Spouse House is a new reality dating TV show on TLC, first aired last Sunday. Is it merely another in America’s long-term love-affair with all things ‘reality’? It’s hard to say—after all, there’s only been one episode. But from what I’ve seen, it seems unlikely. Sure, it may boast some of the common tropes associated with reality dating shows, such as young, attractive women and well-muscled men with full heads of hair, but unlike other dating shows I’ve seen (which, admittedly, are very few), the contestants on Spouse House are there for one reason only: Marriage. A good thing, too, because anyone not actively searching for a spouse will be ceremoniously evicted.
The contestants come from variegated backgrounds with unique personal, professional and family histories, but the one thing they all share is the desire, the need, to marry. The results are a no-holds-barred blitzkrieg of emotional honesty, trepidation, and comic, awkward, blundering moments genuinely human. And while the overly contrived or manipulated 'reality' so often associated with reality programming is largely absent, it still makes for entertaining television. Perhaps because of this? Oh, and for all you drama-junkies out there, don't worry—the promise of catty remarks and macho rivalries loom seductively.
Without further ado, here are five reasons you should watch Spouse House on TLC:
1- Everybody Wants To Get Married
This reason may seem unremarkable at a glance, so, please, keep reading. It’s safe to assume that the vast majority of people eventually want to get married, but on Spouse House, the contestants have put their busy lives on hold in pursuit of this singular goal, regardless of the cost. A far cry from the post-college frat house bacchanalia of its kindred shows, the participants on Spouse House are young professionals with taxing lives and demanding careers. They put their love lives on hold in order to focus on their professional lives, creating an interesting social dynamic: They are determined to leave the bullshit and the baggage of the contemporary dating scene behind. The result is a group of highly-focused, single-minded people all searching for the same thing, and doing so in wildly different ways. Tempers flare in the face of brutal honesty; no quarter is given. Each knows exactly what he or she wants.
2- Intriguing Personality Types
Similarly to internet dating sites such as Match.com or eHarmony, relationship experts Dr. Isaiah Pickens and Christine Hassler employed scientific analysis during the casting process. Furthermore, the chosen contestants are all from Chicago, fostering an immediate sense of familiarity between the cast. The cynic in all of us wants to scoff at the idea—the ability to quantify and calculate love seems inherently infeasible. Whether or not that’s the case, it does provide for an intriguing clash of personality types.
Like Ashley Lauren and Tom: Both have large personalities and even larger ambitions, seeking to form an elite, Chicago super-power-couple. And that's only a scratch on the surface. Chris and Brianne also share a peculiar commonality in that they both find it unduly difficult not to cry during TV shows and commercials.
The question here is one of magnetic antiquity: Do opposites attract? Given the accelerated time-frame of the show, and its almost too-perfectly orchestrated matching strategy, the first episode would indicate otherwise. So far, the contestants have naturally gravitated toward those who share common interests, goals, ideologies, etc. But will Tom and Ashley’s larger-than-life personalities prove too stubborn and immovable to allow the give-and-take necessary for a successful relationship to gain a foothold? Will Chris and Brianne find it difficult to follow the important plot points of a TV show due to their simultaneous sobbing? No idea. But some of these common personality traits are a little too suspicious to be coincidental...