Each of its six episodes follows a New Yorker as they go on five separate dates across the city, navigating through awkward silences, shared passions, bad jokes and arguments over cultural differences.
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Over coffee—and in the same white-tee-black-jeans getup he wore to each date—Liang talked about being Asian in the gay community, being gay in the Asian community, and the ups and downs of the grueling shooting process. A friend of mine actually runs The House that Casting Built, which cast the show. When she first contacted me, I was on the west coast for my job. What do I have to offer? And interestingly enough, she said: I thought, you know what? This might be an opportunity to actually find a match.
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I travel my ass off. I try to go on dates. It never works. Often, we all probably swipe left on a lot of people that we would want to engage with in real life. You seemed very comfortable on camera. Were you thinking about the fact that you were being filmed? I was very drunk.
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And everybody loves a little social lubricant. But 15 to 20 minutes or three or four gins in, I got real comfortable. Also, within five to 10 minutes, I sort of knew that none of these guys was going to be a love connection. Were the dates scripted at all? How much guidance did you get from the producers?
Tell us a little bit more about you and let yourself be a little vulnerable.
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Totally sweet guy, but half of what I said went over his head. We shot over a week.
They wanted me to take the week off, but there was no way I was going to do that—my company was doing a major store renovation in Soho, and I had to meet contractors every day at 8 a. So we would shoot for eight to 10 hours, from 7 p. I would meet somebody for like an hour and we would do drinks and then they would reset.
We would go away and take a break or the bartender would bring me another cocktail. That's when we meet an Indian woman who shuts down her ignorant white male date. It's a tense, necessary exchange that will hit home for anyone who's experienced culture clash. In episode three, we watch a gay man attempt to find love; the conversations that emerge from that about coming out are heartfelt and fascinating. Episode four, my personal favorite, centers on a widower immersing himself in the dating scene.
He's a no-fuss, long-retired lawyer who's just looking for companionship, and the women he meets are all queens. But we really need to talk about what happens in episode five. We're introduced to Sarah, a recent New York City transplant who agrees to five blind dates. One of those is with John, who tells Sarah he goes by "Mr. John"—weird but not offensive.
But then they sit down for dinner, and Sarah says she might order what the restaurant calls the Big Salad. To this John says, "That caught your attention? You like it big? She laughs it off, but then he makes another comment. When Sarah tells John she enjoys singing jazz, he asks if he can hear some.
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She takes a sip of her wine, presumably to loosen up before singing, and John jokes, "Yeah, you don't want anything in your throat, right? Sarah, visibly uncomfortable, then does something awesome: She gets up and leaves midway through the date. Some daters end an episode with multiple phone numbers; others decide not to go on a second date with anyone.
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Going into each date, Culvenor said, producers knew a great deal about each participant—their backstory, their desires, their passions—but the goal was to proceed with a light touch. Jill Abramson weighs in. Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hollywood newsletter and never miss a story.
Read More. Netflix Is Getting Gooped. By Laura Bradley. Fires Shots: By Joy Press.
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