I admit that Netflix’s Perfect Match almost lost me when, in its opening seconds, Nick Lachey says, “‘sup, guys? I’m Nick Lachey.” And I’m out.
But I’m glad I stuck around, at least for one episode, because I’m quite impressed by the levels of stupidity and ridiculousness it achieves so quickly, especially for a show with no discernable format.
I’m not sure if it’s a cynical cash grab or just blissfully full of its own shit, but I am sure Perfect Match cannot be bothered to even believe its own name.
The new show, which will drop episodes on Tuesdays, is from Kinetic Content, the company behind the Netflix smash hit Love is Blind.
Instead of remixing its Married at First Sight format yet again, they’ve chopped off small pieces of other shows and glued them together on a paper plate along with some glitter and dummies from other shows, and hoped that’ll be enough to watch. They’re probably right!
The show shamelessly cribs from shows such as Paradise Hotel, Bachelor in Paradise, Love Island, Are You The One?, and even The Apprentice.
Yes, the decisions take place in the Boardroom, because that’s an element of reality TV we all have fond memories of, though this boardroom seems to have been art designed by the person who chooses the blinding backgrounds for RuPaul’s Drag Race’s judging panel.
For its initial cast, Nick Lachey says the producers have gathered “10 of the most extraordinary, desirable singles in the world,” which is absolutely true assuming the world’s population has disappeared and the only people left are several of the most aggravating, annoying people from Netflix reality shows that aired over the past few years.
What’s most hilarious is that they couldn’t even convince enough people from their main dating shows to do this, so the cast is cobbled together from shows such as Selling Tampa and The Mole (which had not aired when this was filmed, so no one knows who The Mole cast members are).
I appreciate how hard the cast works, often as a team, to communicate a single coherent thought:
Nick: “Y’all throwing the F-word around?”
Shayne: “Is she gonna pick you or pick…pick who?”
Nick: “Oh, you think she’s gonna pick you?”
Dom: Mmm. Mmm.
Shayne: “Bro, I will fucking murder your dreams. I will stomp you right in the ground, bro!”
Find me a TV writer could come up with a better scene than that and I’ll show you an Emmy winner.
Alas, sometimes, they don’t have the best words available to them. Mild spoiler ahead: When Ines and Shyane decide to couple up, because the producers have told them all they have to, it is extraordinarily romantic, by which I mean it has all the romantic feelings of a moldy concrete block: “Do you wanna match?” “Okay.”
Thankfully, the music is there to pick up the emotional threads: “fallin’/head over heels for you.” Yes, that’s what they’re doing, falling in love, yep yep.
Their connections have all the depth of a petri dish, and may eventually have the bacterial infections of one, too; it is not stated if the show provides protection and/or fumigation.
At times, Perfect Match threatens to spiral into actual adult conversations, like The Mole’s Dom talking about how he didn’t have good relationship models growing up, and hasn’t dated since his last break up. But he quickly catches himself, because he realizes what show he’s on, and says: “You’re stunning. Nah, for real. Gorgeous. Stop. Stop. Stop it. Stop it.” Phew!
Is this supposed to be a comedy or a drama? Romance or reality competition? What’s the format? Is this a game for a prize? Some of them seem to think they’re here to be strategic and win, even though there’s no prize.
I’m assuming that Love Island: Netflix Reality Stars Edition is just made just for people who watch Netflix, so Netflix can continue to build out its own version of Bachelor Nation, and the details don’t really matter.
Unlike other match-up shows, compatibility is not judged by matchmakers with a terrible track record nor by extensive research by MTV producers who definitely have the budget to search around the world for a person’s actual ideal match.
Instead, Perfect Match uses challenges, and the couple who wins gets to invite new reality stars into the house and create matches, and unpaired people get dumped, just like Love Island.
The first challenge, “Fact or Cap,” is about how much the new couples know each other after the extensive several hours they’ve spent together, and also how much the producers know the modern slang words, no cap. It consists of buckets of water dumped on the heads of contestants who get the wrong answer.
I stopped paying attention to the answers because I was focused on attempting to figure out just how the buckets were filled/emptied between rounds without the contestants knowing. Did they have to leave and go stand in a tent and then PAs climbed ladders and suctioned water between the buckets? I don’t know.
All of this takes place in a gorgeous house, which has multi-level pools outdoors and a water feature immediately inside the front door, which I’m guessing are there to produce physical comedy and/or death after a night of drinking.
The first match are people who have already hooked up, The Circle’s Joey and Sexy Beast’s Kariselle, after which Kariselle ghosted him, a sequence of events that has a lot of long-term potential, and by that I mean potential for an orgasm in the next hour, and so they hook up again.
The show does not mention Kariselle was also on Are You The One?, probably because it does not want to risk making us sad with the knowledge that perfect-match reality TV shows are not actually able to find perfect matches.
The very next morning, though, Kariselle is having other feelings. “If a guy’s going to fuck with me and make me feel like this, I want it to be done by someone I’m very, very attracted to. I better be getting railed if I’m gonna feel like this.”
Perfect Match does have perfect soundbites, I’ll give it that. And it doesn’t even wait for confessional interviews to start to get those bites. Francesca sits down for an interview and asks the producer, “my boobs out, my nipples hard?” This is the kind of fourth wall-breaking reality TV needs.
To their credit, the cast is not self-aware enough to recognize that their real job is to make television so they’ll get invited back to the next one of these. And there’s occasional meta commentary that was so delightful it made me almost want to watch more of the 12 (!) episodes.
Talking about The Circle’s Joey, Kariselle says, “There are girls who, like, think he’s famous. Isn’t that sad? That’s the world we live in. No, and it’s cringeworthy. Joey loves Joey and girls who love Joey.” As she says in a different moment: That’s “reality TV, man.”
Shameless cribbing from other shows hasn’t produced any interesting ideas, but it does offer opportunities for dumb comedy. C-
What works for me:
- The un/intentional comedy
- The meta commentary
- The cast giving us what we want
What could be better:
- The presence of an original or coherent idea