“Are You The One?” Throughout the Years


The MTV show Are You The One?, a.k.a “the most ambitious matchmaking experiment ever attempted,” according to former host Ryan Devlin, just finished its eighth season. If everyone in the house correctly identifies their perfect matches in ten weeks, they split the prize of 1 million dollars. These ten weeks are filled with drama, friendships, fights, and love, but what makes it the best reality TV show ever is the fact that every season has its own special twist. Whether it is adding an 11th girl–meaning that one of the girls will be left without a pair–or a fate button–responsible for choosing the couples that head out on dates–each season is unique and has their own challenges! The eighth season, however, has had the most unexpected twist of them all: anyone in the house could be your perfect match! With its catchy slogan “Come one, Come all”, MTV has shaken up reality television’s typical storylines in welcome new ways.

In January 2014, the first episode of this revolutionary show was released. Up until that point, it was offering the largest prize in MTV’s history: $1 million. Ten single guys and ten single girls were placed in a house in Hawaii and were tasked with finding their perfect matches. After the match-makers went through an extensive process of analyzing each candidate, talking to friends, family, and even exes, they determined ten perfect matches. The contestants had ten weeks to go on dates and get to know other people a little better, be elected into the truth booth–the only way in which you can confirm a perfect match– and, finally, go through a matchup ceremony at the end of each week. In the ceremony, each participant got to choose someone to sit next to and the ceremony would reveal how many of those couples were correct. Each girl should talk to all of the ten guys to figure out who they identified with, and each guy should do the same with all ten girls. In season 2, it got a little harder: they added an 11th girl. It was up to them to figure it out and, whenever one of the two matches was confirmed, the second girl would be sent home. By season 5, there were 11 couples. Finally, in season 8, anyone in the house could be your perfect match. The producers made every season a little bit harder!

The inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the reality TV industry has been evolving. This is especially noticeable in dating shows, which tend to carry a bias for the traditional views of heterosexual couples. Are You The One, for example, only had the option of boys being matched with girls in its first seven seasons. This excluded the participation of parts of society since many people are not heterosexual and therefore couldn’t be part of the show. MTV’s initiative to dedicate an entire season towards praising the LGBTQ+ community was an important step in the inclusion of this group in the reality television world. Other renowned shows such as Ex On The Beach also have cast members on their most recent seasons that identify as non-heterosexual. The third season of the MTV United States version of Ex on The Beach includes pansexual, bisexual, and even transexual cast members! Another example is in The Bachelor franchise from MTV. The show was also known for its heteronormative values, however, in a recent season, a contestant from Bachelor in Paradise found herself torn between a man in the show and her girlfriend back home. This shows how several shows across the entertainment industry have been evolving.

This evolution does, however, raise many questions. Will every other season of Are You The One? consist of a gender-fluid cast? Though in shows such as The Bachelor and Ex on The Beach it is possible to incorporate members of the LGBTQ+ community with heterosexuals, this isn’t possible in Are You The One? Given that that is the case, what will be the future of the show from now on? Is it better to have an integrated, diverse cast rather than either heterosexual or pansexual? These are the questions that were raised with the announcement of the gender-fluid cast but, unfortunately, still, haven’t been addressed by MTV or the show’s producers. 

Nevertheless, the broadcasting TV network’s initiative to break so many boundaries in television history with this cast was already an important step towards the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in reality TV. Watching the eight season taught me that people have more in common than different. Though the season had a completely different dynamic than the seven previous seasons, at the end of the day, the things that make “Are You The One?” so unique remain there; there are the same drama, fights, friendships, and, most importantly, the same love that we see in every other season! Hopefully, MTV will release official announcements regarding the future of the show, but, regardless, the reality television world is evolving alongside our world: the integration of the LGBTQ+ community in some of the network’s most famous shows is a very important step for that to happen. If it continues at this pace, soon more shows from more networks in more countries will have included members from this community into their shows.