Love on the Spectrum is a new addition to a genre so frequently and oddly devoid of affection.
After decades of The Bachelor and other shows focused on the straight, white person’s experience of love, the reality-dating genre seems to be expanding. A few weeks ago it was with Indian Matchmaking, Netflix’s reality show about the Indian arranged-marriage machine. And last week, it was with Love on the Spectrum, an Australian reality-show-cum-docuseries that follows a group of single adults on the autism spectrum as they explore the dating world.
Love on the Spectrum is built like a typical dating show: We meet the 11 daters, and their friends and families, and follow them in various dating scenarios (speed dating, blind dates, etc.). We spend enough time getting to know each of them so that things don’t feel voyeuristic (which is unusual for the genre) and the tone is more curious than patronizing — although, it doesn’t always avoid that territory, as Sarah Kurchak, a writer who is on the autism spectrum, noted in her review of the show for Time. Overall, Love on the Spectrum does something that is curiously absent in a genre that is ostensibly about love, which is actually showing it. […]