Come join me as I rate the reality TV dating shows I’ve hate-watched, and as you’ve probably already sensed by now, is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. At times, I question myself: Why do I watch them even though I may find them cringey?

Perhaps it’s in an effort to feel like our lives are somewhat digestible as we watch these folks fail on television. Or, the second-hand embarrassment allows us to vicariously make bad decisions amidst the monotony of our daily life.

Either way, let’s have a dig at rating these shows and have fun while watching. All in the name of entertainment and nothing else, ‘kay? No hate.

Too Hot to Handle

😖-o-meter: 9/10

If you’re a Netflix regular, you’ve probably heard of this show, and if you haven’t, please dig yourself out of the rock you’re under. Even though it’s a show where you’re not allowed to have any kind of sexual contact because they’re apparently here to learn how to form deeper connections, be prepared for tonnes of make-out sessions.

Deductions are made from the cash prize of $100,000 ($200,000 in seasons 3 and 4) whenever contestants get physical. I’m trying to be as PG as possible here, but these folks make it difficult. At times it feels like you’re watching a NSFW show with your parents in the room, even if they’re not actually there.

Dated & Related

😖-o-meter: 7/10

No, it is definitely NOT what you’re thinking. Drop that thought right NOW. This is like any regular ol’ luxury villa dating show, but your sibling, who is also looking for love, will tag along. Whether or not you think your sibling will be a good judge of character, they’re there to be your wing person.

Let’s just throw this out there real quick — did nobody think about the awkward possibility of a sibling pair falling for the same person? There are also more than enough scenes of siblings awkwardly watching their brother or sister making out with another person on television. You can’t tell, but I’m making a sucking-air-through-teeth face.

Love Is Blind

😖-o-meter: 6/10

Oh, the lengths we go to prove a metaphor. For those not in the know, single folks looking to get married come on the show and get engaged to ‘the one’ without ever seeing them. Yeah, we know. To top it off, dating to marriage happens within six weeks. Essentially, folks fall in love with each other’s personalities instead of looks.

Drama ensues when multiple people get emotionally attached to the same person or when communication styles clash. I live for the episodes from their honeymoons onwards because that’s when things get a little heated from the pressure of the looming ‘I do’ or ‘I don’t’. Also, if you’ve seen the ‘After the Altar’ episodes for season one, oof.

All that said, some couples are still happily married from season one, and we’re happy for them! There are also Brazil and Japan instalments if you’d like to see Love is Blind implemented in different countries. We highly recommend the Japan one!

Single’s Inferno

😖-o-meter: 5/10

This Korean hit dating show needs no introduction. Its popularity garnered much attention, and a new season is slated for Q4 of 2023. On the hot and sunny island they’re living in, the singles will literally have to fight (in devised games) to go on dates or escape to ‘Paradise’ together. Not sure how I feel about the animalistic vibe there.

Once in ‘Paradise’, they reveal their age and occupation to each other and experience luxury to the fullest. At the end of the show, the men will choose the person they’d like to go home with, and if the lady takes his hand, they will leave the island together.

Speaking of, doesn’t anyone find it kind of cringe that there’s always that one girl that a few guys fall for? Like, hello, personality over looks anyone? No takers? Okay then.

The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On

😖-o-meter: 4/10

Okay, this dating show is a little different. Lovers come in already coupled up with their significant other, but one thing (or person, rather) stands in the way of them saying ‘I do’. They’re on the show because one person in the relationship has issued them an ultimatum — we either get married or we’re done.

During the course of the show, everyone mingles with each other and selects one new person whom they’ll spend the next few weeks in a ‘trial marriage’ with. At this point, there’s already an imaginary witch in my head stirring a pot of green drama potion. So, will they get engaged, break up, or walk away with someone new? Grab your popcorn and get ready for the drama!

Indian Matchmaking

😖-o-meter: 4/10

Sima Taparia from Mumbai, as she regularly introduces herself throughout the series, is well-known for her matchmaking services. In this Netflix series, she matches her ‘single’ clients from both the United States and India while we witness the inner workings of the matchmaking process in present times.

Some folks on the show have a long list of criteria when searching for their other half, which makes me question the existence of such a person when they’re being matchmade. Other than some criteria making us go, ‘Huh?’, I’d have to admit that most of the cringe moments for me come from Aparna’s dates. No shade though, she’s a strong independent woman, and we hope she finds the one!

Sexy Beasts

😖-o-meter: 3/10

Sexy Beasts is similar to Love Is Blind, but like a quickie with less commitment and a… costume kink (no shade, we stan healthy kink practices)? The special effects makeup can get pretty gaudy, but not in the most unfashionable way. It just gets odd going on a blind date with a beast, but you get used to it… I guess.

There are more funny and awkward laughable moments as opposed to cringey ones. Worth watching for a quick, fun, non-committal watch sesh.

Love on the Spectrum: Australia

😖-o-meter: 2/10

As with many autistic representations on television, I was initially a little sceptical when approaching this title. As someone on the spectrum with a provisional diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), there was a tinge of excitement for sure, to see people similar to me on screen, navigating relationships. Friendships are already particularly challenging for most folks on the autism spectrum, what more romantic ones.

Needless to say, I found most of their interactions wholesome. I do wonder if the cameras add pressure as they go on dates, but I suppose some autistic folks may not be bothered by it. The awkward moments definitely made me cringe a little, but in a relatable way. My only reservation about this title is that it’s not a very diverse cast in terms of race and gender, but ultimately, it’s not the worst representation of folks on the spectrum.