Weird Allo Reality Shows 2

It's time for round two of weird allo reality shows! Today we discuss Love is Blind Sweden, Perfect Match, Twenty Somethings Austin, and Dated & Related.

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Courtney: Hello everyone and welcome back. My name is Courtney. I am here with my spouse, Royce, and together we are The Ace Couple. And I regret to inform you that I have been suffering through so many more bad allo reality shows.

Royce: I mean, they are background noise for you while you’re doing other things, but still.

Courtney: They have to be. There are almost none of these shows that I would sit down and actually watch beginning to end, because I find a vast majority of them to be completely insufferable. I did, in our– in our last episode, I did talk a little bit about, like, Marriage or Mortgage, I think is what it was called, that one I would genuinely watch another season of. It often infuriates me, and frustrates me, and baffles me to no end, but I actually find that one a lot more interesting than some of these other, like, dating themed, dating or marriage themed things.

Royce: Yeah, well, that one overlaps into the type of show that is, you know, home buying and home planning, and you’re already with an established couple who kind of has an idea of what they want.

Courtney: Yeah, and I like that dynamic better. If we’re just looking at how couples make life choices, I find that a lot more interesting than people, like, desperate to become a couple with somebody, anybody. So that– that one I– That doesn’t seem like they’re gonna make anymore, which is kind of a shame. But I did finally get to watch Love is Blind Sweden. We talked about Love is Blind a bit in the last episode, and we’d only seen some of the US, and you actually watched the Japanese one with me a little bit. But I have been waiting for like over a year for Love is Blind Sweden. I even found, like, a virtual Swedish reality show club where I could get together and discuss the show each week with people in Swedish. So that was wonderful. So many of the couples in relationships were, like, still a hot mess.

Royce: But at least you were learning some language.

Courtney: Yeah, yeah. But there was, oh my gosh, there was one couple with this woman who was just super duper sweet. This guy, who had just random spikes of temper and random spikes of cold feet, and was just generally treating her terribly, seemed super shallow. And I was like, “Girl run,” the entire time. And then halfway through the season other women who had gotten engaged in the pods were like, “We just heard he has a child in another country.” And like pulled him aside and were like, “You better tell her, because if you don’t, we are going to.”

Courtney: And he was like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a kid, that’s impossible. It’s just a rumor.” And they just totally set it aside. And eventually it became this whole moment of like, “I trust him, and it was just a rumor, and we couldn’t even verify where the rumor started.” And– and all this. But then, when they did the reunion episode, not only was the woman in that couple– They got married, they were still together. Not only did she announce that she’s pregnant, which is the first time in the history of the franchise, as far as I know, across any countries, where someone was pregnant like immediately after recording, in order to give that announcement at the reunion. But they also announced that, surprise, he did actually have another child with someone else, which they found out after the fact.

Courtney: So now, all of a sudden, like not only are you in a brand new marriage with someone that presumably you hardly know, not only are you an expecting mother, but you’re also an immediate instant, like, bonus mama to this other kid. After that was a huge point of contention. So it was a mess, it was an absolute mess. So– Which I did find it very interesting. Because I had stated, just sort of in anticipation of Love is Blind Sweden coming out, that, on the whole, Swedish culture is not as legal marriage ceremony contract focused as we are in the US. So I really wanted to know, you know, what kind of Swedes are the ones who are so anxious to get married that they’re signing up for this show. And the couple the woman who became pregnant and the man who had a child he didn’t know anything about until after the show recording, they were very religious, actually. They were very Christian. Which is also– Swedish culture is also just generally less Christian than US culture is. So I did find that aspect to be really interesting.

Courtney: Although this is unrelated to weird allo reality shows, but I just absolutely have to share this story because I was so baffled, that next time I’m in Sweden I’m actually seriously considering reaching out to this person. Just because it was such a weird message.

Courtney: I bought some secondhand Swedish books. There’s a website I use often called Bookborschen, and I can get very cheap used secondhand Swedish books, which is great for me because normally, like, it costs as much to ship the book as the book costs, if not more. So I try to get like several books at a time just to make the shipping worth it. And for the most part they’re independent sellers or independent bookstores. And I just bought some Swedish books from someone once, and sometimes the sellers are like, “Oh wow, going all the way to the US. That’s interesting, why are you getting all these Swedish books? Just out of curiosity.”

Courtney: But someone, some seller looked up my name and, like, googled me, searched me up on Facebook. For some reason saw something that gave him the impression that I am Christian and he was referencing, like, a photo he saw of me on Facebook or something. So the only thing I can possibly think of is if he saw one of my pieces of hair work, that is like a Victorian cross, like an artwork I made out of hair in the shape of a cross. Maybe that gave him the wrong impression. But he straight up messaged me and was like, “Wow, I see that you’re Christian, I am also Christian. What a coincidence!” [laughs] To the point where he was like, “I’d love to – you know – meet you or host you if you ever come to Sweden. Like, send me a message and we can, you know, meet up for Fika.” And [laughs] I was like, could you imagine an American doing that? Like, oh my God, you’re a Christian too?! Me too! What are the chances?!

Courtney: But okay, on to the new weird allo reality shows, because, oh boy, we have some bad ones.

Royce: Yeah, what was the list this time?

Courtney: Oh my gosh. Okay, so I watched Perfect Match, which might be the worst weird allo reality show concept and structure I’ve seen yet. I also watched Twentysomethings: Austin, and Dated and Related.

Royce: That last one is raising some question marks.

Courtney: Oh, just you wait, we’re gonna get there, so let’s start with Perfect Match.

Royce: I don’t think I’ve heard of any of these, aside from coming into the room and asking you what you’re watching.

Courtney: Oh my gosh, so Perfect Match. The thing is– And this only came on my radar because of the recent season of Love is Blind in the US. Because, from what I hear, every season is just getting less and less successful, with, like, the measurement of success being how many couples get married and at least stay married until the reunion. To the point where, like, in the most recent season, in their reunion episode, they invited back successful couples from previous seasons to just be like audience members in the front row, presumably just to be like, “Look, we know this isn’t really working anymore and a lot of people are not getting married, but some people did at one point, right? So, some of them are still even together. See them there? Remember them?”

Courtney: But they announced at the end of this recent reunion that several cast members from Love is Blind are going to be on the next season of Perfect Match, and so I was like, “Oh no, what is Perfect Match?” And I guess I need to investigate.

Courtney: And it’s Nick Lachey, who’s one of the two hosts of Love is Blind, normally it’s him and his wife. And they really don’t even need hosts for so many of these shows. So many of the hosts you can completely forget even exist for several episodes on end, because it’s not as if they’re interacting with the cast, past initially meeting them in the pods to be like, “Hey, welcome to the experiment.” And then they just sort of vanish.

Courtney: But this time it’s just Nick Lachey. And when he meets the cast members in the very first episode, he’s talking about himself and other people are treating him as if he’s this, you know, ultimate Fabio type. Like One Love, he did it. Like no one has ever been more successful in love than this man. Because he’s standing there and he’s like, “I’m your host for Perfect Match because obviously I’m great in the love department.” And it’s like, is that obvious?

Royce: Yeah, that seems odd. For those of you who don’t recognize that name, Nick Lachey was the lead singer of the boy band 98 Degrees, which for many of our listeners may be–

Courtney: Older than them?

Royce: –may be from a bygone era. And–

Courtney: Didn’t he get a divorce?

Royce: Was married to Jessica Simpson for a while. Divorced. His current family, wife and children, yeah, second marriage.

Courtney: But apparently it’s the best marriage of all time. Because it is so obvious that he is the host for all of these love and dating and marriage shows. [mockingly] Because obviously he’s great in the love department! Super strange. So here’s why Perfect Match is the worst of the worst. All of the cast members are unsuccessful reality show stars from all the other weird allo reality shows.

Royce: Oh, that’s a bad place to start.

Courtney: It’s so bad! And I was so glad that I watched this after having done our first episode on weird allo reality shows, because I was recognizing so many, if not the exact cast members, there were a couple I recognized here and there, but I at least recognized the shows from like different seasons. Like Too Hot To Handle, there were some people from that show. There were some people from Love Is Blind. There were some people from The Circle, which I snuck into our last episode on weird allo reality shows just because how many people tried flirting with each other, knowing full well that catfishing people is part [in unison with Royce] of the game. Which I– Why? Why would that on any planet work? I guess only planet allo. And then like there were some people from Sexy Beasts on there, which– [laughs] So now you have all these people from these vastly different shows, like, thrown together for, like, a drink mixer.

Royce: As a part of their introductions, did it say what shows they were on previously?

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: Okay.

Courtney: And the thing is, all these other shows they’re picking and pulling from are so vastly different. Like Too Hot To Handle is all about sex and sexy people. Love Is Blind– And like people who just want to hook up all the time. And Love Is Blind is people who are like, “I am ready for a commitment right now. Lifelong marriage. Let’s go.” Theoretically, “I don’t care about looks,” but some of them are in for a rude awakening.

Courtney: The Circle is just like: try to be popular. And then Sexy Beasts is just like: go on three dates with no stakes whatsoever while in these ridiculous costumes.

Courtney: So none of these people even started on shows that had, like, the same goals, you know? Because I could almost see it if it’s like, “All right, we’re here for marriage. So like let’s get Love Is Blind, let’s get some people from like Married At First Sight together that didn’t have a marriage hold.” Because like those are at least, like, marriage focused people, right? But these people are all over the place. And some of them weren’t even reality– or like dating shows, like there were some people from The Mole, which is just like puzzles and teamwork games, and like deception. And so just throw a couple of them in there, why not?

Royce: Is that how you– dating reality show puzzles and deception?

Courtney: I mean, honestly… [laughs] So they put them all together at, like, this big poolside party and, of course, just like all the other weird allo shows, they’re all, like, in you know, skimpy bikinis, they’re all drinking. And like they tell them that you have to match with someone tonight. Like at this open mixer, go find your match. So they’re all talking. And like a lot of these people have already met each other, and some of them have even, like, dated in the past or at least hooked up, and like slept together. So we’re getting all these confessionals of like, “Oh, after his season of such, and so, I slid into his DMs and we hooked up and now I’m not happy to see him, because obviously that didn’t work.” And it’s like, oh, my god.

Courtney: So I have to talk about the concept of matching in this show, because they have rooms with, like, a bed big enough for two people and matching with someone is just like sharing a room with them or sharing a bed with them, and saying like, “All right, we’re a match now.”

Courtney: And so there is also this big, like, “Oh, we matched, but are we gonna sleep in the same bed?” And occasionally someone would try to be really respectful and be like, “I can sleep on the couch the first night if you want.” But, like when someone agreed to be a match, when they’re like, “Will you be my match?” And someone’s like, “Yes, I’ll be your match.” There was this so melodramatic graphic that came on the screen that said ‘Matched!’ with two like gold rings that look like wedding bands on either side of this word matched. And it’s like… Who are you kidding? Who are you kidding?! [laughs] And so people, all– They go, they match. Some people have like their first pick, some people are getting asked to match and they’re like, “Let me look around a little more and just see, it’s only the first night, you know?”

Courtney: And then some people who match, like, right away are talking on, like, night one, like, I mean, “She’s my partner now, she’s my match, she’s my ride or die.” And it’s like, you just met at a pool party drinking, like, maybe a couple hours ago…? What, what, what does–? It’s so strange! And then, of course, they’re like the last couple of people to match, just kind of have to be each other’s match, because if you don’t match, you don’t get to stay on the show. So you, like, have to match with people. And so, after they all picked their first matches for the night and they all get their own individual bedrooms, the first, like, challenge with your match the next day is a compatibility test to see how well you know each other. Knowing full well that some of these people just met last night. And the most compatible couple, as determined by this test, wins a private date.

Courtney: But that’s not all. They also get to, like, split up other couples and, like, rematch them and, like, send them on a date with someone totally new if they want. So there’s like an element of sabotage here. This game is really like the unholy union of trying to pretend like everyone’s in it for the long haul, like they do on Love is Blind, but also like Too Hot To Handle, where it’s like you’re trying to sabotage other people. But there isn’t even the, like, “Oh, don’t have sex!” component to it like some of these other shows.

Royce: No traffic cone?

Courtney: There– there’s no ace icon, Lana the traffic cone, the purple traffic cone. [laughs] So it’s, it’s just so wild.

Courtney: And the thing is, like, the couple who wins they get to go on their date, but then they get brought into this, like, boardroom where they’re like, “Here are new people you can bring in,” and they’re shown like pictures and profiles of other reality stars that aren’t on this show yet. And they can be like, “Yeah, give me that one and send him on a date with her.” It’s– it’s so weird. So they get into this compatibility test and they are like all questions about sex and sexuality. And they’re like two great big buckets, one for yes, one for no, and they have to stand under the one that they think their match would have answered and then they have to pull the rope and if they were wrong, they get water dumped on them. Because that’s fun. And like some of the questions– Like, one of the questions was like how– has your partner ever had a sexident? And I’m like, a sexident? A sex accident, like what?

Royce: Was that what it was? Because I was thinking an incident, like someone walked in on them or something like that, or they were in public and they got caught.

Courtney: I think it could be any number of these things. And like, I’m thinking like a condom broke? Like what– What is a sexident here? Well, are you ready for our first inkling of bisexual representation on this show?

Royce: No, but continue anyway.

Courtney: [laughs] One girl reported having a sexident, and everyone’s like, “Oh, what is it?” And she said she accidentally pulled a girl’s tampon out with her teeth while going down on her.

Royce: Acci–?.

Courtney: [babbles] Yeah. So the thing is I’m the last one to be talking about oral sex with any [laughs] amount of authority, but I do know how tampons work and that seems intentional. But like these other questions, like, “Oh, has your partner ever had sex in a public place?” And like some of them answered yes, and the ones who answered yes, they’re like, “Ooh, where was it?” And one guy answered on a Ferris wheel, and someone else was like, “You freak! That’s great!” And I don’t know, maybe don’t have sex on a Ferris wheel… Like other people are going to ride that after you, presumably. And I was going to say someone’s gonna have to clean that up. But how often do Ferris wheels actually get like a good scrub down, unless someone, like, legitimately vomited? Like probably not all that often.

Courtney: But then, then, then there were questions like, “Oh, your partner is still hung up on an ex.” And one girl was like, “Absolutely not.” And answered no and gets water dumped all over her. And she got so pissed off that her match has reported to still being hung up on an ex. And his story is that he’s like– he’s been single for four years now, but he was with the same girl for a really long time, and it’s just really hard to get over someone like that.

Courtney: And she is livid, she’s like, “So then why are you here?!” And talking about how it’s such a red flag and how she’s so embarrassed and humiliated that her matches hung up on another girl. And it’s like, you all just got thrown into a mixer yesterday. But then this– this woman also– I wrote this quote down, because for how much she was fuming about this guy that she barely knows who she’s calling her match, still has feelings for an ex. She’s like, “I don’t do the ex thing.” And she said, and I quote, “If a guy’s gonna fuck with me and make me feel like this, it better be a guy I’m very, very attracted to. I better be getting railed if I’m gonna feel like this.”

Royce: Okay?

Courtney: What? [laughs] And like that’s how she ended that thought, after going off on how embarrassing and humiliating this is.

Royce: So apparently this guy was not attractive enough.

Courtney: Uh, I guess not? Or she just wasn’t getting railed yet? I don’t know. It was a weird thing to say, if you ask me. Because, also, if it’s genuinely this big a deal to you that you’re this mad, and you’re yelling, and you’re screaming, and you’re venting in your confessional, and you’re confronting him to his face, like, is good sex really going to make up for all those hurt feelings? Very strange.

Courtney: But yeah, and so one of the couples wins because they got the most questions right.

Courtney: And so they get into this boardroom to bring in new people and send them on a date with someone else to try to break up some of these other matches. And the twist is they can choose to bring someone in to go on a date with. So they’re a match, they’re a couple right now. But if one of them’s like, “I want to bring this person in and I want to go on a date with them,” that’s fully allowed. And during the confessional this guy’s like, “Oh, I’d love to match with so and so, but I just– I don’t want to insult my current match just now.” [laughs] What are you doing?

Courtney: So that match goes on their private romantic date. They pull in two other people to go on a date with two other people. And then, after those dates, they throw everyone together again at a mixer and they’re like, “Okay, now we have five women and seven men, and whoever doesn’t have a match by the end of the night needs to leave.” And there’s no rule about staying with your current match. Anyone can just decide to change and match with anyone at any point. It doesn’t just have to be like picking between your former match or this new person you got sent on a date with. Like two totally random people can just decide we’re a match now. So, so much of this show is just these people talking to each other at a big open party and deciding whether or not to make a new match or stay with their current one.

Royce: Which a lot of that just seems to be pairing up for whatever the next challenge is.

Courtney: Pretty much, and sharing a room together. Like that– That’s it. But then here’s– here’s a thought that also occurred to me while I was watching this. Nick Lachey has, like, openly criticized people on Love Is Blind who they think weren’t there for the right reasons, you weren’t really here to find love, and you weren’t really here for a marriage. And like they’ll– they’ll do that, right? They’ll criticize people that they think are just here to be on a reality show. So why, then, are they incentivizing these people with the option of being on more reality TV? Because these are all reality TV stars from other shows. So you could have someone on Love Is Blind who doesn’t actually get married, and have Nick Lachey sitting here being like, “You’re clearly not ready for marriage, but you can come be a cast member on Perfect Match next season.” It’s weird, right? It’s almost as if they actually just care about producing reality TV and not actually producing healthy couples. It’s almost as if.

Courtney: And like some of the comments and the way people talk in this game was so weird to me. Because for the most part, it’s not even like they’re all dating each other for a prolonged period of time before settling on their match. Like Love Is Blind, you get to go on lots of different dates with lots of different people before you narrow them down, and some of them end up getting engaged, you know?. But these people were required to find a match on the first night and must always be in a match. And then you have people in their confessional saying things like, “We all want to find our perfect match. Nobody wants to go home and lose that opportunity to meet their perfect match.”

Courtney: But then, meanwhile, someone literally described this in a confessional as the Hunger Games of dating. What are we doing here? And sometimes you even get people going like really aggressive, really competitive. You’ve got these guys, like, talking to each other about making gains. And [laughs] then they’ll get in the confessional and they’ll be like, [aggressively] “If I gotta knock a motherfucker out, I gotta knock a motherfucker out! Because I’m here to find my perfect match!”

Royce: Hunger Games.

Courtney: Hunger Games of dating!

Royce: So what do you win if you win this game? What is the end condition of this show?

Courtney: The winners win a pre-honeymoon, week-long vacation.

Royce: And so is this limited to one couple that does the best in the games at the end of the show?

Courtney: Yeah, the one couple who is the perfect match! [chuckles] So then these, like, compatibility challenges bothered me so much because, like, it’s one thing to be, like, “Oh, do you know your partner?” And it’s very like, I don’t know, the attitude of everyone if someone answered yes to something scandalous like, “Oh, tell us more! Tell us the details.” It was very like, very never-have-I-ever-spin-the-bottle-y kind of vibes but with grown adults.

Courtney: But this next challenge actually had me feeling, like, queasy. Because, even though this is a show where everyone signed up to be on, this being a mandatory thing that they all had to do, doesn’t feel like it should be legal…? Because the next day they made them all put on blindfolds and noise canceling headphones and kiss everyone. Like, that shouldn’t be legal to require, like, to stay in the game, you have to kiss everyone so that you can rate all of the kisses. And like the blindfold and the noise canceling headphones are like so you don’t know who’s who.

Royce: Yeah, that’s odd. I don’t know, when people were signing up for this show, what were they signing up for?

Courtney: Yeah, did it say in the contract? Like you will be forced to kiss people, we will make you kiss all of the cast members. And, like I said, some of these people were like exes or had had past flings. So that’s weird. Some of them are complete strangers. Still, some of the couples, some of the matches who have now spent a night or two in the same room together have not even kissed of their own accord yet. Like there were some people who were like, “I haven’t even kissed him yet.” So it’s like, very, very gross. What is wrong with you?

Courtney: And then you’d have people in the confessionals be like, “Oh, I hope that really bad kiss wasn’t the person I’m matched with.” And then you’d have this– Like one of the girls was like, “I’m gonna go in and I’m just gonna make these guys so horny, because I want control of the board, and I want to be able to bring in new people and split up these matches.”

Courtney: And it’s like literally some of these people were on Too Hot To Handle, where they were talking about sleeping with so many people so fast, as if that is inherently a bad thing, and they were doing this like pseudo-psychology, like, trying to cure people of their – I don’t know – their promiscuity, I guess. Versus some of these people from Love Is Blind, where it’s all about the love and the emotional connection, and forming a bond, sight unseen. But then you get these people from The Mole or The Circle that are all just like [strikes hand] strategy, game, win the prize, get people to like you and trust you at any cost.

Courtney: But then, like everyone would feel really, really bad when their match, like, rated someone else’s kiss higher than them. They set them all around the same room on, like, couches to reveal and rate all the kisses and then to show them the reveal about who that kiss was.

Courtney: And so everyone’s sitting there just, like, shooting each other daggers if they rated someone else’s kiss higher than them or if someone rated their kiss really low. [breathy laugh] And it was just very uncomfortable.

Courtney: But the thing that really got me too, when someone did have control of the board and they could bring someone new in, they’d keep pretending while splitting up these matches and sending them on dates with other people, they’d be, like, pretending as if they’re doing someone a favor. Because they’d be sitting here discussing strategy and they’d be like, “You know what? This guy? He’s a good guy and he really deserves love. He does. Yeah, he does deserve love, and, you know, I just don’t know if he’s fully committed to her right now. So it would be good of us to give him an opportunity to figure it out by sending him on a date with someone else.”

Courtney: And they’d be like, “Yeah, that’s good, we are doing them a favor. This is a good, kind thing we’re doing out of the goodness of our heart.”

Courtney: So back to bisexuality in this show, though. Turns out, there were three women who identified as bisexual, and they had some conversations about it. And the conversations were not all bad, and some of them, they were like opening up and talking about the difficulties. But there was something about having a show where they are all conventionally sexy people and only three women are bisexual, and there was not a single bi man on the show…? Seemed just a little bit off to me. And– And while– While the women were having good conversations– like, they were even saying some things, like, “You know, even if I’m currently in a relationship with a male partner, that doesn’t mean I’m any less bisexual.” So they’d be trying to, like, tackle stereotypes like that, which is good. And sometimes they were like wouldn’t it be great if we had an all bi season, and everyone was bi, and it’s yeah sure, let’s do that. That’d be great. I’d probably watch it.

Royce: Were the pairings in this show only allowed to be hetero?

Courtney: No.

Royce: Because–

Courtney: You could match with anybody.

Royce: Okay, because you said the numbers got uneven sometimes.

Courtney: They did. They would tend to have more men than women most of the time. But the thing is– although some of those conversations amongst those, you know, bi women were pretty good and I’m glad to see that on a show like this, there was someone even asking a partner like, “Are you okay with the fact that I’m bisexual? Are you okay with the fact that I’ve been with women?” And then the guy would just be like, “Yeah, I think it’s really hot.” And then they just would not challenge that. So the way the guys were responding to the bi women seemed very fetishizing. And neither the show nor the women really challenged them on it. Or if they did, it didn’t make it to the final cut. So I didn’t love that.

Courtney: Some of the weird things from like a true or false, like, compatibility – like true or false, your partner wants such and so – some of the responses were just so weird. Because one of the questions was: Your partner wants to have sex at least four times a week. And someone was like, “Well, that’s not a lot. So, yeah, true. That’s– That’s a super low amount of times to have sex per week.” [laughs] And I was like, okay… But most of the cast members said that they wanted to get married within two years, which I think is a very weird, arbitrary timeline.

Courtney: I do not understand when people are like, “I want to be married by this age.” And it was especially so jarring because so many of these people were, like, younger than us. And getting married young is not even a thing that inherently bothers me. Some people are like, [aggressively] “Don’t get married young, it’s a bad thing!” Like I’m not in that camp of people.

Courtney: But I am in the camp of people who’s, like, don’t put an arbitrary timeline on it. If you want to get married, that’s okay. You can pursue relationships with an end goal in mind to ultimately get married. But why, when you’re now on your second at least reality TV show trying to find love and a connection, are you like, “Two years. That’s when I got to be married by.”? And some of the people who wanted to be married within two years also wanted open marriages, which is fascinating to me, because now I need you to explain to me the reason why you want to get married.

Royce: Well, at least that makes it more attainable. Because I was just thinking, two years, that only gives you full production of like one or two more reality shows. But some of those reality shows have marriage as a part of it. But if you’re running the reality show circuit and you get married within the– on one of those shows and you have an open marriage, then you can just keep doing what you’re doing.

Courtney: [laughs] Well, I suppose!

Royce: Wait for the time when all of the reality contestants that have gotten married and wanted open marriages are in a new show about open marriage reality dating.

Courtney: You know? Someone’s going to make that at some point. And the thing is, open marriages are totally great for some couples. But I want to know these people who are like, “I have a timeline in mind. This is when I need to get married by, and I want it to be an open marriage.” I just want to peek inside of your brain, why the timeline? Why the timeline? Because this is also a totally brand new person that you’re saying might be your perfect match, which I think is laughable, considering the format of this show is very gamified. Like you haven’t even developed a marriage relationship yet and you’re already saying I want it to be open. Like is it a financial thing for you? Because on average, at least in the US, like, you’re going to get some financial benefits from being married, but a lot of that also kind of relies on who your actual spouse is. Because not every couple is going to have the same financial situation. So, like I just want to know. I’m genuinely very curious.

Courtney: And, yeah, some– some people just throughout this, after like a few days of doing this, are like, “At this point, we know each other like the back of our hands.” Highly doubt that. And even on the very last day, some people are asking a new person to, like, will you be my match? So they’re like– Several people are entering into a series of matches and don’t stay with the same person the whole time. And every single time there’s a new match, they get this matched banner with these two wedding rings on it. Why?!

Courtney: And so on the last day, right before everyone’s gonna, like, vote. Everyone has to vote to decide which couple they think is the perfect match. Someone was straight up like, “I trust him with my life and I mean that.” But in a relationship, and just like, “This guy has let me down again and again and again.” And this is the only couple that’s been together since the beginning of the show, because everyone else is like splitting up and mixing and matching so much.

Courtney: But then the guy proposed to her on the last day, right before the voting, and they announced it to everyone. They’re like, “We’re engaged now!” And Nick Lachey is sitting here being like, “Your fire and passion reminds me of my own relationships.” What are we doing here? [laughs] Also, spoiler alert, they never got married and they are not together today. None of the couples from the show are still together.

Courtney: But they go around, they ask everyone, “Do you think you found your perfect match?” And some say yes, some say no, and then they all vote to decide who the winner is. And they decided who the winner is, and they get a pre-honeymoon vacation. That couple also is not still together and Nick Lachey, like, ends the entire show with “Cheers to love!” What are we doing here?

Royce: Okay, so that show was a game show, with a thin veil around it resembling a dating show.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: What was the next one?

Courtney: Twentysomethings: Austin. Four boys, four girls, all strangers, move to Austin.

Royce: Oh, they’re not casting from Austin? They just take people from wherever and put them in Austin?

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: Okay.

Courtney: There’s a boy’s house and a girl’s house right next to each other. So you have like four new guys who are just like brand new roommates.

Courtney: Royce

Courtney: Okay.

Courtney: Go meet each other.

Royce: Because some of the other– a lot of the other dating shows just choose a city to cast from.

Courtney: Yeah, and I’m glad you mentioned that, because on Perfect Match and also our next show, Dated and Related, they’re just from all over the place. So even if they do genuinely like each other and want to pursue a relationship outside of the show, it’s gonna be difficult for a lot of them because they do not live in the same places. So, Twentysomethings: Austin was almost a refreshing return to form of reality TV. Because it was just people living their lives in a way that I think could have been really good. But I wanted so much more from it. And I wanted a different focus from it for it to be a show that I would genuinely like, really like. But they’re, as the show says, they’re all 20-somethings and they’re all moving to a brand new place. This is a big grand adventure for all of them.

Royce: As the title says, they are all 20-somethings and they are moving to Austin.

Courtney: Indeed! But like, one of the first conversations that they have upon meeting each other is about dating. And we find out that one of the women was married really young, and she describes herself as emotionally unavailable. And she does the whole, like, don’t get married young, don’t recommend it. And a lot of just like, “Ooh, who in the other house do you like?” Like before any of them become couples at all. There’s like– There’s a guy’s house and a girl’s house and they’re right next to each other. So everyone’s like are you gonna start dating someone from the other house? And a lot of like, “Ooh, are you on the dating apps?” And then we’ve got a guy here who, right out of the gate, says, “I’m bad at, like, physical intimacy, like, am I supposed to touch her?” And [sighs] Royce, what do you call those things, that like every like school therapist had in their office, like, in the nineties? That’s like a bunch of pins that you can put like an impression of your hand or like stick your face on it. You know what I’m talking about?

Royce: I think so…? I wouldn’t have pegged this as a thing for a school therapist to have.

Courtney: [laughs] They all had them! Every, every last one of them.

Royce: But searching around, I think they were just called pin boards, or pin art boards, or something like that.

Courtney: Okay, so they’re sitting around having conversation in the guy’s house.

Royce: Why were you pressing your face into one?

Courtney: Lots of people did that.

Royce: Okay.

Courtney: Have you never done that?

Royce: No, it feels like it would be uncomfortable on your face.

Courtney: Well, it’s cold. But it’s– I mean, you only do it for a second, just like a quick, just dip in, dip out.

Royce: And you know how many people’s hands have been on that, right?

Courtney: Well, yeah, listen, [through laughter] you spend enough time in the school therapist office, you find new and creative ways to put impressions on those. Well, I learned of another new and creative way to put an impression on those because of the show, and I was not fond of it. One of the guys did an impression of his penis on it. Why…?

Royce: It was bound to happen. If they were big enough, there’d be a butt on one, I’m sure.

Courtney: [sighs] So this guy, after putting his penis on one of these pin boards and being like, “I’m bad at physical intimacy,” he reveals that he’s currently dating a woman who’s over 50.

Royce: Like while on the show?

Courtney: Yeah, like right now. He’s like, “I’m seeing this woman who’s like over 50.” And he explains that she’s very sexual and experienced, and he actually confesses that he is a virgin. And, of course, the show makes a big deal out of this. All the other guys are like, “Dude! Are you serious?!”

Courtney: Like, it’s like a whole big deal. Which I think is very fascinating. Because while we have that guy who is painful and we’ll get to him more in a second, one of the guys in the house is gay. And he’s a cute, precious little gay-by and he’s like, “I want to learn how to be a gay man in Austin.” And we get to see, like, his first trip to a gay bar, like, he’s fresh out of the closet, he’s never had a boyfriend before. And it is very strange that he’s like, “I’m out, I’m new, I’m going on my very first date with a guy now.” And I really like him as a cast member and a character on this show, but they do not make a big deal out of the fact that he too is probably a virgin, considering the way he’s talking, being like, “I’ve never been on a date.” You know, “I’m brand new, I need to learn how to be gay.” And so like, they don’t make a big deal out of the openly gay one not being sexually active, but the straight one is like, “I’m a virgin,” and everyone loses their minds.

Royce: So does this show have nothing to do with these eight people dating each other?

Courtney: Some of them end up dating each other.

Royce: Some of them end up dating. But it was just– The way you’re describing it, I guess I didn’t see much of the real world, which is like mentioned as one of the really big early reality shows, but that was just people together in a house, correct?

Courtney: Yeah, that’s why I kind of said, it’s– it’s almost a very refreshing return to form, like an old fashioned, like, reality show, where these are just people living their lives. So we get to see other aspects of their lives that aren’t necessarily just sex and dating, which were some of my favorite parts. But unfortunately the focus seemed to be so heavily weighted toward the sex, and the romance, and the dating. But like the guy who is a virgin who put his penis on the pin board, like, he quit his job to move to Austin to pursue stand up comedy. That’s a good concept for a reality show. Like someone moves to a brand new city and they’re starting all over, trying to do something totally new, but they show a couple of his stand-up sets… Whew, buddy. He opens one with, like, “Oh, you know how they call it a foot job or a hand job? Well, I think we should start calling sex a pussy job.” And not a soul in that audience laughed, thank goodness.

Royce: As they shouldn’t.

Courtney: But then he had, like, another, like, open mic gig or something in a park at night. And he opened up with, like, “Usually I’m not allowed within like 300 feet of parks, so this is really exciting for me.” And like… No… No. And the thing is, his jokes were not funny, and they showed this. They showed him absolutely bombing time and time again. But like his next joke– And this guy is Jewish, by the way, I had to look it up after I heard this joke because I was like I swear if he is not Jewish, making this joke.

Royce: I’m concerned, given how you are prefacing this.

Courtney: He was like, “Oh, do you know? Did you know that Hitler was actually on meth for like the entire time he was in power? Yeah, I know it’s crazy, right? But I hope we don’t use meth as an excuse for his antisemitism, because, like, I’ve done meth before, believe it or not, and I didn’t try killing 6 million Jews, like, that’s crazy. I only tried to kill one.” End of joke. And I was like… Buddy, like, I don’t know how you would have saved that joke, even being Jewish himself, like, unless, unless– I don’t know, I am no such thing as a stand up comedian, but if he was trying to go for like really, really dark, edgy humor like, you could end that with like another sentence and just be like, “It was myself,” or like it was me, or like you could– Comedy that edgy is not good for everyone, but yeah, where was the punchline? “I only tried to kill one Jew when I was on meth,” like, and? I, I, I don’t know’t know it was. It was deeply, deeply uncomfortable.

Royce: I mean, you have to at least establish either something personal about yourself or your family.

Courtney: Right!

Royce: If you were mentioning, like, you and your siblings.

Courtney: Yeah, like, it was my brother.

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: Like, or it was like my mom. Like, I still don’t think it would have been funny, especially because he really– his cadence is very rambling, and like, “Yeah, I know it’s crazy.” And then he goes after that, he immediately goes into a joke that’s like, “Do you ever like poop so hard that a little pee comes out?” And it’s like what are you talking about?

Royce: Why do some people want to stand up comedy?

Courtney: I…

Royce: Where does that desire come from?

Courtney: I don’t know. But the thing is, because this is also a reality show and he’s like, “I have never once in my life, before coming to Austin, been on stage to do stand-up comedy, but I quit my job and moved to Austin to do this.” There– there are people talking online like is he intentionally being awful for the sake of the show? Like there are genuinely people asking like, is this guy real? Is he real? So that’s interesting. He ends up being one of the people who starts dating someone in the girl’s house. And the way that relationship started was weird, because– There’s like a pool out back, like, between their two houses, and so two of the girls are just like out next to the pool, and he comes out, and he’s like, “I’m gonna go for a swim, get some exercise.” And when he walks away, one of the girls is like, “I heard you can tell a lot about the way a guy makes love by the way he swims.”

Royce: Never heard that one.

Courtney: I’ve never heard that one. I don’t think that’s a thing people say. And also, this is the virgin one. And she kept saying things like, “He’s not perfectly my type, but he’s like the cousin of my type.”

Royce: That’s a weird way to phrase it. The only thing that popped into my head was that meme where it’s, like, person’s mom was, like, “I’m going to the grocery store,” and they were like, “Okay, pick up my type,” and then they bring back the store brand version of their type.

Courtney: Oh, like, we– Oh, we’ve got this at home. The–

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: The type we have at home. [laughs]

Royce: It’s so much worse when you’re talking dating. [Courtney laughs] We have your type at home.

Courtney: [laughs] No, we don’t! We only have the cousin of my type.

Courtney: So the thing is like this show is, for the most part, just people flirting with each other, talking about the people they have the hots for, going on dating apps, sometimes hooking up with people, and like occasionally applying for a job or something. And the thing is, I’m so much more fascinated with what are all the things you need to do to establish yourself in a new place. Like, I do want to see more of applying for the jobs and– and what dreams you’re pursuing, and– But like two of them, one of the guys and one of the gals, like, they start hooking up but they both insist it is just physical, and they do not want anything romantic. But then she absolutely flips out when she sees him kissing another girl in front of her at, like, a party or a bar or something. And then in a confessional she admits that maybe she can’t keep the physical and emotional as separate as she would like to believe.

Courtney: But then that same woman also, like, made a pass at someone else, that one of her roommates, one of the other four girls, like, confided in her that she has, like, a really big crush on and she’s interested in pursuing him. And so they have like this big conversation about, like, that, like, “You knew I liked him, why are you pursuing him?” And so she comes out and she’s like, “I just need male validation. It’s like an addiction and it’s so insidious because I hurt people because of it.”

Courtney: But then the guy that she was hooking up with, that they insisted was purely physical, but then she got really upset, and it was totally open, they were not exclusive, they knew that, but she saw him kissing someone else at a bar and that really upset her. They kind of call it off. And then that guy ends up sleeping with someone else in the house, one of the other four girls, and she gets so upset because she heard it. She heard them having sex at night. And so she goes to have this big conversation with him and is like, “I just feel like you don’t respect me because you’re sleeping with someone else in the house where I can hear it.”

Courtney: And the whole time, I am just like, I need these reality show producers to start recording the conversations of these people entering these agreements for whatever situation they’re in. Because it sure sounds like there wasn’t one at all. But like, what are the ground rules? What is okay, what is not okay? It seems like they just didn’t have those at all, because they’re constantly upsetting each other. And sometimes other third parties. And it was deeply frustrating to watch. Because she’s also, like, trying to get a job as, like, a bartender or a waitress, and you see her going on interviews and doing like a trial shift at a place, and then not getting the job. And it’s like, I just wanna know, did she–? I want to see her get a job, I want to see how she establishes herself in this new place.

Courtney: And so that brings me to my next point where, like, I seriously wonder about the finances of all the people on this show. Because we see a few really genuine moments like, the– the– like the gay guy, for example. Like, I love seeing his first trip to a gay bar, like that’s a cute moment. His grandmother died at one point, so we see him having this, like, really emotional conversation with a family member who calls to tell him the news. And it’s like, that’s a part of growing up, like losing older family members. So, like we get a few of these really, really good moments, but a lot of them are referencing having gone to college before, and some of them are like, “This is kind of like college all over– all over again. Because I have new roommates and I’m in a new place.” And, like, some of these people might just be applying for jobs, like, the one trying to become a waitress.

Courtney: But then we have the stand up comedian who wants to make it as a stand-up comedian, and we have the girl he’s dating who’s trying to start her own business in fashion. She makes clothes and she’s trying to sell her clothes on consignment at a local boutique and try to grow her business to get in boutiques all over the place. And it’s like, that’s interesting to me. I want to see someone trying to build a business from the bottom up, in a brand new place, as a young adult. But finances need to be a part of that conversation if that’s happening. Because it seems like– I don’t know if the show is paying them anything, or if they are, if it’s enough to live. Is at least their rent free? Because they have, like, a guy’s house and a girl’s house. I don’t know. Do they come from families that are just independently wealthy and able to fund them being in a new place for a certain amount of time, at least until they get on their feet? I don’t know, but I was constantly asking myself that.

Courtney: And stand-up comedian guy, for example. Also his girlfriend was, like, really upset that none of her clothes were selling in this one boutique that she got into. And he was like, “I haven’t seen a cent from my job in comedy,” for however long they’ve now been here. He has– He’s saying he hasn’t been making any money. And so he goes into the boutique without telling her. And I actually want your opinion on if this is sweet or if it’s creepy, because I went back and forth. I went back and forth, and I still don’t know if I know the answer.

Courtney: But he drops like 500 bucks on something that she made in this boutique without telling her that he’s going to buy this. And when he saw the price tag he was like, “Oh yikes, I didn’t know it was gonna be that expensive.” And he’s like, “But if it makes her happy, then it’ll be worth eating ramen for the next two weeks.” And it’s like $500 when you haven’t been making any money for at least several weeks now, if not several months – I don’t know how long it’s been at this point – you quit your job to pursue comedy and you’re flopping, and dropping a surprise $500 on something just means ramen for two weeks? I don’t feel like you have an average person’s concept of–

Royce: That means– That would have to mean you’re expecting to have spent $250 to $300 on food for yourself per week, which seems excessive.

Courtney: It seems high if you’re not actively making money or having someone financing your life.

Royce: I mean it seems kind of high, period.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: But the: is it sweet or is it creepy, is going in and buying something?

Courtney: He did not tell her that he was buying it. It was the very first thing she ever sold and he never told her that he bought it. And so we see–

Royce: Oh, even later in the show?

Courtney: No, when he sees her later that day, she got a call from the boutique saying, “Hey, we sold one of your pieces.” And she’s so excited and giddy, and delighted, and telling everyone, and calling her mom. And when he comes in she’s like, “I sold my first piece! And this is– I’m well on my way to getting in boutiques all over America!” And she’s so excited. And I know that feeling, like making your first major sale as a brand new business is such a big thing. And he’s just like, “Hey, good for you!” And like, it’s all women’s clothing too. So he asked the shop, like, “Well, I have a sister back home in California, can you ship it to her? Maybe she’ll wear this?” And I kept going back and forth because it’s like supporting her business is a nice, cute thing to do. Not telling her at all? I don’t know how I feel about it, because she’s also gonna watch this show. It’s on camera, it’s on film.

Royce: She’ll find out eventually. I think that the answer to that– I think different people would react to that very differently. And part of it may also depend how well do her sales do after that. If literally her only sale is this one person, then learning about that is probably not going to be great.

Courtney: Yeah, that was what I was thinking.

Royce: Now, if it is just like someone cared to help start the business and then it was successful after that…?

Courtney: And she did end up selling more clothes. So I was very happy for her. But it was a while where things were not selling and that was her very first thing. And I just kept thinking that there is a way to be a very supportive friend or a partner, and be a customer of your friend’s businesses in a way that is very supportive. But there was something about it being on camera in a reality show, and him not telling her, and just letting her be really excited, and not even know that it was him. That felt so weird. Because we even had on the phone call.

Courtney: And I wonder about this boutique, because this boutique had cameras come in when she’s bringing her clothes for the first time, so they know she’s on a reality show hanging up the clothes. Then this other guy they’ve never seen before also comes in with cameras to buy a piece of that clothing. And then they recorded her phone call to her, where she was like, “Oh my gosh, like, my piece sold. Who bought it?” And she was– And the woman on the phone was just like, “Oh, some nice guy came in and bought something for his sister.” And like, I’m also thinking about all the people working the cameras that are here in this room, I’m thinking about the woman who runs the boutique, who presumably has to know that this guy has something to do with the show, and just thinking about how she’s gonna feel when she watches the show come out. Like maybe it’s not a big deal and she thinks it is genuinely a very sweet thing of him to do. But there was something about the vibes that was weird for me.

Courtney: But then after that he took her out to dinner and like formally they’d been dating a bit and like, formally asked her to be his girlfriend. And she says yes, and then he’s like, “All right, so who’s gonna pick up the tab?” And she’s like, “Well, a boyfriend of mine would certainly pay for dinner.” And he’s like, “Ah, but you’re just the one who sold clothes.” And he’s like, cringing as she’s pushing the bill toward him. And she’s like, “Well, a boyfriend would buy dinner.” And he’s like, “Yeah, you’re right…”

Royce: Ramen for three weeks, it is.

Courtney: [laughs] Yeah, and then like there’s another girl in the house who’s been on the dating apps. I think Hinge is the one that they mentioned the most often, that several of them have been on. And she, like, gets a dick pic from a guy and all the other girls are like, “Don’t go out with him, red flag.” But she sets up a date with this dick pic guy anyway and he just doesn’t show to the date. And she’s like, “Ah, maybe the other girls were right.” Which led to all of them talking about being sexually frustrated and talking about their masturbation habits and whether or not they use toys. And one of the girls is like, “Seriously, I cannot be the only one who has an aquarium in my pants over here.” And I was like… [softly] don’t, please stop. And it was after that scene that we get the good old fashioned confessional line where she goes, “Yes, women can be sexual because, guess what, it’s human.” [sighs] And then some of the girls in the one gay guy go to a sex shop.

Courtney: And so, like, the thing is, we have this guy who’s been out as gay from the beginning, the woman who was married and then was hooking up with a guy but then was upset with the guy, and was saying she needs the validation of men and it’s like an addiction. She comes out as bisexual somewhere near the end of the show. And she goes on a date with a woman, and I’m very happy for her for that. So we have the gay rep, we have the bi rep. And even though this is– the concept is supposed to be like young adults moving to a new place, establishing yourself in a new city, I just– I highly doubt that a reality show producer would actually consider hiring, like, an openly asexual person for a show like this. And like, am I off on that assumption? Because the relationship conversations and the dating and the sexual frustration have a lot more real estate than shopping or like applying for jobs or checking out new places in the city or…

Royce: Yeah, I think that’s where they think their ratings and their content is coming from.

Courtney: And even a lot of the titles of the episodes, I noticed, were very suggestive. Even if it was only stemming from a couple of scenes in the episode. But at the end of the day, I think there is a lot of potential to a show like this. If they were a little more well-rounded in the different aspects of someone’s life and talked more candidly about finances, and genuinely did just have young adults moving to a new place, I honestly think that, like, tourism boards of different cities should, like, fund shows like this.

Courtney: Like, let’s have a Twentysomethings: Kansas City to showcase the city and talk about what the cost of living is like here, and all the cool, awesome things to do and how great the people are. You know? I think it would be very cool.

Royce: That would make sense. To see a new place through a collection of people who are just discovering it for the first time. Yeah.

Courtney: Yeah, and even talking about culture shock. Like there were a couple of conversations approaching that where it’s like, “Oh, I came from a very conservative part of the country. I came from this place and things are different here.” And so it’s like, I don’t know, I see a lot of potential there. I just think the focus was a little too allo for me. So that brings us to Dated And Related.

Royce: Was this the one where I was in the room when the first episode played and you just started laughing at more than one line?

Courtney: Yes. [soft laugh] Because the very opening sequence was like, “Why would anyone do this? Is this about to be the most awkward dating show in history? Let’s find out!”

Royce: Which wasn’t there already a dating show where a bunch of sons and a bunch of mothers were on the same dating show?

Courtney: No… is there? Is that for part three?

Royce: Did you not watch that?

Courtney: No! Oh, no. [laughs]

Royce: I’m almost positive we briefly talked about this. Maybe you forgot about it.

Courtney: Maybe I blocked it out of my memory.

Royce: Okay, this aired on TLC at the beginning of last year. Nine episodes. The title was MILF Manor.

Courtney: Oh no…

Royce: “Eight pairs of mothers and sons traveled to a villa in Mexico to look for love.”

Courtney: Oh no.

Royce: So I don’t know if this series is going to be the most awkward.

Courtney: Weird allo reality show part three, I sense it.

Royce: Sorry Dated And Related, you have been bested.

Courtney: So these are all siblings. And all the sibling pairs that show up are single and, like, some of them are two guys, some of them are two girls, some of them are one of each, some of them are twins, others are not twins. But they’re all single. And the– the concept is they need to work together to be the ultimate wingman or wingwoman for each other. And they say right at the top of the episode a pair of you could be walking away with $100,000 and that’s the way they phrased it. And right off the bat, I’m watching this and I’m like, “A pair of you,” is that a pair of siblings or a couple?

Courtney: They didn’t specify, but apparently everyone thought that they meant a pair of siblings are going to be walking away with $100,000. So they start by doing, like, a quiz to see which siblings know each other’s dating lives the best, and the winners get to pick a sibling pair to go on a double date with. But the questions are like how many people has your sibling slept with? And one of the guys had an oddly specific number that was over 80. And I just–

Royce: How did you keep an accurate count?

Courtney: Why are you counting for that long? That– that’s what I want to know. Like at a certain point, if you’re over 50, and you haven’t given up on keeping a tally, then I almost feel like you’re too proud of that number. But like unless you kept notes in a journal, or an old fashioned little black book, like there’s no way you even remember all those people’s names. And that was also like, I don’t know, I just feel like some of the sibling pairs were twins, and I know every sibling relationship is going to be different, but I kind of feel like the twins have a unique advantage on a lot of that. ’Cause, especially if there’s like a few years age gap and it’s like a brother and a sister, I feel like they’re not openly discussing their, like, relationship milestones as much probably.

Royce: I would assume so. But different families have different dynamics.

Courtney: They do.

Royce: I mean, signing up for one of these shows in the first place is odd.

Courtney: Yeah, how did you get two siblings from the same family that are like, “Yes, this is a thing we want to do.” But yeah, so they did that. They have the siblings, like, vote on who the best wingman or and or wingwoman pair is, and the sibling pairs who didn’t get any votes are up for elimination. And sometimes, if you, like, win a challenge or something, then your sibling gets to pick someone to send on a date with you. Because you know, it’s all about being a wingman or a wingwoman. The host of this show, I don’t really know who she is, she was a lot more relevant to the show than, like, Nick Lachey on Perfect Match. Because she was like calling them up and giving them challenges. And so she was actually in like every episode on, like, Love is Blind and things like that. So that was at least good.

Courtney: I don’t know what her claim to fame is outside of this, but she’s like, “I have–” I think the number was like 14 brothers and sisters or something. It was a high number, big family she comes from. And she’s like, “Whenever I need advice, I turn to my brothers and sisters. So that’s why I’m making all of you do the same thing on this game show.” And the whole thing is, like, anytime a sibling pair talks about winning the money, even if it’s just the two of them alone in a room, and they’re like, “Oh, we gotta win that $100,000.” Then the host comes in with a narrator voice and is like, “Um, you’re supposed to be finding love, not being here to win the money.” But it’s like, none of these people live in the same place. Some of them are from completely different countries. They have like the US, they have the UK, they have people from all over the place.

Royce: If that’s actually what you’re going for, that’s what the money should be for. That’s what the incentive should be for.

Courtney: Then why have the money, even?

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: Like if you’re just here to look for love, why even have the $100,000 cash prize? And sometimes they’d also do these very weird, like, late night around the bonfire, like, allo sleepover game things, which were very weird. But like someone drew, like, a like, kind of a dare from a box and one of them was like, “Your sibling must do a sexy dance for the person of your choosing.” So then you say, “All right, sibling, go give that person over there a sexy dance.” And so now you just have a guy, like, giving a lap dance full on, like, Magic Mike style performance for this woman who looks mortified, by the way. And she’s like got her brother right next to her, and her brother also looks absolutely mortified as this is happening.

Courtney: It doesn’t seem like anyone’s actually having fun with this. But then some of the challenges– Like, they do these like group challenges or these group quizzes, but then there’d be, like, little mini challenges that would pop up where the host would, like, call someone and be like, “Here’s a secret mission just for you.” And she told one pair of siblings, right, a guy and a girl, brother and sister, that their secret mission was to convince the other residents of the house that they’re going to take a bubble bath together. And if they succeed in genuinely convincing people that they take bubble baths together, they win a date.

Royce: Not money?

Courtney: No.

Courtney: Royce

Courtney: How do you win money?

Courtney: You have to get to the end and be the best wingman, wingwoman, it–

Royce: Oh, do you– Do you tally up points for getting– Wait, how do you– How do you wingman or wingwoman? How do you get other people on dates?

Courtney: Well, sometimes you have to win a challenge or– But like, so they have these challenges, but they also just have, like, free time where they’re all living in the same house, so they’re just, you know, talking to each other. And sometimes people do start dating someone exclusively for a while, but up until episode six, the sibling pairs, like, shared a bed together. But then they switched up, like, the bed arrangements at episode six where now they’re like, “Oh, now we have multiple beds in a room. And so the siblings can swap in and share a bed and shack up with their partners now. But all the beds are like in the same room.” Like, it’s just like four beds in the same room. And it’s like, now, if you want, you don’t have to sleep with your sibling, you can sleep with someone else now if you want to. What are we doing here? [laughs]

Courtney: But yeah. And then, like, episode seven, they announced that the $100,000 is actually gonna go to a couple, not a sibling pair. So I guess that’s our answer from episode one, where I was like, “You didn’t clarify, you just said a pair. So what pair are we talking about here?” But now they’re all, like, hyper suspicious of their partners, especially the ones that are like actively seeing someone. Because now, anytime a partner’s like, “Oh, I want to take our relationship to the next stage.” Now everyone’s like, “You just want it for the prize money! You don’t want to take our relationship deeper just because you respect me, you just want the $100,000!” And then people were accusing others of caring only about the money, or caring mostly about the money, you now have people like trying to defend themselves, being like, “I don’t give a shit about the prize money, I’m here to make a genuine connection!” And it’s like, are you kidding me? Why do we even throw the $100,000 into the equation?

Courtney: Some of you are dating people from a completely different country than you! And even if you do want to make a genuine connection, and even if you are starting to develop strong feelings for someone, and you do want to foster a relationship outside of the show, if anyone’s like, “I genuinely do not care about $100,000.” Like bullshit! That’s $100,000. Even if you split it 50-50 with someone, that’s $50,000. Like if you say you don’t care about that, either you’re independently wealthy, extremely wealthy, or you’re lying. Like that is such a life-changing amount of money for almost everyone.

Courtney: But yeah. And like, eventually some of the sibling pairs start getting separated and they send some people home. Because at a certain point, if someone’s still single and they aren’t, like, dating someone new, they’re like, “All right, you haven’t developed a connection, get out of here.” Which, now I felt very weird about it, because they’re like this show is about being the best wingman and best wingwoman for your sibling, but now they’re punishing the siblings that are still single and not the ones who are supposed to be playing wingman or wingwoman for them. So I’m– I’m unclear about what the actual goals of the show are at this point.

Courtney: And now some of the siblings don’t have their siblings with them anymore, but they’re dating someone and they’re in this house. So now their siblings are gone, and they’re like, “Oh well, now for those of you who still have a sibling here, I want you to write a heartfelt note about how much they mean to you.” And so everyone’s like, “I’m so excited to write this note to my sibling because they’ve been a great wingman or a great wingwoman to me.”

Courtney: And then it’s like the ones that don’t have their siblings, they’re just– Why? You brought them all in as pairs. Why didn’t you send them all home as pairs? But yeah, then, like in episode nine, there’s this very weird reveal, and you walked into the room for this one too. And you were like, “Is this that same show?” And I was like, yes. You walked into the room when one girl had been, like, dating someone for a little bit and was like, “I need to explain my situation to him.”

Royce: Oh, right, the situation.

Courtney: The situation! The situation reveal, being that she’s saving herself for marriage. And, of course, everyone makes a big freaking deal out of it. But yeah, and then I don’t know, like, just– just like the other, like Perfect Match, like at the end they just have people, like, vote. And like the winning couple gets $100,000. I guess. I doubt anyone from this show is still together. Actually, I’m going to Google that right now. It looks like the couple that won seemed to have been together for a little bit, but haven’t actually posted anything since, like, September of 2022. So people are like, “They’re probably not still together.” So, yeah, that’s, that’s Dated And Related. Royce, you have siblings.

Royce: Which is why I said that maybe some families out there have some relationships where they’d be comfortable with doing that. I don’t think it’s the norm. I feel like the amount of people that would willingly be on a wide variety of reality TV shows is a small minority. And I think it gets smaller when you factor in things like this, where you’re– you’re pairing up to enter a reality TV show.

Courtney: Yeah. And you know, I grew up as a single child. But also when I was like nine or ten years old, my dad sat me down and was like, “Hey, surprise, you have a brother and a sister that no one ever told you about.” And so that was a weird time. I did eventually meet my technically half-brother and half-sister once. They were fine. We had fun that one time we saw each other. So I more or less had a single child experience, if not a traumatized one. But I remember sharing that story, like, with a group of our friends, and they were like, “Yeah, that sounds about on par for your life.” And then randomly, one day, you just, like, mentioned, like, “Oh yeah, my sister such and so,” or my brother such and so, and that same group of friends were like, [exaggerated surprise] “Wait, what?! Royce has siblings?! This is the strangest thing I’ve heard all day!”

Royce: Those friends are used to you telling stories about your life.

Courtney: [laughs] They’re like, “Well, yeah, we expect bizarre, traumatic life experiences from you, but Royce has siblings? Excuse–?”

Courtney: So yeah, now I fear I have to– [sighs] Do I have to watch MILF Manor?

Royce: You don’t have to watch any reality shows. I would encourage you to Google it and read an article [Courtney laughs] just because it’s kind of it’s– it’s a mess. I think the one article when I tried to figure out what the name of it was, was like, “This reality show that feels like a fever dream.”

Courtney: Royce, my life as an asexual who was on the very early, early days of the internet, when it was even more the Wild West than it is today, has trained me to not even attempt to google such key phrases as MILF.

Royce: I will select an article for you. [Courtney laughs] You can be careful with your keyword searches. Just put plenty of: TV show, 2023, TLC, season review.

Courtney: It’s probably not as bad as it used to be.

Royce: Stay on the actual article search page.

Courtney: I’ll do it. If the audience demands it, I’ll watch MILF Manor. [giggles]

Courtney: And that will bring us to our featured marketplace vendor of the week. This time we are featuring Aurora Lee, a Canadian aroace artist selling photography, original traditional artwork, homemade crafts and more. There is seriously such a wide variety of things in this shop. I feel like there could be something for anyone here. Just going through the categories on this Ko-fi shop. I’m seeing, like, craft supplies, stationery, photography, paintings, mixed media artwork, even jewelry or cross stitch. And actually, now that I’m looking at this, there’s also a book section. I don’t think I knew that this marketplace shop sold a book. Okay, this is really cool: “Remembrance Road, a Canadian photographer’s journey through European battlefields.” I fear I need to order that right now. That’s going on my shelf of books created by aces.

Courtney: So we actually did already buy something from this shop I want to say, like, well over a year ago. A lot of the paintings and mixed media artwork in this store revolve around a poppy motif, and I’ve always had such a soft spot for poppies. And there are these like really gorgeous poppy paintings on postcards. I ordered one with a gorgeous kind of three-dimensional red poppy against an old-timey plane, and some like beautiful script calligraphy writing in the background.

Courtney: And it was actually really hard to decide which poppy I wanted, because there are a couple that really really spoke to me. But I ultimately went with the red one because we’ve got a huge, absolutely enormous painting of some red poppies above our fireplace and I wanted this one with the deep red that would sort of match and complement that to put elsewhere in that same room. But definitely go check this shop out. I’m even seeing smaller things like bookmarks and even like pride bracelets. If you want a woven bracelet of the ace flag or any other flags. Looks like there are several options here, so definitely check out Aurora Lee. Cannot recommend this shop highly enough. As per usual, all of the information for that will be in the show notes.

Courtney: And with that we will talk to you all next time. I guess I am off to go torture myself with some MILF Manor. Pray for me. Okay, goodbye!