Television Review: Love Triangle, Season 1 Episodes 1&2

For various reasons, I stopped writing about television regularly a few years ago. I try to recap Bake Off, but I generally find it quite difficult to even keep up with one show on a regular basis before I even get to the point of writing about it. I very rarely get screeners anymore (I’m an independent blogger, with a very limited audience), so when the first two episodes of Stan’s new reality dating show Love Triangle popped up in my inbox, I thought “why not?”

In a world of superficial dating culture and social media, Love Triangle is an experiment to see if people can form a genuine connection through just conversation. The cynical side of me says that the creators of this show (also behind Married at First Sight, which I’ve never seen) are people who don’t spend a lot of time online, where I’ve met some incredibly wonderful people. The show says it’s about making an emotional connection rather than looks, but the only people who ever get cast on these shows are conventionally attractive, which is incredibly frustrating.

Reviewers were sent the first two episodes of Love Triangle, which gives us the start of the relationships viewers will follow throughout the season, but doesn’t give much of an indication of what the show is like moving forward. Six young, attractive single people are matched with two suitors, who they can only converse with via text and phone calls for three days before choosing one of them to go on a blind date and then LIVE WITH for six weeks. So it really seems a lot like Married at First Sight but they get a couple of people to choose form (who the producers have already chosen for them). There’s also a love triangle type twist partway through the season, which means the original person they didn’t choose is coming back, or the producers are bringing in someone new for the people who have been chosen.

Love triangles are a common trope in pop culture and can work if done properly. In order for them to work however, there need to be two romantic options for the protagonist that are good matches with them for different reasons. There needs to be character work. Three days of conversation isn’t a lot of time to get to know someone, and since viewers are following three triangles per episode, all you really get is first impressions. Each triangle gets 15-20 minutes, which includes the initial text conversation, the decision and the blind date. The people who weren’t chosen are irrelevant – unless the twist is that they come back, in which case I feel really bad for one of the people in the second episode because I also don’t really want to talk to someone who refers to their exes as “psychos.”

The people they’ve cast are interesting though. There’s a woman from Perth who always leads with her looks, a man who is recently (as in 18 months ago) divorced, an Asian woman who only dates Asian men because she doesn’t know if white men would like her, a man with an ego bigger than his afro (his first date was my favourite of the six), a man who is insecure about his appearance as a former fat kid (the way this is his storyline irked me – having been fat is not a trauma or inherently a bad thing in itself – being bullied because of how you look is a different conversation) and a woman who has shut herself off after a long term partner was cheating on her with several people. For four out of six of them, I correctly guessed who they were going to pick. The other two were coin tosses.

If you like reality dating shows, you’ll probably enjoy this, but it’s also difficult to tell from the first two episodes, because it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Maybe if you’re a big MAFS fan, you’ll enjoy this. Because while dating shows are supposed to be about finding love, for the producers it’s about creating drama. I’ve dipped in and out of watching The Bachelor, but from Love to See It, I’ve learned that the franchise doesn’t even pretend to care it’s about people falling in love any more, it’s just about creating a dramatic episode of television. Based on the name, premise and “twist” of Love Triangle, I suspect it will be mostly the same. If that’s your thing, go for it. Tomorrow night I’ll most likely be watching She-Hulk.

Love Triangle premieres on October 6 at 4pm AEST on Stan.

Other thoughts:

  • There’s a great Pride and Prejudice joke in there somewhere
  • The thought process of the person who made their decision early was fascinating. They knew their patterns and talked in their intro package about wanting to talk about parallel dimensions and the Mandela Effect, but then made a decision that seemed completely in line with their previous patterns, even though looks weren’t a factor.

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