With ‘Perfect Match,’ Netflix Seeks to Create Its Own Bachelorverse

How many times is Netflix going to put Francesca Farago on my screen? As many as it takes, it seems, for her to become a minor celebrity. But it’s not just Francesca; Netflix’s latest reality dating show, Perfect Match (premiering Valentine’s Day), makes good on a strategy Netflix has been quietly testing for years: plunging cast members from almost every reality series Netflix has ever made into one shared dating pool. What better way to create your own tier of C-list celebrities than to show us their faces over and over again?

Netflix has been planting the seeds of this shared universe for years. Remember when Too Hot to Handle star Chloe Veitch showed up on The Circle Season 2 in spring 2021? And do you also remember when Francesca—also of Too Hot to Handle fame (infamy?)—showed up on Love Is Blind: After the Altar just a couple months after that, when she crashed a mixer with Damian Powers? (All three of these people appear on Perfect Match, by the way.)

Perfect Match’s cast seems to include a representative from almost every Netflix reality show: Love Is Blind, Sexy Beasts, The Mole, The Circle France, Twentysomethings, Selling Tampa, and The Ultimatum. Much like Bachelor in Paradise, Perfect Match appears to be taking the Bratz doll approach to reality dating: put some familiar, pouty faces on screen and see what happens when different pairs mash their faces together.

At the same time, Perfect Match’s link to Bachelor in Paradise goes deeper than format. Much like The Bachelor has bred a new kind of celebrity—magazines like People and Us Weekly never run low on Bachelor beat coverage—Netflix seems to be looking for ways to capitalize on the influencers whose careers it supports. In that sense, one could just as easily compare Perfect Match and its gaggle of would-be celebrities to the Bravo stars who seem to love Cameo. (So, by the way, do Netflix stars.)

Descriptions of each cast member from Netflix’s editorial arm, Tudum, make sure to include a “You know them from” tab to promote the many, many series contestants came from, as well as (of course) their social links. For almost every pick, the logic feels obvious—from Francesca, a reliable pot-stirrer, to Joey Sasso, a fan favorite from The Circle Season 1. (Coincidentally, Joey’s Circle bestie and fellow finalist, Shubham Goel, just showed up on The Circle Season 5.)

Like Bachelor in Paradise, which tends to cast a few villains, Perfect Match seems to be going for the dramatic juice with a lot of its picks—like Bartise Bowden, who became everyone’s favorite to hate on Love Is Blind’s most recent season, and Shayne Jansen, his predecessor in the dreaded role. (Well, besides Abhishek “Shake” Chatterjee, anyway.)

For every heel, however, there’s a face—like the exceptionally earnest Dom Gabriel, AKA “Dom Cruise” from The Mole. (Did anyone watch The Mole? Does anyone but me remember The Mole? We’ll find out!) Savannah Palacio, who found herself in a feud during The Circle Season 2, is also headed to the luxe Panamanian villa to find love. Here’s hoping she doesn’t find another feud instead.

Whether or not anyone finds their real other half on Perfect Match, brand identities will be further solidified—and maybe that’s the true meaning of reality television. Then again, who knows. The right couple, with the right chemistry and the right charisma, might just be able to convince us that they’re in this “for the right reasons.”

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