We often speak of a diamond in the rough. Well, by definition, not too often. Is it a diamond because of its rarity or because it’s a diamond? They are forged in the bowels of the planet by high pressure and temperature. Diamonds are made of carbon atoms. Like everything else, excrement has carbon in it. If you sit on it for a billion years, you’ve got a valuable fossil. Has anyone ever tried this before? If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

If life gives you shit, make diamonds. Before you know it, your friends might be calling you “Rumpelstiltskin.” This is not so much a diamond in the rough as rough in the diamond. It’s an underdog story. Are You The One? 3 is kind of like that. It’s technically the third, but Season 3 is number one. Not number two as you might expect from the way things have been going. Like excrement, the majority of this season was not good. Until, that is, you use it for fertilizer.


In a way, the show fertilized itself. You can be sure the contestants were fertilizing each other. Born of what was was largely a waste, if not a waste of time, the final episode made alchemy. A rising tide lifts all boats. It was a plot twist, but none of it was plotted. It certainly wasn’t earned. This season had the least ambitious cast. By the second week, everyone lost ¼ of the prize. Members seemed more concerned with the Boom Boom Room than the Honeymoon Suite.

Early losses deflated motivation, but these cats had it out for themselves. You can look at it two ways: ¾ of the pot means ¾ incentive or 1.25x caution. Is messing around worth messing up? Are You the One? is flip sided: love and win. The latter is supposed to entail the former. It doesn’t. In general, matches never meet. That is, you probably won’t encounter ideal mates. AYO? implies a perfect ending, if not just a happy one. A philosophical encounter.

I don’t think there is One for anyone. The concept of soulmates is romanticized. More probably, there are a number of individuals with whom one could settle, if not for whom. Settling down, if not in court. There may a best, but I suspect this is subjective. In other words, the better mate is he or she who is actually effectual. A preferable companion isn’t insofar as could work, but actually does. You don’t just work, you work out. The ideal isn’t an individual so much as fit.

Each has strengths and weaknesses. In turn, relationships are different instead of better or worse. I’m referring to compatibility, not enemies. Hundreds were not meant to be even as few are. Hundreds of millions. It might seem like this favors polygamy. If a bunch of people fall in the acceptable range, if not always love, why not both? Rather than one person who is lukewarm on another, you have two lukewarm on each other. The sum is greater than the parts on their own.

A sum? Awesome! If it involves math, you know it counts. 1 + 1 is always 2. Unless “2 Become 1,” in which case, 1 is already a couple. Addition by subtraction. Polygamy can thus be used to educate children, including the many who will be born into it. “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall” in love. Instead of just being with someone who loves you, you can also be with someone who feels you are okay.

Instead of a lonely person, you can be in a relationship you are slightly more than indifferent about. Why not combine married couples? This way, you can substitute husbands and/or wives if somebody gets tired for the day. Polygamy is not swinging. For a swinger, marriage probably indicates, “I like to have sex with my partner et al.” In turn, polygamy probably means, “I like to have sex with my partners in all.” I couldn’t choose between these two or I just didn’t want to.

Just because it could work with multiple doesn’t mean it has to at the same time. I’ve heard it’s unrealistic to expect one person to fulfill all your needs. To that, I say it’s unrealistic to expect all your needs to be fulfilled. Some say it takes a village to raise a child. Are you an infant? “I like to be at the center of my universe, if not just my town.” It’s a treadmill assembly line in which everybody does their thing.

Rather than choose a mate, you choose all of them––everyone. You feel emotionally and sexually whole because everyone touched you in some way. You also have to make it work. To say that people work together also means they’re a team effort. Many are in each other’s “acceptable range.” It doesn’t make sense to fall in line with other candidates. Equal prospects are left with no one. “It’s hard enough to find a correct match; I’m not letting go.” The verdict is questionable if you’re a third wheel, if not just one of three.

How many love triangles would evaporate if a viable alternative emerged? “We’re soulmates! It was meant to be.” Look at this in two ways, one of which is constructive. 1: you’re soulmates in that energy was unified at the beginning of time. Platonic ideals, if not platonic. You were tight before the Big Bang. In that case, essence is from the same place. Essentially, all. “Yeah, but ours were right next to each other.

I can tell because when I’m close, I’d prefer it had always been this way.” ‘Meant to be’ deterministically in that it’s fated. 2: you’re soulmates, if at all, in that you are compatible. Meant to be with a person in the sense that humans are functionally suited to other humans. Certain individuals are more consistently disposed to each other. If anything, each person has several soulmates. If any, several.

In evolution or creationism, it makes no sense for there to only be one potential match. What if this person is halfway around the world? You never know. There are about 1.07 males for every female. That doesn’t mean a male is worth 1.07 females. It just means there might be more of one to the other, if not just for one reason or another. This is very practical or incredibly convenient. Evolution often seems to have a mind of its own.

Some people call this mind “God,” while others call it “evolution.” You can’t see every person, but you might be able to see all of one. Are You the One? should be called Are You One? One thing I’ve learned is the way to win is by coming together. I learned this from AYO? I also learned that it always takes 10 episodes to do this, that is, to operate unity and to learn that it took 10 episodes.

That really is the most amazing thing about the show: they keep ending, if not just ending up in precisely allotted intervals. I imagine the crew figured out it’s enough time for a typical group to win. What’s the technique? Ryan Devlin. The host yields nothing and chides failing. ‘If you follow your heart, I don’t know.’ The truth is you put your heart into it, but follow your mind. Harmony is evaluated by superficial inspection.

I would not be surprised if producers elect the singles then connect them afterwards. The limit was especially evident in Season 3. No one was attracted to their match, despite being encouraged to seek them out. Despite only 10 options. A decent exchange would solve much of the crisis, but contestants invariably court physical attraction. People are chasing coccyx because they’re insulated by arousal.

They’re in a big house on a tropical island surrounded by sex. They have nothing to do but chase their own tails. These individuals are incompetent in matters of the heart. It’s part of the show. Yet when they inescapably find out their hookup is not their perfect match, they rebel. “I’ll show you love! Come on, uhh…babe, let’s bang.” “It’s Gabe.” Time and again, players conflict between the people they are meant to love and the bodies with which they make do.

I suspect an element of self-sabotage. Imagine spending 9 weeks with your perfect match. “Relocate to the Honeymoon Suite.” “Me? Can you imagine spending time around a person with whom you have much in common? You’d just relate and learn about yourself. How mediocre!”  It’s more interesting to extend the search. That’s ironic because these people are not known for prolonged gratification.

“I’m looking for a different kind of heart-to-heart, if you know what I’m not saying.” What’s interesting is how easily, if not just readily, hook ups are mistaken for love. It’s infatuation. Contestants diplomatically allude to finding or making a “connection.” It’s a sexual innuendo for the modern era. You pack a bunch of complicated metaphysics into a boner. That is to say, a lot of people nowadays are hiding behind lust and calling it spiritual.

It’s like how “college is a time to experiment.” With what? Chemistry? Physics? How many variables can you manipulate? “There are only so many.” It’s really more about the people you can do than things you do with them. “Experimenting” makes the enterprise sound rational and methodical. “My joint major is ‘Masters and Johnson and my johnson.’” “You really put the ‘bare all’ in liberal arts.”

Like a “connection,” “experimenting” hints at an intellectual awakening that is just a cowardly way of validating your libido. The expression, not its expression. I’m a big proponent of not saying anything if you don’t have anything nice to say. At the same time, if you have some nice things with some critical ones, it’s okay. Talking shit is bad, though talking about shit is necessary. Both are in bad taste. AYO? is good bad, which means good.

If Season 3 ended with a Hail Mary, 2 ended in a Layup. Layton made an insanely misguided slip. The gimmick was an 11th girl. If, at any time, her match found his other other, #11 went home with nothing. They kept her around through a sort of inept ingenuity. You felt the subconscious machinations. It looks like nobody’s home, but they’re actually in the basement. If everyone picked their matches and 11 was left out, everybody wins.

But if someone picks 11 and is wrong, they’re done. Rather than be safe, Layton made a sorry selection. Instead of Tyler, Layton chose Christina. In doing so, he essentially said, “I would rather lose everything irresponsibly than pick Tyler.” If intended a sign of trust, it’s even worse. I would never trust someone who took such an unsavory gamble on my life, if not just my livelihood. Layton might say, “I knew it was her.” This makes him idiotic or clairvoyant.

The only difference between psychic and psychotic is over time. “I put in the extra hours to achieve the supernatural.” Christina: “You couldn’t have and you shouldn’t have.” Season 3 ended in a different stupefaction. Topping out at three matches, episode 9 is all or nothing. Half inexplicably surrendered. “Let’s pick our most recent conquest in solidarity. If we go incorrectly, we must be right on some level. We can’t all be wrong.”

Nonchalance opened the door for Devin, a local sociopath, to put his foot in it, if not down. It’s interesting because Devin is the worst person on the show, but he kind of reinvented himself. In a way, he redeemed the cast even as he himself was well past redemption. After confiding in the viewer that “I’m a near-genius,” he put the money where his mouth was. He was money. In red solo cups and common sense, two things not always known for each other, he laid it all out.

Devin used the cups like puzzle pieces and glued them in logic. He amassed information and invented a scenario. The group came together. I’ll rephrase: half did. In the penultimate ceremony, two matches beamed. You got the sense he was onto something, unlike Austin, whose plan failed miserably yet cluelessly. All 20 committed to Devin and won. This confirmed that 10 weeks is sufficient. You can divulge your love in 70 days. That’s almost 2 biblical floods.

Reality TV is at its best when the contestants are at their worst. Reality life is the opposite. AYO? is trashy, but it’s not trash. “Is this how most people are? Is this how I am?” are questions you may echo into the void. You see yourself in the bottom of the barrel. If you gaze into it long enough it will gaze back into you. Television knows its audience even if the audience doesn’t know it. I wouldn’t spend valuable time on this, but I already did. AYO? One in a million.

Review: Are You the One? (Season 3)
I'm convinced they wonNot so much are you the one for me
Did not win convincinglyas the one in ten chance you win
7.5Overall Score
Turn of events10
Anthropological value9.2