‘Love Is Blind’: American Style

Moronic millennial love rituals exposed

Love Is Blind is a show about what happens when you take a couple of dozen millennial Instagram influencers, place them in windowless pods, and let them talk to one another until they fall in love. They do this “blindly,” meaning they’ll see the true essence of the other person through conversation. The women live in a Big Brother house on one side of the pods, and the men live on the other. All the men have thick Lego shoulders and spend their off moments bench-pressing one another. All the women have legs up to their necks. So even blind, they probably have a pretty good idea that the person on the other side of the blue frosted glass is at least vaguely a smoke show.

The “conversations” on Love Is Blind barely exist, and the show continually interrupts them with cheesy songs that contain lyrics like “my heart is growing”. It’s the soundtrack to the gift shop at an off-Sunset Boulevard L.A. hotel. Our contestants share their deepest thoughts, like the fact that they love their families or the fact that they let the dog sleep in bed. No one talks about movies or TV or books or politics, stuff that I imagine I’d probably discuss on dates if I were dating. One couple does briefly share their love of the Chicago Bears. And then, after a couple of episodes of wine drinking and sleep deprivation, the marriage proposals start to pop.

By Episode 3, Love Is Blind has narrowed the field down to six couples, none of whom are any less attractive than a country-music superstar. The best-looking one strongly resembles a young Latina Drew Barrymore. They whisk off to a resort in Cancun. Then the reality television really starts. In the show’s best scene, an Instagram influencer named Carlton reveals to his fiancée, a “basketball dancer” named Diamond, that he’s bisexual. She can’t deal. He calls her a “fucking bitch” and throws his wedding ring in the pool. “Ooooh girl,” I said, “you are in for it now.” Then I ran into the other room to tell my wife all about it but she wasn’t interested because she was binge-watching “The Witcher” for the third time.

You Can’t Deny The Appeal

It all comes down to this: Love Is Blind is a terrible show, but it’s also some of the purest candy that TV has served up in recent years. For olds like me, it peels the veneer away from millennial dating rituals and reveals them to be a Lost Generation, largely devoid of personality or hope. Shoot more of that into my cold, cynical veins, please. Some random observations:

Love Is Blind
Don’t do it, Mark! She doesn’t love you on Love Is Blind.

–The men on the show are very open with their feelings. Every single one of them is willing to commit to love, sight unseen. One of them, Mark, a 24-year-old “fitness trainer” from Chicago, wants love so bad, there has to be something wrong with him and he ends up proposing marriage to the absolute wrong woman. Even the show’s “bad boy”, a fratty engineer named Barnett, seems pretty willing to commit once he makes the choice.

–For the most part, though the women give the usual talk about how they’ve “always dreamed” of their wedding days, they seem pretty clear-eyed that the bridal fantasy is an actual fantasy. With one exception, every one of them is an independent professional who needs a man like she needs a root canal.

–Careers are hard to come by for these youth. Once the Cancun honeymoon ends, the contestants head back to Atlanta, where most of them apparently live. A few seem to have actual jobs. The rest occupy themselves with a mess of social-media consulting, health coaching, amorphous small-business owning, and other vaporware employment. Jessica, the oldest of the bunch, owns a nice house in Buckhead, which she shares with a closet full of heels and a golden retriever, who she also allows to drink red wine. Her fiancé, on the other hand, has a tiny room in an apartment that he shares with his bro and his bro’s girlfriend.

The protagonist of Love Is Blind, Cameron, is a machine-learning scientist. He pre-purchased a nice big house for his prospective love. The lucky woman he ends up with, Lauren, lives in a small apartment largely occupied by a green screen where she does her Instagram influencing. Life will present these bright idealists with many surprises.

–Despite the fact that Love Is Blind is a big stinking Brie wheel of reality cheese, moments of actual reality do sometimes seep through. Amber tells Barnett that she has $20,000 in debt from a college degree she didn’t finish. Lauren, who believes strongly in her Black identity, struggles with the fact that she’s fallen in love with a white man. Giannina, when she’s finally done yelling at Damien that he’s a bad lay, admits to him that she sends money and supplies to her desperate family in Venezuela every month. If that goddamn soundtrack and the fake picnics and helicopter rides would stop for just five seconds, Love Is Blind might actually start to feel like something authentic.

Here Comes The Bride And Groom
Love Is Blind
“Just listen to me for one fucking second, DAM-I-EN.”–Love Is Blind.

Love Is Blind spends its last two episodes on or near the altar. You’ll be shocked to learn that not all the weddings go as planned. One ends with the bride sobbing by a Dumpster, consoled by her mother. Another ends with a mama’s boy groom shattered by a jilter who doesn’t give a fuck. But elsewhere there’s also some happy dancing and cake-mouth-stuffing. The smartest couple in the room, the one that actually seems to have a chance to morph into an actual human relationship, triumphs, and the show enters reality-TV history.

I tried to tell my wife about it all, but she was too busy doing her exercise program while watching reruns of Stargate. She and I met through the newspaper personals 20 years ago. I fell for her before I even saw her. Maybe that’s why I find myself so attracted to Love Is Blind. Because I know that, despite all the bullshit roadblocks that life puts in front of you,  it’s kind of true.

 

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Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 11 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. A Rotten Tomatoes certified reviewer for both film and television, Neal has written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

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