“Dating Around” is amazingly awkward

Netflix's answer to the stereotypical dating show offers some unprecedented honesty about today's dating world

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“Dating Around” is amazingly awkward

"Dating Around" shows dating for what it is today's multicultural world (photo courtesy of Netflix)

"Dating Around" shows dating for what it is today's multicultural world (photo courtesy of Netflix)

"Dating Around" shows dating for what it is today's multicultural world (photo courtesy of Netflix)

Alex Mandanas, Managing Editor

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Enter one vanilla white guy. He’s wearing a too-tight suit. He’s “in real estate” and his hair shows it.

Next come his dates–five different girls, varying by degrees of annoyingness.

That’s basically it.

Dating Around is Netflix’s answer to the stereotypical dating show. Each episode follows one single as they go on the same first date (same restaurant, same outfit) with five different people. Devoid of the romantic gestures, exotic locations, and elimination process, Dating Around presents modern day dating at face value– awkwardness and all.

And yet, it’s somehow more fun to watch than The Bachelor or Love Island. There seems to be a deeper meaning, some hidden messages about our culture and times, in each of the episode.

This is most evident in the second episode of the series, which follows a thirty-something Indian woman named Gurki. Gurki is outspoken and fun. She’s also open about her previous marriage and how she felt cultural pressure to get married young.

One of her dates, Justin, upon hearing about her marriage, causes a huge scene, calling her a liar for being, in what he believes, was a loveless marriage. A fit of yelling ensues and Justin eventually storms out of the swanky bar.

Gurki calls it a “cultural clash,” which is a fitting description of this kind of conflict that traditional dating shows gloss over, but is a real phenomenon in today’s increasingly multicultural dating scene.

Dating Around also highlights the LGBTQ dating world, having on episode about a gay man (Lex) and one about a lesbian woman (Mila).

Beyond the actual quality of the dates, the production value is insane. Every date is seamlessly stitched together and every shot is thought-out, making it quite stunning to actually watch. The contrast between the incredible cinematography and the realness of the dates is kind of jarring and reminiscent of the uncanny valley phenomenon.

The best thing about Dating Around is how it offers so many different and diverse perspectives. Every date has a different conversation where different stories are told and different characteristics are highlighted (both good and bad).

I strongly recommend you watch it (and I strongly hope that Netflix renews it for a second season) .

FINAL RATING: 4.5/5 stars