Is Love Blind? It's Complicated

“Love is Blind” has become one of Netflix’s most successful series. A reality-TV-dating-show-turned-franchise, it calls itself an “experiment,” which sounds noble. Since its inception in 2020, however, the show has steadily been disproving its title.

Season six just finished, with its reunion dropping late this week, and was no different. One out of six couples spotlighted ended up married.

Is love lost? No. But it sure seems to be in a bind.

Of course, the glitch is in the “twist” setup itself:  the contestants don’t get to lay eyes on each other, as the entire romance takes place in "pods" furnished as cozy living rooms, where they make themselves at home and talk to each other through an attractive blue wall.

If they do “fall in love,” they must get engaged sight unseen.



This is supposed to reveal that your character and beliefs are more important than superficial looks in finding a mate.  

Except that “Love is Blind” turns out to be hugely looks-ist.

This was poignantly dramatized this season by the plight of Chelsea, a flight attendant, and Jimmy, yet another 20something dude in software sales.

While both were still talking to other people, Chelsea wanted Jimmy to zero in on her. So she sort of broke code by giving him a physical description of herself, and told Jimmy that passengers tell her she looks like Megan Fox—you know, one of the world’s hottest celebrities. (In her defense, she added that she didn’t see the resemblance, but that both have “blue eyes and black hair.”)

Never mind the qualifier. Apparently, Mr. Jimmy did not hear it. His eyeballs were too busy bugging out, as with springs in a cartoon. He turned completely red and sat taller, sweating at that thought.

It was the Megan Fox data point that did it. It clearly became the reason he asked her to marry him.

When they finally did see each other, Jimmy tried to hide his obvious discomfort. Chelsea was an attractive woman, but would not be mistaken for Fox.

Nevertheless, he professed to love her, and together they went through the show’s motions—having a “honeymoon” in an island resort, returning to live together in a show-supplied apartment for 10 days, and then picking out wedding wear for their big day at the altar. Following the mechanics of the show, they were supposed to go from unblinded to married in four weeks or so.

But to back up, still through the wall, Jimmy had to fess up to Jess, the single mother and other woman he’d been interested in, that he’s engaged to Chelsea.  When she hears who it is, she responds with a simple, “When you see and realize what you missed out on, you are going to choke. You are going to need your EpiPen to open your airways because you are going to be in disbelief of what you missed out on.”

Ok, then. 

Not unexpectedly, this situation (along with Jimmy’s roving eye) results in Chelsea acting insecure and “clingy,” as her newly minted fiancé puts it.

They have many fights and make-ups along the way to the marriage day. He finally draws out of her that regardless, she really is still into him and wants to be his wife. Then he dumps her.

There was actually an interesting backstory to another couple, A.D. and Clay, who seemed to be madly in love and went all the way to the altar, in front of friends and family.  In full bridal white, she beamed “Yes!” that she would take him in marriage. In his tux, he responded “I just don't think it's responsible for me to say ‘I do’ at this point when I still need work.” He added that he still wanted to “rock” with her, though.

She was embarrassed and furious, and rightly so. But all along, he had told her about his cheating dad, who sometimes took him as a kid on his dates with other women, which traumatized him.  He struggled with being faithful, in the context of being a Black man. After the non-wedding, we see his now-divorced dad and mom confront each other about the dad’s philandering past in one of the most gripping moments of the season.

A big problem with the reunion, which takes place live on tape a year after shooting the show, was that both of these couples sat together, looking red-carpet-worthy (at least the women did) and lovey-dovey. The hosts, all 98 degrees of Nick and Vanessa Lachey, never made clear whether they were still together. (Neither one is.)

Also during the reunion, Nick got on his high horse, lecturing and shaming one of the villainous, mullet-wearing contestants who actually lied and had a girlfriend the whole time. He told him that his behavior broke a “sacred” covenant of the show.  “We do not want people to come here motivated by fame. It’s just wrong.”

But the fault, Father Nick, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Admit that you and the contestants are all buying into the same commercially profitable reality system.

The truth is that most of these “daters” who claim they are looking for depth mostly want to hook up with a career just like yours, and some of them are already signed to appear in spin-offs.

So let’s stumble blindly on to season seven!

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