married At First Sight.")
Just like the first season (which came out in Feb. 2020), the latest episodes are creating a buzz on social media. And it's no surprise, considering that season one captured the hearts of more than 30 million viewers. But why is everyone so obsessed with this show slash social experiment?
America Wants to Know: Is Love Really Blind?
Maybe. It's no surprise to millennials that dating is pretty different than it was for our parents and grandparents. (Hello, dating apps.) But many feel like online dating can be superficial, putting more of an emphasis on looks than personality, background or hobbies. Enter: "Love Is Blind." It flips that notion, and instead, focuses on creating an emotional connection between two people before they meet IRL.
Couples spend time getting to know each other by chatting through a wall in separate pods. They can only hear each other's voices, and don't get to meet until they are engaged. You read that right, engaged.
To some, it's an “insane” or “unhinged” idea. But the show forces us to face the truth about how physical appearance factors into our dating decisions. We all know that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to relationships, physical attraction can be pretty important.
“There is this common sensical notion that people who care a lot about physical appearance are shallow, or they’re investing in the wrong thing,” Viren Swami, a professor of social psychology at the UK’s Anglia Ruskin University told CNBC. “But in reality, romantic relationships are based, partly at least, on the fact that we find other people physically attractive.”
The show hasn't gone without criticism though. Experts and viewers say that the cast is pretty attractive — and they have similar body types. And without more diverse contestants, they think that the "social experiment" the show claims to be isn't very accurate. The show’s creator Chris Coelen told the LA Times that “The goal in casting was, let’s find people, regardless of what they look like…and ultimately we were only able to follow so many stories.”
How ‘Love is Blind’ Is Both Reality and TV
In reality, not everyone is able to sign up for this social experiment. In the real world, a blind date is as close to the "Love is Blind" experience as it comes. And while they can seem like a risky move — dating apps are taking note and saying 'why not?'
On Feb. 10, Tinder released its "Blind Date" feature as part of its Fast Chat series in the US. Which it said is “inspired by the OG way to meet someone new.” Here’s how it works: Users are paired based on their commonalities. Then they enter a timed chat. During this session, they answer icebreaker questions. And when the clock runs out, they can like each other's profiles revealing their match's pictures or they can get paired with someone new.
And so far, matches are up. Tinder said matches increased by 40% during early testing, compared to other Fast Chat features which include pictures.
Ultimately, only time will tell for these couples and the ones on the show if "Love is Blind." But until then, we’ll get out our popcorn.
The novelty and unpredictability of “Love is Blind” has captivated viewers across the board. But it’s not just about the drama. It’s also forcing people to evaluate our own dating values. And set boundaries for what they’re really looking for in a partner.
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