reality tv

Netflix's Love Is Blind has just given us the 'fairytale ending' MAFS never will.

Content warning: This post contains spoilers for season two of Love Is Blind. 

I’ll be honest: I started watching Netflix hit Love Is Blind purely to see what the show’s co-host Nick Lachey looked like after all these years. For those of us in a certain age bracket, we know Lachey from his pop band days in 98 Degrees and from reality TV show Newlyweds, a fly-on-the-wall series documenting the marriage of Lachey and then-wife Jessica Simpson.

While watching Love Is Blind, I learned Lachey looks basically the same except a bit older (shocking!) and that he appears on screen for an accumulated time of maybe 10 minutes with his fellow co-host and wife Vanessa Lachey. I also learned that Love Is Blind is a pretty good reality dating show (also shocking!). Apparently a lot of people thought the same thing because Netflix commissioned a second season, which has just aired its finale, and there is now both a Brazilian and Japanese version.

I mean. Is he part vampire? (Image of Nick and Vanessa Lachey: Netflix)

For those not familiar with Love Is Blind, the aim of the series is to see whether two people can fall in love without seeing each other. The participants spend weeks getting to know each other in dating “pods”, which are just rooms separated by a wall. They can talk and listen to the other person in the adjoining pod but they can’t see them. At some point, one of the participants confesses their love for the person they’ve chosen and asks for their hand in marriage. Just like in real-life, they can either be accepted or rejected. If the proposal is accepted, the couple then meet for the first time, spend time together, and then say a final Yay or Nay at the altar a few weeks later.

It’s essentially dating backwards, and yes, that’s the exact same premise as juggernaut reality show Married At First Sight. But unlike MAFS, Love Is Blind doesn’t isolate the participants from friends and family and it doesn’t have “relationship experts” asking pointed and sometimes confounding questions at “commitment ceremonies”.

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Love Is Blind also has a strict “no producer can mess with the participants” policy; how you see the story playing out is how the story was always meant to play out. As a result, there’s a much lower level of salaciousness and confected tension.

This doesn’t mean it’s not dramatic. We had to wait a whole week to see whether a very sweaty groom would say Yes or No to his wife as they stood under a hot sun resplendent in full wedding gear.

Watch the trailer for Netflix's Love Is Blind. Post continues below.


Video via Netflix.

But what really sets Love Is Blind apart from MAFS is its willingness to show a form of love that is always under-represented on dating reality TV shows: Self-love. 

In one of the most affecting storylines this season, information data analyst Deepti Vempati decides she is worth more than what her partner, veterinarian Abhishek ‘Shake’ Chatterjee, can give her.

Throughout the series, we watch as Vempati tries to build an intimate relationship with Chatterjee, only to be rebuffed. Instead, Chatterjee sees her as his “best friend”, an amazing person on the inside, just not so much on the outside. She’s the person he might be willing to “settle for”. It’s a sentiment he reveals to all the male participants on the show, but doesn’t deign to tell Vempati herself.

“She’s like the number one hype girl. So f*cking fun,” Chatterjee says. “I’m not physically attracted to her, man. It feels like I’m with my aunt or something.”

When the wedding celebrant asks, “Deepti, do you take Abhishek to be your husband, to love and to cherish as long as you both shall live?”, there is a very long pause. (As I said, it’s still dramatic.)

“I hope you know how much you mean to me and the impact you’ve made on my life,” Vempati begins. “But no, I cannot marry you.”

GASP.

“I deserve somebody who knows for sure,” she continues, as her parents proudly watch on. “So, I’m choosing myself, and I’m gonna say no.”

YES, GURL. (Image: Netflix)

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It’s a defining moment. As she walks down the aisle, alone, there’s a feeling of relief - hers and ours. She goes to stand outside and her mum comes to her.

“I chose myself,” she tells her mum.

“I know,” her mum says. “I’m so proud of you. I just want you to be happy. You did good.”

Cue the tears. Christ, what is this bloody show doing to me?

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Chatterjee tries to save face by dancing and laughing with his friends and family in attendance. “It’s probably for the best, man. Like, very transparent, I was the one more on the fence. It’s not a fun thing to talk about right now but if I would’ve said Yes, she would’ve said Yes,” he tells them. "That’s why I feel amazing. We avoided all that. I was like, ‘Please be the one to reject me. I can handle it, I can take it.'"

In a piece to camera, he goes on to say, “Honestly, right now, I’m excited to just get back in the normal swing of things. I wanna get back into my fitness routine. And I have reservations at Nobu on Sunday, so things are gonna be good.”

Yeah, no need to order any dessert at Nobu, Mr Chatterjee - 'cause you’ve already got pie all over your face.

“I don’t think he realises what he just lost,” Vempati says. “A little time from now, he’s going to look back and realise he lost the best thing of his life. And when that day comes, I’ll be long gone. To me that’s heartbreaking but I have to see my worth and move on. He doesn’t deserve me.”

It may not be the fairytale ending we're used to, but it's a fairytale ending all the same. 

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