Review: Love On The Spectrum Is The Ted Lasso Of Reality TV Shows
Netflix series about autistic singles looking for love will remind you of empathy and kindness
LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM: SEASON 2 (Cian O’Ceary). Six episodes now streaming on Netflix. Evaluation: NNNN
Love On The Spectrum is a reality TV show that you don’t have to hate watching.
In fact, if you’ve ever been cynical about shows like The Bachelor, Love Is Blind, or Love Island, these Australian docuseries about young single adults with autism looking for love will remind you of empathy, kindness, and love. basic human need for emotional and physical connection. He’s the Ted Lasso of dating shows.
Season 2 just dropped on Netflix, and it’s even richer and more engaging than the first season, which first aired on ABC in 2019 and landed on the streamer in 2020.
A few of the singles have returned, like Michael, the good young man who has a soft spot for 70s TV celebrities like Dawn Wells and Barbara Eden, Mark, who knows all about dinosaurs, and Jimmy and Sharnae, the couple who got engaged at the end of the first season. Also back is Jodi, the down-to-earth relationship expert who gives clear and insightful communication advice that applies to everyone, whether they’re on the spectrum or not.
Newcomers include Ronan, a racing car enthusiast and tuba player, a gregarious and politically conscious adoptee who grew up in Texas, and Jayden, a very articulate young man who knows the etymology of every word he speaks and who is also interested in weightlifting.
This new season follows singles as they gear up and go on dates, then goes on with them. How long do you continue with someone until you take it further… or interrupt them? How do you behave with your date’s parents? If you’ve already ghosted someone, you’ll learn a lot about decency when singles make phone calls to tell on dates that they’re just interested in friendship.
Some viewers criticized the first season for its mildly condescending tone, especially in the upbeat music accompanying certain segments, and the way it presents the likes and dislikes of singles. It’s all less of a hassle this season; and more than one subject mocks the invisible interviewer after asking a silly question.
But the producers increased the frenzy of season two by ending the episodes on cliffhangers. While there isn’t much cultural diversity in the subjects, there is a refreshing openness to bisexuality; Teo and Jayden are both open to dating men or women.
Since this season was made during the pandemic, there are several references to it – some dates hitting each other on the elbow instead of shaking hands. And some of the returning singles are facing the attention they received after being involved in a Netflix show. What is clear, however, is that everyone is genuinely interested in finding love, unlike most reality contestants who just want to show off their abs, grow their Instagram followers, and find agents.
This second season also serves as an unofficial tourist advertisement for Australia. From one date along Sydney Harbor to another at a Buddhist temple to another at a place called Parrot-dise, the land below has rarely looked more beautiful.