It's not like there's a shortage of amazing series to binge-watch on Netflix — from Latin dramas to Australian reality TV — but if you're single and ready to mingle, Dating Around might be the most relatable show to add to your post-Valentine's Day queue.
The show follows a group of singles who have to go on five blind dates before deciding on a love interest they might want to see again. It's basically speed dating on steroids — or The Bachelor, without any of the fake edits.
And the show is quickly becoming America's latest obsession, as it offers an intimate and raw portrayal of what it's actually like to be single in 2019. No competition for roses, no bells and whistles — just a group of people trying to find love in New York City.
But for a show that's garnered so much buzz since it fittingly dropped on Valentine's Day, viewers are left with a lot of questions. Mainly, how can a show be so entertaining if it's not, at least a little bit, manipulated by its producers?
So, is Dating Around scripted?
Most series that deliver on riveting dating drama are at least partly manipulated by the people behind the cameras. But according to the show's executive producer Alycia Rossiter, who also worked on The Bachelor for 11 years, Dating Around is as real as it gets.
"The truth is, The Bachelor is a fantasy show about Cinderella," Alycia said in an interview with Refinery29. "[Dating Around], to me, felt like what real people do: Try to connect with each other through conversation."
And the dates really were totally blind, with the singles unable to internet-stalk or look each other up before meeting. "I didn't tell them a damn thing about the person they were going to meet that day," Alicia noted. "There's something really great about standing in front of a restaurant and waiting for the person to show up and that smell, the look in their eye, what they're wearing — all of it is fresh. And you're either excited or you're not."
Dating Around turns reality dating on its head.
We've mentioned The Bachelor already, but the reason we keep bringing it up is that the Monday-night show is famous for manipulating the "reality" it claims to portray. When it came to developing Dating Around, the show's creators were careful to do the exact opposite of what shows like The Bachelor have conditioned viewers to expect.
"When you would normally turn left, turn right on this show," co-creator Paul Franklin said to Refinery. "Do the opposite of your instincts." In fact, the 6-episode series is almost lackluster in how real it is — it shows the awkward silences, surprise chemistry and occasional disappointments that come with meeting a person for the first time.
"We set the stage," Paul explained. "We cast the people. But what's going to happen? It's like, we're in the car, but we're not holding onto the steering wheel."
And even cast members agree Dating Around is as brutally honest as any show could ever be.
According to the cast, Dating Around is "100 percent REAL."
The gorgeous Indian single known as Gurki Basra took to Instagram to share her experience on the Netflix show. And she managed to set the record straight on whether the dating show is even a little bit staged.
"These are 100 percent REAL people going on 100 percent REAL blind dates," she wrote on the platform. "Had a blast on set. To say I've learned so much about culture, religion, race, sexuality and socioeconomics.... is an UNDERSTATEMENT." In response to some of her fans, she even disclosed that producers "were great about letting us keep it real."
It's comforting to see that in today's entertainment landscape, where drama is usually created by producers backstage and not genuinely in front of the camera, shows like Dating Around can still prevail with their brutal honesty.
Don't miss this raw portrayal of dating life on Netflix, where all of Season 1's episodes are currently streaming.