Secrets of Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” Dating Capsules

Bars. Parties. Volleyball teams. Dating apps. For singles, the question of where to meet is vital.

“Am I really going to meet my wife at a grocery store?” asks Cole Barnett, a 27-year-old realtor and contestant on Season 3 of the Netflix dating show Love Is Blind. The supposed answer is no, no matter how often he roams the aisles of his local Trader Joe’s, eyeing both frozen Thai vegetable dumplings and other shoppers’ ring fingers.

That’s why, apparently, Cole and 29 other singles chose to seek love and not a crowded club or busy bookstore. Instead, they headed for “pods” just big enough to hold a couch and all their expectation, the person on the other side of a soothing, swirling blue wall is wedding material.

“There’s something about pods that really allows people to be incredibly vulnerable,” said Ally Simpson, executive producer of Love Is Blind.

The first four episodes of Season 3 of Love Is Blind were released on Netflix this week. For those who have managed to avoid the memes, the show puts singles in their 20s and 30s in small rooms called pods, where they talk to each other for hours without seeing each other. Until they get engaged, that is.

The show explores whether people can fall in love without the usual issues like age, height, or weight getting in their way. (It helps that most of the cast are labeled as conventionally attractive.) After meeting in person, the engaged couple spend time at a resort, live in shared apartments, and ideally walk to the altar. Since the show began in 2020, there have been four marriages, two of which ended in divorce. But it all starts with dates in the pods.

Each octagonal pod has one of the aforementioned sofas – gray and usually rounded or square – and a circular ottoman that rests on a long strip of dark red rug (red being a nod to love and romance) . Walls are plush, and pillows are usually a mix of earthy browns and reds. Although you can’t see it on the screen, each pod contains hidden snacks.

Simpson said there were two main goals in designing the pods: they have to be comfortable and they can’t be awkward.

“We want you to go there and feel like you’re at home, feel like you’re on a date and just be a comfortable place to be for a long, long time – they talk for hours and hours,” Simpson told me over the phone.

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An aerial view of the pods.

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Some daters certainly feel comfortable. While most start out dressed in three-piece suits and silky semi-formal dresses, inevitably they begin to enter the pods in activewear, carrying their blankets and the signature gold metal tumblers that have gone viral. The Prim posture gives way to sitting on the floor or lying on the sofa. Or, in the case of 29-year-old Pilates instructor Raven Ross, jumping jacks.

Although pods are sparsely provided, actors can ask producers for anything from more elaborate themed dates to facial masks to nachos. In the first batch of episodes this season, Ross brings yoga balls for her and her date (and later an exercise band). There was a silent disco where the actors could listen to music among themselves through headphones. Simpson even said there was a beach-themed get-together, including beach chairs, which didn’t make it into the season finale cut.

“If you’re going to marry someone, you want to know you can have fun with them,” Simpson said. “You want to know, do we connect on the music? When she gets her sushi, is she picky about what sauce was there or not? You want to create these experiences to try to learn the most possible on each other.”

talk to the wall

The larger color palette of the pods can be quite muted, but there is a noticeable bright band of color in each pod. The sofas face a blue wall that shines and swirls. Simpson said it was meant to symbolize the energy of the person in the adjacent pod, to help daters feel closer and less like they were just listening to a voice coming through a speaker from elsewhere. She said the show’s producers spent time sitting, staring at the wall themselves and wondering if it’s right for them.

“If it was just a white wall, you might feel like you were all alone in this room,” Simpson said. They landed on the blue tone of the wall as something inviting without being a distraction.

When it comes time to propose, most of the time couples get up from the couch and face each other through that blue wall.

Cole Barnett, kneeling in front of the blue wall.

Cole Barnett makes his marriage proposal in front of the blue wall.

netflix

As eager as couples are to get out of the pods and, you know, watch each other, for some, those pod conversations end up being the easiest part of the relationship. Season 1’s Mark Cuevas and Jessica Batten went through their share of turmoil — partly because Jessica was hooked up to another pod guy — but in a last ditch effort to reconnect, Mark tried to recreate the pod experience in their apartment.

The couple sat on opposite sides of a wall with candles, rose petals and fancy dinners, and as Simpson pointed out, that night was the night they finally took the leap of having sexual relations.

“It can be scary to look someone in the eye and share something,” Simpson said. “It just makes you feel safe, like, ‘I’m just going to put it on the wall. I know someone’s on the other side, but I feel like I’m telling the wall.'”

Don’t panic when a voice behind the wall asks you to marry him.

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