Originally published at: https://geektherapy.org/queer-reailty-tv/
#356: Link, Lara, and Josué discuss Netflix’s The Ultimatum: Queer Love and the particular enjoyment and disgust of watching reality TV.
Link Keller 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network, where we believe that the best way to understand ourselves and each other is through the media we care about. I am one of your co hosts, link, and I’m joined by Lara.
Lara Taylor 0:29
Link Keller 0:30
Josué Cardona 0:32
Link Keller 0:33
Josué Cardona 0:35
Link Keller 0:36
I’m so excited to talk about this topic today. I recently watched Netflix’s new season of the ultimatum, colon queer love. It is a reality TV show about relationships. The premise is a couple comes in where one couple, one member of the couple has given a marriage ultimatum to the other proposed to me or I’m leaving. And they go on this show. And they date other couples and pretend to be married for a couple of weeks and then reunite with their original partner who they gave the ultimatum to have a pretend marriage with them for a couple of weeks. And then at the end, they decide if they’re actually going to get married to each other, or breakup, or potentially date one of the other people that they dated. It is as I would academically refer to it as a hot dumpster fire. And I love it. And it was I watched the first season of the ultimatum which was straight couples, but this season is about sapphic couples, so women and non binary people. truly a joy. All of the drama, you’re looking for
Lara Taylor 2:06
the whole first episode, I was screaming like who thinks this is a good idea to solve your fucking problems? who??
Link Keller 2:13
It is truly antithetical to building a healthy relationship to put yourself into a eight to 10 week filming production, that you’re still having to live your regular life. But also, you’re going on extravagant dates and drinking a lot and trying to maybe fall in love or figure out what you’re missing from your relationship and all this introspective work and
Lara Taylor 2:44
and they can’t talk to anybody about what happened on the show for at least a year.
Link Keller 2:49
Yes, the I think that is an important thing to touch on right at the beginning, this show was filmed in the beginning of 2021. And it didn’t come out until two months ago. So there is a fair gap there. They did also record a reunion episode in January of this year. So like two years out from when they did it. They did the reunion episode and then several, six months out from that is when the episode started coming out. So I imagine that was quite the experience for the people who actually were on the show. But yeah, I wanted to talk about reality TV sort of in general. Focusing more on like the romance, love and relationship reality TVs shows not so much the like Survivor ones but or other competition ones but also more specifically on this particular show. One because there is not a lot of queer rep in reality TV. I did watch another show on I think I watched it on Hulu, and it was called Love trip colon Paris. And that one was four American women who were straight bi pansexual and lesbian. And they went to France and moved into a beautiful apartment building and then all these hot French singles moved in and they dated each other. truly wild. The height of that one was one woman got another woman’s name tattooed on her knuckles, and I truly thought I would never recover from that. But then I watched the queer ultimatum reunion episode and I was like no, actually, this is the craziest thing I have ever seen. So yeah, what, let’s start with like, what are your guys’s familiarity with watching like relations Ship reality TV. Have you watched other shows before? Is this absolutely not your bag? Like, where are you guys coming from?
Lara Taylor 5:07
I love reality TV, or I used to watch a lot of it. Nina doesn’t like it. So I don’t watch a lot of it unless she’s not around to watch it. Because it stresses her out. I love it. I’m focusing on other people’s problems, not my own. At least it’s not that bad, like. But I was hooked on the real world, which it’s even though that one is like people living together, it’s all about relationships and who’s hooking up with who and who people are hooking up with outside the house and bring into the house. I watched a lot of the real world back in the day. And mostly a lot of MTV like and VH1 one reality shows like, shot at love with tila tequila.
Link Keller 5:57
Just gonna say I think that was like one of my first ones that I ever watched I was truly sets the scene.
Lara Taylor 6:04
I was obsessed with Danny Campbell, I was obsessed. I have met her twice at different clubs, that she came to do appearances that have a curve magazine, which is a lesbian own magazine, signed by her in it. I have a T shirt. This is Team Danny on it. Still, it’s a relic of the early 2000s. And there was a joke that like with my friends that you know, she was a firefighter in Florida. Still is a firefighter in Florida. We were like let’s find out which firehouse she’s at. And I will just leave a trail of fires from there to California, so that she would meet me. Yeah, so obsessed with reality TV shows. And that was the first time I had someone like me on a reality show. I mean, there were other queer people on the real world. But like, this was like, the focus of the show. Was Was her so and then of course, I watched this. And I am obsessed now with the ultimatum queer love. Yeah, I binged. Like, I rewatched a few episodes, because I had to I miss parts of it, but I binge, like six episodes Monday night, so yeah. I love it. It’s great.
Link Keller 7:33
What about you Josué?
Josué Cardona 7:36
I also watched, like the MTV stuff, right? And like survivor and real world and road rules. He was like, Oh, what’s this? After that I’ve never really watched anything. And I don’t know when this happened. But I also don’t watch sports anymore. Because I don’t like watching people live their lives. Like for me, sports isn’t. For me. Sports is like, Oh, this principle of just doing their job. Plus, you’re getting paid so much money. I mean, whether they’re paying getting paid a lot or not. I’m like, I’m just watching somebody do their job. I love a good what is it? Like slam dunk competition. I like highlight reels. I like admiring superhuman acts of physical activity, but reality TV is very much more like just people living their lives. And I know how produced it is. I know how unrealistic it can be because of how think things are set up. Like, like the setup for the ultimatum is so So absurd, it’s um, I was like you, Lara When I was watching the first time I was like,
Link Keller 8:52
in what way? Does this make sense? What Wait, what? To this?
Lara Taylor 8:57
I can get giving someone an ultimatum. Like there are plenty people on the show in their 30s that want to have kids. Like I get it you it’s the whole thing shit or get off the pot like okay, that makes sense. But like this experience what what is it gonna do?
Josué Cardona 9:13
I even understand that there was like a group of people in a room who you know, with a random number generator came up with an idea for a show or thought that it was a good idea. But the fact that people sign up for it right like I have so many questions like it’s
Link Keller 9:28
a spin off of Netflix’s Love is blind. I don’t know if that
Josué Cardona 9:32
I never watched it
Link Keller 9:33
clarifies anything to you. But this is this is technically a third ring out from there. So this is this is like people really responded well to that reality TV. What if we put a little twist on it and make it even wilder the people are going to watch in there right? I am going to watch it because I want to see what What madness will happen in front of me.
Josué Cardona 9:59
Again, I think I don’t know how much they get paid. I don’t know, why anyone,
Link Keller 10:04
probably, not enough.
Josué Cardona 10:06
At the beginning, I was like, There’s no way that any of these couples will end up, together
Link Keller 10:10
if they don’t get paid and also get like 10 years of therapy covered, it’s not enough.
Josué Cardona 10:17
Well, I mean, one of the reasons why I don’t like it is because the way that those that a reality TV show is exciting is if there’s drama. And if you have a villain, and you have, you know, all these things, and so, someone may not be that bad. But if you only show them being a particular way, which is easy to do, because you’re editing 95% of the footage that you got, and you’re you’re being very selective. I don’t like that. I don’t like yeah, I don’t like that. Just like, just like, when you do a documentary, like you, you’re biased. And you tell the story that you want to tell here. Like, I know, what’s the angle, so I can’t, I don’t feel comfortable watching them. I would never agree to be on a on a reality TV show. And the idea of solving it just again, like I’ve, I’ve I’ve read of people who are like, oh, let’s pretend to be in a couple. So we can go on this, like, on the couple’s version of road rules, or some other show or something like that, like I get, I get that type of stuff. But like the fact that anybody agreed to this show, that’s what I think like the 10 people who were there. And how many couples were disappointed that they didn’t get selected? I, yeah, we can talk about like, what happened in the conclusions and all that. But I. So what I did was right, I only watched the first episodes, I could see the premise. And then at that point, I mean, you know, I watch anything for GT. But I was I was invested enough where I was like, I just want to know what happens. I want to see the outcome. I don’t want to see the I can’t I can’t even that first episode was uncomfortable.
Lara Taylor 11:54
Yeah, it was.
Link Keller 11:55
To be fair, you watching the first under an hour episode, and just over an hour last episode, like two hours is statistically insignificant compared to the 10 episodes that are, you know, around or under an hour each and the flight 40,000 hours of filmed content they had. So it’s like, it’s very manufactured like that is absolutely, like very important to remember that. These are real people, and you are seeing a very manufactured piece of them. But also, I’m there for the drama, I want the drama. That’s why I’m watching. And so it’s like, I’ve definitely had some like internal like, moral quandary of watching like any reality TV because I didn’t watch it when I was younger, because I didn’t have cable or there wasn’t a choice. I just didn’t have it. And then I watched that Tila Tequila, tequila one. And the guy from poison. He did one.
Lara Taylor 13:11
He did want to add
Link Keller 13:11
Flavor Flav did they were like on I didn’t watch the
Lara Taylor 13:16
amazing. It was
Link Keller 13:18
probably like 2006 2007 No, that was probably 2008. But like, I watched a little bit then and then it’s like, didn’t really watch any reality TV for a long time. And then more recently, I got back into it. Watching stuff on Netflix, mostly because I have a group chat with a couple other friends who also watch it. And so it’s just like a social thing for us all to be like, Oh my God, did you watch that episode? Did you see what they said? What a bitch? How dare they lie out the sides of their mouths like that? Like, oh my god, can you believe the host said that to their faces is like that kind of engagement is very enjoyable. But yeah, it doesn’t. It doesn’t feel great to watch some of these reality shows and reconcile the fact that like these are real, three dimensional people who have lives, and families and friends and social groups and work. And, you know, months or years later this content is being pushed to as many people as possible. And it’s just like that has got to be really harrowing to deal with. Which again, like you said Josué like I would never put myself in that position. But these people are signing up for people are different from me. And they have different values and different interests. And from their perspective, this was a valid life choice for them to make and so it’s like, Hmm, especially around the relationship stuff because that feels like it’s closer It’s closer to the heart than like doing a silly little jungle gym challenge on you know how petition reality show.
Josué Cardona 15:03
We can cut this out of the episode because it’s not really relevant. But I’m so curious about if they issued the ultimatums before or after they were they were, like, getting on the show, you know, like the prerequisite. It’s like, well, I already issued an ultimatum. Oh, look, there’s a casting call for a reality show. And I just did that. So why don’t we go? Or was the casting call like, Hey, are you in a relationship and like you feel, you know, like, you know, you want to move forward, but it’s not going forward. Bla, bla, you come in, and they’re like, Okay, if you want to go on the show, you have to issue the ultimatum you have to
Lara Taylor 15:37
is the premise of the show. And they already had a season of it. So
Josué Cardona 15:41
I put these couples Yeah,
Link Keller 15:44
finding five couples that fit that criteria would not be that difficult, within a place like say, L.A. But I do suspect that some of some of the couples were like, I’ve given this ultimatum three or four times and I just haven’t actually pulled the trigger.
Josué Cardona 16:05
Link Keller 16:05
this feels like the absolute final push here. And then there are definitely other couples are like, do you want to get married? I don’t know. Well, do you want to go on this show? Like that? Could be a fun experience for us is like, Yeah, okay. Like, Oh, okay. I think it probably runs the gamut there. There’s also probably instances in which people casting directors are like, Hey, I met you at that. Party that one time and I just think that you have the face and personality for TV. Do you have a partner you don’t I’ll put you on the show. That’s getting a partner. You do have I’m sorry, I don’t put you on the show. That’s about getting your partner to marry you like
Josué Cardona 16:51
this reality TV to have recruiters like is that is that a job?
Lara Taylor 16:55
Link Keller 16:56
Lara Taylor 16:58
I used to watch a youtube channel back in the beginning days of like vloggers and shit ha AJ Stacey who is asked AJ anything on pretty much everything now has a podcast and for a while she applied to like every reality show she could except I don’t think there were that many dating ones she was on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Drag U once and yeah, it was yeah, just apply apply apply and see what sticks that’s what people do
Link Keller 17:38
Josué Cardona 17:42
I’m just thinking of the recruiter a piece right it’s like like sure if you want if you’re looking for talent you know for for NCAA you go to high school games, you know that you hear people? Like where do you go for the reality TV stuff like the
Link Keller 17:54
Lara Taylor 17:55
the queer bar
Josué Cardona 18:00
Yeah, well thank you for answering those questions for me
Lara Taylor 18:04
this one you go hang out in a couple’s therapists office.
Josué Cardona 18:09
Lara as a as a as a marriage and family therapist. Would you ever recommend this as an intervention?
Lara Taylor 18:16
Link Keller 18:18
asterix: if you are trying to end a relationship
Lara Taylor 18:24
Yeah, I mean, we’re gonna talk about all of the things but spoiling the end of the show like there is at the very end of it. Only one couple survive once I got
Link Keller 18:36
so so so there are five couples Yeah, yeah. Three of them broke up. One I just want
Josué Cardona 18:43
to say yeah, I just want to acknowledge right that like the person right there because without saying which couples right like they were like you said like there’s three that didn’t make it to at the end of the show that I like it but then at the very end area right that moment so the show like camera fades to black and then they let you know that one of the couples is no longer together whoever did that is a genius is a genius like that was that was like
Link Keller 19:08
just just title card black screen white text is just like this couple broke up the marriage is off
Lara Taylor 19:17
and then I immediately started googling stuff about all of these people.
Link Keller 19:21
And the one couple that is together still and that is current to like today. They are engaged but are not married.
Lara Taylor 19:30
and that couple has a lot of complicated reasons. Why they might not be married yet
Link Keller 19:37
absolutely. 100% Yeah, yeah, so not a good Yeah. Honestly, my watching several seasons of love is blind at this point. And it’s hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, famously married to each other. And they do you know, Have all of the promos, like we’re gonna find out through this social experiment? If love is truly blind, and I’m like, based on the data that you have set before me, the answer is a resounding no.
Josué Cardona 20:16
What is the promise of those blind, I’ve never watched
Link Keller 20:18
it, they take a bunch of singles. And they put all of the girls on one side of the building and all the boys on the other side of the building, and in the middle of the building are these little like soundproof booths that they go into, and they have blind dates, in that they literally cannot see each other, and they all date each other. And then at the end of like, seven to 10 days, they propose to one another without seeing each other is like, will you marry me? And then they get to meet in person, and then they get to have a pretend honeymoon. And then they get to have a pretend live together and meet each other’s families. And then at the end, it’s like they have a they have a wedding, and they go up on the altar, and then they tell each other like, Yes, I do or no, I’m out. Spoiler alert, most of them don’t. It’s wild. But yes, it is. It is really cool to see like when people are not allowed to make snap judgments about each other’s aesthetics and physicality, that they are much more open to having conversations and talking about things and being more vulnerable with each other, which is really cool to see. But it is so ironic to me that even in this extremely explicit like you are dating to try and find somebody to marry, they still will avoid conversations that are so vital to have before you get married. And it is so funny to me to be like we fell in love without seeing each other. It’s like, well, you’ve both said that you want kids. What happens when there’s like a fetal abnormality and you need an abortion. How do you feel about that? Have you ever talked about that? And you’re like, No, no, nobody talks about abortion. It’s like, I think you need to, I think you need to have that conversation before you get married. Shifting back to ultimatum that was one of my complaints is that this was about, you know, queer women, queer people, sapphics, talking about wanting to be married. And they talked about, you know, wanting to have that sign of commitment. That was like the big thing that all of them were talking, I was like, I want to be I want to feel chosen. And that whole thing, none of them. And this was shocking to me. None of them mentioned that there are extremely valuable legal benefits to being married. I don’t it’s a much bigger conversation about how I feel about that. But the fact is, is you’re talking about sapphic couples, lesbian couples, there are benefits to being married
Lara Taylor 23:08
and 10 years ago, could not get
Link Keller 23:10
Yes. And one of the major pushes to allow gay marriage is that people were not able to see their loved ones when they were in the hospital dying, because they didn’t have the legal rights to do so. And it’s like, marriage gives you that legal rights. And it’s like, none of them, like talked about baby stuff, and IVF and adoption and those things, which are all very important. But I was astounded that nobody brought up like, I want to get married. So that if I get in a car accident, you can make medical decisions for me like nobody brought that I was like, what? What? It’s like that’s not
Lara Taylor 23:47
that is one of the number one reasons that people back when we were fighting for for same sex marriage. Like that was the that was one of the biggest arguments
Link Keller 23:55
that was the big one. Yeah, of being used to buy houses and stuff like that. I assumed that probably they did have those conversations were edited out. But yeah, I was like, even like little, like a single blurb mention of it. I was waiting. I was like, what is it going to? It’s going to come up at some point, right? It’s like episode three. I’m like, it’s got to come up by episode three. And it’s like episode eight. I’m like, how have they not talked about this yet? Okay, yeah,
Lara Taylor 24:22
they’re just brought up. They definitely brought a baby several times. And, I mean, that’s something that people are still fighting for. In many states, you still have to adopt as the second parent, even if you do IVF and things like that. So yeah.
Josué Cardona 24:36
Link, are you are you upset because it was an opportunity to, like advocate for a topic or remind people of a topic and
Link Keller 24:45
I think, given that this is one of, if not the first, fully queer dating, not dating. Well, it’s kind of date reality show. Yeah. And the This is an opportunity to educate people and like that it’s, that’s what it did is like this is here are five sapphic couples, here’s what their lives look like, here’s how their relationships work, here’s how they relate to their parents and their friend groups, their dogs, you know, and it’s like to not touch on what I feel is an important part when you are discussing discussing marriage, which to me is like, the legal aspect is important. That’s the value behind it is more so than the commitment ceremony, because you can just do that. That’s the other thing, I wish somebody would just walk in on the episode one and just be like, Hey, by the way, like we’re offering commitment ceremonies out back, if you want to skip all this, well, we can da a hand-fasting it’s fine. But I just feel like it was a missed opportunity. Because there are people for whom they they do not know the queer people in their neighborhoods, they are not related to anybody that they know is queer, they don’t have access to this kind of information. And and if you don’t seek it out, like watching reality TV, that’s all you’re gonna have as information. And so it bummed me out that they didn’t talk about what I feel is such when you are talking about queer relationships, and marriage, I feel like that legal aspect is so valuable to touch on. And it’s such recent history. So it sort of bummed me out that they missed that opportunity to talk about it.
Lara Taylor 26:36
They did discuss at one point, Mel mentions insurance and health insurance.
Link Keller 26:41
Lara Taylor 26:42
putting and putting Yoly on insurance. And I was surprised how easy mal made it seem like we’re good. Let’s just put Yoly on insurance. And that is not something you can just do. You still have to be married or have a domestic partnership in most situations, to put somebody on your insurance?
Link Keller 27:00
Or if it is the employers like policy and they’re loose about is like, that’s great until you’re not working there anymore.
Lara Taylor 27:10
Link Keller 27:11
It’s like, oh, that’s now it’s a problem again, it’s like, yeah, that I yeah, I just feel like it was it was a missed opportunity to actually talk about that stuff. Again, statistically, some of these couples did actually talk about that. They just didn’t show on the show by show. Yeah, I wish they had.
Josué Cardona 27:27
It’s, I mean, every time we talk about like, representation, right, we look at these, like, we put so much pressure on that representation on like this. This is the first one, you got to cover all the major points, what are you doing? So I agree, I agree with that. But it wasn’t until I mean, again, I only saw two episodes. But like, what is the difference between a domestic partnership? Or marriage? Right? It’s, it’s those things, right? Because they were all already living together? Yes.
Link Keller 28:00
Right. Two to five years. Yeah, these couples had already been established. So yeah.
Josué Cardona 28:05
So So and like you said, all the commitment ceremony were like, that means something to some people. But the truth is, like they had already committed to, like they were in relationships. It wasn’t like love is blind, or it’s like, you’re just meeting somebody like they’ve been there. They’ve had these very difficult conversations about, let’s get married, you know. And so I agree with you that is thinking back on it. Now, it is weird, that they didn’t talk more about why are they different reasons.
Link Keller 28:34
I mean, they did, but almost all of them were more like talking emotionally where it’s like I want I want this symbol of our relationship. I want commitment, I want you to prove to our all of our social group that you choose me. And it’s like, that’s absolutely important in a relationship. emotional stuff is very important. But when you are doing a show specifically about marriage, I want you to talk about what that means.
Josué Cardona 29:02
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. No, now, I’m upset about it too
Lara Taylor 29:07
They also there were some people who it wasn’t necessarily the emotional piece. It was more about marriage and kids and they wanted to get married before they had kids. And it does make it you have a lot more protections legally, if you have children together as a queer couple if you are married. And I don’t know if they touched on that, but that was a thing like marriage and then kids.
Link Keller 29:30
There’s also just like, generally speaking, so much pressure on couples to do the, what is referred to as the relationship escalator. where you do you do this step you, you start dating, you become exclusive. You move in together, you get engaged, you get married, you buy a house, you have children, and then you’ve won at life! That was sarcasm friends. And so
Josué Cardona 29:58
it’s a thing it’s a thing
Link Keller 29:59
I would like to To think that queer people don’t foist themselves on to the relationship escalators as frequently as cishet people do, but it’s inescapable. We live in a society. So yeah, yeah, there was definitely people were like, well, we’ve been living together for this long we should be married. It’s like, well, any any other reasoning there? Just, it feels like you’re on a timeline.
Lara Taylor 30:28
Yeah. And then mal brings up the like, well, I need to have all the money now to do all those things to just hit it one right after the next like, and that you’re never gonna have that much money. No one’s gonna.
Link Keller 30:41
Actually really funny
Josué Cardona 30:41
that one I can really, really like that one. Like, I’ve said that those words have come out of my mouth. I’m like, There’s no way that I would put myself in this position, unless all of these other things are in place first. Yeah. And more for like kids and like, different, like, Oh, I’m gonna buy a house? No, no, like, I need to be making this much money before I do something like that. Just and I don’t know, that comes from, you know, trauma and your past. You’re like, No, my parents were really stupid. Because they did this without this, or, or I needed this as a child. And I wouldn’t want to do that for someone else. So I’m glad that they brought that up, too, because that’s like a real
Lara Taylor 31:16
one. I’m glad they brought up in the reunion, the fact that queer people have to do more planning than
Link Keller 31:23
Lara Taylor 31:24
cishet people planning around children and planning. I mean, it was mostly surrounding children. But there’s so many more things we have to think about before we can even start a process like straight couples can just accidentally have a kid. And then the things can happen out of order. But with but with us, it’s like, okay, well, we have to figure out do we have the money for IVF? Do we do that do we adopt we well, how do we do things? Do we what kind of process and in some ways that’s better? In some ways, that’s great that we’re thinking about these things, having these conversations, but also it’s a lot of pressure.
Link Keller 32:01
And functionally takes more time. Which means that if somebody wants to carry the baby themselves, it requires a lot more planning, strategizing. Yes, yeah. I am glad that they did mention that. But it was funny that it was in the reunion episode And they finally said it explicitly. It’s like, Yeah,
Josué Cardona 32:28
I can’t imagine, right, like so. So let’s just assume that everybody on the show, has had a version of this conversation, right? And then the editors are like, let’s only talk about Rae’s version, like, like what she wants to do, because she’s thought about it more. Let’s talk about this one, right. It’s like, how do you again, like we make all these impressions, like we have all these assumptions about the about the people on the show? Like, I don’t know if this turns out that way. Oh, I guess I do. But like in that first episode, I’m like, Oh, they’re making Vanessa out to be like, this horrible
Lara Taylor 33:02
I hated her from the second she opened her mouth. mm mm no.
Josué Cardona 33:06
But it’s like it’s, but like, it was easy to make her that right from the very from the very beginning. It’s like, we’re only going to do this this. It’s actually yeah, this is okay. This is another thing that bothers me about about, oh, really another reason why I don’t watch reality TV. Because I was almost going to talk and I’m stopping myself. But talking about Vanessa, the way I would talk about a Batman villain in a comic book, because I forget that that’s a real person, right? As much as it is a caricature of them through editing, and possibly even her own like she she may be playing a character as well. That’s still a real person. And I don’t want to, I get the appeal. I get the appeal of the shows, right? Like having a villain hating a person. It’s like, everybody, it brings it brings people together.
Lara Taylor 33:56
It’s interesting, because it’s interesting, because in the reunion, she admits, like barely, but she admits that she did these things that it was not good. And that version, the version of Vanessa, that was portrayed to us, which might only be a certain percentage of her but it’s still there. She still did all those things and said all those things, is not a good person, and I’m the person that I want to be around, and that I would actively want to get out of my life. Yeah, but that is that version of her maybe not the whole thing, but at the end, it seems like she admits like I may have
Link Keller 34:42
I think she legitimately showed some growth. I don’t know if that’s just because it was paired with the reveal that I feel like we’ll probably cover the rest of our conversation here. In the reunion In one of the couples, Tiff and Mildred who came in together Mildred gave the ultimatum to Tiff. They had a very contentious relationship that in the beginning episodes was very clearly like they fought so much, but they had really great sex so they kept getting back together. At the reunion, Mildred reveals very nonchalantly that she got arrested for domestic domestic violence, for throwing things at Tiff. And it was awful. It was awful to watch. They didn’t give me any trigger warnings on the episode which fuck you Netflix to be honest. And then they didn’t do any closure after that reveal. They just let her say that Tiff got really triggered ended up leaving
Lara Taylor 35:54
because she was gaslit
Link Keller 35:55
right in front of everybody. It was awful to watch
Lara Taylor 35:59
all the reactions, all the faces was just like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s going on here
Link Keller 36:04
I truly think it is abhorrent that Netflix allowed that to happen. Mildred should not have been allowed back
Lara Taylor 36:12
I have seen I have seen things similarly happen in like real world reunions, and things like that. However, I mean,
Josué Cardona 36:20
you mean the show real world?
Lara Taylor 36:21
the real world Yeah, show real world. The reunion specials that they have at the end of the show. Where they bring everybody together, and they talk about all the dirt that happened, I will see things like that come up. And MTV did a better job of stopping and having a conversation about it or what, like they still would take the camera and follow the person and whatever and kind of harass him a bit. And it was before trigger warnings on things. And it was but better job. I think, in this situation if it weren’t a real world show. Mildred would have gotten confronted by the host and been like, what was that? Like?
Link Keller 37:04
Well, we can do a fun little segue into the host the host for the season. Not Nick and Vanessa ‘famously married’ Lachey. They instead had a new person come on to host to this and it was a straight woman who seemed incredibly uncomfortable surrounded by sapphic people, like truly uncomfortable. um not a great choice. You guys Netflix way, what were you thinking? But yeah, it’s extra upsetting to me, because on a previous season of love is blind. One of the contestants had done shitty stuff, like he was not a nice person. He didn’t do domestic violence, but they did not invite him back. He was not at the reunion. And then they all got to spend some fun time shitting on him, which I enjoyed. But it’s like, clearly like Netflix knew Netflix, there’s no way Netflix didn’t know about this. So the fact that they probably had the police report both on and had this confrontation, and then didn’t offer any sort of support to Tiff or to the rest of the contestants that had to witness this and just sit there because cameras were on them. And they’re not, they’re not supposed to leave. So it’s just sitting there. It’s like they didn’t do any sort of support for that. And then the episode just ends and they don’t talk about it. I’m like so upset about that. It was truly appalling to me,
Lara Taylor 38:31
the one thing I appreciated was, Sam got up and walked out and followed Tiff and gave them a hug and some like reassurance. And the one thing was the producer was like okay, let’s at least get you inside because it’s cold out here and you shouldn’t be out here in the cold. That is all they did for TIFF. I’m sure off the scenes there was like, Hey, why don’t you come back inside and come back to the show? But we don’t know if that happened. Yeah. The thing with Mildred was yes, I didn’t like her that much on the show. But she was a surprise villain. Like
Link Keller 39:08
exactly yes. She really on the editing was like, I don’t really like this person. I don’t think I would choose to spend time with her. She seems fine.
Lara Taylor 39:17
Cuz it was more Mutual. It sounded like a mutual argument. And like, even with her relationship with Aussie, like, I also didn’t like Aussie. I didn’t like either of them in that situation. So, but I did see her and I was like, Okay, this, this doesn’t feel right. But like, I wasn’t like, Oh, she’s gonna start throwing pet gates at people and stuff like that. Like, that’s rough. Um, and she just gaslit Tiff the whole time. It was, it was painful.
Link Keller 39:50
I think there is something to be said that the reason that Netflix let this happen is because It’s sapphic couples. And the femme presenting woman did domestic violence on the masc presenting non binary person. And if it had been the other way, I don’t think that they would have let tiff come, they would have kept her off. And because it was a femme presenting woman, women who commit domestic violence are not treated the same way as men. And I think that that is a huge part of it, and I don’t like it. It’s real shitty.
Lara Taylor 40:40
It’s real shitty. I do. I don’t like the way Netflix handle it. I do like that there is a chance for us to talk about
Link Keller 40:49
Lara Taylor 40:49
domestic violence in queer relationships. Kayla and I have talked about it on our on the episode where we talked about our Kids on Brooms game where we don’t talk about interpersonal harm in relationships with queer people, especially women. And so it was somebody’s first experience of like, oh, shit, a femme girl can do that? And wasn’t great. Tiff didn’t deserve that. Nobody deserves to go through that to have to educate people. I’m hopeful that someone learned something.
Josué Cardona 41:29
Yeah, so when they brought it up in the last episode in the reunion episode, I It never occurred to me that they were referring to something that was actually shown on the show.
Lara Taylor 41:39
That wasn’t shown on the show.
Josué Cardona 41:40
Oh it wasn’t shown on the show?
Link Keller 41:42
in between the 2021 filming and the 2023 January reunion filming
Josué Cardona 41:48
Okay, okay. Okay. That’s what I’m sorry. I thought you were saying that like, they were
Link Keller 41:53
I mean, it definitely showed them fighting and it was a heated but it was verbal yelling.
Josué Cardona 42:01
Okay. Okay. Okay. I
Lara Taylor 42:02
cannot even think it was like, like, physically, like, threatening, like getting each other space. I don’t think I remember any of that. But it was it was verbal. And yeah, it it is it was a wild. The way she does it in the reunion is just like, Oh, yeah. And I got arrested. And they took my engagement ring. And I never put it back on making it about her and blaming Tiff for this thing.
Link Keller 42:31
With the phrasing. She said she’s probably mangling this, but she said you called the police at me. And I think that phrasing of just completely lacking taking any responsibility for how that situation happens. And just being like you called the police at me, and I was just like, Oh, no. Buck wild. Yeah. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 43:03
This is the appeal, isn’t it? This is
Link Keller 43:06
sort of, again, I truly think it was a travesty that they let Mildred come on in and speak to that herself. I don’t think she was entitled to do that. But, you know, what can you do? Side note, another thing I mad at Netflix about is that during the main show, and also the reunion, they did not specify anybody’s pronouns. And not everybody used she her pronouns. They didn’t care they just kept she/her-ing everybody.
Lara Taylor 43:43
She was even even people in the couples I think you in the original couples would use she
Link Keller 43:49
and it’s it’s a little bit of a gray area, because again, they’re you know, there’s two years in between the original filming and the reunion filming and I’m pretty sure at least one of the people who uses they them pronouns that was in that in between point but it was truly like, you know, Netflix is doing promotions on Twitter and Tik Tok and I assume Facebook and Instagram. Like there are opportunities for them to be better about this and they fumbled that ball hard. Way less important than the domestic violence stuff, but it did personally annoy me. Ah
Josué Cardona 44:33
I’m looking up. I told you I had an article with everybody’s name so I could keep I could keep track. Yeah. Doesn’t make sense? Why Netflix? Do you know if this has been a hit for Netflix?
Link Keller 44:48
I don’t know that I have a good measure of if it’s a hit or not. I know that. Once I started engaging with content on tik tok. There was a lot of it but That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is more widely popular so much as tik tok knows what I’m into. I feel like generally speaking, the Netflix reality shows to pretty well, that’s why they keep making them.
Josué Cardona 45:18
Cuz I’m thinking of pushing the envelope, right, like, were there discussions about keeping, like, keeping the the Mildred and Tiff stuff there? Or not? Because you didn’t have to right? but it was like, Oh, this is good. You know? Fuck what, you know, again, we’re talking about the network that that did, um, 13 reasons why. And then made two extra seasons. Right? I mean, you know, those conversations happen in the room, and it’s like, fuck it. This is, you know, some people are gonna love this. So let’s put it out there. I don’t see an announcement for the season three of the ultimatum yet. But
Link Keller 46:09
I mean, given given the timeline, they probably already filmed seasons three and four? I don’t I don’t know. I do. I do think you’re right, there is absolutely an aspect to it, where any engagement is good engagement from the perspective of show runners, producers, executives who get paid big money, right is like, even if it’s just everybody tweeting and making videos about how triggered they were watching the reunion episode, because they didn’t realize they were going to be talking about interpartner violence. And watching somebody completely fall apart about it as a victim and being like, that’s me, that happened to me. And no warning or anything. Like people talking about it online is people talking about it online, even if what they’re saying is I was emotionally harmed by this. They’re still talking about it. So that’s great, right? I don’t agree with that. But there are certainly heartless people who do. whose own livelihoods are tied to that very idea that any engagement is good engagement.
Josué Cardona 47:26
I think of fast and the furious, right? You look at like you look at the first movie, and you know, every movie, kicks it up a notch, right? And people used to joke about like, oh, there’ll be in space next. And yeah, they did that by the ninth movie. Right? And then and then you get right. It’s like you keep getting bigger. And at some point, you’re like, well, we’ve either got to do something completely different, right? Like we kind of take a hard turn, or we need to escalate. And again, like it’s people’s lives, right, that I like, are on display. And it’s just, I don’t, yeah, again, this is why I don’t watch them. But again, I understand the drama like i I wonder how, how often people do think I imagine it goes both ways. We’re one you there’s one of the fake relationships that we have what to call them.
Link Keller 48:25
Josué Cardona 48:26
parasocial, right, right? It’s a type of parasocial relationship where you’re like, oh, like, I know that they’re real. But they’re not really real to you. Right? Like, there’s like this conscious piece of it of like, if it was scripted, would you be as invested? Probably not. Because you, you know, certain people are like, Oh, this is
Link Keller 48:43
I’d be less invested. Because it’s bad writing. Oh, man. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, of course, these are, these are real people. Yeah. So some of them are being more authentic. Again, still very heavily edited, you’re never going to get a full picture of a person from any reality TV show or documentary that it can, it cannot hold a whole human being such a failure of the medium. But there are also people who are more willing to be actors. I mean, they’re absolutely people who try and get on these reality TV shows because they are trying to jumpstart their acting career. And anything on your CV is better than nothing. So, you know, you’ve got you’ve got a whole gradient of people who are showing more of themselves intentionally versus showing more of themselves accidentally, versus showing a facade intentionally, accidentally, etc, etc, etc.
Josué Cardona 49:52
There’s a book I like called, everything bad is good for you. You might like, I don’t know 10-15 years ago, I don’t know and There’s a whole chapter on reality TV. And it, the case that the author makes is that the appeal of seeing people expressing genuine emotion is something that you can’t really get from, from fiction. And so it can serve as exposure and almost like emotional training, in a way to be able to observe human beings having genuine emotions. And I always try to think about that, right where I’m like, and that’s part of the appeal as well.
Link Keller 50:46
Josué Cardona 50:47
Especially if you’re, if you don’t have a lot of social support a big social network, you don’t, you don’t interact with many people throw you like, stuff. Either your life is so shitty, right? Or it’s just kind of boring, right? Like, there’s different, different versions of it, where it’s like, oh, like, this kind of stuff never happens to me. spoiler, doesn’t happen to most people. Right. But there’s, there’s, it’s like, you’re exercising that emotional muscle?
Link Keller 51:11
Josué Cardona 51:13
While watching. And so I’ve always thought that that’s, that’s good. And that’s why I think it’s, it’s with clients, I was like, yeah, no, like, well, what show are we talking about? Right? And that you can relate or that you can, whatever you feel about about this stuff. I mean, those are crazy situations. But it’s, it’s,
Link Keller 51:32
I think that’s part of why it is engaging for people is because it is, on one hand, an opportunity to be extremely judgmental of other people without getting any sort of negative social blowback at you because there’s a screen in between, you’re fine. But it is also an opportunity for you to imagine yourself in these situations mean like, I would never do that or like, Ooh, I agree with you, I would have said the exact same thing. And that’s, like, beneficial to our brains. It’s why we engage with stories so much. That, again, it’s just circling back to like the the morality and ethics of reality TV show is questionable, but there is a clear benefit and reasoning why people engage with it so much. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 52:25
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, with that, the morality and ethics about it, like I, sometimes I feel bad, but also like, I’m like, these people signed up for this, and they knew what they were getting into, especially in a show that has had multiple seasons of a thing. It pisses me off when I’m watching things like HGTV reality shows where they’re flipping houses to, it’s like, you’re arguing with this person about what the design is for the house and all these other things? Don’t you know, this is how the show goes? Like. You can’t fully prepare, I don’t know for exactly what is going on. But you decided to sign a contract. But I don’t know.
Josué Cardona 53:12
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know like, as therapists or you sign a contract, kind of right, that you’re gonna come in, you’re gonna work on some stuff, you don’t expect that you’re gonna go into this deeper to trauma, you never thought about it. And right, it’s like, it’s one of those things where you have expectations going in. And but then here, it’s like, your, your life is being recorded, and will be shared and will be edited. And
Lara Taylor 53:39
yeah, most of the people on the show, because what happened with Tiff and Mildred happened after the show, between the the ending of the show and the reunion, most of the people who were on the show, actually said they liked the experience and like learn something from the experience and got something out of it. Even if it screwed up their lives. It’s like at least I know now.
Link Keller 54:06
I mean, I really felt like all of the people saying that also did a bunch of therapy. And it was just like,
Lara Taylor 54:14
Link Keller 54:15
after working through it. It has been overall a positive experience because I have exhibited so much growth and it’s like, yeah, you exhibited growth because you were being crushed under Netflix’s foot.
Lara Taylor 54:28
Josué Cardona 54:30
Okay. If someone’s listened this far, and they they they’re still not sure if they want to watch the show. Okay, so that when I watched the reunion episode, again, I didn’t watch anything in between. There was a part where they said, Okay, everyone, “we need to talk about finger-gate”.
Link Keller 54:47
we don’t! we actually don’t need to talk about finger gate? We never need to talk about it. I wish you hadn’t called it that and also that the host said that and she looks so uncomfortable saying that I’m contractually obligated to say this line. But I think I am also going to throw up afterwards.
Josué Cardona 55:11
And then the people involved in that, including one of our villains. I was like, I was like, I wanted to leave the room and I wasn’t in the room. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 55:25
And it was one of those situations where they they portrayed Vanessa as a manipulative narcissist. And I’m not going to agree or disagree with that statement.
Josué Cardona 55:38
And I’m going to yet or you know, your therapist hats off here, right? Yeah, exactly. There, you said like, oh, you know, what you’re signing up for? And I, I disagree with that to an extent because it’s like, you know, you’re it may be hard to comprehend, because I’m sure there’s a lot of manipulation and sales. Yeah. And like, like, you’re trying to convince people to do this,
Lara Taylor 56:05
like a timeshare thing,
Josué Cardona 56:07
Yeah, timeshare, for sure. For sure. And, and much like a timeshare, things are staged, and like, they interview people enough to have an idea of or a hope for how they will be on the show. And you hire the villains deliberately. Right? And you hire like different personalities, so that they clash, right, like this is this is documented stuff, right? Like this. Yeah, this is the recipe for it.
Lara Taylor 56:34
There are multiple people that each one of these people could click with to be able to read something about the casting, they want to make sure that there’s at least somebody they’re going to click with and be compatible with.
Josué Cardona 56:47
And the opposite as well
Lara Taylor 56:48
and the opposite as well. To get those those moments and I think they did, especially with that couple with Xander and Vanessa, they portrayed Xander as a saint, and Vanessa as the devil.
Josué Cardona 57:04
But But imagine
Lara Taylor 57:07
Xander’s a saint it’s fine.
Josué Cardona 57:09
I guess. I mean, I didn’t watch the whole series. I don’t know these people, right. I’m using I’m using Vanessa as an example. But imagine being Vanessa, getting hired for the show. And in that first episode, she’s like, I just really get along with people, you know, like, like people. And she’s just like, kind of bubbly. So you have no, like, it’s the thing that you don’t know that they hired you to be the villain. Like you don’t know that they hired they could have hired other people like you. I don’t know you would have like a support maybe
Lara Taylor 57:36
maybe but in one of the maybe she said something like I just came on this show because like, why would Xander Leave me? I’m I’m pretty like
Link Keller 57:50
ugh that part messed me up
Josué Cardona 57:51
Yeah, that doesn’t mean that like you that she’s
Lara Taylor 57:55
they gave the impression and other people who were there got the impression that she was there to get famous. She says she was an influencer. Like she was there she was Yeah, acting, you know, I
Josué Cardona 58:07
could have had eight people like her right? She wouldn’t have been the villain, right? Like, like,
Lara Taylor 58:12
but the real villain is Mildred
Josué Cardona 58:15
But again, I’m just I’m just trying to say like, imagine being recruited and you don’t know that you were hired to be to be the antagonist to the situation.
Link Keller 58:24
That’s a terrifying thing to think about. But I do also know with certainty that there are absolutely people who want to be that because that gives you a lot of screen time. Oh, yeah. So I won’t speak either either direction for Vanessa specifically, but I did come out where she’s like, I knew I was gonna be the villain in the in the beginning of the season who could have seen the reunion coming? I would believe her if she said she was in on it. I would also believe her if she’s, I mean, she she has been pretty open. Post the union and being you know, people are like, how do you feel about the way that you were edited and she’s pretty on the nose about it like you don’t really get to control that part. And you know, it is a weird experience. Because in your day to day life, you say stuff, you do things with your body and you don’t, that doesn’t get saved you don’t save that stuff. But when it is recorded, and it is played and it is repeated, and it is clipped together by other people like that thing is over and over and over it
Lara Taylor 59:41
and then received and memed on Tik Tok a million times worse is
Link Keller 59:45
a level of self awareness that most people never have to deal with. So I do think that that that it’s, I don’t like Vanessa, but I do respect that she’s been open about that aspect of being like, I don’t have control over it it’s weird to see the way that I behaved in those moments. But you know I don’t I don’t regret doing it it was like okay I can respect that
Lara Taylor 1:00:12
because I realized while we were talking that it fits this show fits the the Marvel formula the villain throughout and then the sleeper villain
Link Keller 1:00:23
coming soon to Disney plus the ultimatum colon Marvel love
Josué Cardona 1:00:33
ultimatum Avengers, there’s a whole Ultimate Universe of Yeah. All right,
Link Keller 1:00:39
folks. Pitch your Marvel cast for next season of the ultimatum. I look forward. I look forward to it.
Josué Cardona 1:00:50
Any final words on on on reality TV? Or, or queer love? The ultimatum. The ultimatum
Link Keller 1:01:03
love queer love. I don’t love the ultimatum. I’m mad at Netflix. That’s my final statement.
Lara Taylor 1:01:14
I want more queer reality shows, I think yes. More queer reality.
Link Keller 1:01:19
That’s actually the loophole, if Netflix puts out 3040 more seasons of queer shows, then I won’t have anything to complain about. That’s not true. I would still find
Lara Taylor 1:01:30
that’s not true! you’d complain But you would also be happy that there was that much representation,
Link Keller 1:01:35
I would be so happy.
Lara Taylor 1:01:36
It was nice to I mean, yes, I watched Tila Tequila when I was younger, but like, it was nice to see people like me, again, because Danny was like almost the only I think only the only butch person on that show. But people like me on a show. And the drama in the sapphic community is always wonderful. So we knew what they would bring it. But I would like more I would like to see more. Because if we’re going to torture the straight people, why not? Why not also torture the queers.
Link Keller 1:02:10
And that’s equality.
Josué Cardona 1:02:16
So, so I want to I want to wrap this up by saying something that I haven’t said in like two years, and I’m so happy. So on the latest episode of Black Mirror, there was something very relevant. Okay. The first episode of season six, okay, is called Joan is awful. Let me tell you the premise of Joan is awful. Joan goes to work one day, and a few things happen that are not great. She gets home that day. She hasn’t had a good day, she sits down and on a platform called stream Berry, which is it’s like it’s Netflix. It’s the same. It’s everything out. It’s called stream Barry. There’s a show called Joan is awful. And Joan starts watching it. And Joan is awful is portraying her life from that day, in the morning, step by step portrayed by other people. And I love black mirror very, very much. And basically, the episode, the premise of the episode is that so much of our information is already out there. Right? Like, like, we don’t have a camera crew with us. But we are recorded constantly. And we have things hearing us and all that. And how much of that information is actually ours. Right? Like you’re giving Vanessa’s example of like, well, I signed away this stuff. And it’s weird, and I don’t have control of that. But then imagine it to the extreme that everything that you know, all these devices and their phones and the computers are listening that Netflix could then just go and say hey, I’m gonna make a show about it. And since technology is this good, we can just make the show almost in real time using AI and the digital and like like Bruce Willis signed away the rights to his digital self like to be to be appear in movies. Grimes has opened sourced her voice right to us and so right so and then it just imagine a world where they could your whole life could just be and also dramatized because it’s a one hour episode of an entire day. And the episode is called Joan is awful. And the show is called Joan is awful inside the episode because they make that argument that’s like, well, that’s what people like. We tried, you know, we tried to make you know, Joan is amazing. And Joan is great and nobody nobody was interested. So we’re just gonna make these shows where and it’s so it’s so sad that that’s like what sells more if you’re if you’re in a capitalist economy, right so society and you’re gonna make money. That’s how you do it. If you’re NPR and you’re publicly funded and you know you can you can make this as This American Life. But if you’re trying to make money, tell something to Netflix or get more subscribers. You feed off of the drama. And so
Lara Taylor 1:05:20
you do feed off the drama, although a lot of people loved Yoly and Xander but that’s a story for another
Link Keller 1:05:29
I feel like Yoly got kind of villainous at the end
Lara Taylor 1:05:33
oh she did. I did
Josué Cardona 1:05:34
I was gonna bring up Yoly as like, she seemed like Mildred’s ally at the end.
Josué Cardona 1:05:39
Link Keller 1:05:39
And she’s caught some heat for that, too.
Lara Taylor 1:05:43
Good. Yeah. She’s I don’t want to get to sleep or henchmen. She’s a sleeper henchmen. Right. Like,
Josué Cardona 1:05:49
I don’t want to be this invested.
Lara Taylor 1:05:52
I’m gonna go back and watch. Oh, no,
Josué Cardona 1:05:54
I will not. I will not. I will not.
Lara Taylor 1:05:58
I will just watch all the tiktoks
Link Keller 1:05:59
Yeah, just watch the tiktoks
Josué Cardona 1:06:00
absolutely not watch it. Again, I mean, I mean, again, I brought up that Black Mirror episode because this connects to so many different things. Just the editing piece, the people’s lives being on display, and just
Link Keller 1:06:14
Josué Cardona 1:06:16
the drama sells, right. It’s all I mean, I think there’s a lot of stuff being touched on there. And who knows what the future will hold? No, it’s usually whatever Black mirror shows
Link Keller 1:06:28
Tune in next week for our Black Mirror episode.
Josué Cardona 1:06:34
I don’t even think of that connection. And so like, halfway through this episode, I was like, exactly what the episode is about. Well, thank you for joining us, let us know. You know, but what your favorite moments from the ultimatum queer love were? What pissed you off? Or you know what reality TV shows you like, why you like him? I don’t like during the conversation in our community spaces. All those links are in the show notes. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for listening. Remember to geek out into good. We’ll be back next week.
Link Keller 1:07:05
Josué Cardona 1:07:06
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org
Transcribed by https://otter.ai and Link Keller
Characters / Media
- The Ultimatum: Queer Love
- Love Trip: Paris
- The Real World
- A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila
- Road Rules
- Curve magazine
- Love is Blind
- Kids on Brooms (TTRPG)
- The Fast and Furious series
- Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson
- Black Mirror
Themes / Topics
* Alcohol/substance abuse
* Cultural representation
* Difficult emotions
* Feeling alone
* Finding Oneself/Identity Development
* LGBT Issues
* Mental Health Services
* Moral dilemma
* Parasocial Relationships
* Problem Solving
* Standing up for oneself
* Taking responsibility for one’s actions
* Alcohol/substance abuse
* Coming Out
* Domestic Violence
* Foster Care/Adoption
* New Life Event (New Rules)
Links / Social Media
Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com
GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org
GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord
GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy
Join the Conversation!
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