There is no question that modern day society is obsessed with love. With Valentine’s Day just in the rearview window, Netflix decided it would be the perfect time to launch a new dating show.
Netflix’s “Dating Around,” began streaming for viewers on Feb. 14. The series is made up of six half-hour episodes, each showcasing a different single as they embark on five blind dates in New York City.
Directed by three-time Peabody Award winner James Adolphus, it’s certainly a change from his usual productions, which usually center around more hard-hitting subjects of global matter, be it socially, culturally or politically. And “Dating Around” is the first of its kind on Netflix.
Basically, it’s a less dramatized, shorter, and more realistic version of “The Bachelor.” “Dating Around” does away with all the dramatic antics, which means there are no long backstories or elaborate dates. Instead, viewers act almost as a third wheel — as if they are on the dates themselves, learning information and making judgments in real time with the hopeful singles.
The show explores dating experiences of the queer, straight, young and old, highlighting the difficulties of dating while also exposing audiences to experience they may never have themselves.
“Dating Around” is entertaining in the way that most other dating shows are, and in that regard, it's nothing special. There are moments of genuine cringe-worthiness that will leave audiences wide-eyed, wondering how the date can possibly recover. On the other hand, there are moments of tender sweetness as if the seeds of blooming love have been planted before our very eyes.
The episodes also have an element of the classic who-will-they-choose suspense, as the main subject of the episode gets to pick one of their five respective dates from their first date to take on a second. Sometimes, it's not always the clear favorite, or it might not be anyone at all.
What’s really special about the show is its conciseness. It's not a two-hour marathon of PDA, heartbreak and tears. Rather, it's a refreshing perspective on the reality of dating, with each episode coming and going like bystanders on a street with each one passing with a different story and end goal in mind.
If nothing else, “Dating Around” is great if you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing when it comes to dating. For some, it might inspire hope that the hardest part of dating is just putting yourself out there and saying yes. For others it might spark a realization that perhaps their first date methods aren’t the most effective for finding love.
Dating seems like a necessary evil, but for as many horrible first date stories as there are out there, there are just as many great ones. “Dating Around” in a time where we need to be reminded that love isn’t what we see in the movies or on TV, it’s real and whether our existence is good or bad — they’re experiences all the same. They remind us we’re all generally after the same goals, but sometimes need to learn a few things along the way before being able to truly appreciate the love in our lives.