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I Can’t Stand Dating Shows, But I’m Obsessed with ‘Single’s Inferno’ on Netflix

Let me start by saying that no one is more surprised than I am that I recently binge-watched a reality dating show on Netflix. Based on the premise and cheesy title, it was an instant skip for me, but a friend who has a proven track record for recommending good shows insisted I give it a chance. I ended up watching the entire series in a day.

Netflix

What is Single’s Inferno about?

Single’s Inferno is a Korean dating show on Netflix that takes a group of very attractive (and very chiseled) single strangers and puts them on a remote island with limited amenities for nine days. To be clear, the limited amenities I’m referring to here are still nice enough to be make this glamping, but there is no air conditioning or modern plumbing, and the contestants must draw their own drinking water from a remote station. (For more context in case it helps, I’ve been told the show has a Love Island vibe to it, but that was a reference that was lost on me.)

Here’s the catch: The contestants can’t share their ages or what they do for a living as they search for love, so they must find their match using only their personality. What ensues are the typical shenanigans of a reality dating series (i.e., a lot of ego driven competition and underlying sexual tension) but a more PG version than most shows in this category—or at least most Western shows (by which I mean American or European content).

For example, in one scene, a couple spends the night together in the same bed, but all you see are two people literally sleeping next to each other (which is still racier than the romance arc in many K-dramas, where it takes 11 episodes for the main characters to build up to their first kiss). Perhaps that’s part of the show’s appeal though?

Through a series of challenges that include water racing and water fights, the winners are given the opportunity to spend one night in "Paradise" (a swanky hotel nearby that features all the bells and whistles that aren’t available on the island like wine, pasta and that sweet, sweet AC). In Paradise, they’re allowed to ask each other their age and profession and get to know one another better in the process.

Netflix

What makes this show so binge-worthy?

First, there’s the obvious eye candy. Ranging from their mid-20s to 30s, the contestants are all attractive in their own unique ways. From the personal trainer who has an eight-pack (or maybe even a 12-pack, if that’s possible) to the female boxer who exudes cool to the YouTube star who’s a dead ringer for Jennie from Blackpink, there’s a “type” to suit most tastes.

I also really enjoyed the cutaway commentary from the four hosts of the show, who are well-known comedians, actors and former K-Pop idols. Their reactions to the contestants’ antics and spicy moments during dates had me cackling at my computer.

PUREWOW RATING: 4 OF 5 STARS

As I said, I'm surprised I ended up liking this show so much. Between the beautiful scenery (and, um, people), the welcome sense of escapism as we enter another year of the pandemic and the sort of low-stakes drama that isn't emotionally draining, it was exactly what I needed at this moment. Plus, the series only has eight episodes, so it’s more of a generous snack than a full-on binge.

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