Love is Real... Love is Work... Love is Blind? *S2*
You guys, what is this show? And why do I keep watching it?
*SPOILERS for Love Is Blind ahead, if you care and haven't seen it.*
Love Is Blind is a Netflix reality TV show where 15 men and 15 women, date each other in little rooms called 'pods' without seeing who they're dating. The object of the 'social experiment' is to see whether people can form meaningful enough connections to get engaged without ever laying eyes on each other.
When I decided to start this peculiar show in 2020, I had no idea I would become so invested in who strangers decided to spend the rest of their lives with. Love is Blind S1 helped us endure lockdowns: part 1, giving us fuzzy warmth in the real life fairytale of Lauren and Cameron, and something to laugh/cringe at in an at-least-I'm-not-them way in Jessica and Mark. Netflix quickly realised they had hit a gold mine and has since gifted us with a re-unions, LIB: After the Altar, LIB Brazil, LIB Japan and LIB Season 2; the magic and cynic curiosity I had the first time diminishing with each iteration, but did that stop me from watching all of them? No. No it did not.
Something I learned while writing research papers at University is that you don't go into research to prove a point, you go in to uncover the truth about a topic and because of this, your original thesis may change along the way. Love is Blind - and reality TV in general - has done that to me. I always make a big fuss about how television brings us closer to characters and makes us more empathetic to their situations and decisions, and here comes this show saying, 'ha ha. Nope!'
There seems to be more leniency with character motivations when the characters are fictional. If they are written well, we find ourselves understanding why they act the way they do, even if we don't agree with them. Reality TV gives us the illusion of real people in "real" situations so that we're probably not working as hard to figure out what they mean, which doesn't give a lot of room to tolerate mistakes. Don't get me wrong, sometimes we know right out the gate that we definitely don't want to be in someone's corner, but who are the people we should give the benefit of the doubt? And how do we decide who these people are?
The truth is, unless we're the ones up on the screen, it really is none of our business; but it's so interesting seeing what we are willing to let slide and what we're not. Ultimately, what we're willing to tolerate will vary from person to person, but I think it's important that we know what those are, and that we at least give some room for growth.
I'm not gonna lie, I'm mostly here in defense of Jarrette and my girl, Iyanna (I mean, that wedding!) Iyanna was my favourite from the beginning to the point where I didn't care too much what she decided at the end of the show, as long as she was happy. But then we were at the wedding, and I found myself on the edge of my seat, whispering, 'please say yes' at the screen. There was a lot of stuff that Jarrette did and said that made a lot of people (myself included) go, "bro! Wrong move!" but wedding day came, and despite doubts and questions, him 'hypothetically proposing' to someone else first, and their literally only knowing each other for about a month, Iyanna and Jarrette decide to spend the rest of their lives together- splitting reality TV Twitter.
I personally think that despite everything, #Jayanna is going to be just fine. More than that. They'll be amazing if they want to be. I think they - and really this entire show - just show us real, imperfect people trying to navigate relationships at an insane speed. Again, do I think everyone that was on the show should have been on it? No. Would I ever submit myself for this kind of experiment? Absolutely not. But, as my people say, 'na so we see am,' and all in all, I think the show is a real lesson on love- the kind we all deserve, and the kind we need to give.
A lot of the conflict that Iyanna and Jarrette faced throughout the show was about him making her a priority. Those questions were bound to come up with the way their engagement started out, their different views on keeping in touch with exes, and with him loving his outside social life and her preferring to read at home. As an audience, *most of us* wanted him to not just say it but show us that he cared about her. More than him going, "you're so strong," we wanted to see him go, "I've got you," because that's how all of us want to be treated; and by the end of the show, we found ourselves "having to be okay" with the fact that he hopefully does have her and will show that in the course of their marriage. Instead of the Prince Charming, almost-too-good-to-be-true human man that we got in Cameron Hamilton, we got fun loving but might-not-always-say-the-right-thing Jarrette. Both good people I assume (as I do not know either of them), both real, and both of whose qualities don't disqualify them from finding "happy ever after." (I have to say here though that this is still television, where clips are cut together so that we see some conflict and there was a significant lack of Jarrette and Iyanna in each episode, so...)
Shout-out to Iyanna for the way she handled the conflicts they encountered by listening to and expecting the best out of Jarrette; and to Jarrette for taking her concerns into consideration and recognising how he could alleviate them, and for being honest with her about his other connection and the way he's lived life up until this point. He gave her what she needed to make an informed decision; and while this is what I expect from people, it's not always the case and is not always easy to do, so big ups to him. I do wish he had picked her first and that we had seen him be more intentional with her, but here I am with Iyanna, jumping off a cliff and giving him space, trusting that his words are going to match his actions (again, they had only known each other about a month). This is also where I go, these are grown men and women. If they decide that this is the best decision for them, then I trust that.... from my couch in my apartment.
So yeah, I was sold by the last episode. If anything, we see that they have the tools for effective conflict resolution, and that they're going to be able to overcome whatever comes their way if they both decide to put in the work- because stuff will come their way. And they're honestly just such a vibe together.
And, sometimes that love that we deserve and that we need to give is not going to result in an 'I do,' as we see in Deepti. Love is also recognising the best possible situation for all parties involved and then choosing that, even if it is uncomfortable in the moment.
But I'm writing all this before the re-union airs, so if #Jayanna is not together anymore, I'm a mug, innit? (Can you tell I'm single and living vicariously through these people?)
The Season 2 re-union airs tomorrow March 4. Check that out, and every iteration of Love is Blind, on Netflix.
Okay, back to my own life.