What a time to be alive. Catfish is back. Love Island is in full swing. Our Bachelorette queen Hannah is narrowing down her final men, and you know what that means: Bachelor in Paradise is on the horizon. But most importantly? Y’all. As of this week, Are You the One? is back. And it’s the first sexually fluid dating show ever. This is history in the making. Years from now, everyone will be asking you where YOU were when Are You the One? Season 8 premiered. It’s that serious.
So you know once again, for the third season in a row, I will be here recapping the drama. Because this show is golden, and the drama this season is going to be INTENSE.
As my AYTO forever-boyfriend Tyler Colon announced in his Are You the One predictions video: “There’s going to be the most drama that there’s ever been on any other season. I’m calling it right now. And here’s why… when you get cast for Are You the One, you meet 11 girls and 11 guys, and those 11 girls are your targets. Those are the ones you’re trying to get. Those are the ones you’re trying to match with. But those 11 guys, those are your homies. Those are your friends for life. Maybe not for life, but at least for the show. They’re like a little support system that you have if you’re ever feeling bad about yourself or your relationship. You go to them for support. In this season of Are You the One, there is zero support system. Everyone is out there to fuck you (or be your perfect match. That’s cool too). But you can’t trust anybody, because everyone’s out there to find their perfect match. So you can’t say, hey, let’s just be friends, because that might be your match. You might have to get to know that person on a deeper level than you previously thought. You’re just shit out of luck. And when you have no support system, that means, mentally, you’re going to be unstable. And that means fights are going to happen every single second. Bet on it. Count on it. Put it in the books.”
As usual, for this first night of Are You the One debauchery, MTV served us two whole episodes. So let’s look at what went down.
We’ve got sixteen singles coming into the house this season. And unlike in previous seasons, anyone can be anyone else’s perfect match. I don’t know exactly how that math works out, but it seems like MTV really doesn’t want this season to win that 1 million dollars. The team seems optimistic from the get go, however, and spirits are high (as you can see above).
As the kids come into the house one by one, we get their stories about their gender fluidity and bisexuality. They all came and went so fast in this first episode that I don’t really have time to unpack all of them, so I’m just going to wait and dive into characters more as they become more interesting as individuals.
My first notes on the house is that it’s very appropriate that they walk in and are greeted by a delicious buffet of food and alcohol, because they are also going to have a buffet of hot singles to mack on as well. I see you, MTV. Also, snake print is definitely the print of the hour. Half of these bitches are wearing a snake print.
Here’s where we get introduced to Kai, our Justin Bieiber-looking trans man who everyone is into for some reason. Kai says he’s transitioning and he’s somewhere between a male and a female. He’s not sure how far he wants to go into being a man at this point. So for a while, he stopped taking his testosterone shots, but now he’s taking them again. Basically, he’s going through puberty all over again. This will come up later. Stay tuned.
Kai and Jenna have a chat, and Jenna confesses to Kai that her “thing” is “self-introspection and psychoanalyzing.” Kai is really impressed by this for some reason. Because apparently telling someone you’re a deep and introspective person means that you have a personality. Actions speak louder than words, Jenna.
Anyway, Kai and Jenna make out because it’s Jenna’s birthday, duh.
Let’s get into our first love triangle of the season. Or love SQUARE, actually. THE DRAMA!
Ok. So. Nour is this fierce Middle Eastern queen. Amber is very, very into her and announces to everyone that Nour is her perfect match. But Justin is also very into Nour. He calls her “entrancing.” Justin is going after Nour with all of his might despite the fact that Nour and Amber seem very coupled up at the beginning of this episode.
Meanwhile, Jonathan is over here staring creepily at Justin and telling him he’ll be waiting in the sidelines whenever Justin’s ready. Dude. I get no indication that Justin is interested in Jonathan at all. Jonathan, I hate to say this because it’s going to make me sound like a grandma, but… cut your hair.
It’s challenge time, and let me just say what the entire viewership is thinking: THANK YOU JESUS FOR BRINGING BACK THE CHALLENGES! To see why we need the challenges, just look at literally any of my recaps from last season. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Okay we back? Cool.
So the challenge this week is an obstacle course in which the couples have to get through hurdles that they’ve gone through in their past relationships. This challenge is weirdly complicated, so I’m not going to try to explain it to you. All you need to know is the top three couples get to go on a date.
Nour couples up with Justin for this challenge. Amber is piiiiiiissed. She says, “I’m just so over Nour. Not really, but I’m saying that cause I’m mad.” Youths.
In first place, we have Basit and Kylie who are truly my OTP at the moment. Earlier in the episode, when asked what Basit’s preferred pronoun was, Basit said, “my preferred pronoun is Basit.” So we’re going to experiment and see if we can always use Basit as a pronoun for Basit throughout the season. Phew. As for Kylie, she’s just super hot and cool, okay? I like this pairing. I don’t have to have intellectual reasons. This is a dating show.
In second place, we’ve got Jasmine and Paige (who?). And in third place, rounding out our couples for the dates, is, but of course: Justin and Nour. Cue all the Amber pouting for the next several hours.
The date was pretty uneventful so I’m going to breeze past it because the show basically did. Jasmine and Paige (who?) decide that they’re best friends. Kylie and Basit continue to OTP their way into my OTP heart. And Justin and Nour make out a lot. Good for them.
Back at the house, the people left behind get to vote on which couple will be going into the Truth Booth. Spoiler: it’s going to be Justin and Nour, and if you didn’t know that already, do you even know this show?
Meanwhile, Kai is talking about how hard it is to date as a transgender person, because there are no books about dating for trans people. So, of course, being that one of my jobs is recommending books to people, I accepted the challenge. Try Trans: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You. Or, Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love and Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary. So there.
ANYHOW, moving on. Surprise! Nour and Justin get voted into the Truth Booth. I’m totally shocked and didn’t see that coming. Justin says he really hopes they’re a match. Then he turns to Nour and asks her what she wants to happen, and she’s just like, “Uh… well, I want to learn if we’re a match or not.” Nice swerve, girl.
Seriously, though, it would suck to be named a perfect match on the first week and miss out on most of the partying and ho-ing around. Just saying.
Thankfully, it’s a NO MATCH. Amber is so pleased. She’s all, “I’m not going to say I told you so, but I told you so.”
Afterwards, Justin once again asks Nour if she wanted them to be a match. Nour says, “Truthfully, I’d rather be a match with Amber… I’m so used to going for people like you… I was playing it safe and I fucked up and I’m sorry.”
I really wonder if “I’m so used to going for people like you” is code for “I’m so used to dating men, but I’m not really into dudes.” Time will tell.
Jonathan thinks this is his window to go after Justin. LOL NO. Justin immediately starts massaging some dude named Max who apparently lives here. JONATHAN GIVE IT UP.
At this point in the night, Kai, our horny adolescent Justin Bieber, is drunk AF and is hitting on everything with genitals. I’m really concerned for Jenna because she thinks something is wrong with her for being jealous. No, girl, that is a natural reaction to seeing a dude you made out with mack on other people. You’ve got to trust your heart. If something is telling you it’s not right, then it’s not right. Sigh.
Finally Jenna takes Kai aside and tells him she was interested in having sex with him earlier in the night, but then he kept flirting with everyone else. Kai’s all, “Well, I’m here now.” So they go to the Boom Boom Room and have sex. All the girls are amused AF by this and they go by the door to listen in. Remy (we haven’t introduced him yet, but he’s coming…) shouts at the girls, “YOU’RE GROWN ASS WOMEN!” Whatever. Sex is funny.
As an aside to all this drama, Carrie and Kylie are chatting and I kind of ship this too. I just ship Kylie with everyone because she is beautiful, let’s be real.
Back to Kai. He’s gotten his rocks off with Jenna, and now he’s back on the prowl. He goes to Remy, the man who has announced himself as the whore of the house, so this was a good call. They make out and then Kai is like, “Do you just want to go to the Boom Boom Room and fuck?” Duh, yes, he does. Kai has designated himself as the Boom Boom Room tour guide this season. That bed is still warm from the last time he had sex in it.
Everyone in the house sees what’s going on. Basit says, “Remy is the Babadook of the house. Say his name three times, and you’ll find him deep inside you.”
I don’t know if that’s really how Babadook lore goes, but it’s still funny.
After Kai and Remy do it, Kai goes upstairs and cuddles with Jenna. Jeez.
The next morning, everyone’s talking about how Kai went around bragging about “sitting on Remy’s dick.” Jenna overhears, and she’s clearly not happy, but Kai sits her down and does the whole, “baby, it didn’t mean anything. I’m into you as a person. With him, it was just sex” thing. Jenna is trying to be a “cool girl” and play it off like she’s totally okay with this even though she’s not.
I’m so sad for her. I hope by the end of this season she learns to stand up for herself, because, seriously, if you’re not voicing your concerns because you’re worried about “scaring him off,” then something is wrong in the relationship.
By the way, we have the added bonus of Dr. Frankie, a relationship coach, this season. She comes in and offers them advice about relationships, but so far, she hasn’t said anything groundbreaking. Like, if all my therapist had to say to me was “follow your heart,” I would want my money back. Hopefully, more comes of her later in the season and she’s just warming up right now.
It’s MATCH UP CEREMONY TIME! This is where things are going to get SO CONFUSING for me! How do we know who gets to pick and why? It’s just going to be totally random! I’m so nervous for them, because the chances of them blacking out are pretty high, and they lose $250k every time they black out. Phew.
Nour picks Amber. No surprises there.
Kari picks Kylie, essentially breaking up my OTP.
Basit is not pleased. Basit says, “If these beams aren’t popping off like they’re supposed to, I’mma be lookin at you Barbie girl.” Basit will come back for Basit’s girl Kylie next week, hopefully.
Max picks Justin. Jonathan is pissed, but like… GET OVER IT, JONATHAN! HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU!
Basit picks Jonathan.
Aasha picks Paige. Paige says Aasha wants to climb this tree. I couldn’t remember who Paige was before this, but now I’ll remember Paige is the tall girl. She’s also using this show to come out to her friends and family, so that’s fun.
Remy picks Brandon. Brandon is cute, and I hope we see more of him in future episodes.
Jasmine… picks… Jenna. Kai is shook.
Honestly, this could be a match. Jasmine was the only one in the house who was really supporting Jenna when Jenna said she was not okay with what Kai did. Jenna wants someone who will only be into her and won’t feel the need to have sex outside of the relationship. Jasmine agreed. So clearly, at the very least, these two are looking for the same type of monogamous relationship. But also Jasmine just seems like a cool chick that supports other girls. So she gets an A+ this week.
That means… the only two left are Danny and Kai. Danny says Kai seems cool and he’s into it. Kai says, “Thanks.” I’m sorry. Kai is a piece of trash. Danny is much hotter and nicer. And he nerds out about math all the time. And he’s super tall. I hope Danny finds love is what I’m saying.
It’s time to see how many matches they got right. And the answer is TWO! I am actually really impressed. The odds of a blackout were high. 58.4% chance, according to Are You the One Math. So the fact that they got two on their first try is pretty great.
So every week, at this point, I will guess which couples were the two beams. This week, my guess is:
Jasmine and Jenna - I sort of went through why I think they might be a match earlier, so I’m just going to leave it at that.
Nour and Amber - I feel less strongly about this, and honestly, it would be more drama if it turned out they weren’t a match. But I don’t know. They look cute together, and they seem happy, so maybe this could be a thing.
Are You Emily’s One?
Every week, I end my recap with highlighting the one contestant who stood out the most for me for one reason or another. If it wasn’t clear from the rest of the recap, the answer this week is…
Kylie Smith. She’s pretty and nice. At this point in the show, that’s really enough for me. Also, I’m loving her with Basit, so I’m hoping that’s a perfect match. We’ll see! Check out her bio here.
As a final note, MTV has added a section on their AYTO? website for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. Check it out here.
See you next week for more AYTO? insanity!