16 Feb 2019

Review: Netflix’s “Dating Around”

It’s not my first rodeo. I’ve watched plenty of reality dating TV shows in my lifetime and personally save two hours of my Monday night to remotely watch The Bachelor with two of my best friends in Seattle. When I first heard about this show (without watching the trailer) I remembered thinking “What’s so different about this one?” Right? Because when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. However, it was a text from Mandi tonight at dinner that prompted me to give it a chance. Mandi knows all too well about my dating life and TV life for that matter.

I have to commend Netflix for the way they produce their shows. I promise I’m going to get into the meat of the content and why this show is different, but aesthetically, this show does a phenomenal job of painting what dating looks like for my friends and I. I’ve been watching the Bachelor for years, but even now I’ve got the formula down. I know exactly what’s going to happen in every season and the type of characters they are going to cast. There’s always a sea of blondes. You’ve always got a crazy villain. You have someone with a unrealistic job title. And of course, the dates. So extravagant that it’s not real life at all. What is real life though is drinks, maybe dinner, and maybe something for afterwards if the night has gone well. This is the formula that is true – that Netflix highlights and that I can get behind.

I’ve only watched three episodes so far for a total of 90 minutes, but I can’t get enough. I caught myself nervously laughing when a girl made a cringe-worthy comment. It could’ve been a disaster, but it wasn’t! She recovered. My eyes widened when I saw one of the girls go in for a make out sesh at the end of the night. In my head I thought, “Was that too much?” “Is that what people do on first dates these days?” Sure, this is New York, but everyone has a different dating style and it’s incredible to observe.

Let’s talk about the diversity in this series. It’s not a sea of blondes actually. In the 2nd episode, we’ve got a career woman who is Indian and a divorcee and in the 3rd episode a gay Asian man. This first couple episodes alone are already years ahead of The Bachelor franchise. Something I always think about in dating culture is how it feels like you are repeating the same type of conversations. Where are you from? What do you do for a living? How do you spend your weekends? And if you’re a serial dater or racking up a couple dates a week, it can feel tedious. Instead, these conversations for first blind dates are digging a bit deeper. They are getting into values, upbringings, and real dating challenges to find out if the person in front of them is a future match. For some, this feels like hard hitting topics to discuss on the first date, but maybe it’s just a sign that these folks are looking for something more serious. It’s an interesting watch, but I like to think it’s going to serve as a playbook for current daters who find trouble with this process today.

My favorite part of the show? We haven’t even talked about the set up yet and we’re well into this post. The show revolves around one individual. They go on five blind dates and throughout the 30 minutes, we see a snapshot of each of them. It feels fast, but the conversations are there and Netflix is capturing the most important parts, that you feel like you know everyone well by the end of it. For each episode, the main character wears the same outfit and is at the same restaurant which provides consistency. It’s as if it is one long date, but you know that it’s five separate occasions. By the end of the five dates, the main may choose to go on a second date and you’ll see who they pick! There isn’t any commentary or any context. It’s also not very obvious who they are going to pick. But this is my favorite part! It’s always satisfying when I pick the right person! Classic me finding someway to turn this into a game.

There’s no word yet on whether or not this series has been given the green light for a second season, but we like what we see.

Posted on February 16, in People

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