Reality tv dating shows 2016
But in the current, eighth, iteration of the show, which debuted June 26, MTV flipped the shtick by including only sexually fluid participants who are attracted to all genders, so that, in the parlance of promotional materials, anything goes!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 housemates themselves have to figure out the “true love” couplings by undertaking a bunch of elaborate activities.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.That element takes a funnier turn through Jonathan, a more femme guy, who also has a crush on Justin.
As the show’s gay producer and creator, Douglas Ross, admitted at the time, “If it were just a gay dating show, for sure we'd get a lot of gay viewers, probably not that many straight [viewers], [and] some looky-loos.
” The castmates represent a much fuller range of the gendered spectrum, from femme and masc queer men to butch and femme queer women, to nonbinary and trans castmates.
In bringing them all together, the show is creating a televisual space to stage the complexities of gender and desire that can come with queer dating and that are rarely seen on television — or in pop culture, period. actually lives or dies through the strength of the casting and the resulting drama of the casts’ relationships. As the housemates engage with each other, falling into and out of connections and figuring out their feelings for each other in search of the grand prize, they are remarkably open and self-aware about the difficulties — and pleasures — of breaking out of old dating patterns.
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.
Queerness on reality dating shows has mostly been treated superficially, like with the trope of the sudden reveal.