With Season 4, Love Is Blind has finally made the inevitable transition from reality dating show to reality-like show filled with people-like things.
The Netflix series (which is currently dropping new episodes on Fridays) has solidified its predictable formula comprised of trauma dumping, “energy” compatibility and musical performances by tone-deaf men. The intention for contestants is still to find love, but no longer with the person in the opposite pod. They’re looking for love, affirmation and adoration from us, the audience, by playing pretend and replicating behaviors from former seasons as if the show is a sport that can be mastered. (Andrew’s artificial tears from Season 3 should have been a clue that the show is tainted by its own popularity.)
It wasn’t always so. In Season 1, we watched Lauren and Cameron fall in love through a series of equal exchanges inside the pods. Cameron talked, Lauren listened and responded. Lauren talked, Cameron listened and responded. They talked about details as frivolous as what they would cook for dinner to as practical as their expectations in a partner. Their conversations were easy and noticeably drenched in chemistry.
In this season’s game of make-believe, however, love is a collateral byproduct, something that might be happened upon while two fame-seeking narcissists manufacture a TV kind of love in terms so nonspecific you’ve probably already forgotten their first names. No one reveals themselves through the osmosis of time, like Lauren and Cameron, opting instead for false affirmations and abrupt confessions in hopes of mimicking that Season 1 success story. Or, in hopes of skipping ahead to the best parts of a relationship. Or, better yet, in hopes of concocting a character that can sustain enough episodes to warrant a podcast launch in the coming months.
By Episode 6, Micah says, “I don’t think there’s much that could break us at this point,” and Paul tells Micah their relationship “feels so right.” (Read the full recap.) Micah says Paul makes her “so happy” and she feels “so confident.” Their hollow admiration doesn’t stem from love at all, but rather a partnership in the Love Is Blind game, an alliance that protects Paul from Irina’s advances and ensures Micah’s character looks saintly despite her not-so-secret yearning for Kwame.
And let’s rewind to take a look at Irina and Zack. If your blind date randomly breaks out into a cringey love song with horrible lyrics, your reaction would likely be, “Wow…..” not, “Wow!” But what did Irina do? Hopped on a plane with said serenader (despite calling him creepy for not blinking often enough) to enjoy a Mexican vacation with her sidekick, Micah. Why not skip the trip? It was too late. She had already dedicated herself to becoming the resident pot-stirrer since her shot at likability was trashed. (Because villains get podcasts, too!)
That relationship, though, was doomed when Zack shared the details of his difficult childhood in an attempt to imitate other dating show plotlines and fabricate an on-screen connection. All people-like contestants on reality-like shows, ranging from The Bachelor to Married at First Sight, replace flirtatious exchanges with trauma revelations in order to manipulate audiences into rooting for them, rather than to create actual connections with fellow cast members.
Trauma, however, is not a personality trait. People do not fall in love because of it, especially not before knowing the particulars about a person. (You might feel tempted to compare Zack’s revelations to Cameron sharing his mom’s Parkinson’s diagnosis with Lauren early on, but that topic came up naturally when she asked when he last cried. Zack, on the contrary, led with his trauma even when it didn’t make sense.)
Other couples spiral into deceit simply by playing pretend in an effort to morph into the Love Is Blind power couple they wish they were, rather than the couple they actually are. This is the case for Tiffany and Brett. The foundation of their relationship? A pair of matching teal shirts. Because, in pursuit of a positive TV performance, a couple will cling to whatever similarities they share, even if it’s as flimsy as a Fruit of the Loom tee. Based on nothing at all, Tiffany and Brett are “perfect” for each other.
Love may or may not be blind, but Love Is Blind is far too culturally visible, causing contestants to transform into pretend people just to please. The drama might still be fierce, but the stakes are at an all-time low as cast members opt for empty, human-like exchanges rather than risking it all for actual vulnerable ones. As the series’ popularity rages on, our chances of stumbling upon another Lauren and Cameron only dwindle.
Well-written article. I thought the part about trauma bonding in lieu of flirtations was interesting. I still question this author’s take on NJ Housewives though.
I love Bliss and Zak….Micah is fake and so is Kwame…Paul is a decent guy he picked the wrong girlfriend
I like Tiffany and Brett. They are the only ones that seem real to me. All the others seem shady af. Of course season one was fresh and new. Now most applying sre probably just looking to become famous.
Don’t you think he’s going to tire of her calling him ‘bougie’? I like them, too…more than any other couple, actually!
Brett raises huge red flags for me. No guy should own that many pairs of shoes.
Thought I was the only seeing that, a big red flag 🚩 for me, something not right but I don’t want to say it
I mean he does work for Nike 🤷🏽♂️
Good point. I still think there’s something off about him though. I like Tiffany a lot though, she’s very down to earth.
I think you are right, most of these people just come on the show to build their fan base after the show, they are not their to find true love, to me some come on it for a easy vacation and some coushie lol
I don’t know what Irina had to complain about. She was the butter face of the cast.
That would imply that other parts of her were hot
They’re all pretty average looking imo.
S1 of most reality shows are the best imo. The cast don’t quite know what to expect, their responses are more raw and probably more authentic. Even the production may not be aware of what they are getting. By the time it gets to a 2nd, 3rd season etc. the potential casts have figured out how to act, what gives them the best chance of getting air time or moving on, and even production may have adjusted based on surprises the original cast gave them. And unlike the rest of the seasons where people saw the show and self selected to apply, for Season 1 production solicited the cast based on their Social Media content that hinted at being single and hating the dating scene.
Regarding, Zach, I wouldn’t be so sure that he led with his trauma. They are in the pods for two weeks and when they get to the point of their top two or three picks they are on dates for 4-5 hours a pop each date. The show gives us maybe a good 10-20 minutes total of all those dates. According to Cameron they talked about everything during those dates. I mean you have to fill days of five hour dates doing nothing but talking, talking, talking.
All that is to say, yeah S1 is the best and Lauren and Cameron are, imo, lightning in a bottle for this franchise (they’ve been married 4 1/2 years and still going strong) and really set the bar high that will always be compared to.
Barnett & Amber are still together too! They weren’t a partnership many thought would work, major kudos to them, still going strong! Seems like they have a lot of fun together.
Love Amber and Barnett!
I dislike the women, spying on one another & laughing at other women’s pain. Really tacky. The 1st season didn’t seem like that. Season 4 seems like that’s the big drama.😡
Good points. Why was I so easily drawn in? I was wondering how they get viable stories to line up with other cast members so there’s some drama and some success. Did they have screen pod practices to see who will make for a better show? Do they try repeatedly then pick out the best and pretend that they all just happen to be in this one season? Do they hire low rate wanna be actors to be the leftover pod people we don’t care about? I’ve watched this show since inception. At first they are keeping it real. Yes agree now it’s a money making machine worldwide eventually becoming boring and predictable or souped up with way too many self obsessed influencers. Opening the doors to finally see their special someone and wondering if they are pretty enough??? Ugh. There is no ugly ducklings ever here and they should know that by now.
Honestly? Your writing and “takes” come off just as try-hardy as anyone on LIB. This whole thing reads like a stretch from someone desperately trying to make a deadline but who has nothing original to say about a well-tread topic. No one who watches LIB is being tricked by what it is or what we’re watching? But you’re also not any kind of authority on who these people are or what their motivations are.
This is the kind of embarrassingly vapid, first-thought content I expect from Buzzfeed, not TVL.
I disagree – but I’m glad we can all have our opinions and be civil about it. :) I think the “correct” opinion is somewhere in the mdidle
I respectfully disagree, in some part. I agree some have ulterior motives, but after reading this, I investigated the LIB website to understand the selection process. Those chosen to be on the show appear to go through a rigorous interview process. After watching post-interviews with earlier traumatized participants, their pain appears real. These are not professional actors. They spend hours in the pod trying to make a connection. But I’m sure whoever slices and dices the footage is going to provide the clips that make for the best tv.
Claire Franken’s opinions are valid just like everyone else commenting here. Focus on “opinion”. While yes the show is at a formula stage, assuming everyone on the show is manipulative and evil, is again just another viewer opinion. That’s why the show is so popular. Thanks for sharing your opinion Claire.
This opinion piece started off well but dovetailed. There are certainly people on this show (as well as pretty much any reality show now) who are clearly there for fame and influencer status, playing a part and trying to manipulate the audience as well as the people there with them. But not every single person on the show. It is very clear to see who is genuine & authentic, and who isn’t. If you pay any attention to their social media now too, you can see that Zack is genuine. Not playing a part for fame.
I also think it’s trashy to talk crap about someone who exposed their vulnerabilities on national TV. Maybe what you said has validity, maybe it doesn’t. Though he did say when he shared that story that he was realizing that if he has any chance of finding love he needs to allow himself to be vulnerable, so took the leap to do so. But regardless, it doesn’t look good on you insulting someone who exposed the most painful parts of themselves, just like it didn’t look good on Irina laughing at Amber’s pain.
The producers will always take the fakes with the originals because the fakes are the ones who create the drama that brings in the ratings. It’s up to us to see each person clearly. Not every single contestant is playing a part.
Wasn’t expecting this little gem of an article, very well thought out. I really think if the show wants to keep playing the “is love blind?” Card, they really need to shake up the formula after the pods and play with the expectations of these would be reality tv stars. Great article!
Such a well written article mirroring exactly how I feel this Season! I miss the vulnerability and connections from Season 1 and 2. I’m sure most is scripted throughout all the Seasons but I hope some authenticity brews between couples again.
Did you know that the song that Zack “sang” to Irina that he said he wrote was actually a song called Sara by Ludo. he just changed the name in the song!!
Why not have past MAFS people on..they are truly looking for love and would be BSers
I really like this show, however isn’t there a way to screen out the shallow, selfish ones like blondie and achne girl, so wicked and laughing at others sadness makes me want puke!
Oh Zack, you screwed up big time. When you see what you lost, brother, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. Wish you had listened to your heart and not your pants, cus you lost that too. Producers, you think you bring drama, but it’s more like trauma with these terrible few that screw it up for not only the poor schmuck, but the audience as well.
This is the worst season of Love Is Blind and the Lachey’s should be embarrassed to have this season aired!
I totally agree that Jackie b**** is so fake and did Marshall so wrong and she’s made a mockery of the show they should have immediately kicked her ho ass off the show when she decided to cheat on Marshall…Jackie is a HO!!! SHE SHOULD BE SO EMBARRASSED. I have never in my life seen a faker person she doesn’t deserve to be on this show…Jackie if you see this hit me up I got a lot more to say to your NASTY FAKE SELF YOUR DISGUSTING!!!
Jackie is a SLUT
I honestly can’t stand Jackie. How could she leave such an amazing man (witch I’m sure is the best one she has ever had) for that lame dude Josh. Then she wouldn’t even give Marshall the ring back! Wtf!!! She is a low down dirty person and deserves someone just like her!! Marshall deserves someone who will love him back and appreciates the man he is. I really hope he can find the woman he deserves!!
My opinion on these couples is…
I’m sooo happy Zack got rid of that Irina! She is an ugly person… inside and out. Zack, I hope u know what a bullet u dodged!
And boy was I frustrated during Marshel n Jackie’s episodes. Constantly yelling into the tv for him to dump that psycho hum hum.
Even tho it was crazy n sad about Paul and Micah’s out turn I thought they were too different for each other. I think they should have figured that out b4 bringing so many ppl together. It’s expensive to travel places.
With Kwame n Chelsea. .. Kwame made all the sacrifices. She thought she was a goddess. Which she wasn’t. And what was with those Victoria Secret wanna be photos??
It’s going to b interesting so c how much puppeteering he can take.
With Bliss and Zack….I know that u two will make it. Bliss u r beautiful inside n out. It took a lot of love and strength to forgive but that is part of Love and u proved how much love is in ur heart..
With Tiffany and Brett’s relationship … I am sooo glad u two are together and want u to always remember u made a promise to God and ourselves to always work it out , what ever it is there is a solution. Love, honesty, communication and respect will win.