The Slow, Messy Evolution of LGBTQ Dating Shows

The MTV reality dating series Are You the One? pairs the pursuit of romance with a pretty sweet deal: If every one of the show’s contestants correctly identifies their “perfect match,” the group splits a grand prize of $1 million. In each of the show’s first seven seasons, 20 singles (and sometimes an additional wild card or two) were put through a “rigorous matchmaking process” and chosen to live together in a massive house. They were diverse in geographic and racial background but uniformly young, brash, attractive, and heterosexual. “Welcome to the most ambitious matchmaking experiment ever attempted,” then-host Ryan Devlin told the starry-eyed singles. “You’re here because you all have one thing in common: You suck at relationships.” Naturally, chaos always ensued.

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