Gentle reader, I am not a reality TV person, and I’m most certainly not a reality dating show person…or am I? This is something I’ve been wresting with since MTV’s new season of Are You the One: Come One Come All premiered. Before this, I’m pretty sure, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila was the last dating “reality” show I’d seen. But now with one of the contestants on Bachelor in Paradise revealing that she’s a “queer queen” and Are You the One’s groundbreaking premise, I might be a changed woman.
If you aren’t in the know, Are You the One typically features sixteen cis men and women who all bunk up together in some paradise setting like Hawaii. The goal is to find their one true match among the castmates, which has already been pre-determined by professional matchmakers. Also, they all have terrible track records with relationships. Now when hormones and alcohol are involved it’s hard enough to figure out who your match could be from ten contestants. Well, this season, the entire cast identifies as sexually fluid, which makes it even more difficult because now there are way more possible matches. Basically, it’s super stressful. So far, no real matches have been made but lots of connections have been, which is fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. So why should you watch this complicated and drama filled dating show? Well if I haven’t convinced you so far, here are six reasons why.
Jenna and Kai’s “I wish I could quit you” connection. Have you ever had two friends who were all wrong for each other but couldn’t stop their chemistry? Well that’s Jenna and Kai. Kai is recently out as trans-masculine non-binary, and has been feeling himself throughout this journey with a number of intimate encounters, but when it comes down to it, he’s stuck on Jenna. The problem? They are definitively not a match. Jenna admittedly feels the same way about Kai, but watching her try to work through old patterns of jealousy and insecurity is refreshing and you can’t help but root for them both to break through their old habits and grow.
Dr. Frankie! There’s not enough of the wonderful Dr. Frankie Bashan, who is a licensed psychologist, dating expert and founder of Little Gay Book, a lesbian and bisexual matchmaking service, but you’ll love her anyway.. Dr. Frankie drops by the show to have group sessions and try to help the contestants figure out their issues with relationships.
Contestant Paige is all of us. If there was ever a proxy for the audience in a dating show, then Paige Cole is ours in AYTO. Level headed, a fashion icon and all-around nice person, Paige has not been at the center of a love match yet, but she has been a good friend and confidant to many of her housemates. Paige deserves love, and here’s hoping she finds it.
You’ll find yourself shipping couples in spite of yourself. The last thing I expected was to start shipping Justin and Max, two muscle bros with major commitment issues, but damnit, here I am.
It’s groundbreaking. This season of Are You the One is really changing the game and introducing audiences to bisexual and pansexual people in a way we haven’t seen before on a dating show.
The Truth Booth. Seriously, there’s something called the truth booth that looks like it belongs in a show on Syfy. In the truth booth, a couple can find out if they are meant to be. So far, we’ve had no matches, so the Truth Booth is more like the Hurt Locker. Oh, did I mention that 1 million dollars is at stake for the contestants if they can all find their match? The plot thickens.
Are you the One airs Wednesdays on MTV.