The pods are open, people are talking and love is blind – maybe. (It’s the name of the great “experiment,” after all.) Netflix’s new fourth season Love is blind brings the reality show to Seattle (or at least, after the first five episodes spanning the pod basement and resort in Mexico). And the results are… wowza.
That’s not always a good thing. While the first few episodes of Season 3 were marked with some drama, they have nothing to do with the chaotic messiness of the Season 4 cast. People make grand declarations that they’ve been smitten for so long and then remember it’s only been six days. ago. Couples fall together and then break up. Pool parties get messy as shit. That’s television, honey.
So what is there to say about all the confusing decisions of Love is blind‘s season 4 nonsense? A lot, it turns out.
Love Is Blind finally finds the perfect cast
Joshua: Actually, Netflix’s reality shows are all crazy social experiments Love is blind is still the best of the bunch. To me it’s a heteronormative farce: people get engaged unseen and Than have to struggle with their ideas of what a heterosexual marriage should be like, in addition to regular dating shows, such as drama between the contestants and the seduction of what could have been.
For a show so purely about interpersonal dynamics, Love is blind really lives and dies on its cast – season 1 came by on a genuinely serious relationship that came into existence, season 2 came by on the strength of an all-time reality TV villain, and season 3 was just kind of… there. This time though? Boy hey. It takes a while to know which of the contestants the show will focus on (many people wash away), but who impressed you right away, Zosha?
Zosha: See, I immediately identified with Tiffany, as I’ve also slept in listening to a partner’s soothing voice, only to wake up a little disoriented as to where things had gone. But while she and Brett have love you can believe in (more on that later), I suppose the immediate people who caught my eye are Micah and Irina, the mayhem agents of season 4 and direct agent provocateurs of…almost every ounce of drama that gets squeezed out of the first batch of episodes? I’m not super versed in the world of Love is blind, only seen one season (season 3) before this, but they stood out as the kind of reality show villains I didn’t expect from a show like this. (Honestly, I didn’t expect them to be so successful at their nonsense either.)
Joshua: They are really a surprise! Even Shake, Season 2’s big villain, was just an amazingly vulgar jerk: shallow as hell, and didn’t care about others. Micah and Irina — and let’s be clear, it’s Micah And Irina, as I’ve never seen anyone more committed to being a henchman than Irina, are god-like shit stirrers. They are happy to blow up other combinations and mock other contestants in a way that is truly shocking. It’s sometimes hard to tell if they’re out on their own, or just want to get involved with others, but perhaps the best way to talk about them – and everyone else – is to bring up our favorite moments in these first few episodes .
Wake up Tiffany!
Zosha: As established, Tiffany, the sleepy girl extraordinaire, is one to look out for. Not only do I find this behavior charming, but also she and Brett are just really cute! The Netflix Reality Overlords can do whatever they want, but in the first five episodes they can’t seem to find much to edit drama around these two, that’s not just them gushing about each other. (Or other people gushing about it.) Maybe Love is blind is love after all.
Joshua: The little drama them Doing try to wriggle out of this – Will Brett forgive her for sleeping through his proclamation of love??? – is very funny, because in the end they don’t care at all.
But as much as I like the rest of the cast, it takes me a while to read them if I’m being honest. And you?
Zosha: Well, I immediately hated Paul and Zack, two people I almost immediately found irritating and monotonous. So Naturally these jabronis have made it in some of the strangest combinations. But you’re right! Jack and Marshall took me a moment to read on, as did Chelsea and Kwame (partly because they took the time to sort their shit out). But once I did – god, what charmers! Four people here are just trying their best to be emotionally honest in the most ridiculous of circumstances. Even with the surprising guitar playing, which is definitely okay.
Do you have favorites to watch, good or bad?
Joshua: Yeah, I guess the reason I like this cast so much is because, with the exception of Micah and Irina (and the poor interchangeable boring juices they mate with), the couples really want to and probably can go!
This is why for me the couple to watch is Marshall and Jackelina.
Please oh please let Marshall and Jackie make it
Joshua: Brett and Tiffany may be the most charming, but Marshall and Jackelina have something that feels real in a way this show has never managed to do before. They’re a rocky mess, but also endearingly sweet, and in episode 4 – once the couples get out of the pods and get to know each other at a Mexican resort – the two have captured perhaps the most touching moment ever on a Netflix reality show, as Jackie sobs into a closet as she exhales her insecurities and Marshall goes after her to hold her, saying “I know.”
It’s just beautiful and heartfelt television in a genre big on artifice and performativity, the kind of moment that feels almost too real for reality TV, you know?
Zosha: It really does – and perhaps, unlike so much of Netflix’s reality shlock, better because it goes a bit unresolved on camera? There’s the part where the closet door pops open again, giving us an almost cinematic moment of comfort. But most of the resolution we get out of that is that Jackie tells it the next day and seems rightfully moved, with Marshall nodding along at the pool party as the other men say it’s “so easy” to be with their fiancés .
While the one-two punch of those scenes may seem shocking, it just makes them seem Real and thrilling in a way that so much reality TV struggles to do. It’s “drama,” but not the type that makes us question how much fun they’re having on their pool date. It’s like watching a younger sibling fall in love and just so badly want it to work out for them.
It’s the opposite of all Micah’s bullshit.
What is Micah’s game?
Zosha: I know! I understand! This is the game of reality TV and I really don’t believe in the Love is blind “experiment” to think everyone is “there for the right reasons” as the parlance goes. Part of the Stockholm Syndrome glamor of the show is how quickly you kind of forget about all that buy-in anyway. (I generally don’t think people should get engaged to someone they’ve only spoken to for a few days. But I Doing guess if you’re going to propose, you probably should to have to get married at the end of the show, according to the engagement rules.)
But Micah! My god what a schemer. The way she just messes with people’s emotions in a totally flat way – the makings of a great reality TV show villain, tbh.
Joshua: She is such an a schemer! She doesn’t even seem to like it Paul, the man she wants to get engaged to? (Honestly? Kinda relatable.) Micah just seems like she wanted to to winwhich makes her unusual in this Love is blind cast because, quite frankly, she acts like a reality show contestant.
However, what catapults her into full villain territory is her constant meddling in the relationship between Kwame (whom she rejected) and Chelsea (whom she was a little bad at) while pretending her behavior was completely normal. This is what makes Love is blind look at it this way: it is continual play with your ideas of what norms for cishet relationships are. Is someone like Micah, who clearly believes that all is fair in love and war, Real a villain for not addressing the romantic premise of the show? Do Love is blindeven an inherently ridiculous (and naturally exploitative) show to deserve to get viewers to take the premise seriously?
Zosha: On a very real level: No. On an equally real level: Of course, why not? As established, it’s hard not to get involved in the Hunger Games Capitol element of watching the show. Micah plays a game, and she does it in a way that’s less downright clever than it’s just shrewd, manipulative, and not like (almost) anyone else actually plays it.
Zack and Irina… what a mess
Zosha: If there really is a loser in this whole situation, it’s Zack, who is tied up by Micah’s henchman. And what is worse: he is completely convinced! Zack takes to the mat to defend Irina against Bliss’ reading of her! He writes her an embarrassing a cappella song! He says he knows she would stick with him no matter how hard things got – she didn’t even last when things got tough on Day 3! Few bigger L’s in reality TV history, honestly.
Joshua: Zack, my husband: Please go to therapy. I’m not sure you’re ready to date people you can to see. I really think the show plays out all of its hang-ups in a way that goes beyond cringe and pity, and I’d be pissed if it didn’t eventually turn out that he and Irina might be more self-aware than they seem? This series of episodes ends on another all-timer Love is blind moment, as Zack and Irina realize they both kind of played themselves and have an incredibly fun conversation about hating each other.
Zosha: I really hope they know more than the edit shows because that last comment is one for the ages! Of course, there’s the further dangling drama: will Irina now become a spoiler for her “best friend” Micah? Will Bliss say yes? (Why would she?) But gosh, I wish more reality shows would show us moments like two people just digging into how much they’ve come to hate each other on their apparent honeymoon. It’s what we deserve. In the end, this show doesn’t (can not) prove that love is blind, but boy, it can certainly make for some plain couple illustrations if it wants to.