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In All Its Chaos, Perfect Match May Be The Realest Reality TV Show

The Netflix Reality Universe is as messy and entertaining as ever.

 ‘Perfect Match’ Season 2 Is Honest About Dating On Reality TV

Harry Jowsey is the first to admit he didn’t have what dating-show purists would call “the right reasons” for joining Perfect Match Season 2. His goals were to get drunk, have fun, embarrass himself, and leave, he admitted to Bustle last summer from set in Tulum, Mexico.

This isn’t entirely shocking, except that Perfect Match is a reality dating show, one that brings together singles from Netflix’s other reality TV series, such as Love Is Blind, The Circle, and Too Hot to Handle. And with dating shows comes a hefty amount of moralizing. Just think about The Bachelor: “Is so-and-so here for love, or are they just after fame? Are they a villain if their motives aren’t clear?”

But Harry, who starred in Too Hot to Handle in 2020, cuts through that sanctimonious noise in Season 2, the finale of which airs June 21. And it’s a credit to the show.

Unlike on other reality dating shows, Harry and his co-stars remove the guesswork for viewers immediately, starting in the show’s introductions. They’re refreshingly frank about whether they’re looking for love, hookups, or simply to win.

The approach not only works, but also makes Perfect Match the most authentic reality dating show.

Harry Jowsey and Elys Hutchinson play matchmaker on Perfect Match Season 2.Netflix

On top of that, it’s fun to watch: After all, it is a competition, in which couples who win various challenges are given the opportunity to sow discord by playing matchmaker for their castmates. The loose structure — and inhibitions – makes for a highly messy and super entertaining viewing experience.

Harry, who had three exes on Season 1, was aware his “f*ckboi” reputation preceded him. But things got even messier when Season 1’s winner, Dom Gabriel, returned as well. Things between Dom and his match, Georgia Hassarati, hadn’t panned out — she’d cheated on Dom with Harry. The latter also found himself face to face with fellow Too Hot to Handle alum Stevan Ditter for the first time, who “pretty much slept with a handful of my exes.” See? Mess!

This script could practically write itself, which allowed producers to take a more hands-off approach. “There’s no influence,” says Harry. “We’re just in a house and I get to meet someone who is either going to fall in love with me or hate me.”

Kaz Bishop and Micah Lussier in Perfect Match Season 2.Netflix

Fortunately, the cast was all coming to Tulum on relatively equal footing. For Stevan, having a shared background in the Netflix Reality Universe allowed him to be more himself. “To be able to find a bunch of like-minded people just makes this whole dating experience and social experiment all the better,” he explains. “It’s definitely a more open experience.”

Micah Lussier agrees. The Love Is Blind Season 4 alum tells Bustle that, despite her being “really, really nervous the first few days,” her castmates’ understanding of media backlash, for example, helped her come out of her shell.

“The difference between Perfect Match and Love Is Blind is that I actually get an opportunity to open up and be myself and chase my own journey,” she says. “If I was lucky enough to find someone, I was going to go all in. If not, I was just going to focus on creating good friendships and relationships with people who have experienced similar things as me.” (For the record, Micah teased that she “met someone” in Tulum and was “super happy and excited to see where things go.”)

She wasn’t the only one to couple up. Spoilers ahead.

Stevan Ditter and Alara Taneri in Perfect Match Season 2.Netflix

One day after filming the Season 2 finale, Harry revealed that he “fell in love” with a single mother, who (thanks in part to paparazzi photos) fans figured out was Love Is Blind’s Jessica Vestal.

“My goal wasn’t to come here and have sex, but I ended up having a lot of sex,” Harry says. “Just being around someone that doesn’t care what anyone else says about me and just sees the best in me and wants to go through with it, I was really grateful.”

Stevan, who lives in Los Angeles, has maintained a pragmatic view of how his relationship with U.K.-based Alara Taneri might continue once cameras stopped rolling.

“In every reality dating show, somebody gets in a relationship that’s halfway across the world, and then it never works out,” he said, declining to label their romance after the 21-day shoot. “I want to figure [it] out [on] the outside before making that next step.”

It’s this candor — and lack of obfuscation — that sets the show apart. In all its mess, Perfect Match knows exactly what it is: a juicy series that will quench that summer thirst for authenticity, chaotic or otherwise.