“Love is Blind” is Netflix’s newest social experiment series, aiming to find the answer to the age-old question: is love really blind? Contestants in their 20s and 30s go on multiple dates to try and find love, but with a twist: they can’t see anyone they’re dating.
Instead, contestants date in “pods,” which consist of two rooms with a wall in the middle. They’re allowed to talk freely with anyone they want to, but they have no idea what anyone looks like.
On the surface, this experiment seems like a decent way to find out if love is blind. The show follows a handful of contestants as they flirt, make connections, and start to narrow down their dating pool to find “the one.”
But as the experiment continues, it becomes less of a test of whether love is blind, and rather a daunting test of whether you can commit your life to someone after just one month.
Contestants get ten days to date in the “pods” before the next round of the experiment begins. To get to the next round, contestants must propose to the person they’re interested in. Contestants only get to see one another after a proposal is made and accepted.
The rest of the show follows three more rounds: a beach vacation getaway (with the other couples who have moved on), living together in an apartment (again, in the same complex as the other couples who have moved on), and finally, the couple’s wedding day.
By episode three—and there are only ten episodes—all of the couples have moved out of the pods and into physical life together. The experiment of whether “love is blind” is over; it’s now a matter of whether the couples can live together in the real world.
The show’s insanely accelerated timeline brings up challenges real couples typically don’t have to face. They have to propose or accept a proposal ten days after they’ve met someone. They have to live together right after they leave the pods; when they return to Georgia, where the show is filmed, they have to navigate getting their families and friends on board in just under a month. They have to commit to marriage six weeks after meeting their partner and a month after seeing them for the first time.
I’m not a scientist, but this experiment doesn’t feel like a test of whether love is blind, but really a test of whether or not two people can fight a warped version of reality before committing their lives to one another. Love may play a factor in their success, but there are so many other variables that the show’s critical question isn’t accurately answered. Someone may not be ready to get married in that timeline, or want to get married at all. Another may need more space before moving in. One contestant’s parents might not approve of the match or the wedding date. None of these factors mean that one person doesn’t love someone else. But in this show, not being able to marry on that timeline means that they fail the test: their love isn’t blind.
A true test of whether love was blind might erase the beach vacation and the weddings and just focus on the pods. Can people fall in love without seeing each other, and can they do so in a timeline longer than ten days, where there’s no pressure to propose or commit so soon?
A true “love is blind” experiment, then, might not be fit for television. Conversations could be edited and the timeline would speed up, but there wouldn’t be any pressure to commit to someone. The experiment would end when people fell in love and wanted to continue their relationship outside of the pods. Without the stakes, their romance wouldn’t be as exciting. Maybe that’s a bitter take on what we want to invest our binge-watching time on, but a show where we watch people talk through walls probably wouldn’t get the same traction.
While “Love is Blind” isn’t an accurate social experiment, it’s entertaining all the same. The show’s accelerated timeline puts contestants under enormous pressure to make life-changing decisions. Because the contestants have to make it to their wedding day to decide whether they’ll stay with their partner, it’s incredibly high-stakes and suspenseful. If you’re looking for a show to binge in a few days, this is it. It’s full of tension, overwhelming challenges, and insane banter. The show’s structure orchestrates copious amounts of drama. We may not really know whether love is blind, but we find out a lot about what people will say and do under ridiculous circumstances. And that’s the kind of TV we all could use right now.
Zoë Kaplan can be reached at email@example.com.