Move over, Love Island and Bachelor in Paradise. The true star of summer reality dating shows has arrived, and it's not here to make friends. After all, it's Are You the One, not Are You My Friend? (Did you like that? I just came up with that). Mtv's Are You the One? is back for the summer, back in Hawaii, back with TWO EPISODES in the first night, and most notably, back with some big changes.
Phew. My head is spinning. Let's just get the party started.
If you're new to AYTO, hello. Welcome. Let me introduce you to the general premise. 22 singles are placed in a house in a fabulous destination (this year, it's Kona, Hawaii, which tells me the budget for AYTO is back on track since last year it was New Orleans). Each week (presumably), there will be a Match Up Ceremony where the 11 guys and 11 girls will be put into couples to try to find their Perfect Match. Any couples that are a Perfect Match will be signaled by one beam of light. The group will be able to see how many beams of light they got, but not who the Perfect Matches are. If by the 10th ceremony, they get all 11 beams of light, they win ONE MILLION DOLLARS to split between the 22 of them. If during any ceremony they get zero beams of light, that number will be cut in half.
So on top of this being a wacky drunken orgy of a show, it's also a logic game. And us at home get to play along and try to figure out who the matches are. So you can almost trick yourself into believing you're watching something smart. Almost. Along the way, the couples get help sorting out the matches by having Truth Booths. The house votes a couple into the Truth Booth, and there they will be straight up told if the couple is a match or not.
Here's where the show has changed significantly, and it's still too early to know how I feel about it. In previous seasons of Are You the One, the show started off with some sort of challenge that the couple had to complete in order to win a date. This was usually in the form of some sort of relay or quiz or how well do you work with your partner type thing. Now, who goes on a date is totally random.
And obviously when I say random, I mean this gives the producers completely liberty to send whoever they want on these dates. I don't know how I feel about this. At all.
Also, to make things even more whacky, all dates are group dates. So two guys and two girls all go on a date together and they can "mix and match" however they'd like. Back at home, the non-date goers can vote any combination of people into the Truth Booth.
How is this going to change the general structure of the show since there are no more challenges? I really don't know yet. Does this mean we aren't going to get all those fun quizzes where they find out dirty secrets about the other people in the house with them? Does this mean no exes are going to come visit and stir up drama? Are we really just going to watch people drunkenly grope one another with no structure or activities for an hour each week. I just don't know yet! But that's sort of what happened on these two episodes.
So let's just get into my random takeaways from these episodes since I'm still trying to figure out how to structure my posts to suit this new version of the show.
Day One: 22 singles show up in the house and immediately start flirting up a storm. I hear multiple conversations that sound like variants of this: "OMG YOU WORKOUT? ME TOO. WE MUST BE SOULMATES." These people are deep.
Bria and Zak start hitting it off, which seems cute at first until you realize Bria is literally fucking insane.
This is in the FIRST TWO MINUTES of the first episode. Girl is stressing me out. My husband watches this show with me, and he gave these two the couple name "Bri-Zee," so that's how we will refer to them from now on.
Cam and Kayla also start hitting it off, until Kayla realizes Cam is a Donald Trump supporter. I'm so proud of AYTO for taking on politics, especially in these troubled times. And really, these people have such insightful things about our government. For instance, Kayla tells Cam, "Donald Trump is just not the nicest person in the world."
I think that's the exact same thing my 7 year-old nephew said about Donald Trump, so I guess either my nephew is really smart, or Kayla doesn't have a very nuanced understanding of what she doesn't like about our president. The answer is probably all of the above.
Next up is the group date, where they go swimming with dolphins. I don't know if there was actually much footage (or any footage) of them swimming with dolphins, so instead enjoy this random stock photo of a random lady holding fins with a cute dolphin. You're welcome.
On the date are Maria, Cali, Tomas, and... Zak. Yes, Zak of Bri-Zee. This is not going to be good. Bria is so pissed her eyes pop out of her head and roll onto the floor and she can't find them for the rest of the next two episodes. She has officially lost her marbles.
Anyway, the house votes Maria and Tomas into the Truth Booth because they're both "ethnic." No really.
Surprise. They're not a match. I was shook.
The first episode ends IN THE MIDDLE of the Match Up Ceremony for some reason, right before Tevin picks Kenya. Why was this a cliffhanger? Does anyone even know who Tevin and Kenya are yet?
The matches are as follows: Zak of course picks Bria. After much ado and a cliffhanger, Tevin picks Kenya. Kwasi picks Asia, but Asia tells the camera Kwasi needs to make more of an effort. Brett picks Cali. Cam picks Kayla, even though she still asserts Donald Trump is "not a very nice person." Tomas goes for Morgan. Shamoy picks Maria. Andrew (who I have dubbed shrimp because, well, he looks like a shrimp) picks some blonde girl I swear has just shown up because I have never in my life seen this girl (apparently her name is Lauren... of course it is). Mo gets Jasmine. Daniel the "smooch villain" goes for Nutsa (yes, that is for real her name, but it's pronounced NOOTSA, even though people keep calling her NUTS-A).
Lastly, Lewis picks Samantha. Lewis explains, "I'm the bottle and she's the club. She needs me." I guess that kind of makes sense? I don't know.
They get three beams of light and everyone is really excited. So excited that all of them lose their voice the next day. For real.
Full disclosure: I usually watch these episodes twice before recapping just so I can keep everything straight, but I was a little overwhelmed with two episodes in the first week. Also, I'm completely thrown by the new format, if you couldn't tell. For those reasons, my predictions for who those beams are is kind of random this week:
1. Brett & Cali - I just think they're cute together, and they're low drama. So I hope they're a match.
2. Cam & Kayla - Because I don't know who else will put up with his Donald Trump-loving ass.
3. Maria & Shamoy - I don't know. Because Maria and Tomas are not a match, so that makes it just a liiiittle bit more likely she got it right this time around.
The episode ends with Bria having a complete meltdown because apparently this is the Bria show. I'm so done with her. She's making me want to take a Xanax. I'm actually worried for everyone else's safety while she remains in the house.
Of Bria, Lewis says, "Bria is too cute to be this crazy. She needs a chill pill, a massage. Something to relax her. And Zak is not the answer for relaxation.” So so true. Lewis is wise and funny, which is why he wins the honor...
Are You Emily's One? - Lewis Belt
Lewis is my favorite this week. Although it was a close tie between Kwasi and Lewis, I ended up going with Lewis because he had more standout moments this week. Kwasi, you are on my radar though. I'll be looking out for you in upcoming weeks. I also like that Kwasi and Lewis are friends because they seem to vibe off of each other and enjoy each other's humor. So maybe... are we about to witness the first same sex perfect match? I would be down for that.
That's all for this week. Tune in next time for more craziness... hopefully more fun crazy next time and less scary Bria crazy please.