Netflix’s latest dating reality show is here, and it’s the opposite of “Love Is Blind,” the show it comes from. “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” is part of the dating experiment.
The starting point for the show is that six couples have reached a crossroads in their respective relationships. One partner is ready to get married while the other still has reservations before going down the hall. So the partner who is ready to get married has an ultimatum.
The couples go their separate ways and choose a potential partner from one of the other couples to move in with for three weeks. When the three weeks are over, they reunite for a while and decide whether they want to get married or go their separate ways.
The show, hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, is filled with about as much drama as you probably would have predicted, if not more.
In this conversation, HuffPost reporters discuss the clutter, the horniness, and the general chaos that occurs in the program.
(Editor’s note: This piece contains spoilers for season 1 of “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On.” However, you can scroll to the bottom if you want to know if you should watch.)
What did you think of “The Ultimatum”?
Rate: So, first thoughts: This show is messy messy.
Ruth: A lot – and in my opinion, everyone needs to break up.
Rate: Absolutely. This kind of sequel does not have to be on TV, but the little drama bird in me is so happy about it.
Ruth: Do I feel like something in a relationship that comes as a result of power or encouragement? Basically not a good foundation. BUT it’s interesting to see unfold, especially because we’ve been fed the exact opposite on mainstream dating shows. Here we have a good chunk of people with engagement issues trying to make fetch happen, whereas “Married at First Sight”, “Bachelor” and company are all people who are almost too keen on jumping into engagement.
It’s also fun (and alarming ???) to see the different attitudes and discourses of people on social media. What made me laugh the most is that people say they’m so shocked at how young they are, and I say, ‘Oh, it’s just going on in Austin, Texas, everyone. It’s common in the South. . ”
Rate: The cast is much younger than I expected, which immediately made me cringe. I’m like you’re all in your 20s and most of you have only been in your relationship for a few years. What is the urgency of getting married? And to someone who is on the fence about marrying you! I feel that if you have to give someone an ultimatum to marry you, then you all have major problems that need to be solved before marriage is on the table, but that’s just me. You like it, I love it.
Rate: The age group I get culturally is even a Midwestern girl, yet I’m like BIG YIKES.
Ruth: Like, why are you trying so hard to make the retrieval happen, PLEASE? You do not die alone!
So what’s up with the couples?
Rate: Let’s talk about this chaotic cast.
Ruth: You can see which people are loud, resent their partners. At first glance, it seems that Madlyn was REALLY annoyed with Colby.
Rate: And I’m annoyed with their relationship, so I understand. Madlyn and Colby are probably my two least favorite characters in this show. Colby is so much manipulative throughout the season and Madlyn is just as evil as hell. And the way she fetishes Randall, one of the three black men in the program, makes me furious. The two are the worst.
Ruth: YES. I will never forget how uncomfortable it made me when her friends suggested that sex with Randall would be more “memorable”. What bothers me even more is that Randall did not quite … see it? Like … I know everyone goes all out in the experiment, but open your eyes!
Rate: And I wonder if Randall did not see it or if he chooses not to talk about it. I feel like he’s playing a little with the camera. (Although many black men who are fetishized by white women tend to behave like shit is cute when it clearly is not.)
Ruth: Then Rae said, “I can cook, clean, fuck, etc., so where’s the ring?” still she could not figure out what she really liked about Zay … girl …
Rate: And Rae … poor baby. I just want to give her a hug and tell her that it’s OK to find herself without what this idealized life after graduation looks like for her. As much as this show is a mess, I really think she needed something to shake up her reality a bit. Zay is not good for her and she is not good for Zay. She is emotionally handicapped because she has not fully explored herself and he needs therapy and to learn to speak to women. I knew their relationship was over when they sat down for the first dinner. Homegirl could not even say what she liked about a man she has been in a relationship with for two years. Post it!
Ruth: Something I noticed with Rae and Zay as well as Jake and April is that it seemed like the only thing that forbade them to look up is how disappointed everyone around them would be. A “relationship” of pure obligation is not a relationship. LAUGH OUT LOUD.
As for manipulation, Nate, who was courting the other girl right after Alexis got his courtship … a mess. You want children, Lauren does not – and you proposed just after you saw that you had no one to form a couple with. OKAY.
Rate: That Nate suggestion literally made me SCREAM. It was so junk. He asked her literally right after two women he wanted to live with chose another. The man panicked and went out sad.
Nate and Lauren should not have even been on this show in the first place. Their problem was that he wanted many children, and she did not. Again, humans, therapy works wonders!
Rate: And I’m most angry about that suggestion because we as an audience were deprived of a potentially messy story with her and Colby. They actually had a connection. Madlyn would have shaken in her boots, honestly.
And as for Alexis and Hunter, the couple whose engagement I actually believe in, all the best to them.
Ruth: Right. I hate to say it, but I laughed at the way Alexis was SO hurt when Colby – the one who gave the ultimatum to her partner and wanted to return to her partner – told her she was not the right one for him. I thought, ‘Girl … get together. STAND UP!’ Have you never been rejected before? PLEASE.
And honestly would have loved to see something flourish between Lauren and Colby. I’m not lying, I appreciated the first kind of friendship between Colby and April – but then they kissed and I was confused!
Rate: That kiss between Colby and April threw me in a loop! This show quickly turned into a horny party.
Side note, I know Nick and Vanessa Lachey were PISEDE with the two surprise engagements. Such a way to ruin production. LAUGH OUT LOUD.
Ruth: I was annoyed because I know that with “Love Is Blind” you supposedly can not opt out after a certain time in the show.
And horny-party is the word!
Rate: However, I’m not mad at Shanique for doing what she was supposed to do with Zay. She said everyone else gets theirs, I might as well get mine too.
Ruth: As much as people can pretend that this show is an attempt (albeit awful) at open relationships and polygamy, etc., to me, it seems like a free window of infidelity.
Rate: Yup. Definitely a hall pass, if you will.
Ruth: Madlyn talks about Randall in front of Shanique. Shanique is better than me because I would have lost it. The sexualization, the blurred speech, the out-of-turn talk about everyone but herself …
Rate: Listen. When Zay asked Shanique, “What the hell are you making those faces for,” I sat up on my couch. Who are you talking to like that? It’s clear that Shanique checked on Zay in a way he was not used to with Rae. Shanique knows how to defend herself in a way that may look different from Rae, and I think Zay has not been challenged that way in a relationship.
Ruth: I can not stand Zay at all.
Rate: Zay frustrates me so much, but I really think he will get better, but do not know how. That’s no excuse at all for his emotionally violent bullshit, but I need him to go into therapy before he gets another relationship. ASAP.
Ruth: He is childish while pretending to be the judge of good behavior and emotional depth.
This is not a build-a-man workshop. Next.
Rate: Do you know the saying “Wounds hurt people hurt”?
Rate: It’s honestly most of these people on this show now that I think about it. It does not help at all to see them navigating this traumatic show.
Ruth: It is a LOT to sit and see through emotionally.
However, it gets renewed because people love clutter like I do.
Rate: I know we’ve already said this, but god, these people are so young and still find out a lot about love and life and themselves, especially.
I loved what you said the other day about how this really is the complete opposite of its predecessor, “Love Is Blind.” On “Love Is Blind” everyone is (allegedly) very confident and very excited to get married. Whereas everyone in “The Ultimatum” literally questions whether they actually are or not, leading to much more reflection as an individual than as a couple.
Ruth: As a 22-year-old, like … I can ‘t imagine doing this on a show, on national television.
Rate: It is the No. 1 watched program on Netflix. Lmao.
I just know it could not be me.
Ruth: No EXACTLY. Even if you give me an ultimatum about something as simple as doing the dishes? I’m out.
I will not do it out of sheer defiance. Like no.
Rate: Oh, I almost forgot. We have not even talked about Jake yet!
Jake hates April and wants us to know.
Ruth: HI!!! LIKE ????? I was like, “Baby, why are you here ?!”
You said she pulled you on – we got the message SEVERAL times! Beat up with her!
Rate: As soon as Rae spoke to him, he was ready to leave April.
Rate: The two are a bit of a mess, but it was also a little nice to see that Rae wanted more for himself. I think part of her fell for what she thought she wanted without looking at the world around her.
And I do not know how April and Jake got along, but they should have stopped a long time ago.
Ruth: Could not have said it better myself. You hit the nail on the head in both situations.
Rate: I found that I did not care so much about Randall and Shanique’s relationship. Something about it felt fake to me. I could not quite put my finger on it, but I found myself rooting more for Shanique as an individual (even though she is petty at times) than them as a couple. I feel like they’re going through a bit.
Ruth: The way he was SO quick to start telling Madlyn about how “bold” and “argumentative” she is (for lack of a better expression) was so jarring to me.
Ruth: It gave a tinge of misogyny.
Ruth: (And he is a Que. I will not go into that. I personally go far away from all Greek men.)
Rate: And honestly, that’s the best.
Rate: But you are absolutely right. The juxtaposition there was familiar but still jarring and left a really bad taste in my mouth. Whatever the reason, a black woman’s opinion sounds aggressive compared to a white woman’s.
So you should see it?
Ruth: If they like clutter, this is for them. LAUGH OUT LOUD. If they are interested in watching a new spin on dating reality TV (or just love dating shows in general), I would say they should give it a watch (shrug).
Rate: Agreed. If you’re a messy bitch who lives for drama. Like myself and Joanne, I would say, watch it. And hate hitting a dead horse, but it’s also nice to see this on the other side of therapy, knowing that this whole experiment is a train wreck, so it helps too!