“Longest Third Date” made me wonder why Netflix decided it was important for us to watch two New Yorkers navigate their lives in a foreign country during COVID. It is, of course, a great story that was heartwarming to read about, but it also has a lot to do with privilege, and I personally do not feel it is worth investing 75 minutes of watching time. Especially when we think about the crisis the entire world was dealing with and the impactful COVID stories that are yet to be presented in a documentary form, “Longest Third Date” seems quite unnecessary and monotonous. From the get-go, we knew what it was going to be, and the only element of anticipation was whether or not they decided to stay together until the very end. The story of Khani and Matt can be a case study or considered a social experiment that speaks about human psychology and the modern dating scene.
Khani and Matt connected with each other on the dating app Hinge. They were both not looking for anything serious and decided to go on casual dates. With the first date lasting longer than expected and a kiss that remained unfulfilled, the two decided to give themselves a second chance. Matt brought his Asian friend, Mike, along to impress Khani on their second date. Mike candidly admits that maybe it was Matt’s way of showing that he could connect with Asian people since he had an Asian best friend. To Khani’s surprise, Matt proposed they go to Costa Rica on their third date since flights were a lot cheaper due to the pandemic.
Both Matt and Khani were spontaneous and adventurous; therefore, the thought of flying to Costa Rica while the entire world was gradually shutting down was not too unlikely for them. Khani decided to take the risk and travel with a stranger; after all, you only live once. With Matt recording their every move, Khani started to feel a little awkward, but he managed to make it a fun vacation in the end. They were not in it for the long haul, and an enjoyable vacation was all that they wanted. From the moment that they were informed about the cancellation of their flight, they realized that the situation was getting out of control. With the vacation extending longer than they had predicted, Khani and Matt were forced to stay together. They did not have the space to conceal their emotions and were compelled to be honest with each other. Netflix’s “Longest Third Date” is all about finding out what happened after spending 78 days together during lockdown in Costa Rica: did Khani and Matt, to quote Rihanna, find “love in a hopeless place?”
While being stuck on an island with a stranger sounds straight out of “Blue Lagoon,” it is Costa Rica, and the couple had modern equipment, shelter, food, and internet service to continue working. The longing to meet their family members and, at times, the feeling of not being completely understood by each other often became overwhelming for them. But perhaps it was the lack of escape that, in a way, compelled them to figure out a solution instead of jumping on the next best thing. Both Matt and Khani were not in search of a partner; they simply wanted to have a good time, but the situation forced them to be more accommodating of each other. During the documentary, Khani laughingly mentioned how she would not have met Matt had she seen the YouTube trailer of his channel. The fact that the person she got to know in Costa Rica was drastically different from the guy running the YouTube channel speaks volumes about how different our projected online personality is as opposed to the person we are. Is modern dating somewhat failing in its purpose because of the tinted projection?
Matt had rightfully described himself as an adventurous guy, but he was also extremely jovial and accommodating, and it is impossible for someone going through his profile to ever find that out. Maybe if he had mentioned that he makes daily vlogs, Khani would have never matched with his profile, but clearly, he was a lot more than just a wannabe vlogger. The need to describe ourselves in a few words that would grab the attention of someone instantly leaves a lot out of perspective. Especially after several failed relationships, it is expected that one will be apprehensive about falling in love, just like Khani was. With endless apps and options, it is easier to not confront our fears and instead seek momentary joy and validation. Of course, Khani and Matt are one of the many COVID romance cases, and not all of them worked, so a confined space is clearly not enough; a lot of other arbitrary elements factor in to build a relationship.
As a South Asian woman, I could relate to Khani’s anxiety when she had to admit the truth to her father. Matt’s decision to vlog every moment finally paid off with a Netflix documentary about them using the footage that he shot during that time. Visually, “Longest Third Date” is as dull as it can get, and there is barely any technical aspect worth discussing. The only positive thing is that we get to watch the vulnerable sides of both Matt and Khani during the documentary, as well as the palpable emotions that were building up between the two. Khani’s fear about the future of their relationship was also quite understandable. It is not easy to allow the entire world to watch the toughest days in their lives. But their story can be inspirational and comforting for those in the pursuit of love, though I will still argue that there was no need for a documentary about it.