That jump-scare title should’ve been enough, but Dated and Related had to take the horror one step further. Netflix’s latest “Who the hell thought of this?” reality dating series has landed, joining the likes of similarly convoluted Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum. And this time, it’s all in the family. Literally.
Contestants enter a Love Island-esque villa with their siblings, both on the prowl for sex, love, and, hopefully, a relationship. But that’s only the first goal. The second, of course, is to be the best wing(wo)man for their sibling. This is obviously bizarre, as players not only set up their siblings for sexy escapades, but also select blind dates for each other based on “their type.”
This inevitably leads to awkward circumstances—like, for example, when a player admits that he’s crushing on a girl because “she’s just like my sister: cute, funny, and super hot.” But the worst part isn’t even in the actions of these horny fools. It’s a choice made by the show’s producers: Every contestant must share a bed with his or her sibling.
Around a dozen queen-sized bed frames are packed into the love nest, meaning that players will have to cozy up with their sibling while their lover rests across the room. Should they sneak across the room to sandwich themselves between their romantic interest and his sister? Is it cool to wear lingerie to impress mates, even if you’re cuddling with your protective older brother?
There is, thankfully, a slight catch. The beds are actually twin beds, and they’re separated from each other ever so slightly. One sits around six inches higher than the other. I can still hear a Netflix producer arguing about the beds, “No, they’ve got to share one queen bed!” And then, the voice of reason says, “What about bunk beds?” Clearly, a compromise was reached, resulting in twin beds nearly smashed together.
This wouldn’t be as big of a problem if Dated and Related was not a dating show. We’re supposed to believe that these folks have FBoy Island-levels of horniness, all under the watchful eye of their siblings. What’s even worse is that a handful of sibling pairs start dating other sibling pairs—i.e. one brother goes for someone’s sister, while his sister goes for her brother’s new girlfriend’s brother.
Dated and Related, in turn, begins to look a lot like that viral story about the twins who married a set of twins, had children, and now live together. It’s creepy. A pair of twin sisters in Dated and Related have their eye on a duo of English brothers, and they’ll frequently both hop into bed with the guys. What we have here is four players, two sisters, two brothers, one family, and one very grossed-out viewer.
The whole bed situation contributes to the fact that contestants are forced to share nearly every minute of their camera time alongside their siblings. They’ll be pining after someone on set, but when the opportunity to kiss finally arises, oop! There’s big sis, watching with a creepy grin from the sidelines.
And then, at the end of the day, the players squash their libido by hopping into a joint bed with their siblings (and, at times, they’re joined by lovers), as if they were Charlie Bucket’s grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
There’s a $100,000 cash prize and a shot at real love at the end of Dated and Related, but that’s not enough money to lose one’s dignity. There are plenty of viral tweets asking, “Would you hit your sibling for $1 million?”—usually, the answer is a resounding yes; folks even pledge to complete the task for a buck—but this is a new ethical quandary. Would you sleep with your sibling on TV, in front of your new significant other, for $100,000? Think about it.