Pop CultureMarch 4, 2020

Why is everyone so obsessed with Love is Blind?


The Netflix reality show has been a smash hit in New Zealand, but what the hell is Love Is Blind and why is it so good (or bad)? Alex Casey and Tara Ward discuss an instant classic. 

Alex: Knock, knock, Tara. Are you there? It’s me, just a simple ex-tank mechanic with a baby voice, drinking 78 glasses of wine in a pod, staring an a LCD panel on a wall and telling it I love it. We need to talk about Love is Blind because mine eyes have been OPENED to the possibilities of love, marriage, pods, wigs and everything in between. What is your opening statement? 

Tara: I’m down on one knee right now. This is all I’ve ever dreamed of, what I’ve waited for my whole life. Finding love through a wall. 

Alex: Where do we even start? Let’s explain the premise. A group of single men and a group of single woman date each other in futuristic rooms known as “pods” and can only communicate through a thin mahogany wall. The experiment? To see if love can be, in fact, blind. The flaw? Every single person cast is extremely conventionally reality TV hot. The surprise? They all fall in love in five seconds. Like, it’s an unprecedented amount of love. 

Tara: So much love, in so little time. It’s speed dating in a bunker. There are no windows, no clocks, no sense of time passing other than the beating of their vulnerable hearts and the silky glow of that wall. These singletons are locked in a casino of love, and they’re desperate to hit the jackpot. 

Alex: And if you’re Barnett, you hit the jackpot thrice. Why on god’s greenhouse-gassed-up Earth do so many of these women fall for that man? I read somewhere that some of the dates actually lasted 19 hours. Imagine talking to Barnett for 19 hours?! Imagine talking to ANYONE for 19 hours?! Boggles the mind and clearly boggles the heart. Shall we talk about the couples? 

Tara: I could spend 19 hours talking about the couples, and the marriage proposals they make through the wall, and that first meeting in the hallway of love when those futuristic glass doors slide back to reveal their fiance for the first time. Six days talking to a neon panel, and now they’ve found their soulmate? I can’t even grow my nails in six days, let alone an enduring love affair. 

Why is that? Is it because I feel the same as the contestant who declared she “hates hearing people breathe”? Locking myself in a pod of my own confusion, ASAP. 

Alex: It really seems like the only way out of the pod is a proposal. Otherwise they just leave you there to decompose on a tasteful chunky knit throw. Apparently even more couples got engaged than we even got to see on the show – the producers were so overwhelmed with success stories that they just had to chop a whole bunch out. Shall we talk about who made the cut? Let’s start with Kenny and Lenny and Spenny and Jenny…

Tara: Release the tapes! I had high hopes for Kenny and Kelly, but they broke my heart. I wanted all the couples to work, as batshit as this entire thing was, because I needed them to prove the world wrong. You CAN find love in a bunker. You CAN find love under a chunky knit throw. Which couple broke down your velvet walls?

Alex: Aside from Tank Girl and Barnett Boy, the only couple that I thought was legit was beautiful content creator Lauren and beautiful scientist Cameron. It did scare me a bit when they visited his enormous empty house and he didn’t even have sheets on the bed or plants in the planter boxes, but maybe that’s just science for you. I have it on good authority that they are still happily married too, which means Lauren’s dad (easily the coolest guy on the show) must have learned to love the Cam. What about you? 

Tara: I also grew to love the Cam, even if he maybe did take Lauren to an open home and pretend it was his apartment. I have many questions about Giannina and Damian (actors? Or just lovers of a good box metaphor?) and Jessica and Mark, but mostly I wonder if Jessica should be giving wine to her golden retriever. That’s fine, right? Maybe the dog fell in love with wine through a wall. 

Alex: There are several things that Jessica needs to go to jail for, and giving her golden retriever wine is definitely one of them. One of my favourite moments of the whole season was when Jessica and Mark realised they just weren’t clicking IRL, so recreated the pod environment by sitting in separate rooms and having a date through the wall. Killed me. The important thing to remember here is that Jessica is 10 years older than Mark and don’t you FORGET IT. When he is 40 she’ll be 50 and DON’T YOU FORGET IT!!

Tara: You know what else was weird? Those weddings. Great frocks and shiny venues with many stackable seats, but sweet holy matrimony, I’d have given my kingdom for a wall to hide behind during those refusals. Why go through all the wedding palaver if you know you’re going to say “I do not” at the altar? I dragged my sorry soul through the entire series, and by the end of it, I was Jessica’s golden retriever in desperate need of a room temperature merlot.

Alex: I also have some questions about how Giannina fell down a muddy ravine, clearly ruining her dress, and then was somehow back with a pristine white train. It was her and Damian that made me convinced that this show was fake. Nobody is called Damian Powers without being a magician, and nobody says things like “I’ve lost my butterflies” and “that’s a beautiful excuse, darling” in real life. Maybe they talk like that because everyone is hosed 100% of the time. 

Tara: There is a lot of drinking in this show, right? I feel like it was sponsored by a brewery. Drunk on love, but also, just drunk. 

Alex: I wonder if Netflix is international waters in terms of showing real people getting absolutely rat-arsed. Jessica the Messica was quite relatable in the regard, sometimes on TV beautiful people can be real hammered but still look fine. She did NOT look fine. After approximately one glass of wine her hair turned into a birds nest and her eyes went all milky. It was actually maybe the most relatable thing on the whole show. Any other defining Love is Blind moments for you? 

Tara: Let’s talk about Diamond and Carlton, who didn’t make it past the post-engagement, pre-wedding trip to Mexico. That was a doozy of a break-up. 

Alex: Easily the most explosive sequence of the whole show. Carlton finally revealed the big secret to his fiancé that he had dated men in the past and she told him she needed some time to process the news. Cue a lot of tears, cue cocktails being chucked, rings thrown away and insults slung across the pool. It just was a very horrible moment for all involved.

Tara: I appreciated Carlton’s understated summary of the situation, that “I have clearly realised that this is not the woman for me”. Or, as Giannina’s mother (the delightfully named Milady) said after Damian called it quits at the altar, “everything is shit.”

Alex: Maybe it is because everything actually is shit that everyone is going so crazy for this show. Because it is not a good show. It’s completely hollow, completely absurd, completely mindless, completely what you need at the end of a cold hard day/week/life. Why do you think that Love is Blind has found the success that it has? 

Tara: Not naming names, but who doesn’t love a bit of absurd, mindless television? This is the fairytale we earth-killers deserve, and at the bottom of Love is Blind’s deep, dark hole lies a smidgen of hope. It’s hope that Cameron and Lauren really are soul mates and Barnett and Amber will see it through and that Jessica’s dog will be okay. And if a bunch of beautiful people can fall in love behind a wall, then maybe there’s hope for the rest of us, trapped in the real world with our flaws on display 24/7. 

Wait, was this the wall that Trump wanted all along? I’m holding him personally responsible for everything. 

Alex: I also think a lot can be said for the binge factor. Normally reality TV feels like 70% recapping what happened the night/week before, whereas Netflix knows what you are doing when you are watching Love Is Blind. You are me last weekend, in my Bad Clothes, lying on the couch shovelling chocolate chips straight into my mouth. I watched nine episodes in one day and I’m not even embarrassed about that, or that fact that I got “Are you still there-d” twice. I actually think it’s cool and endearing. 

Come to think of it, Are You Still There? Could actually be a great alt title for Love Is Blind…  

Tara: I’m still here. Like I said, I’m down on one knee. I’m old. I can’t get up. 

Alex: Well you better stay right there, the reunion is coming March 5…

Keep going!