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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

What is the Lore of Dating Shows?

What is the Lore of Dating Shows?
Jenna Dattilo

The following does not represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhound, or Loyola University’s Department of Communication.

Dating shows are the ultimate blend of cringe, charm, and those ‘wait, what?’ moments, and for some reason we just can’t stop watching them.

So why are these dating shows so addicting to watch? The drama and the unrealistic scenarios work to hook people. For example, “Love is Blind” on Netflix is a show where contestants pick significant others based on personality, but the twist is that they can’t see what the other person looks like until the end. This show has received a lot of recognition recently because one of the girls said she looked like Megan Fox, which she doesn’t.  

In our era we also have shows like “The Bachelor” and “Too Hot to Handle”, which also follow individuals’ quests to find love. They all tend to add drama to hook people into watching them, though. Every episode seems to end on a cliffhanger so people get even more intrigued.  

This leaves us with a question, are these dating shows real or staged? Many people think some of these dating shows are set up to cause more commotion. Joseph Avignone ‘27 explains what he thinks about reality dating shows.

“Reality TV shows in general are probably fake and somewhat staged. I think some of it is raw footage but most of the time it is staged, and they are thrown in drama for views,” Avignone said.

The new wave of dating shows is all about flipping the script with wild new formats that show the true meaning of reality TV. We’re seeing shows like “Are You The One?” on Netflix embracing sexual fluidity and showing the desired narrative. It’s fresh, and it’s real. Instead of the same old storylines where everyone’s straight and the biggest drama is who stole whose man, these shows are throwing us into a spiral with all its fluidity. It’s reality TV finally showing us love in every color and flavor.

Sometimes these shows make us question our perception of love and what we value in relationships. Most of these shows show people with perfect bodies as they see them and this can just take away from actually getting to know someone to find true love. Shows like “Love Island” are guilty of this and you can tell they pick their people out very specifically. Most of them are models. 

Nicole Shoenberger, a sociology professor shares her thoughts on what these shows show society of what’s important to find in a partner.

“I think overall it places a heavy importance on appearance, both men and women look to be extremely fit. The men are always very muscular and the women all kind of look the same. So it really pushes what people should look like and what we should find attractive,” Shoenberger said.

Even though people know these shows manufacture drama, they are still intrigued to watch them. 

Juliana Gillespie ‘27 shares her opinion on dating shows.

“I think it could be real love, but I think a lot of times the contestants put on a show to get more fame or screen time. I think people who work on the show will edit scenes in certain ways,” Gillespie said.

This recently happened on The Bachelor, where they showed a girl getting the first rose but people later found out that this was edited and that it had instead gone to another contestant. It was later discovered they edited it this way because they didn’t want people to think he liked this girl more than the others. 

“I’ve seen contestants go on dating shows with the intent of using the exposure they get on TV to build their personal social media platforms. Kind of like fake love for fame,” Gillespie said.

Personally, while I think these shows can show true love, I also think most contestants do it for fame. Because they are edited and produced to add drama, I think these shows are bad for society in the long run. We should note that most reality shows can display certain beauty standards that make people feel bad. If you are watching solely for entertainment, though, I think it could be a good watch. 

To me, shows like “Love on The Spectrum” where they bring people with autism on the show to find true love, are very different from the shows that exist only to entertain. Having aired for two years, this reality dating show actually shows meaningful connections, like that of two autistic contestants named Abbey and David, throughout a series of dates. This differs from other shows that only center attention and fame. Still, if you keep in mind when watching these more standard reality shows that many of them are heavily manufactured, they can make for a pretty good watch.

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