Courtesy of Netflix

3 Reality Dating Shows to Fall in Love With

Cringe, laugh and cry with us as we examine the best three reality dating shows available on streaming now.
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Reality TV is good. Reality TV about dating is better.

As a reality TV obsessive, I have learned that even the most vapid-looking experiments in dating can turn out to be something magical. Yes, there are many moments of embarrassment and awkwardness, too, but isn’t that what we come to reality TV for?

Read on to discover 3 reality shows that you should try. Maybe you’ve looked past them before, but your new favorite show might have been standing in front of you this whole time.

‘Dating Around’

Courtesy of Netflix

Available seasons: 2

Release date: 2019

Streaming on: Netflix

Synopsis: Each episode, one individual spends five evenings with a potential suitor. The episode weaves between each date with seamless editing that creates a voyeur-like experience.

The show features lonely hearts of all genders, races and sexual orientations and ages. Some dates go well, some are boring, and some are very bad. In essence, it’s a very relatable look at modern dating.

In Season 1, there’s “Fiercely independent Gurki,” who is “eager to open up about divorce, until one date radically changes her candor. Will she back down or speak her mind?”

Another episode features the beautiful Mila, who is a Manhattan fashion designer that is “brand-new to NYC dating.” She’s ready to find the perfect woman for her in an especially delightful episode.

There’s also Leonard, a widower who is well past middle-age, but just at the start of his journey to find love again.

As for Season 2, there’s the extraordinarily unique college professor Ben, who seems impossibly nice. Does he learn that the show accidentally set him up on a date with a student at the school he works at? Yes, and it’s admittedly awkward – but this classy guy handles the situation with the utmost tact. He definitely deserves the sweet lady he ultimately chooses at the end – but I won’t spoil any more!

Then there’s Brandon, who’s long been waiting for the right man. It’s especially exciting to see what happens when a former flame of his comes back into the fold. Let’s just say, the chemistry is definitely still there.

At the end of each episode, we learn which date the individual chose to have a second date with. But the drama isn’t exploited a la “The Bachelor” franchise. We only see two happy crushes wave excitedly to each other before they go on Date #2, which we as the audience will not see. We just wonder what will become of them.

You still root for certain people and you get emotionally invested, but there is no breaking the fourth wall in this series. The person each episode is centered around never speaks to a producer in a “talking head style,” explaining what they do and don’t like about each date. We simply try to gauge the vibe based on their body language and conversation.

‘Love Is Blind’

Twitter / @LoveIsBlindShow

Available seasons: 1

Release date: 2020

Streaming on: Netflix

Synopsis: Dozens of potential matches talk through windowless “pods,” getting to know one another and ultimately deciding if there is one special voice that stands out above the rest. For a handful of individuals, a spark is found – but will it last all the way through a honeymoon and wedding in the course of three weeks?

The premise of this show is so ridiculous, and that’s what makes it so incredible. It’s already fun enough watching “The Bachelor” and wondering how people can put themselves into that situation, but this show takes it to the next level.

Watch Jessica question her engagement to Mark because he’s “too emotionally invested,” and watch Mark try to woo Jessica when he takes her home to see his single pillow and wrinkled bed sheet.

Watch Barnett play at least three women in the pods before finally deciding on one lucky lady…but will Jessica’s jealousy after being rejected by Barnett ruin everything?

Trust me – if you can get through the first few episodes with all the “pod talk,” this show is guaranteed to keep you laughing until the very end, if not completely consoling your feelings about your own chaotic love life.

‘Bachelor in Paradise’

Courtesy of ABC

Available seasons: 6

Release date: 2014

Streaming on: Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video

If you’re a fan of “The Bachelor” franchise, then you already know about this unbelievable spinoff. But if you’re one of those who’s written off “The Bachelor” as vapid, I encourage you to try “Bachelor in Paradise” (BIP). It’s like “The Bachelor” meets early 2000s MTV – i.e., far more raunchy, and infinitely more ridiculous than its parent program.

The craziest part about BIP? It actually kind of works. For every five trainwrecks of couples, there are about 1-2 truly special pairs. Seeing these people legitimately fall in love and go on to start families is incredibly special. These couples include:

Carly Waddell and Evan Bass

Carly and Evan met on the third season of BIP and were married in August of 2017. They now have two babies together, a girl and a boy. Carly is also close to her stepsons from Evan’s previous marriage.

Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert

Jade and Tanner met on BIP in early 2016, and it was love at first sight. The couple, who are close friends with Carly and Evan, have two children together. They are expecting a third at any moment!

Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon

It was rough going at first for these two, but Ashley would not give up despite Jared’s rejection of her advances. But guess what? Ashley was right the whole time; these two are perfect for each other.

Ashley had been on BIP once before she finally made it work with Jared on BIP Season 3. They were engaged on the show in 2018 and married in Rhode Island in 2019.

Even the most seemingly ridiculous reality shows about love can turn into something beautiful. I think the wise men might have been wrong when they said, “Only fools rush in.”