A sentimental journey through the last twenty years of romance in reality television.
As a fellow enjoyer of absolute garbage television this was so so great to read. I used to really stick up my nose at some of these shows until my girlfriend described it as “a glimpse into the hopes and fears of a population at some point in time”.
I feel like this list hammered that home as well, from the early wife swap days when suburban stability was especially coveted, to tabloid plastic surgery days, to social media rising with early tinder versions of Next, and then to pandemic era shows of Love Is Blind (can you love without seeing someone) and Marriage or Mortgage (pragmatism in a relationship). So interesting. Loved the marshmallow test example too lol.
Also in an unrelated to romantic garbage tv note, I once met a professor who taught a class on the history of reality tv. She talked about the focus of her most recent lecture being a failed Lord of the Flies esque show, Kid Nation. You should check it out - from reading some of your previous work I’d imagine you’d find it very interesting. I think it only exists on YouTube these days, and lasted only 1 season due to the lawsuits.