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Why America Loves Love Is Blind

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The hit dating show is unsettling—and also completely relatable.

This article contains spoilers for Love Is Blind Season 2.

If you’ve never seen an episode of Love Is Blind, the best way I can describe the viewing experience is this: It feels like a television producer read a Wikipedia description of the Stanford prison experiment and decided that all it needed was a little romance.

The show, which concluded its second season on Netflix last week, sequesters 30 people in a studio for a week and a half to test the theory that instinctual physical attraction is an impediment to romantic love. Participants spend their time alone in tiny, closed rooms—the pods—going on “dates” through a speaker system. To be freed from the pods and graduate to the next phase of the show, they have to get engaged, with a wedding a month later. Only after an accepted proposal are couples allowed to see what the other person looks like, and until the betrothed return from a post-engagement trip to Mexico, they are cut off from the outside world. No cellphones, no internet, no support system.

Everything about the show upsets me, and not just because it’s plainly a bad idea. Contestants who have known each other for a few days start calling each other their best friend. Most participants who fail to bond with a stranger through a wall are not named or acknowledged, scuttling in the background like the non-playable characters in a video game. Everyone involved is constantly clutching metal wine glasses because sobriety is a longtime enemy of compelling reality television, and so is Chardonnay that lurches up and down in its glass, belying an edit that might not be strictly chronological.

But, regrettably, Love Is Blind is also tremendous content, and the show has turned into a big hit for Netflix and a hot subject for social-media gossip. Last weekend, my friend David warned me that he had started watching it with his girlfriend on a whim. On Monday, he sent me an update. “I started Saturday morning reading a Jonathan Franzen novel,” he wrote.........

© The Atlantic

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