Strict Drink Limits, Code Names, And No Clocks Allowed: 25 Behind-The-Scenes Facts And Secrets From Dating Shows

    Love is Blind films about 30,000 hours of footage which amounts to 1250 days or three and a half years' worth.

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    1. Love Island contestant Kady McDermott told Cosmopolitan that dinner was cooked for the cast, and that people are rarely seen eating on the show because the crew would use that time to change out their microphone batteries.

    some of the male contestants hanging around the outdoor kitchen

    Said McDermott, "The food tasted amazing. They used to give us a dessert after every lunch and every dinner, and the cake was unreal, and we could request food if we wanted."

    a group of contestants cuddle on the outdoor swing

    Another ex-islander, Chris Williamson, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, that they weren't filmed while eating for a very simple reason: It would sound super gross.

    three of the women sitting on bean bags outside
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    Williamson said, "Have you ever heard anyone eat up close with a microphone around their neck? It sounds like someone walking through mud — it's absolutely disgusting. And everyone's got sauce all over their face and stuff like that. Who wants to see that?"

    the group hangs around a fire pit

    2. As for alcohol, there's less of it than you may think. According to McDermott, drinks were limited to "two glasses of wine a night" that she and the other islanders were certain was "watered down." However, there's more alcohol available during the first few days "to break the ice."

    one of the guys lounging on a pool chair with a drink

    3. At the villa, no one ever knows what time it is, and clocks and watches aren't permitted. Said McDermott, "You don’t even know what time it is! You’re not allowed clocks. You’re in your own secluded world, you know nothing — you don’t even know what day it is really. We started to figure out the time by where the sun was!"

    Williamson said in his interview that what clocks they did see were changed to show the wrong time. He explained, "If you were to be driven to a date location, the driver of the car would have his watch on a different time and the clock in the car would be a different time to that." He guessed that the show bothered with this temporal trickery to "dictate people's sleep and wake cycles more easily."

    4. McDermott said that there was a "medic on site 24 hours a day and on standby during the challenges," and that producers would encourage them to sit in the shade if they were developing a sunburn. She recalled, "We were in really safe hands. They did properly look after us."

    the group in their swim attire dancing outside

    And former contestant Montana Brown told the Independent's Millennial Love podcast that the cast have access to a psychologist while filming. Brown said, "She’s always on call once you’re there. They give you a lot of emotional support in that sense."

    four of the contestants hang out on the day bed outside

    5. Love is Blind Season 2 cast member, Jarrette Jones, told BuzzFeed that the pod dates could last up to three hours.

    Iyanna and Jarrette sitting on a couch for an interview

    Said Jones, "It was very long days. You start out dating 15 women, and then each day the women that you're dating decreases — but as your dates decrease, the time frame of the dates are increasing. When we got to day eight or nine, we were dating for three hours during the day — and then night dates, where it was up to two hours."

    6. Luckily for the cast, the pods are cozy enough to make those long days more bearable. Creator Chris Coelen told Entertainment Tonight, "One of the things I was amazed by was that they didn't want to leave the pods, ever. They just wanted to be in the pods and spend as much time as they possibly could in there because they took it seriously and were truly falling for people. I think they were having fun doing it. We, of course, had to take them out of the pods to go to the bathroom, or to do an interview, eat or sleep. Sometimes people would even fall asleep in the pods, and we'd just let them."

    one of the men gets comfy on the couch with a glass of wine and his notes

    7. And while the pods are all right next to each other, they're soundproofed, so there's no eavesdropping on other peoples' dates. In the same interview, Coelen said, "The pods were all soundproofed so you couldn't hear what was going on in the pods next to you. There was a little speaker in the front of the pod that was only connected to the pod across from you. That's the way that you could hear the person on the other side of the wall."

    8. Coelen explained that since the contestants who wanted to propose couldn't buy an engagement ring in the "real world," they were instead allowed to choose a ring from "a couple of choices."

    He added, "It's obviously such a gigantic moment in people's lives that we wanted it to be as authentic to them as it possibly could be."

    aerial view of two of the pods facing each other

    9. All that romance equals a ton of footage. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Coelen said that the season is edited from "over 30,000 hours of footage."

    a woman in the pod sitting on the couch and smiling

    If you're curious, 30,000 hours works out to 1250 days, or nearly three-and-a-half years.

    the hosts of the show standing in the set kitchen

    10. Chris Harrison, the former host of The Bachelor franchise, said in a 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight that it's a misconception that they film everyone "24/7" and that the production doesn't use hidden cameras or microphones to film contestants unawares.

    the host stands in front of all the women competing

    Harrison said, "There's no hidden mics anywhere. It's not a gotcha show. It's not a hidden camera show. ... We know what we're going to use and we really do shoot specific things. We don't have hidden cameras in the ceilings. And we tell people, if you are in the bathroom or whatever, you're off-mic." He noted that the show lets contestants have "a lot of alone time if you need that personal space."

    four of the women sitting on a bench outside with glasses of wine

    11. As for why the driveway on the show is always wet, Harrison solved that minor reality TV mystery in a 2012 Entertainment Weekly blog post. Apparently, they "water it down so that it looks pretty on TV."

    12. Sean Lowe, a Bachelorette contestant who then became the Bachelor himself, told Glamour that no one eats the food served during the one-on-one dates, for more or less the same reasons viewers don't see people on Love Island eat.

    Sean giving a necklace as a gift to one of the contestants on a date

    Lowe explained, "Nobody eats, and that's primarily because nobody wants to watch you eat and the mikes will pick up the chewing. So between the two date portions, they would bring us to a hotel, where you can shower and change and get ready — and it's during that time that you can eat."

    couple on a date

    13. In the same interview, he revealed that since the show's producers are "so paranoid about spoilers and people getting inside information," they give the contestants code names.

    two people on a date outside with the city views behind them

    Said Lowe, "From the very beginning, they never called me Sean over the radio; it was always Clyde. The girl, no matter what girl it was, was always Bonnie. It's almost like you are in the Secret Service."

    two people on a carriage ride

    14. Married At First Sight Season 2 cast member Clark told Cosmopolitan UK that the questionnaire used to match contestants contains 500 questions.

    a bride and groom dancing at the wedding

    The questions cover subject matter as diverse as "your religious views, your political views, what you find attractive, your sexual history, [and] whether you are sexually active."

    a promo shot of four of the people

    15. In the same interview, Clark said that the show has "budget already set aside" for contestants who want to get a divorce, like he did. He explained, "When I sat down with the production crew and explained to them why I was making my decision, they understood."

    a newly wed couple laughing in the kitchen

    16. According to E! Online, as of 2018, Married At First Sight had a "22.2 percent success rate," with four couples out of 18 matches still together.

    a different couple dancing in the kitchen

    17. In Netflix's Too Hot to Handle, contestants are penalized for sexual activity, with chunks of $100,000 in prize money being taken away depending on the nature of the contact. For instance, a kiss will set the group back $3,000.

    three of the women by the pool

    In an interview with TheWrap, executive producers Viki Kolar and Jonno Richards recalled that assigning dollar amounts was a struggle. Richards said, "There were these sort of long discussions to work out what was the right amount to be a penalty when they got it, but people could still work with that."

    2 couples outside, the men getting massages

    Kolar added, "We wanted to make it acceptable to break the rules so that we would have a show, but we also didn’t want to be too much about the money." She noted that she thought fining the contestants $6,000 for oral sex was "a bit cheap".

    the men hanging out in swim trunks

    18. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Too Hot to Handle contestant, Cam Holmes, said that he and his fellow cast members really believe they've signed up to appear on a show called Parties in Paradise. Despite the fact that Holmes had a "bit of an inkling" about the show's true identity, the production staff went to great lengths to trick the cast, to the point of producing fake merch.

    Holmes recalled, "I got picked up from my quarantine period to go to the villa and the guy had a Parties in Paradise hat and it was facing backwards and staring me in the face the whole time." When he realized the show was actually Too Hot to Handle, he thought, "I can't be going on here, this is a dreadful premise of a show! No one's gonna watch this!"

    19. Similar to Love Island, you won't be able to find a clock or a watch in the Too Hot to Handle villa. Holmes said he had "no perception of time" while filming.

    the group of contestants on the beach playing limbo

    And while the cast was allowed to smoke cigarettes (under the watchful eye of security), like the Love Islanders, they were limited to two alcoholic beverages a night.

    a couple sits in a hammock that's over the water

    20. Dating Around executive producer Chris Culvenor told BuzzFeed that each "lead dater" has to wear the same outfit on each of their five first dates to help make the episode's editing seamless.

    a man stands outside of a restaurant with flowers

    He explained, "They wore the same outfit so we could seamlessly cut between the various dates. This allowed us to stitch together five timelines into one sequence and ultimately allowed us [to] compare and contrast the various experiences they had."

    a couple at a dinner date

    21. Showrunner Alycia Rossiter told Vulture that the show looked for its potential cast members in unexpected locations. She said, "The other thing is that we asked our casting directors not just go to bars and nightclubs. We went to bridge clubs, we went to libraries, we went to bookstores, we tried to go to places that weren’t necessarily top-level meat-market destinations." In the same interview, Culvenor said that they aimed to find people who "wouldn’t go on shows like this."

    different couple on a date

    22. The show asks its lead daters to take the week off of work while they're filming the five dates. Culvenor noted that the amount of dates the lead daters are able to go on in a week is "probably the most unrealistic aspect of the show." Culvenor went on, "Within that week, they told their friends and family and their employers that their first priority was this show, and they went on their dates and met all the strangers."

    23. Sexy Beasts cast member Gabi told Cosmopolitan UK that applying the show's signature elaborate prosthetics took two stylists "about three hours". It took another two hours to get the prosthetic off.

    three of the cast members in face prosthetics

    24. Gabi was transformed into an owl, but she didn't get to choose her new persona, nor did any other contestant. Gabi said, "I didn’t choose the owl; they assigned us something on our first morning in the makeup chair, and I also didn’t get to keep any of the costume." She got to wear her own clothes, though.

    Prosthetics director Kristyan Mallett told the LA Times that the show chose who would wear which disguise based simply on who was the best physical fit for it. Mallett explained, "There were situations where somebody was allocated a character but it just didn’t fit because their hair wouldn’t fit under a bald cap or something. So they’d keep trying others on, and everyone would have their fingers crossed until something worked."

    contestant dressed as a deer

    25. And finally: Sexy Beasts' one-of-a-kind premise came from two sources, according to what series creator Simon Welton told the LA Times. Firstly, Welton wanted a set-up that would "help get rid of all the nerves of a first date".

    contestant dressed as a mouse

    And secondly, he was drawn to the contrast between elaborate prosthetics and benign first date chit-chat, which reminded him of the conversations between vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Welton said, "I used to love it when a couple of vampires would suddenly have a chat about mundane things. The juxtaposition of these odd-looking creatures talking about the temperature or something like that, I thought that was funny, and quite arresting as a visual."

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