5 Ways Perfect Match Restored My Faith In Netflix Dating Shows
Yes, it made me enjoy the hot mess of it all again.
I don’t consider myself that much of a reality dating show fan. I just prefer great competition reality shows. However, there are some Netflix dating shows that I really enjoy. They expertly balance drama and the illusion of being a credible option to find love. Like many, I obsessed over Love is Blind Season 1. However, the following seasons just haven’t been able to capture the magic of the original episodes. I gave shows like Too Hot To Handle, The Ultimatum, Dating Around, and Dated & Related a chance. I finished Too Hot to Handle Season 1 knowing that I would never watch another season, and never finished The Ultimatum or Dated & Related. Ultimately, I reached the conclusion that overall these aren’t really interesting enough for me. Then Netflix’s Perfect Match came along.
I had already dismissed it, because I didn't love Netflix’s other recent dating shows, but curiosity is a temptress. I caved in and decided to watch, and it was just the show I needed to make me more open to the streamer's dating shows again. If I’m going to enjoy a dating show, I want it to fully lean into its ridiculousness. Perfect Match excels at this.
Warning: small spoilers ahead for Perfect Match. Proceed with caution.
It Uses Elements Of Other Dating Shows, But Makes Them Feel Fresh
Perfect Match isn’t a new concept at all. It very heavily takes influence from shows such as Love Island and Are You the One?. This is another thing that made me hesitant about watching it, because I didn’t want to see the same shows, just with Netflix reality stars. However, surprisingly, it does have elements of these shows but manages to be its own thing. It doesn’t feel like a repeat.
It has enough differences to make it feel unique and even, at times, a fresh take on old concepts. I think this is mainly because of the reality stars chosen for it, who give the series more character.
Stars like Ines Tazi stand out because they feel a bit more authentic than the ones around them. Her story also has the universal appeal of meeting so many duds but feeling like you need to at least settle for one of them.
Then you have couples you wouldn’t expect to be considered the ultimate #couplegoals as the show’s powerful pair. You also have people making bad decision after bad decision for no real logical reason except, why not.
At times, the whole show feels like a fever dream because of its familiarity, but with little oddities. These make it slightly different from the dating reality show norm.
Perfect Match Doesn't Try To Be More Than A Silly Dating Show
Overall, it knows its identity. It’s not trying — at least not trying hard — to make itself seem like this prestigious dating show that is all about love. I would bet that most of these couples will never speak to each other after filming ends. It's about creating the most entertaining version of the show possible, not about helping these contestants find true love. That’s boring for them.
In fact, there is very little done to increase the couple’s bonds besides making them share a room and live together for a short time. The competitions are just silly activities to encourage dry humping and over-sharing. There is nothing to test compatibility or improve connections. Netflix wants these players to have a good time, not a future spouse.
Additionally, adding new singles every few days and eliminating people shows that it’s all about drama and entertainment. Real love doesn’t exist here.
I respect the streamer for being like, "This is not Love is Blind. This is some weird cousin of all our dating shows, but not to be taken seriously at all."
(Most Of) The Villains Are Self-Aware
I love an entertaining and despicable reality TV show villain. The best villains know they’re villains and embrace it. Perfect Match has a few distinct villain characters, and most of them know their roles on the show. They fully lean into it by plotting and not caring who they hurt along the way. This makes them very entertaining, but also allows you to dislike them and feel justified for your disdain.
Villains are entertaining, but you don’t want to see them win. In fact, you’re probably actively rooting for their demise. This makes it so satisfying to see the tables turn on them, or for them to lose in some way. Some stories are a bit more entertaining when they have distinct villains and heroes, at least in reality television. The stakes are already low, so let the villains do what makes them infamous.
Perfect Match Picks Some Of The More Entertaining Netflix Reality TV Stars
I really believe that this is one of Netflix’s top trending shows of the week because of the cast. I have seen the majority of the cast in their original reality series, so I was familiar with most of them before. However, this reality show gives you a bit of insight into their lives outside this and other shows.
As it often happens in many reality TV show cast communities, many of these people have relationships in the real world or are at least somewhat familiar with each other. Some of them even dated or hooked up in the past, and bring baggage and history into Perfect Match.
It’s also quite different watching someone on a dating show vs. a show like The Circle, a series all about forming connections without face-to-face interactions. Joey Sasso of The Circle is not the same Joey on this series.
This also can be said for other contestants who come from the streamers's non-dating reality series, like The Mole.
It Has An Abundance Of Reality TV Drama
Honestly, I think the main reason this show works for me is that the drama is very fun. We have (temporary) broken hearts, betrayals, enemies facing off, and ruthless decisions. Often, we watch contestants being manipulated, and sometimes it’s hard to watch, but overall we know that at the end of the day, everyone will be fine.
The stakes are low for this reality show. Therefore, you can invest in it and have it become a topic you discuss with friends without taking it so seriously that it ruins your whole day. The drama makes it a must-binge-watch reality TV show because you want to know what these contestants will do next. You want to know who is hooking up, breaking up, and ready to betray a friend or an ex. It’s the type of drama that makes or breaks a reality show. It’s addictive, silly, and definitely toxic — but in a fun way, because it’s not your life and it’s definitely manufactured chaos.
Ever since Netflix got into the reality TV space, it’s been a mixed bag, especially for dating shows. However, Perfect Match is proof that the streaming service can still make fun, buzz-worthy dating content.
Stream Perfect Match on Netflix (opens in new tab).
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.