I'm an old-fashioned girl. Give me a Honeymoon Suite, a few dozen helicopters, geysers of champagne, and as many near fist fights as you can into an hour slot – that's just romance!
This is Valentine's Day, however, Netflix's first stab at the dating game titled Dating Around attempts to sell all of us on a tried-and-true format, by replacing the typical Bachelor -esque rotation of suitors and lavish date cards with an intimate look at one-on-one meet-ups in New York City. Netflix's mission to take "an honest and compelling look at the real world of dating" is clear.
Dating Around welcomes you into its world of "they do not want them" through a different lens than their genre predecessors. Rather than seeing dates, one day after another, we witness one bachelor or bachelorette on five identical dates, edited to be seen concurrently. Each contestant meets their possible match at the same bar, at the same table, etc. The main difference is ̵
The ensuing get-to-know-exchanges are packaged with gorgeous cinematography straight out of an indie romcom, twinkly lights, and a handful of (probably very expensive) top 40 hits. Somewhere between a nightlife docuseries and a Zales commerical, Dating Around first appears as a realistic, personal, vaguely boring, but very pretty glimpse into real-world romance. Then things get fun.
The difficulty in creating a heartwarming dating show is not as good as it gets. While they were quite nice I could not help but root for the dramatic storming outs and cringe-inducing missteps needed to spice up each episode. And oh boy, did Dating Around deliver.
No, we do not get any ludicrous limousine arrivals or ambulance light cliffhangers à la The Bachelor, but there are plenty of awkward moments designed to pull you into the drama. Major highlights: a few moments of condescension around some shots, an extremely confusing joke involving an amputee frog, and a man telling his date "no one could ever trust her" after meeting her an hour before. I repeat: an hour before .
Dating Around is a candidate for more than one genre's trite tropes as well as a noticeably more diverse contestant pool – the six-part series features older couples as well as a gay bachelor and lesbian bachelorette.
Dating Around Dating Around It's streaming now on Netflix.