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The Daily Tar Heel

Students turn to dating shows in quarantine

DTH 9-18-2020 3.jpg
DTH Photo Illustration. People watch "Married at First Sight", a reality TV show on Lifetime TV. Over quarantine, many people have turned to various dating shows to stay entertained.

Clutching the edge of their seats wondering who will receive the final rose or which islander will fancy another, students binge-watched various dating shows as they self isolated over quarantine. 

Jessica Wu and Theresa Yu binged "Are You The One," "Love is Blind," "Too Hot to Handle" and "Love Island" in quarantine using Netflix Party to watch with friends even when they were separated.

“It was kind of fun to live vicariously through them,” Wu said. “We were stuck at home by ourselves and just watching them interact with people when we couldn't, personally I found that very interesting.”

Yu gets her friends to watch the United Kingdom versions with her because she likes to hear the accents. Both said they enjoy the new shows over older ones, such as "The Bachelor."

“The ratio of males to females on 'The Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' is unrealistic because there can't be 20 people all pining for one guy,” Wu said. “The newer shows are one-to-one ratio, the same number of guys and girls so they get to go through their options.”

Sophomore Matthew Wood has been watching "The Bachelor" since the third grade.

“Once I get into a show, I dive into it big time,” Wood said. 

Wood’s love for the show started from watching it with his mom growing up. In high school, he created a Bachelor fantasy league with a group of friends through which they predicted what would happen on the show. 

“The thing I love about it is it’s nostalgic for me in the sense that it gives me a sense of home when I’m not at home,” Wood said.

During the latest season of the show, Wood created a fan page during one of his viewing parties.

“I think of some really funny things that need to be out there,” Wood said. “I’m not gonna put this on my personal Twitter, but I think I’m hilarious. I need to show the world these Bachelor tweets.”

The day he launched his fan page, @MattTheBach, he was shocked when some of his tweets blew up with hundreds of likes and retweets. 

“I love that fact that we can make fun of it,” Wood said. “We think about how our love lives can be really crappy, but we watch the show and think ‘I could make a better Bachelor.’”

Rachel Kapiko, a junior exercise and sports science major, said she watched all the latest dating shows over quarantine, her favorite being "Love Island." But Kapiko sees similar problems with reality dating shows. 

“Every movement is being watched and being edited and aired in specific ways so you're getting an idea about somebody without actually knowing them, and then passing that judgment off,” Kapiko said. “Which I do think is somewhat of a toxic environment.”

Kapiko watched "Love Island" last summer, and when she noticed the UK version came out over quarantine, she knew she had to watch it. 

“It reminds me a little bit of 'The Bachelor' and the whole Bachelor franchise,” Kapiko said. “It’s kind of everyone's guilty pleasure whether you love it or hate it.”

Kapiko said the newer shows stand out from "The Bachelor" because they seem to be directed at a younger demographic and talk about more topics than would usually be covered. 

“They all cast individuals who fit a bunch of different roles within the show,” Kapiko said. “I think that much of the cast is very different from each other personality-wise in that you're getting every person that you find in society.”

Kapiko said she thinks younger people are so attracted to these reality shows because they're interested in watching the more customary way of dating. 

“These people are dating in more of a traditional way because they are meeting each other, in person, for the first time, and then attempting to form a relationship from that point instead of using some sort of dating app,” Kapiko said.

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