If you are the one dating show
The cast enacts physical embodiments of the hell of dating, such as races where participants jump over obstacles labeled with problems like “fear of commitment.” Winners of these challenges are rewarded with one-on-one dates and the opportunity to vote on whom they think is a “true” pair.If they figure out all the correct pairings before the end of the season, the housemates will win a million dollars.She quickly falls for Amber, described as “perpetually feeling second.” But when the time comes to pick her first choice for a dating challenge, she chooses Justin, a perfectly built masc guy who, save for the tats and bisexuality, might not be out of place on The Bachelor.During a group therapy check-in, she admits that Amber should have been her first pick, and Justin gets upset about her “playing” him.Plus, the central objects of desire were hot in conventionally gendered ways, and the shows worked through enticing plot gambits that could bring in mainstream audiences. ’s promotion has played into the Tila Tequila strategy to some degree, teasing the question of which gender different participants will end up with.“I have no idea if I’m going to be attracted to a male or a female,” says blonde housemate Kari in one of the show’s commercials. I’m ambidextrous.” Sexual fluidity often gets reduced to this trope of “will this (conventionally hot) woman ultimately pick a man or a woman?But it hewed to a similar logic, in which 16 straight men and 16 lesbians competed for Tila’s affections, with the curveball being that the contestants were not aware of her bisexuality.
For instance, early on, Nour, described as an “aggressive possessive” (the castmates are all chyroned with their relationship style) tells the group about her difficulties coming out as queer in her Jordanian Muslim family and community.Despite the somewhat sensationalizing premise and its potential land mines, the resulting show — four episodes in — is already one of the more provocative entries in reality dating TV, where queerness has previously been treated as the topic of a “special episode” add-on or as a scandalous plot twist.The concept of sexual fluidity itself is often deployed in reality TV as a strategy through which shows can hint at queerness for mainstream viewers — without actually exploring queer culture outside a straight gaze. is challenging the dating genre’s conventions, foregrounding experiences and conversations about love, desire, and relationships from a nonheteronormative perspective that, in today’s pop cultural landscape, are still rare.But this drama gets unpacked in nuanced ways that transcend the usual drama for drama’s sake.“I’m so used to going after people like you; it’s hard for me to get out of that mindset,” she tells him.