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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Akron chapter.

I have plenty of guilty pleasures but none so guilty as reality television, especially dating shows. There is something about the screaming, the tears, the champagne glasses being thrown, and sometimes, the romance. And I’m not alone! 16% of people in my age range have watched a reality dating show in the past month, so if you’re also part of the 16% here are 4 dating shows guaranteed to make you believe in love – or be grateful you’re single on Valentine’s Day.

“Love Island”

This U.K show that’s a reboot of a show from 2005 is making big waves across the water with spin-offs in Australia and the United States; although in my opinion, neither hold a candle to the original BAFTA award winner. Here’s the premise: about 10 hot singles with British, Irish, Welsh or Scottish accents are sent to a villa in Majorca for the summer, and each week they compete in challenges and pair up with another single while the public votes for their favorite couple, often causing the more unpopular pairs to catch a ferry home. With twists and spins from ex-girlfriends dropping by to twins showing up, you never know was to expect besides lots of muggings, pie-ings, and cracking ons. Yeah, you’re going to need captions for this one, but it’s well worth it.

“The Bachelor”

The one that started it all. Well not really, there were reality dating shows before this one premiered in 2002, but arguably none have achieved the level of fame and cultural impact as “The Bachelor” with spin-offs like “Bachelor in Paradise” and “The Bachelorette,” winners becoming minor celebrities, and international versions from Israel to Indonesia. A water-cooler show, with the Bachelor always being the topic of gossip in the workplace and the classroom the day after an episode airs, the question of who will get the final rose is always on people’s minds.  

“Are You the One?”

With shows such as “Jersey Shore” and “Ex on the Beach,” MTV has trashy and addicting shows that get everyone talking on lock, and they definitely made a splash with their foray into the reality dating scene with “Are You the One?” The premise is simple: 20 undateable yet hot singles are placed in a mansion and have 10 chances over 10 weeks to find their perfect match in the house decided by a team of matchmakers and algorithms. While full of drama and passion, it is certainly interesting to wonder what really matters. Love or strategy? Love on paper versus real-life attraction? Tune in to find out.

“Are You the One?” Season 8

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Emily, isn’t this the same show as above?” And I would say to that, bear with me. With one of the first and only reality dating shows featuring an “sexually fluid” cast in an honest and authentic nature without gimmick or cliche, MTV hit it out of the park with Season 8 of “Are You the One?” Keeping in the same premise of the other seven seasons, the main difference is that there are 16 contestants whose matches can all be each other which leads to more drama, love, and heartbreak than ever before. It was nominated for a GLAAD award for “depict[ing] the process of becoming increasingly comfortable and confident in yourself,” so clearly I am not the only one enamoured with this season.

Emily Janikowski, otherwise known as Em, can be found usually lurking in the depths of the Polsky building as a writing tutor, and when she isn't there, she is curled up in bed binge watching Law & Order SVU. Her passion lies in changing the world, and she hopes to accomplish this through majoring in social work.
Madeline Myers is a 2020 graduate of the University of Akron. She has a B.A. English with a minor in Creative Writing. At Her Campus, Madeline enjoys writing movie and TV reviews. Her personal essay “Living Room Saloon” is published in the 2019 issue of The Ashbelt. Madeline grew up in Zanesville, Ohio. She loves quoting comedians, reading James Baldwin, and sipping on grape soda. She fears a future run by robots but looks forward to the day when her stories are read by those outside of her immediate family.