This may sound like a weird thing to think about but reading all the reviews englishrosiee has written recently (such as her harsh but fair thoughts about My Hotter Half and Extreme Engagement) made me think about whether reality shows have anything to do with well… reality. I’m also curious whether people actually ever find love that lasts or is it all for show?
My own reality TV addiction came to an end when I wrote the last word of my MA thesis 8 years ago. In my mind, A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila, where a bisexual girl keeps making out with lots of people to find out who she fancies, is as exciting as it gets.
I’m happy to find out through research that it’s not and that producers keep doing everything they can to keep people interested and allegedly for contestants to find love. Here’s a list of 5 most interesting ideas I’ve found:
1. To Rome For Love
Five African-American women with different life stories travel to Rome to find love. Sounds interesting? Sure! The show has beautiful women, beautiful men and a beautiful city going for it.
Italian men have a very good rep and as someone who’s dated three of them (and kissed some more!) I can tell you that there’s a lot of truth in what people say about them.
Chances of finding love: Seeing that international relationships are difficult in general I just don’t see how such a series could en up producing a long-term romance for anyone.
WHAT? People legally marrying strangers and seeing how it’ll work out? Yes, this is exactly what happens on this show that has been announced to run for at least 9 seasons. The couples marry on the day they meet and then they live together for 8 weeks. After that they make their final decision about whether they want to stay together or divorce.
Chances for finding love: Ummm. well, this is pretty hardcore. I guess swim or sink kind of approach can be good but people have to be really lucky to end up finding someone who they can share a lifetime with.
I’ve had a look at the shows’ stats and out of 25 married couples 5 are still married long time after the show ended. I guess given that 50% of marriages in the US end with a divorce this isn’t too bad!
I think almost everyone has fantasised about getting back with their first love during their single days. However, most of us think about it for a while and then realise (often when they meet the next person of interest) why their first love story didn’t work out.
Some people take part in reality TV shows to chase their first love instead, hoping to rekindle. Crazy Ex Girlfriend vibe much?
Chances of finding love: Of all human weaknesses related to looking for love, this one bugs me the most. I know a lot of people who’ve indulged in the first love escapism, thinking that their life would be perfect, if only they were reunited with the very first person they loved.
The reason why it bugs me so much is because most people are not the same person after a few years that they were when they dated someone. That’s why their fantasy about something that happened back then is just a fantasy. Sure, maybe someone has worked out with such a person after being reunited but I really think that for most of people such rekindling would end up badly.
But hey, maybe these people need precisely that – to meet the old flame and get a bucket of cold water poured over their head!
This TV show has a more complicated idea behind it. A bunch of people live together and go on dates to find out who “perfect matches” within the group are, according to a matchmaking algorithm created by producers. If they guess the group wins a million USD to share. Yay? Sounds pretty complicated…
Chances of finding love: Judging by the stats extremely low! Most people are either friends or nothing but I’ve spotted a successful couple or two among 8 seasons of 20 contestants each… It may be that people are too busy trying to figure out who the perfect matches are to win the money to actually focus on the search for love during the show.
Naked and Afraid was not designed as a dating show but the producers keep choosing 1 man and 1 woman for this show so it seems like they’re hoping for some romance to happen.
The show follows these two strangers trying to survive in the wild…naked. Lol. I just could not help myself but include it on this list. Pretty insane, huh?
Chances of finding love: Not surprisingly there have been some contestants who have developed an immediate attraction. In terms of finding love, I guess there’s not so much of a difference between this show and Married At First Sight. It either happens or it doesn’t. One has the disadvantage of the whole world seeing you naked, another one of having an 8 week long marriage to your name.
There are of course more traditional shows where it’s literally a case of a bunch of men or women competing for attention of one person. Are there any more successful that, for instance, Married at First Sight? I’ve found this article that shows that The Bachelor or Bachelor in Paradise are no more successful at creating lasting relationships. Surprisingly, The Bachelorette has the highest success rate but that may be because of programming of women into the catch him, if you can attitude. The world encourages them to be less fussy because, after all, the WORST thing that can happen to a woman is staying single.
What does it mean for your chances of finding love in a dating TV show? Well, I’d say that there are certainly ways that give you more probability of finding the (wo)man of your life than participating in one.
The sad thing about such TV shows is also that the producers mostly choose very attractive individuals that you’d expect to see on the covers of magazines (apart from the South African Afrikaans weirdly popular show Boer Soek ‘n Vrou about farmers looking for a girl they can keep on the farm, lol).
This means that your average Jo will probably not even make it to the show and also that contestants may be more likely to be a bit superficial.
Do you think people can find real love on a dating TV show? Or is it all for the show? Would you be willing to participate in a show like this to find love?