Roses are so passé. When it comes to dating shows, perhaps nothing has captivated audiences (read: women) quite like The Bachelor. But in its 18th season, The Bachelor started to wilt, thanks to controversial Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis. Even before the final rose was handed out, Juan Pablo was being called "the worst 'Bachelor' ever.”
Clearly, it’s time for something new — enter Are You the One? The MTV series is part dating show, part social experiment. It strikes the perfect balance of game play and hotness, and as it approaches its season finale tonight, it’s already got a Season 2 pickup in the bag. So what makes it so special?
Are You the One? is a Real World-style dating show that drops 20 attractive singles — 10 guys, 10 girls — in Hawaii and asks them to work together to find the perfect matches among them. This means that unlike The Bachelor, which sees all but one woman leave the house without love, there’s a guaranteed match for everyone on Are You The One? And if they can successfully guess their perfect matches, they’ll all split a million dollars. Of course, with so much money on the line, it leads to friction among the housemates, and friction leads to lots of drama.
There’s also a little thing called science involved in the matchmaking process, and that’s something that cast member Chris T. says separates the show from its dated predecessor.
“I don’t really know how The Bachelor works, but I’m assuming that they don’t perfectly match you with a girl. They just have a bunch of beautiful women competing for the love of one guy. This is all actual science. We were taking personality tests for days! And then they’d compare them to all the girls in the house. As far as finding love, your chances increase dramatically [with this formula], so it’s a step in the right direction.”
Ironically, Chris T. did find his perfect match in the house, but it wasn’t exactly the girl he was crushing on. So what happens when science fails? It’s just another part of the game. With a million dollars on the line, the race is on to find your perfect match, even when you know it’s not going to work out. “It’s a very smart show,” added Chris’ fellow cast member — and house hookup — Shanley. “They did the right thing to put 20 people in a house who all want to win the money but have to fight against their feelings to take home the money.”
Chris T. and Shanley may not have been each other’s perfect matches, but that didn’t stop them from exploring their feelings for one another in the house — and it drove their castmates crazy in the process. “We’re living in a house with these people, so it’s not like if you develop feelings for someone you can just go to a different city and be done with it,” Shanley told us. “You’re seeing them every day, so those feelings are going to continue to grow no matter what.”
Yet another element to the show is the “Honeymoon Suite.” Once a couple is matched, they leave the house and head to the secluded Honeymoon Suite for some alone time — which may or may not ruin your chances of a lasting relationship. “I think going to the Honeymoon Suite early in the show is a bad idea. You don’t want to be matched too quickly,” Chris T. said.
“That’s why I’m glad he wasn’t my perfect match,” added Shanley. “I didn’t know if I wanted to spend the rest of my time alone in the Honeymoon Suite with him. I could have ruined what we had.”
“I think we grew as individuals in that house, while growing together,” said Chris T. “And if it wasn’t for the obstacles that we went through, I don’t think we would be where we are now.”
So what’s their relationship status now? We’re happy to report that Chris T. and Shanley are going strong, and they’re taking things slow, something you rarely see on The Bachelor. There may not be an engagement ring in sight, but there is a Sriracha bottle for two in their near future, and for right now, that’s enough.
“We talk every single day,” Chris T. told us. “What you see on the show — and as passionate as that was — when reality hits, that’s the real challenge. I wanted to move really quickly, and Shanley was like, no. That’s one of reasons I like her so much is that she calms me down. That’s why communication is so important. I commend her because putting up to me is a full-time job!”
Tune into the season finale of Are You The One? on Tuesday, March 25 at 11 p.m. ET on MTV.