Screw True Love, ‘Are You the One?’ Is a Logic Puzzle

MTV Press

As a pop culture writer studying for the LSAT, I sometimes find myself blurring the line between worlds. Reading comprehension passages on Star Wars keep my interest more than passages on gun control. The Good Wife acts as an instructional video on law firm dynamics that just so happens to also be a taut drama. MTV’s latest dating reality competition series serves better as a logical reasoning test than a can’t-miss TV show.

Are You the One? sets up 10 single women with 10 single men as “perfect matches,” according to extensive matchmaking processes. The trick is that they must all determine their own perfect matches. If they correctly pair up in 10 or less perfect match ceremonies, they share one million dollars.

We’ve seen glimpses of contestants making lists to determine perfect matches, but we haven’t seen any contestant treat the game as what it is — a logic game. Who cares about Brittany’s fixation with Adam? Who cares about Shanley and Chris being “together” when they know they’re not a perfect match? Who cares about the meltdowns and fights? Not even host Ryan Devlin cares all that much. Although I must admit, the super high-tech iPads and random lasers are hilarious. It’s all about the puzzle — not much else.

Like on most reality shows, the contestants are far from the brightest of their generation. Brainy may be the new sexy for some — but for MTV — sexy is the new sexy. At their first “ceremony,” they managed to get two perfect matches. In the second, they secured four matches. In ceremonies three and four, the contestants guessed only two matches each. By ceremony seven, they matched seven pairs albeit only two of which are confirmed perfect matches.

MTV seems to be bothered by the slow progress of the contestants. Two matches were confirmed on the official MTV channel blog Remote Control — before they were ever revealed on the show. MTV is already casting for the second season, so the next group of “sexy singles” will have had the privilege of watching and learning from the inaugural season. Will it help them find their perfect matches in 10 tries or less? Probably not.

As of ceremony seven, Coleysia and Dillan, Paige and Chris, Amber and Ethan, and Brittany and Joey are the only four confirmed perfect matches (including clues from MTV). Nonetheless, through process of elimination and (too) many group matching diagrams, I’ve determined the rest of the perfect matches.

Are You The One? Perfect Matches

Confirmed: Coleysia and Dillan

Confirmed: Paige and Chris

Confirmed by MTV: Amber and Ethan

Confirmed by MTV: Brittany and Joey

Ashleigh and JJ

Jacy and Ryan

Jacy and Scali

Kayla and Wes

Shanley and Adam

Simone and Dre

Perhaps that’s the unique appeal of the series. It appeals to regular MTV viewers and lovers of all things sleazy, well-produced reality TV. And, it appeals to geeks who can’t help but solve the logic game dynamic inherent to the show. Here’s to hoping next season features 20 bisexual men and women. Now, that would be a brain teaser.

UPDATE: I was right!

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