I binged Season 2 of Love Is Blind in under 48 hours. I have also painstakingly analyzed every subsequent interview, every tweet, every scrap of information I could get my hands on after the finale. I’m in far too deep—but how did I get here?
Despite my near-pathological inability to mind my own damn business, I have always been indifferent towards reality television, immune to the temptations of unscripted chaos on-screen. To me, The Bachelor was little more than a yassified swayamvar, and watching a bunch of ultra-hot, ultra-white people frolicking on an island felt kind of played out.
So, why am I here, hunched over my keyboard, feverishly breaking down Season 2 of Love Is Blind? I mean, I barely made it through two episodes of season one, unimpressed, and dismissed it right away as yet another yassified swayamvar gone wrong. However, this season was a little different.
In a brilliant, disruptive win for #representation, we finally got to see a contentious brown couple featured on Love Is Blind. As a strong advocate for diversity in stupidity, I knew I absolutely had to weigh in.
So, naturally, I put my life on hold as some of America’s delightfully smooth-brained singles searched for “unconditional love,” in what the show vaguely calls a ‘social experiment.’
For those of you blissfully unaware of Love Is Blind, the basic framework of the show is this: contestants speed-date complete strangers through a wall, are only allowed to see one another once they’re engaged, and are married off within weeks. I know—super original, never been done before, groundbreaking, etc etc.
By introducing external pressures only after an ‘emotional bond’ has been formed, the show tests whether people can truly fall in love, “sight unseen,” a phrase that is peppered throughout the show ad nauseam. Hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey use every possible moment to drive this home, by asking contestants this famously corny question—is love (dramatic pause) truly blind?
My verdict? Hell no.
You see, if my partner pulled up in that bomber jacket (I’m looking at you, Shake), or casually mentioned making his own toothpaste, or asked if I’m a “godly woman,” I’d be out the door Wile E. Coyote style. You might think I’m an incredibly superficial hater with zero patience—in which case, you’ll just have to get your two cents on the show elsewhere.
This season of Love Is Blind offers next to no relief, handing viewers one disastrous couple after another, making them sift through a dizzying array of cringe for a single speck of charm. What it lacks in romantic appeal, however, it makes up for with the hypnotic allure of a ghastly trainwreck, holding you hostage until the very last episode.
We start off with Nick and Danielle—the couple that gets engaged almost immediately, and begins falling apart just as quickly. Everything about this couple felt just a little awkward, from being interrogated by their family about their sex life to that hot dog costume—but they somehow made it work. Although I found them lukewarm at best, the two made it to the altar and eventually tied the knot.
Speaking of lukewarm, there’s Mal and Sal. Mallory graciously shares she is finally ready to be emotionally available…after she gets engaged. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s not how relationships work? It’s clear from the get-go that Mallory, who is still reeling from her fallout with Jarrette, and Sal, who’s just a lover boy with a ukulele, are ill-fated. Unsurprisingly, they didn't make it, but there were no hard feelings.
Honestly, I was really rooting for Iyanna and Jarrette until that weirdly flirty moment between him and Mal in Mexico. Iyanna is a sweetheart who deserves to be protected at all costs, and Jarrette is definitely one of the less insufferable men on the show this season. Despite the looming tension of Jarrette proposing to Iyanna after being rejected by Mallory, and coupled with their lifestyle differences, they make it to the altar, and their wedding was so precious that all my suspicion flew out the window for a moment. I can’t help but wonder what happened once that conversation aired, but in the meantime, I wish these two well.
Next up, there’s “rough-around-the-edges” Kyle and our good Christian woman, Shaina—who later openly sets out to sabotage another couple. Not very godly of her, if you ask me. Kyle is an atheist, and Shaina… simply doesn’t believe in evolution. She famously exclaims “God is science!” mid-conversation, and this buffoonery starts making a lot more sense when you meet her family, who are deeply passionate about dirt bikes and “being American.” Yeah, let’s just leave it at that.
Even after Shaina abandons him in Mexico over religious differences (but we know she’s also in love with Shayne), Kyle continues to gush about her, glassy-eyed and determined to make it work. This secondhand embarrassment was enough to make Darwin roll out of his grave and shake Kyle by his shoulders, saying, “Babes. She doesn’t believe in evolution. Move on.”
Things get a little more interesting with Shayne, the grotesque, gaslighting lovechild of Buzz Lightyear and Johnny Bravo, and Natalie, the delusional girlboss. Although this couple survives her devious attempts at sabotage, I will (for once) play Shaina’s advocate and affirm that these two are, in fact, comically incompatible. Here is a woman with pristine white bedsheets and a vase filled with limes, and here is a man who will most definitely ruin her credit score. Moreover, it is so painfully obvious that Shayne, a self-proclaimed “words guy” only liked how much Natalie liked him, making it clear that she made his ego fly “through the roof.” Meanwhile, Shayne creepily and consistently asks Shaina to describe what she’s wearing through the pods, going absolutely feral every time she announces she’s wearing a “cute crop top.”
I do love that Shayne is oddly self-aware though, as he graces us with this spectacular quote:
“I think I’m a huge tool, 100%. I own that. That’s fine. I get it.” Someone tattoo that on his forehead, please and thank you.
Now, the couple we’ve all been waiting for—#Deepshake, which is just two “brown people that only date white people.” This duo formed a profound connection over their shared affinity to white blondes—truly a match made in diaspora heaven. Needless to say, I was absolutely enthralled by this couple, and you’ll soon find out why.
Deepti is a 30-year-old business analyst, and Abhishek is a 32-year-old veterinarian. But wait, my man Shake is more than just your average vet. He is also, in fact, a proud ✨house DJ✨, AKA a champion of representation for every brown guy with a SoundCloud link in his bio.
Before we proceed—if you’re looking for a nuanced, sympathetic account of Shake, I regret to inform you that this is not a safe space for corny men.
Infamous for sickening, fatphobic jibes at his dates, this knock-off Aziz Ansari eventually acknowledges the irony of his shallow behaviour on a show quite literally titled ‘Love Is Blind’. This moment is framed as some bizarre, emotional breakthrough, to the extent that even the producer commends Shake for “changing and evolving.” Don’t we love seeing a man in his thirties discover a sliver of empathy? So, so brave.
Nevertheless, Shake manages to capture Deepti’s attention, who gently calls him out when he says something overtly problematic. Free my sister-in-arms from this charity work, I beg.
The two seemed to bond over their shared experiences and heritage, a feeling absolutely alien to them given their history of dating exclusively outside their cultures. The couple gets engaged, and for a fleeting moment, I wondered if they’d actually, really make it.
You’d think after his moment of ‘growth’ we’d see some character development from Shake. However, this part-time DJ, full-time clown only had more heinous antics in store for us. After bombarding Deepti with affection during their first meeting, Shake does a complete 180, and proceeds to tell everyone and his mother that he is not attracted to his fiancee.
First of all, why oh why did you use the words “animalistic attraction” in the presence of your literal parent. His mom is clearly somewhat uncomfortable, and jokingly calls it TMI. In what was possibly one of my favourite moments this season, she kindly but firmly tells him to shut the F up. Watching a Desi man being checked by his mother on television is truly the representation I needed to heal my soul.
Shake prattles on and on about their physical chemistry, criminally overusing the words ‘lusty’ and ‘animalistic’, driving me to expunge them from every dictionary on the planet. I must, however, give him credit for blessing us with this incredible sound bite:
“I said [to Deepti], you know, I want to fuck you emotionally before I actually fuck you. Before I find out you’re good in bed, I want to find out you’re good in head.”
Yeah, those were actual words that came out of his mouth—a sentence I find myself repeating every time the men on this show say something so ridiculously out of pocket that I move one step closer to lifelong celibacy.
This is ironically the only couple free of any active friction or conflict, besides Shake’s despair at not being able to consummate the relationship—although I’m sure Deepti dodged quite the little bullet there. However, despite having a partner who is constantly loving and supportive, Shake takes it upon himself to bad-mouth her at every stage possible—and is frankly the only fiance to do so throughout this season.
We all know how much I love dunking on problematic men, but Shake is so much worse than that. Imagine knowing your partner’s deepest insecurities, and making a mockery out of them for your five minutes of clout.
Thankfully, my queen Deepti, who remains largely on the fence until her wedding day, says no to Shake at the altar in the most classy way possible. I must commend her for her grace, for I would have done much, much worse.
In classic Shake fashion, he brushes it off and kicks off a bizarre party at the wedding venue, not even bothering to have a word with his (now ex) fiancee. In an interview, he smugly claims that had he said ‘I do’ first, Deepti would have said yes. In an even more laughable attempt at saving face, Shake says—“...um, I have reservations at Nobu on Sunday. So, things are gonna be good.” I sincerely hope this cretin chokes on his wasabi one day.
After the finale aired, Deepti was interviewed by Buzzfeed, where she revealed how both she and her family were hurt by Shake’s behaviour. Although they had discussed physical intimacy as a couple, she was shocked to see him dragging her publicly at every opportunity.
"But to watch it back and see how he did it—it was kind of like, 'Oh, look at me, I'm this cool dude that's just gonna talk shit about you to my friends.' You don't talk about somebody who is your fiancé, let alone a best friend—or even just a real friend—that way."
Deepti’s brother, Sunny, also shared this cutting statement on Instagram, in his sister’s defence.
Meanwhile, Shake continues his clout-chasing ways, posting some pseudo-deep nonsense in a last-ditch effort to redeem himself.
I thoroughly enjoyed scrolling through the scathing comments under his posts, (they have since been switched off—bummer), and can only hope that he gets flamed in the reunion episode.
Although my brain has atrophied significantly over the course of this season, I have finally succumbed to the wiles of reality T.V., and I just know I will scramble to inhale every piece of intel I can get on these couples. Are Nick and Danielle intact? How did Iyanna feel about that one episode? Did Natalie finally see Shayne and Shaina interact? Does Shake have any remorse? I will personally hunt down the producers to find my answers.
I guess we’ll just have to wait until the reunion on Friday.
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Anuja BhattMore by Anuja Bhatt
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