Netflix has made some incredible dating shows, including Love Is Blind, the quintessential quarantine love story, and Too Hot To Handle, where a bunch of hot commitment-phobic 20-somethings spend a month on a beach trying not to have sex with each other for the chance of winning $100K.
While I have religiously binge-watched both of these shows and practically all of their predecessors, I am always disheartened by the lack of Jewishness. In the most recent season of The Bachelor, which was a fun little nightmare, finalist Madison Prewitt often spoke about her strong faith and her need to have a partner who is as committed to God as she is. She’s not the only contestant in this show’s history to openly discuss their faith, but the common thread is that most if not all religious discussions seem to be Christian, because most if not all the contestants on these dating shows are Christian (shout-out to Jewish exceptions Lacey Mark and Jason Tartick!).
But I’ve got some good news for you: There are endless opportunities for Big Reality TV to turn this ship around, expand their horizons, and provide some much-needed content. I want to see a dating show where contestants talk about their bubbes! I want to see matches compare their bar and bat mitzvah stories! I want a real-life Mrs. Maisel style romance story minus the cheating husband bit! So here are some ideas for ya, Netflix, or whatever streaming service feels so inclined to indulge me post-quarantine.
1. Yenta Your Love Life
A group of matchmaking Jewish women interview a dozen Jewish singles one by one and determine which ones would make the best matches. Then they set them up on very Jewish dates — a Fiddler on The Roof screening, a trip to the local deli, a bagel-making class, etc. etc. — and the matches get to rate how successful the date is, with the opportunity for the Yentas to re-match folks or bring in new contestants. But in a plot twist, mid-way through the season the contestants try to set up the yentas with their own perfect matches!
2. Birthright Romance
We send a group of recent college graduates on a Birthright trip, something that is literally made for the purpose of getting Jews to fall in love with each other, and film them as they try and fail to find their match. There’s obviously a camel-riding group date, a sexy Dead Sea beach day, and of course a night in a Bedouin tent. Any couples who get engaged will win a free honeymoon back to the homeland, which I’m pretty sure is actually a real thing for Birthright participants who end up getting married. This dating show is unfortunately sponsored by Sheldon Adelson.
3. Puppy Love
So I know this technically does not require the daters to be Jewish but I have a theory that all dogs are Jewish, and I will be taking no further questions on this matter. The premise is you send a bunch of dog lovers and their pets to a beautiful retreat on the California coast, and every day the dogs go to the beach and whichever dogs spend the most time playing with each other, their owners get to go on dates. So basically you get to see a bunch of cute puppies having the time of their lives AND you get to see some cute Lady and The Tramp-esque dates.
4. Summer Camp Sweethearts
A group of Jewish singles get to relive their summer camp days and are tasked with various challenges throughout the show. We’re talking canoeing, we’re talking arts and crafts, we’re talking sneaking into your crush’s bunk bed unnoticed. As relationships progress, couples will go from campers to counselors-in-training to camp presidents. This show is hosted by Paul Rudd who will be wearing his costume from Wet Hot American Summer.
5. Any dating show they’ve already made but with normal looking people
I would like a free vacation and a chance to find love! However I am not an Instagram model, but instead an average-looking Jewish girl who has been on one too many JSwipe dates. I still deserve a shot at romance and want to be on a fun reality TV show! I’m tired of seeing stuck-up egotistical air-headed 10s date each other! Say it with me, 5s, representation matters!
All images designed by Grace Yagel. Image of wedding ring by DEVASHISH_RAWAT; star of david by cl2004lhy; rose by Tetra Images; beach by Suttipong Sutiratanachai; puppy by Hans Surfer; lake by the_burtons / getty images; lock by Hóng Zhi Zhòng Ju / EyeEm; Paul Rudd via Wet Hot American Summer.