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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

‘Love is Blind’: Experiment or entertainment?

The hit reality show is suffering from more than just heartbreak.

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“Love is Blind” cohosts are pictured.

Hit reality TV show “Love is Blind” released its first season in February 2020. Like most reality television, the show is predominantly known for its intense drama, messy breakups and overall entertainment factor. Marketed as a “social experiment,” the show’s purpose lies in trying to determine whether love truly is blind. The series, in which contestants become engaged without ever seeing each other, instantly catapulted to success with its release, receiving a few international spinoffs and quickly filming several more seasons. Seemingly, the concept is wholesome — but amid lawsuits, controversy and exclusivity, the show is starting to lose any semblance of credibility.

Netflix released the first few episodes of its sixth season in February 2024, on the heels of controversy; several contestants attested that the producers of the show treated participants poorly. Tran Dang of the fifth season (who interestingly was not featured in any episodes) sued the production companies on the account that she experienced sexual assault at the hands of another participant. The producers, she alleged, simply allowed this to happen. Jeremy Hartwell, a contestant of season 2, also filed a lawsuit, attesting that participants were supplied with copious amounts of alcohol whilst being deprived of food and water. His testimony was seconded by fellow season 2 participants Nick Thompson and Danielle Ruhl. Both allegations have since been denied, and the lawsuits are ongoing.

With all of this manifesting, there was a hint of uneasiness going into the sixth season — at what cost is entertainment television produced? However, the show’s latest controversy has nothing at all to do with the producers; instead, the motives of several of the contestants have recently been put directly under the spotlight. Fan-favorite contestant Trevor Sova, who quickly won public favor by waxing poetic about his love for butterflies and “The Notebook,” was recently blasted online by his girlfriend, who alleged that she and Sova were in a serious relationship all throughout the filming of the sixth season. Natalia, his girlfriend, argued that Sova told her that he went onto the show for the financial benefits — unfortunately, she had not anticipated how difficult it would be to see him play a “heartbroken” good guy across social media, thus outing him online.

Sova’s fellow contestant Jeramey Lutinski was also called out, as his ex-fiance Brittani Mcliverty and her mother revealed that Lutinski was “engaged and living with” her whilst he applied to be on the show, selling their house “a week or two” before filming began. Season 6 is not the only time contestants’ motives have been questioned. Zack Goytowski famously accused ex-fiance Irina Solomonova of participating in the show “to get famous.” Drama is essential to reality television and boosts ratings; however, this raises certain questions regarding credibility.

Beyond contestant credibility, however, there is a conversation to be had regarding the point of the show. Supposedly, “Love is Blind” follows a “social experiment,” yet it’s a social experiment that mainly features thin and attractive women — surely, this defeats the purpose. How does this experiment test if love is truly blind when all of the contestants are conventionally attractive?

Several fans have raised questions regarding the lack of plus-size contestants, which show host Vanessa Lachey quickly shut down. Lachey argues that the lack of diversity in body types is completely unintentional and not on the producers at all. According to her, the reason there are no plus-size contestants is because “their whole life they’ve been so insecure about being themselves because of this crazy swipe generation that we are in and this catfishing world that we’re in..” Supposedly, plus-size women are too insecure to appear on the show. This statement lacks some credibility. However, there are clearly moments when contestants are visibly discomfited realizing that their fiance doesn’t fit conventional body standards, as seen in Season 6 with Jimmy Presnell’s reaction.  

As “Love is Blind” wraps up its sixth season in mid-March, it’s hard not to keep note of these shortcomings. With contestants looking to make a quick buck or producers actively excluding certain demographics, it’s increasingly difficult to perceive the show as anything beyond chaotic entertainment — far from an experiment in love.

Is love truly blind? As the several failed marriages of the series suggest, most likely not; however, “Love is Blind” is hardly credible evidence for this.