Tv: Ordinary people meet in an unusual setting in South Africa. Can this be love?
New dating series premiering on TV Norge and Discovery+ on 6 September. Hosts: Solveig Kloppen and Tuva Fellmann.
Checking, dating and looking for love on TV can be some of the smallest things there is. I’ve seen my fair share of “The Hunt for Love” and “The Bachelor (this)”, but haven’t needed to see more than a few seconds of concepts like “Paradise Hotel”, “Ex on the Beach” or “Naked Attraction” for to know that this is absolutely not for me.
“Love IRL” promises – as all new reality concepts do – to be a new and different type of check-in TV. Instead of tanned, perfect bodies and boasting people with self-confidence of greatness with Jupiter, “Love IRL” offers quite ordinary people. Here are bodies, clothes and hairstyles in all sizes and shapes. Here are reflected people with different educations and professions. According to themselves, they have never dreamed of appearing on television.
The most important common denominator is that they are skeptical about dating and inexperienced on the boyfriend front. They have not closed the check market on Tinder. They have rather poor self-confidence when it comes to flirting. But they would like to have a boyfriend. None of them should be voted out.
All in all, a rather likeable and slightly speculative project, that is.
But does it make good TV for ordinary, up-and-coming – and slightly insecure people – to date in front of the camera? Yes and no.
To start with the title: It is directly misleading, just like all “reality” TV that claims to be “real”. IRL means “In Real Life”, i.e. real life, outside of cyberspace. But the 12 participants have thus been sent to South Africa, to the other end of the globe, and placed in two luxury villas. They carry out meetings and activities with wild strangers, organized by a television production company. This is about as far from the real life of a Norwegian shop employee or student as it is possible to get.
As in so many other reality concepts, the practice in the love game is organized around activities. Horse riding, building sand castles, puzzles. I understand that this will get the participants started, that there will be something that can be filmed. But there are limits to how exciting it is to watch in the long run. And I’ve never fallen in love like that.
“Love IRL” saves itself by being a likeable project, steadily hosted by Tuva Fellmann and Solveig Kloppen. But above all because the participants are so blessedly ordinary, so unreality-celebrity-like. They are so much easier to sympathize with and identify with than the shiny bodies and all the recycled celebrity stories that I am so unbelievably sick of in every other television concept that appears.