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It’s as if Ashley has body-swapped with Kate on her bathroom break, over and over and over again.
Though dating apps may improve many aspects of modern romance — by making people safer and more accessible — their guardrails also seem to limit the possibilities for it.
Its repeat cameo here is a way to signify romance, even where no romance was present; whether its appearance was noticed naturally by the daters or pointed out by the producers, it functions as a symbol of a symbol, inspiring the young not-lovers to go through the motions.
The importance of compatibility reinforces the sense that love can be found through a formula or a checklist; the idea is as seductive as anyone on this show.
Watching the Netflix show “Dating Around” is like sitting next to a Tinder date at a bar: The possibility that something outrageous, sexy or at least interesting will happen holds your attention long after it has become clear that the people you’re spying on are just as boring as you are.
The series is part of a naturalistic downshift in reality TV; it features neither overt competition nor narrative arc.
The stakeslessness of “Dating Around” might be a refreshing lack of pressure, but it might also reflect the disturbing effects of the same phenomenon in real life.