Is love really blind? That’s the question Season 2 of the Netflix hit series asks in every episode — but fans have many others. The series began with 15 men getting to know 15 women from separate pods, unable to see one another.
Over the course of 10 days, they casually date and if they want to meet face to face, they must first get engaged. During Season 1, which aired in 2020, eight couples got engaged, but only six of those were aired, and one duo, Diamond Jack and Carlton Morton, split shortly after meeting.
Season 2’s first five episodes dropped on Feb. 11, followed by the second four on Feb. 18. They also showed six engagements while there were actually eight. Just like Season 1, one couple, Shaina Hurley and Kyle Abrams, called it quits before making it to the altar.
Ahead of the Feb. 25 finale, creator Chris Coelen opened up with Variety about casting this season, those gold glasses, date nights in the pods and more.
Tell me about what kind of people you were looking to cast this season.
We do a lot of diligence on the cast and we invite people to participate who we’ve done lots of vetting on, who exhibit an authentic desire and interest to actually finding someone to fall in love with and if they find that person, to get married to. We want somebody who’s genuinely interested in a committed relationship. That’s really the first thing that we’re looking for. And then beyond that, we have a big enough pool that we try to invite people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and walks of life.
The whole premise of this show is to see if love really is blind, if looks really matter, but the couples who got engaged are all attractive, thin people.
As producers, we don’t have any control over what happens. We don’t try to exert or sway over any of the participants. We won’t ever tell them what to say, what to do, how to think, how to feel. This is entirely documenting their real journey. So we build the machinery, and then they go into it and they have their own experience and as a producer, that’s frightening, because you don’t have any control, but it’s also exhilarating, because it’s incredible, it’s authentic. We had eight engagements in the season, we chose to follow — just like in Season 1 — six of them, because you only have so much bandwidth.
We didn’t even begin to tell the stories of the other engagements that happened or lots of the other really fascinating, multi-layer relationships that went on. Many of the people who showed up really put themselves out there, tried and didn’t ultimately find a connection. I would love everybody to find the connection. I’d love there to be 12 engagements and that’s unfortunately not the way that things happened.
I think it’s very funny for people to say, “Oh, you put somebody who was, you know, heavier in there, and then you just didn’t follow them.” It’s not like anybody wants that to happen or doesn’t want that to happen. What I want to have happen is just to be true to the experiment. You put people in there. They can’t see each other. If they fall in love, then we follow it and if they don’t, we don’t.
There were multiple women who were featured in Season 2 who had gone through weight-loss journeys. Was that intentional?
I can’t say that it was, no. I mean, again, we tried to capture real people. There ended up being multiple women who we did follow who went through that. It was completely random.
Going back to what you said above — two other couples did get engaged in Season 2. How did you choose which to follow and which not to?
I mean, it’s a lot of guesswork, to be honest. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. In Season 1, we were following Kenny Barnes and Kelly Chase, and we were like, it’s gonna be so boring. They’re gonna say yes, and, of course, they’re getting married. And they didn’t. We had no idea and continue to have no idea what’s going to happen in the stories that we choose. If we are so lucky as we have been in Season 1 and Season 2 to have more engagements then we’re able to follow, then we go with our gut. Like, these seem like a good, genuine, cross section of authentic stories.
OK, can I ask about the gold glasses? They aren’t just in the pods — they’re everywhere. Why?
I don’t know. It’s something I like. When you turn on the show, you know it’s our show. It’s a very authentic, really true following of these people’s journeys, but I like the fact that we have this sort of connective tissue with that in a really light way, it’s fun.
Got it. Another pod question! How did people go about giving gifts to each other while in there?
We always tell them, you should think of this as if you’re doing everything that you can do on a date in the real world, you just can’t see the other person. So if you want to have a night where you are getting takeout or you want to make something for somebody — people would go in the kitchen and they would make a meal and then basically, they would tell us they want to do this and we would facilitate it. We would take the meal that they made and we would place it on the other side, in the other person’s pod. So when they got in there they would see that it was there. I would say, if you want to play mini golf together, we’ll get little mini golf clubs! Literally, you can do whatever you want to do, within the bounds of being in the pods.
OK, so when it comes to the actual engagements — do people bring their own rings? We saw Kyle brought his family ring.
Not at all. They don’t. If they want to propose and want to have a ring to give, we provide — up to a certain level — a ring for them to do that with. If they choose to do that, we actually give choices. There are, like, 10 or 12 different styles and colors. It’s up to them, they don’t have to. There’s no pressure to do that.
Do the women have the option to propose?
They do! Most say they don’t want to do that, but we always tell them, this is your story. No one is stopping anyone.
We saw Carlton talk about his sexuality in Season 1. Would you guys explore or have you discussed a sexually fluid season?
For sure. I love to tell stories. All kinds of people have all kinds of interesting stories. To be able to tell as many different kinds of stories as we can, I think is great and something to aspire to. If there was a fluid version, everyone would have to be completely isolated from everyone else because everyone would be an option. Is that something that we could do? In its current form, I think it’s difficult because of the way that everything is structured. You wouldn’t be hanging out in the lounges with people because those people could be possible love interests for you. So certainly, I’ve thought about it, and what I will tease you with is that we want to be representative in all kinds of ways and we are figuring out ways to do that.
What can you tease about the weddings and what it was like attending?
Being there in person on the wedding day is literally like, for me, being at the Super Bowl. It’s crazy. You have no idea what’s going to happen, no idea what’s going to transpire. It’s amazingly exciting. … Sometimes you think that you’re sure and then it doesn’t go the way that you expect it to go. It’s an experiment first.