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Netflix really shit the bed with its Love is Blind live reunion

Netflix really shit the bed with its Love is Blind live reunion
Nick Lachey in a behind-the-scenes photo he posted to Twitter promoting the Love is Blind Live Reunion, which did not start live like it was supposed to

Netflix’s second live program in its 26-year history was to be the Love is Blind live reunion, and it did not go well. As of the publication of this piece, it had not even started—and will not be live after all.

First, let me admit: Love Is Blind is no longer for me. Like with Married at First Sight, I initially found its premise interesting at first, and the first season had a bit of magic.

Then it got worse, and one of its hosts didn’t help. Meanwhile, what happens behind the scenes is often more interesting than what’s on the show.

For example, LIB season 4 cast member Jackie Bonds wrote on Instagram that the editing misrepresented the timeline: “Marshall and I were broken up before I saw Josh at the coffee shop,” she wrote.

Like The Bachelor, Love is Blind has become a perfect format for Netflix to make tons of cash on a show that’s cheap to produce. It’s being cast with wannabe influencers who realize the show is a much better platform for earning followers than it is for finding love.

Yes, also like with The Bachelor franchise, we the audience—and the contestants—may be well aware that talking to someone for less than 10 days through a speaker in a cheap wall is not the best way to find a life partner.

Yet the show goes on, and LIB continues with its rituals of heterosexuality anyway, the kind of on-screen proposals that felt dated years before Love is Blind began. Forcing the couples to decide whether they want to stay together at their weddings is just a way to produce drama. And it works! It produces drama.

So, to be honest, I was only tuning in for the disaster of it all, and I certainly gotten my money’s worth.

A timeline of Love is Blind’s live reunion not being live

Two people in formal wear holding hands, standing on a red carpet
Love Is Blind live reunion hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey in a promotional photo (Photo by Netflix)

For season four, Netflix decided to make the reunion live. Its announcement said:

Save the date for this can’t miss LIVE reunion special. Hosts Nick & Vanessa Lachey will join the cast for this front row seat as they unravel all the season’s twists and turns, share reactions to watching their stories unfold, and find out which couples are still together after saying “I do” and “I don’t.” Anything could happen! Literally, anything – because it’s LIVE!

At first, and probably like so many others, I thought my connection wasn’t working. I just got a spinning red circle over the show’s graphic, and it’d eventually redirect to a page that said, “We’re having trouble playing Netflix. Please check your internet and try again.”

But it was not my Internet connection that was the problem.

At 7:56 p.m. ET, Netflix tweeted, “5 minutes til” the reunion.

At 8:02, they tweeted, “Love is … late #LoveIsBlindLIVE will be on in 15 minutes!”

Minutes ticked by, and still nothing.

That did give the Internet time to have some fun—and this was the most fun I’ve had reading tweets and tweeting in months, if not years.

For example, writer Marisa Dellatto replied to Netflix, “Succession is on at 9 we don’t have time for this.”

Eventually the shade starting coming from other networks and brands:

  • Bravo: “We would never keep you waiting for a Reunion”
  • Peacock: “oh my god” GIF
  • Hulu: hmm… image
  • Philo: “Pobody’s nerfect!”
  • Timex: “We’re anxiously keeping an eye on the time”
  • Blockbuster: “Remember renting vhs’ from us. You could start it on time no problem… This is what we get.”

I’m not sure if the last one is actually Blockbuster, because Elon Musk is just selling blue checks to anyone without verifying they say they are who they are, but still points for a terrific burn from the company that got torched by Netflix.

After seeing Netflix’s a promotional graphic that said “tea will be spilled,” I joked that tea may have been spilled on some wires.

Since that image showed Love is Blind’s wine glasses spilling into a teacup, Linda Holmes asked the obvious question: “why are wine glasses emptying into a teacup? This graphic makes no sense!”

Neither, really, did making the reunion live.

The pods in Love is Blind season 2
The pods in Love is Blind season 2. (Image via Netflix)

Based on the social media response to the technical failure, it certainly did become an event. But people would have watched and talked about it anyway. Why did this need to be live?

Bravo’s Andy Cohen is the best reunion host we have now, and even though he hosts a live show most weeknights, the reunions are pre-recorded.

That makes sense. Not everything that happens during a reunion is worthy of being included; it’s hard to keep the cast from talking over everyone; et cetera. I suppose a live reunion offers the possibility of someone saying something shocking that might be edited out of a non-live reunion.

What was most fascinating to me was Netflix’s silence during the delay. After tweeting that it would be delayed 15 minutes, there was nothing.

What was the delay? Was someone trying to teach Nick Lachey how to host? Were the contestants being threatened about mentioning anything related to production?

More than an hour passed, and silence. No more tweets, no message on Netflix itself.

I realize they might not know what’s gone wrong, but clearly something has, so say something about that! Netflix has a cheeky enough Twitter presence to make fun of itself. Why not change the graphic on Netflix itself?

Who will take the blame for this? Was it a technical issue? Netflix successfully aired Chris Rock’s stand-up performance live, so they know how to do this.

Disney+ managed to stream Dancing with the Stars live for an entire season without any significant issues—or at least, nothing more than what we would have seen on ABC.

As I write this, it’s 9:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, almost 90 minutes past the start time. I’m going to go watch Ciao House on Food Network. If the reunion shows up, I’ll update this.

Update! That was fast! At 9:29 p.m. ET, Netflix tweeted this:

To everyone who stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon… we are incredibly sorry that the Love is Blind Live Reunion did not turn out as we had planned. We’re filming it now and we’ll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible. Again, thank you and sorry.

Some people were watching the reunion around 10 p.m. ET and writing about it on social media, but many of us still couldn’t see anything; I was still getting the red spinning wheel.

Another update: At 1:40 a.m. ET Monday, Netflix tweeted “Love Is Blind: The Reunion will be available globally at 12pm PT on April 17. Promise.”

Final update: Tuesday, during an earnings call, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters explained, according to Variety, that the failure happened because: “We had just a bug that we introduced, actually, when we implemented some changes to try to improve live-streaming performance after the last live broadcast, Chris Rock in March. We just didn’t see this bug in internal testing because it only became apparent once we put multiple systems interacting with each other under the load of millions of people trying to watch.”

While Netflix does not release ratings or say how many people watched its shows, it made an exception here, as Peters added, “The good news is that ultimately 6.5 million viewers watched and enjoyed the show.” If that number is accurate, I’d love to know how they determined that all 6.5 million “enjoyed” the reunion, too.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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Monday 17th of April 2023

I don't blame you for giving up on the show after S2. I almost did too. S3 was much better (although there was some bait+switch editing on a couple of the weddings). S4 was pretty good, although cringe at times.

I definitely think S2 was the bottom of the barrel though. S3 was much improved and S4 wasn't bad. Maybe you can check in on S5.