Friday, March 25, 2022

Quarantine Watch Cont'd: Love Is Blind Season 2

about 3.5 of these people are sociopaths

I don't really watch "reality TV" anymore.  There's plenty wrong with it, and I don't think I need to get into the myriad reasons I think it's a large contributing factor as to why we're at this end-stage as a species.  I don't think Chrisley Knows Best or Season 52 of "Shirtless Morons Hooking-Up With The Prettiest Girls From The Slow Learners Class" has set our monoculture on the path to earning a place among the space-faring races.  Call me crazy.

I mean, I did watch some back around 2002-2006, but I don't know how to tell you people:  it's all the same.  Including home make-over shows.  Or people just off the road pretending to look for Bigfoot.  

But back when we were actually still scared of coronavirus enough to Lysol our produce, I remember laying on the couch sideways and letting hour after hour of Love Is Blind Season 1 slide by.  My memory of the show is minimal.  Someone named "Jessica"* was a real piece of work, and the very pretty girl married a guy who couldn't believe his luck**.  That's about it.  That's my memory of 11 hours of TV.  In fact, I suspect Nick and Vanessa Lachey hosted the series, but Jamie and I spent five minutes debating if they had been and couldn't remember.***

At the time, we had no idea what was happening in the world and whether or not we would be dead within weeks.  This was Weekend 1 of COVID showing up, and suddenly we were all stuck home with streaming services, and Netflix had this and Tiger King.   I couldn't deal with Tiger King, so we never finished it.  Or at least I didn't.  I don't know what Jamie did.

Season 2 has rolled out, and I declared "let's see what these horny morons are up to."  So we put it on.

Like with many things, I quickly got distracted with the logistics of how the show is made.  I did Google it and of course now there's a bit more out there regarding, like, where do people sleep?.  Fifteen or twenty years ago, they would always show reality show people staying together in a house when they weren't competing (this was a thing for American Idol and even Face-Off).  Here, all we saw was a living room-type space with a kitchen where folks would retreat between dates.  For the record, sounds like Season 1 was pretty bleak sending contestants back to cots in trailers, but this season folks were in a hotel.  I think it's probably best to get some rooms at the Holiday Inn Express for your peoples.

There's also something like 15 men and 15 women at the outset (the show only really deals in what is presented as what the libs shorten to cis-het relationships), so that's 15 possible conversations at any time.  Which occur in the "Pods", pairs of small rooms separated by plexiglass or something.   

Like everything on the show, the aesthetic is "trick 30 year olds into thinking this is fancy, but it's clearly trash that will date poorly".  The decor all looks like a boutique hotel that plans to refurbish the look every two to three years or shut down at the end of the 3 year cycle.  That aesthetic includes the music, which sounds like what would play in the lobby and elevator of one of these hotels.  For some reason on Season 2 they decided golden metal cups were what everyone was drinking from in every scene - possibly to mask exactly how much booze was fueling the show.

I finally figured out that the show must stop after 6 couples propose and they can send those people to the next phase as it sure is curious we ended up with exactly six couples again, including (again) a couple that had no real chance.  And, I am sure, when you're basically in the same conditions used to brainwash people (remove them from familiar circumstances and contact with the outside world, keep them exhausted, etc...) getting someone to agree to a proposal to see where it goes is no big feat.

They say there's only 10 days in the pods, but it's impossible to tell when those proposals happen, and who else did what in the pods.  I am also sure the producers prod everyone along in off-camera conversations.  

It's POSSIBLE the people whose names we never got decided to date or get married or whatever, but the show didn't bother in Season 2 to show much of the people who didn't wind up getting "engaged", which seemed a bit weird.  I know time is of the essence when you need people to fall in love on a schedule, but it did make me wonder about the machinery of the show, and how much was people getting told "you love her/ him" by producers.  More, I wondered what people thought by Day 3 of the Pods, knowing they had another 7 days if they thought better of the whole enterprise.  I would be miserable.  Or else just find a good book and hide out.  I mean, I can't imagine not having a moment of terror realizing you're talking entirely to people who think they will meet someone to live with forever on a game show.  But, yeah, of the 30 people, 18 basically got about 10 seconds cumulative facetime after spending 10 days being force fed human interaction with people who wanted to marry someone on television.

It sure is curious to me that the show does, in fact, not just include Instagram-ready cast members, but they really don't make it to the second round.  I am very curious as to why and how the show has done this twice and that's been the result both times.  Is there something particularly generic about the contestants who do make it?  Some common denominator I haven't quite clocked yet?  That it's just easier for the folks who advance to assume "this is going to be great!" that goes along with both agreeing to be on a marriage game show and then accepting a proposal?

Are we missing the people who went to get engaged, saw each other and were, like, "nooooope"?  I WANT TO KNOW.

I do not know if the trip to Mexico which is awarded to the first 6 engaged couples includes separate bedrooms or rooms.  For legal reasons, I assume it should.  

I am also deeply curious how they keep potentially violent cast members off the show, both men and women.  

I am also very, VERY aware of how the producers were able to cast and manipulate folks into victimhood and villainhood.  Alas, no one on this show seems ready to perform brain surgery or engage in the science of rockets.

Anyway, I won't get into specifics aside from the curious case of Shake and Deeps, a pair of Indian immigrants who found each other in the pods and whose last minute meltdown - according to the edited version - was kind of odd and seemed to leave a lot on the table.  While a terrible human, I did get the idea Shake had that "why is anyone taking this seriously?"  I mean, once you realize people are, you kind of have to realize the game is now what you thought it was, and he clearly thought it was nonsense.  But, also, if you want to see a self-destructive narcissist, watch him talk trash about someone who is lovely absolutely non-stop (and according to the reunion, we got the light version).  

But, yeah, at some point folks seemed to realize there were cameras present, and they needed to stop talking in front of them, which I actually kinda respect.  If you're having issues and you care about someone, maybe not for Netflix?  

Still, I cannot fathom the base-level mindset of anything beyond The Dating Game when it comes to seeking love on TV.  Like - in no way are you going to come off looking great. And that point may be when people watch you agree to marry a disembodied voice through a plexiglass wall or when you start telling everyone how much you do not want to bang your supposed beloved.  

There's no doubt a bunch of the contestants are like everyone else on a reality show - believing that they are beautiful and charismatic enough to create a following on social media or get their own show.  A couple in Season 1 pulled double-duty by both getting married and somehow making money via social media now, I guess.  And this is a mindset and economy I am not engaged with in the slightest, so I'll just acknowledge it exists, as does the show, and move on.

What I wonder is how life is for a year or so after these things air for the people who absolutely looked insane or wretched on camera.  

*Jessica!  That is correct.
**Lauren and Cameron?
***yup, they were the hosts

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