Top 5 Cheesy Reality Dating Shows to Binge Watch on Valentine’s Day

By Camryn McLen

I used to say that watching reality shows was my guilty pleasure. But if I’m being honest, I’m not even guilty about it anymore. You’re lying to yourself if you say reality shows aren’t entertaining. 

My favorite type of reality TV are the cheesy romance ones where people find love on the show and then end up breaking up right after. 

Except for “The Bachelor” franchise…it’s a little overrated for me.

If you’re like me and enjoy reality dating shows, then these top five shows are just begging for you to watch them this Valentine’s day.


5. “Joe Millionaire”

“Joe Millionaire” is about two guys trying to find love, of course, but there’s a catch to it. One of the men is a millionaire and the other is not. The women aren’t told who is who in the beginning and don’t get to find out until the end of the show. 

The show is really about seeing which women are in it for the money and which women are there for true love. Every week there are eliminations until there are only two women left for each of the men. 

The women can either pursue just one of the guys, or they can pursue both of them. Just like most other dating reality shows, the women have challenges every week and get chosen by the guys to go on dates. 

Throughout the weeks, there are group dates in which half of the girls go on a date with one guy and the other half go with the other guy. In some circumstances, the guys are able to each pick one girl to go on a date with. 

This is available on Hulu.


4. “Love is Blind”

This show first premiered on Netflix in February 2020. There are 15 women and 15 men from the same city who are kept separated from each other. The only time the women and men can talk is inside of a small room which they call a “pod.”

The catch is that they can’t see each other in the pods. Instead, they can only hear one another because they are separated by a wall.

The point of the show is about making a true connection with someone and finding love without the aspect of physical attraction. They are in the pods for 10 days and throughout that time, the contestants can decide whether or not to get engaged if they find a true connection with someone. Once they’re engaged, they are finally able to see their partner for the first time. 

The couples are then sent to a retreat where they are able to meet the other engaged couples during their stay there. 

After the retreat, the couples are put into an apartment complex where they navigate through what living together will be like. At that point they are able to meet each other’s families before finally getting to their wedding day.

Either partner can decide whether or not to go through with the wedding, and that’s when they truly find out if love is actually blind. 

This is available on Netflix.


3. “Too Hot To Handle”

This show is a little more raunchy, but still has the same amount of drama. A group of singles are chosen to meet at a retreat where they are misled to believe they are on a different show. They think they’ll be partying and hooking up with one another during their stay, but their thoughts are proven wrong. 

A cone shaped device, named Lana, reveals the truth to the contestants during their first night. She says that the group of singles are there because they’re awful at dating, and she wants to help them make more meaningful connections. To motivate them, Lana tells the contestants they can win a $100,000 prize if they make it through the retreat.

With conditions of course.

Lana tells them that the rules are “no kissing, no heavy petting or sex of any kind,” to which the contestants dramatically react like their lives are over.

There are times where Lana will allow certain contestants to break the rules for a couple of minutes, but only if she can tell there is a genuine connection between a couple.

If any of the contestants break the rules, money is deducted from their prize. Each rule costs a different amount of money with kissing being a $3,000 deduction. 

This is available on Netflix.


2. “Love Island: UK”

Though I do enjoy watching “Love Island Australia” as well, the drama on the UK version is much better and more intense.

If you haven’t heard of “Love Island” you might be living under a rock.

“Love Island” starts out with five girls and five guys, and the guys get to choose which girl to couple up with. 

Couples are required to sleep in the same bed in the communal bedroom. In the case of two people from different couples who like each other and want to sleep in the same bed, they’re allowed to sleep outside on one of the daybeds. 

Every so often the islanders participate in a recoupling, alternating between the guys and girls choosing depending on the number of guys and girls there are. For example, if there are six girls and five boys, and the boys are choosing, it is likely that the sixth girl will be dumped from the island.

In the later seasons, the producers added a smaller villa close by called Casa Amore. At Casa Amore, either the girls or the guys are sent there and put to the ultimate test. Six brand new guys are sent in for the girls and six brand new girls are sent in for the guys.

If a person returns from Casa Amore with someone new, their old partner is left single and vulnerable to be dumped from the villa.

This (and “Love Island Australia”) is available on Hulu.


1. “Are You the One”

Though it’s definitely the trashiest and a little raunchy, it’s beyond entertaining and the drama is neverending.

Twenty singles, 10 guys and 10 girls, are brought to Hawaii to find their “perfect match.” Before the show, professional matchmakers make the contestants go through an extensive process with algorithms, questionnaires, compatibility tests and interviews. 

The contestants have 10 weeks to find their perfect match and win $1 million through what they call “match up ceremonies.” The matching ceremonies involve either the men or women picking who they think their perfect match is.

There are 10 beams of light at every ceremony, and each one represents a perfect match. For every perfect match the group finds, a beam of light is lit in the air. While the beams indicate there is one or more perfect matches, it does not tell the contestants who the perfect matches are.

Throughout their stay, the contestants compete in challenges where the winners are able to pick who they want to take on a date. 

If all the contestants are able to find out their perfect match, they collectively win the prize money.  

Seasons four, six and seven are available on Hulu.


What’s your favorite reality dating show? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter or leave a comment!

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