‘Perfect Match’ is the latest in junk food television

Still of a St. Thomas University student, watching the acclaimed Netflix dating show 'Perfect Match.' (Daniel Salas/AQ)

Maybe you spend your leisure time bettering yourself through reading or athletic pursuits, or maybe you are like me — staying up to date on the latest Netflix-produced dating show.

I’ve seen them all: Love is Blind, Love on the Spectrum, Too Hot to Handle, The Circle and The Ultimatum.

There have been some shows whose concepts are more ridiculous than others.

The Ultimatum had engaged couples, “put their love to the test” and had trial marriages — with people they are not engaged to. Too Hot to Handle is premised on singles spending a summer on an island and refraining from any sexual activities to form “meaningful” connections.

These shows are popular. The contestants become internet personalities as soon as they air.

I’ve skipped the hookup culture and casual dating, and jumped right into a happy and successful relationship with my partner of three and a half years, Joe. I feel grateful for that and wouldn’t want it any other way. We’re now engaged.

I think the worst version of myself enjoys watching these shows. I lost a decent chunk of self-respect when I found myself binge-watching and utterly enjoying Netflix’ latest dating show, Perfect Match.

This is without a doubt the laziest show Netflix has ever produced. All the contestants have appeared on other dating shows and are back to finally find love.

Contestants have to choose a “perfect match” every other night or else they are kicked out of the villa they share. On top of that, new singles are brought into the house every few days.

Ideally they stay with the same partner and begin laying the foundations of a strong relationship, but as you can imagine, that does not happen. What kind of a show would that be? Couples unmatch and match with new people constantly, all with the goal of finding their “perfect match.”

After all, everyone knows that the best way to find love is under an intense time crunch and living with the constant fear of expulsion from your community.

“There is something about her beautiful physical appearance that I find very intriguing,” one of the men in the villa said to another.

What he’s really saying? “I think she’s hot.”

These contrived conversations are part of what makes the show so horrible and so wonderful at the same time. It’s so dishonest in its presentation that you don’t even feel guilty about watching.

One night while lying in bed, one of the women asked her match what he thought the meaning of life was.

“Right now,” he said, “it’s you.”

I can feel your eyes rolling. Keep in mind: they had not even known one another for a week, and three days later they both matched with other people. I wonder what the meaning of his life is now?

But the reality is love is completely different from the way Netflix paints it.

Joe and I got engaged in Montreal. We took the train down to the Old Port and walked to the ferris wheel. At the very top he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him.

We’ve seen each other at our best and worst. We’ve made lots of sacrifices and we have clear and healthy boundaries, which we are constantly working on and improving.

My love story looks nothing like the “love stories” portrayed on Perfect Match, but I compare my viewership to these shows to my consumption of chips while watching them — they are both junk.

But every once in a while, it’s okay to have a little junk.