When most people think of dating shows, a few classics pop up in their heads—The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and maybe Love Island. These shows all have the same premise—hot men trying to date hot women, or vice versa. These cookie–cutter heterosexual relationships begin to seem repetitive, and there’s only so many times we can watch a beautiful girl cry over a fuck boy (I’m looking at you, Luke P.). Luckily, MTV is looking to change the predictability this season by making the cast of their long–running dating show Are You The One? sexually fluid.
Are You The One? has a simple premise—10 guys and 10 girls are paired up by a matchmaking algorithm and must find out if they’re truly compatible. The results are kept secret from the participants, and if all of the singles manage to pair up with the correct partner, they will get to share what host Terrance J describes as “the largest cash prize ever awarded by an MTV show” ($1 million) and a possible life partner.
This season, however, all the contestants are pooled together and can pair up with anyone they choose. The algorithm is still there—stat majors, don’t freak—and the producers made sure to alter it to adjust for higher variables. This is because everyone in the cast identifies as sexually fluid, which is “the idea that sexual orientation can change over time, and depending on the situation at hand.” This could mean that people identify as bisexual, pansexual, or something else entirely.
Additionally, some contestants on AYTO? identify as non—binary, which is defined as “an umbrella term to describe any gender identity that does not fit into the gender binary of male and female.” This means that the person can identify as a mix of genders, or as no gender at all.
In short, everyone has the opportunity to be attracted to anyone in this season. Netflix’s show Dating Around opened the door for this type of content by developing a show that includes people of color and LGBTQ+ couples, but AYTO? goes a step further by including non–binary people and by making the entire cast sexually fluid.
The show’s clinical psychologist, Frankie Bashan, commented, "I think the biggest thing I think is the visibility of this sexually fluid cast. It’s unprecedented. So when they asked me to be a part of it, how could I say no to something this amazing? I think it’s going to be pretty beautiful to see.”
Having a cast that's completely sexually fluid will be challenging in certain ways, the main one being that everyone in the house could viably be interested in the same person. Aside from the challenges, Dr. Bashan is right—no one has attempted to create a program like this before, and many members of the LGBTQ+ community are praising the representation given to non–binary and queer people. The premise is definitely ambitious, but ratings have been consistently high for the first few episodes.
Are You The One? premiered June 26 on MTV and the most recent episodes are available to stream on MTV.com.