Since high school, my mom and I have made a tradition of watching The Bachelor and its spinoff series together. It was our favorite trashy romance to yell at and bond over. However, lately the show has been less enjoyable for me due to producer-forced drama and plotlines surrounding which contestant is here for “the right reasons.” Therefore, I’ve been looking for a new dating show to watch instead.
Last year, my mom and I saw Single’s Inferno pop up on Netflix and decided to give it a try. We were very pleasantly surprised! On Single’s Inferno, hot singles are dropped onto a deserted island to see if any make a match. The premise alone sounds similar to other dating shows, but Korean dating culture makes a huge difference. The show is fun, engaging, a little sexy, and feels so different from other dating shows. It has the escapist elements of beaches, luxury hotels, and good-looking people balanced by a more realistic pace to relationships.
Compared to western dating shows, the contestants are much less physical and forward with each other. I found this refreshing because the contestants spent their time talking about their compatibility instead of making out. Sure, the relationships may not last and the contestants may only be on the show for fame, but for the duration of the show they sell me on their connections more so than others recently.
Another difference between Single’s Inferno and other dating shows is that the cast is much kinder to each other. Even when two contestants are pursuing the same person, they are still nice and even encouraging at times. There is some jealousy, but there are no fights or conspiracies against each other. I liked seeing this because it is not fun to watch a cast tear each other down and create a toxic environment.
My main complaint about Single’s Inferno is one that applies to most dating shows: sexism. The contestants compete in games to win dates, and they are unnecessarily gendered in my opinion. For example, in one game the girls had to knock each other over while hopping on one foot. Meanwhile, the men had to put on body harnesses and essentially play tug of war with their bodies. The intensely physical games can actually be hard to watch at times. I’d like to see more equality between men’s and women’s games in the future. Also, the show’s editing style can be annoyingly drawn-out to build suspense.
All in all, if you’re a fan of The Bachelor, dating shows, or Korean dramas, I encourage you to give Single’s Inferno a try! For my mom and I, it really felt like a breath of fresh air from Western dating shows.