“Single’s Inferno” is what you get when there is a mandate on your feelings to be politically correct. Singles playing soccer with each other’s likes, dislikes, and feelings with no clear trophy in sight is what the reality show is all about. One might say that the prize is true love, but the obvious scripting of “Single’s Inferno” begs otherwise. However, that is true of any reality show, so why would we pick on this one, to be exact? We won’t, but we feel compelled to point out that Season 1 was a far superior product compared to Season 2. Speaking from a non-Korean perspective, what made us tune into the show was undoubtedly the profound effect of the Hallyu way. We have always been fascinated by the impeccable Korean manners, fashion, food, and the overall dating culture as popularized by K-dramas and K-movies. Every K-drama fan must have at least once Googled what dating in Korea is like. Then comes a show that promises to give us an actual, unfiltered answer, so it is no surprise that we wanted to watch it. It was definitely everything we had hoped for, especially if you were Asian. The culture you come from affects your dating practices. Western shows like “The Bachelorette” or “Love is Blind,” though fun, are not something we always connect with because it is unfathomable to us how someone can just drop their reservations and get so close in such a short amount of time. That is why we fell in love with “Single’s Inferno” when Season 1 came out. It reflected the reserved way of judging and choosing romantic prospects that most Asians follow.
Additionally, Season 1 had some very strong personalities. We are talking about Ji A. She had a level of sass and confidence that really set her apart from the rest. We cannot say that there was another contestant that really stood out for us, but the back and forth between So Yeon and Jin Taek was cringeworthy and comical at the same time. We believe Ji Yeon might be an interesting person in real life, but she did not bring that to the show. However, Se Hun’s fixation with her created some good drama. Season 1 worked not only because it was a much-needed look into Korean dating practices that the rest of the world was curious about, but it was also a proof of sorts that real people in artificial settings can interact without the level of high-octane conflict that most reality shows are known for. But once that evidence was witnessed and the curiosity was satiated, we needed some zing for us to like Season 2. The creators of the show made a mistake by not gauging the exact reason for its popularity. It was a moment like never before when Ji A declared that none of the guys on the island was her type in Episode 1 of Season 1, we believe. There was nothing like that in Season 2. The first moment we probably chuckled at was when Jin Young did not carry Seul Ki’s bag when they were going to Paradise. It was so sweet when he did her hair or when he was able to get her to shed her inhibitions. What cemented Seul Ki’s feelings for him must have been when he got her the robe while she got out of the pool. Guys who understand things without women having to say too much are always the winners—if they keep up the consistency with it.
We had a feeling that Seul Ki was this season’s Ji Yeon. With her number of suitors, she might be mistaken for Ji A, but no, her personality was Ji Yeon through and through. Ji A is the one and only, and there is no replacing or topping her. But unlike Ji Yeon, we did see a slightly angry and strong side to her when she told off Jin Young for not recognizing her interest in him. Other than that, just like the others, she held onto her diplomatic side till the very end. The one story that we really liked was So E and Se Jun. It is safe to say that So E represents all introverts and their struggle to find love in a world that doesn’t know what to do with them when they put themselves out there. She had initially liked Young Jae, but there was no playing the field when it came to her feelings. She was direct and clear, and when it became evident that her feelings would not be reciprocated, she moved on with equal grace. Good for her because that led her to Se Jun, who did not give her a single chance to second-guess the feelings they shared between them.
We wish Jong Woo had taken a lesson or two from So E. He was steadfast about his feelings for Seul Ki right from the beginning. While we did say consistency is key, and she did choose him in the end, we cannot ignore that her choice was an absolute surprise. Season 1’s Se Hun and Season 2’s Jong Woo both need to be introduced to this thing called a restraining order. We believe in cheering on people who set out to find love, but Season 2 is not without its criticisms. It lacks the bingeability of the first season. In real life, dating is not exactly smooth sailing for lots of reasons. First, there is a lack of options. Second is a lack of time, and third is finding out that more people, and by that we mean men, prefer situationships to relationships. In that scenario, you have “Single’s Inferno,” where a group of conventionally attractive and successful men and women with lots of time are brought together in one place and instructed to find love. It sounds like the creation of an ideal dating pool, but even that is not devoid of sharks. On this island, what these individuals experienced was a year of dating within a few days. We get why it would be fun for them, but what makes it fun for the audience? Reality shows are a guilty pleasure because they are an outlet for our need for scandal and gossip. We don’t get that with Season 2.
Each contestant was extremely measured with their words and actions. It was up to the hosts to dissect their real feelings and intentions, but even they were very careful about toeing the line. Seriously, our best friend creates more drama when she gets back with her ex, so why would we find “Single’s Inferno” interesting? To be honest, the show has plenty of potential. If a third season comes out, we are going to watch it for sure, but if the makers don’t learn from the mistakes of this season, we won’t be interested in a fourth season. The mistake is that they did not pick people with strong personalities. It’s not the love story the audience needs to be interested in; it’s the person. That is what provides fodder for the gossip that keeps reality shows running. However, as we said before, despite our criticism of “Single’s Inferno” Season 2, we are not done with the show. We hope the makers pick stronger candidates for the coming seasons, and we will keep tuning in.
“Single’s Inferno” is a 2021 Reality TV drama show streaming on Netflix.