by Chris Harnick | Thu., Feb. 13, 2020 6:00 AM
Reality TV shows have been testing social norms for years, from The Voice's blind auditions to Wife Swap's, well, wife swapping. Now the company that took things to another level with Married at First Sight—a show where matchmakers do their jobs and participants agree to tie the knot upon first meeting—is testing an old proverb with Love Is Blind.
The new series separates men and women in a remote location without devices and outside distractions. Their one task is to talk to members of the opposite sex, form meaningful relationships, fall in love and propose—all without ever seeing the other person. After the proposal, the couples then meet and are whisked away to begin their lives together with just weeks until their wedding ceremonies. Who would do something like this? Meet Lauren Speed and Mark Anthony Cuevas.
These two put it all on the line to find love in an abnormal way...while cameras followed their every move.
"For me, I just know that I was really drawn to the fact that we can make connections with people outside of just clearly aesthetics. I feel like nowadays that's just the norm. We're used to double tapping, swiping left or swiping right," Lauren said, noting she was hoping to connect over family and values. "I was just looking forward to making a real human connection that's deeper than what seems to be available."
Mark said he went into the whole process, from the pre-interviews to meeting a potential match, with a simple question in his mind: "Why not?" If things went his way, he'd walk out of the experience with a relationship to mirror his loving family experience.
"I gave it 100 percent of myself and I'm super thankful that I did because this experience was a hell of a ride, but I think it taught us all about real genuine connection," he said.
Naturally, there will be viewers who hear this premise of the show and pass judgement. The show, on paper, can be hard to grasp and easy to demise as just a gimmick for eyeballs. But Lauren and Mark want those who are skeptic of the whole thing to look at Love Is Blind from another vantage point.
"I would hope that anybody that is skeptical of the show view it as an opportunity, not as a reality TV thing, as more of like a chance to see how people build true connections without the superficial of today's social media and dating apps and everything like that," Mark said. "They view it as almost, like, 'Hey, how did these people form these connections and how can I apply that to my life?' And I think it's more of a life lesson than a, 'Oh, this is a reality TV thing.' This is real people being our authentic selves and I think people really need to see."
Lauren agreed with Mark and said, "I mean, I was 1,000 percent authentic throughout this whole thing. And that's the scary part about it because like Mark said before, you can see the vulnerability, you can see the emotions, you can see the frustrations, the crying, the drama, like all of that stuff is real. That's all stuff that happens to people every day in the dating world and in 2020, you know what I mean? So, it's a real experience and I'm sure people will be able to see that and relate to that as the show goes on."
See the reality TV experiment unfold in Love Is Blind, premiering Thursday, Feb. 13 with fives episodes. Four new episodes follow on February 20 and the finale premieres on Netflix on Thursday, Feb. 27.
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