If you've been binge-watching Love Is Blind, you probably have a lot of questions.
Netflix's new No. 1 show is set up like an experiment, where couples are blindly paired together to go on "dates" in individual secluded pods. The goal is to develop an emotional connection (and become engaged!) without ever seeing what the other person looks like. Following a series of proposals, the engaged couples then meet face-to-face for the first time and their relationships are tested in the real world. They ultimately must decide whether they'll commit to marriage (proving that love truly is blind), or walk away from the experience single and back to square one.
Needless to say, after tuning in to the series, we had so many questions -- How much time did they spend in the pods? Were there any conversations off-limits? Wait, where did the other participants go? -- so we went straight to the source to get them answered. Now, ET's breaking down everything we learned from our exclusive chat with series creator Chris Coelen.
(Warning: spoilers ahead! Do not proceed with the Q&A unless you're caught up on the first nine episodes.)
ET: When you started production, did you have any idea the show would do as well as it has?
Chris Coelen: You always hope that it does really well, but no. It's always something we thought touched a nerve, and that's why we developed it for Netflix in the first place. There's a global truth that every single person on the planet -- regardless of where you live or what you look like or how old you are or whether you have money or don't have money, where you come from, or whatever -- wants to be loved for who they are. We thought that that idea would tap into something that was very global. It's been a phenomenal success and I'm just so grateful that people are finding it and loving it as much as we do.
At what point did you realize this "experiment" was working?
There were always doubters, but personally, I always thought people were going to get engaged. Just because I felt like the way that people go about finding love today is very disengaged for all kinds of reasons.
Technology, it's supposed to help us find love but ends up sort of distancing us from connecting on a deeper level. People feel disposable, people feel like they just get swiped on based on an initial appearance. There's so many choices out there, people are distracted. I felt like, if you could take that away, all the distractions and devices, and just allow people that are genuine about wanting that real love to connect and talk, then I thought we would have a good chance of people falling in love.
I think every single person that went through the experience in the pods, they will tell you that it changed their lives. It's really hard to understand that without being there, but I hope we've been able to give people a little taste of that. It's extremely authentic and real.
How many engagements in total were there?
There were eight in total, and we followed six. It wasn't that we didn't want to follow them ... we literally just didn't feel like we had the bandwidth to be able to do justice to all of the stories. It was overwhelming in terms of the way that it worked so well for people.
There were a lot of stories, not only of people who got engaged, but of people who didn't get engaged, which were absolutely fascinating. Truly, we could have made 15 to 20 hours worth of content just based on what happened in the pods. But we had 10 episodes to tell the whole story. There's only so much you can tell and you have to pick and choose. Of the couples we chose to follow, it was a little bit of guessing.
Walk us through the process of how the dates in the pods were set up. How did we go from 15 men and women down to each of them coupling up?
Well, there were actually even more than that in the beginning. I feel like the experiment started closer to 40. They couldn't arrange their own dates in the beginning, so we set up this sort of rotation for them, like speed dating. We wanted to make sure that each person got the opportunity to talk to each of the other people there. Each of them would spend about seven to 10 minutes talking to the person on the other side of the wall.
From that point forward, and as time went along, their goal was to try to find someone, so it was a narrowing down process. They would choose the people who they wanted to talk to again. It was completely their decision.
Were they any topics off-limits in the pods?
We did not tell them what to talk about, or what not to talk about. It was their journey. We didn't have producers, or any crew whatsoever, in the pods with them; they were there by themselves. We were just following their real stories.
Also, the pods were all soundproofed so you couldn't hear what was going on in the pods next to you. There was a little speaker in the front of the pod that was only connected to the pod across from you. That's the way that you could hear the person on the other side of the wall.
What is the longest that a couple stayed in the pods?
At any one time, maybe three or four hours. Once they built connections, they spent a lot of time in there, and they'd do that multiple times a day.
One of the things I was amazed by was that they didn't want to leave the pods, ever. They just wanted to be in the pods and spend as much time as they possibly could in there because they took it seriously and were truly falling for people. I think they were having fun doing it. We, of course, had to take them out of the pods to go to the bathroom, or to do an interview, eat or sleep. Sometimes people would even fall asleep in the pods, and we'd just let them.
It seems on the show that everyone lives in Atlanta, Georgia. How did the casting process work?
It was a really interesting and diverse cast in terms of the fact that they were all from many different places originally. But they were all living around the Atlanta area [at the time of casting]. The reason that we did that was because we wanted to give these people a real shot at making their relationships work for the long term.
Whether you think [love] is going to happen or not, we wanted people that would be ready to be married. If you're really in it -- genuinely in it, which was the No. 1 casting criteria -- it felt to us that it was too much of a bridge for someone living in Miami and someone living in Seattle to build. We thought let's at least start with them in the same geographical area.
We learned that this show actually finished filming in November 2018. How did you keep the results a secret for so long?
Well, people didn't know about the show until recently, so I don't think anybody was looking for it. I think it was a very special experience for everybody involved.
We wanted it to be all authentic and real, so we did not have a problem with them explaining [to family and friends] all the stuff that was real, which was how they met in a certain way, that they got engaged through this experiment, were having a wedding, etc. The only thing we asked them not to express to their families was not to talk about the name of the show or that it's on Netflix.
Speaking of the weddings, how much say did the final couples (Amber Pike and Matthew Barnett, Jessica Batten and Mark Anthony Cuevas, Giannina Milady Gibelli and Damian Powers, Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton, and Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes) have in what their day would entail?
Aside from production logistics, we wanted them to really plan their weddings, and they did. They would talk to one another about things like what they wanted, who they wanted to invite and what they wanted their vows to be.
If they wanted to spend their own money, or try to enhance it within reason, we would certainly allow that. We would never put any constraints on them unless it was something we couldn't accommodate within the show. That was really up to them.
Where did the engagement rings come from? Did the guys get to pick them out from a collection?
They did. Once they decided to get engaged, they were given a couple of choices should they want to take us up on that. That was, again, their choice.
Since they were in the facility and weren't able to go out into the "real world" at that point, they couldn't have been able to go [to a shop]. We wouldn't have allowed them to at that point. It's obviously such a gigantic moment in people's lives that we wanted it to be as authentic to them as it possibly could be.
Will there be a season two?
Could we see a season two? I hope so! I hope we'll see a season 20. The pods still exist. They're ready to go! For many versions to come and hopefully people around the world spending time in the pods.
ET also recently spoke with Love Is Blind hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey, where they teased what to expect from the highly anticipated finale, dropping Thursday, Feb. 27 on Netflix.
"You literally see every scenario that could play out, play out in true form," Vanessa shared. "These are real people in real life, in not real-life situations because of this social experiment for love. Finding out if love is blind."
"We accelerated everything. We've made them date in pods where they couldn't see each other, then get engaged and then we documented their journey to the altar," she continued. "So you're seeing real emotion. When people cry, those are real tears. And when people love, that's real love. So, I think that's the biggest takeaway."
Nick chimed in, telling ET that he doesn't think anyone knew what to expect from this experience.
"We didn't know if there'd be a single proposal, much less six proposals, and I think what we saw, and saw very quickly, were these very genuine connections that people were making, sight unseen, just talking through a wall," he explained. "Seeing these grown men ... they became very unafraid to show their emotion and be vulnerable and I think they all would tell you that they learned a lot about themselves, about life, about love from being a part of this experiment."
"It's life and love, so there are people who've had their hearts broken and there were people who came out of this finding something they never thought they'd find," he added. "I don't think these guys and girls knew that this was going to turn out the way it did ... I think everyone was floored by how affected they were and how connected they became to somebody on the other side of that wall. It was pretty wild."