Love Is Blind Creator Breaks Down Season 4 Twists, Casting Backlash and Whether Zack and Bliss Broke the Rules
Warning: This story contains spoilers from the “Love Is Blind” Season 4 finale, now streaming on Netflix.
It’s never a dull moment on “Love Is Blind,” and Season 4 was no different. During the finale, which dropped on Netflix on Friday, it was time for the weddings. While viewers weren’t surprised by fan-favorite couple Tiffany and Brett saying yes at the altar, they weren’t the only engaged pair to tie the knot.
Chelsea and Kwame put all their differences aside and said yes, as did Bliss and Zack — who didn’t even get engaged until after the pods. While Jackie and Marshall didn’t make it to the altar, Micah and Paul did. When she was asked for her choice, she asked Paul to go first, and he said no.
Variety spoke with Kinetic CEO and “Love Is Blind” creator Chris Coelen to break down the ups and downs of Season 4 and that surprising finale.
There’s been a bit of backlash around the casting of this season; Jackie didn’t seem ready to be married and Micah and Irina came off like mean girls. What’s your reaction to that?
We don’t have any idea how people are going to react. We always try to choose people who at least state that they are interested in being married or having a lifelong relationship with somebody if they find someone that they want to do that with. That’s a big if. I think most people are really skeptical, to be honest. Most people come in like, “Who wouldn’t love to find their soulmate and be married? Is it gonna happen to me? Probably not!” We try to create a broadly diverse pool of people, but they all have that same stated intention in the forefront of their mind, at least as they espouse it to us. And then different people act different ways, whether it’s Jackie or Irina. Shake [from Season 2] is another, different example of that from the past.
What about geography? It seemed like the cast didn’t actually have to live in Seattle, but then that became an issue later on.
We always try to make the pool of potential participants as broad as we possibly can make it. So you’re in a specific region like Seattle and we felt, in casting, Portland is only around a two-hour drive. We felt that it was helpful to open up that aperture of casting to be able to include people from as far away as Portland. It felt reasonable to us that if you fell in love and you were within a two-hour radius driving, you can make that work if you want it to. Brett’s in Portland. It was an issue that he talks about with Tiffany, but it’s much less of an issue for them. I think the reason to do that was just to open up the pool of potential participants as wide as we possibly could.
I saw that Kwame was on a matchmaking special from “Married at First Sight” Season 10, which Kinetic also produces. Is that how he landed at “Love Is Blind?”
No, I had zero idea! I saw that online too and I was like, “What? That’s bizarre!” I texted our team about it. It made zero sense to me. After his soccer career ended, I guess he was living in D.C. for a while and he had gone in. He was never featured on the show, of course, but he was one of the people in there.
How did you decide to follow Zack and Bliss? They got to date and get engaged after meeting each other, which kind of goes against the premise of the show. Did they break the rules?
Well, we film a lot of people outside of the pod experience that we don’t show, with people that we met during the pod portion. We have to make decisions about what stories to follow. Zack obviously had a genuine, emotional connection with Bliss. When people have no remaining option in the pods, we ask them to leave. So, I remember when that breakup happened. I always go back and speak to people who are leaving. I could feel the emotion in Bliss’ body, like it was so palpable. It was so real and she genuinely thought that this was her person that she was going to spend her life. It was devastating. Zack obviously felt, very soon after meeting Irina, that he had made the wrong choice. Eventually he said he really wanted to get in touch with Bliss. They don’t have each other’s contact information. So he asked the producing team in Mexico if he could get in touch with her.
You can see on the show, that’s their first meeting and they have a real connection that carried over from the pods. We had no idea where it was gonna go, but they had such a strong feeling between them. Zack told us, “I think I should have asked her to marry me. I want to do that.”
She is one of the most grounded, real, genuine smart people that I’ve met. So when he says he screwed up and wants to marry her, that’s an incredible love story.
And you got to play “I Hope You Dance.”
I loved that. I’ve always liked that song. The lyrics of the song really encapsulates so much of the different journeys that we’ve watched over the course of the season. So to be able to wrap that all together like that was really special for us.
I was surprised when Micah chose to have Paul go first at the altar. Is that order decided ahead of time for who must reveal their choice first?
Generally, we will decide. We put our finger into the wind and see which way it’s blowing. This documentation of their experience is a moment in their life. The choice that they make at the altar is for the rest of their life, either way. We don’t want to influence their decision at all. I go see them on the day of their wedding and I don’t even ask them what they’re going to say. I do not want to know. Of course I have a feeling, but there’s so many times that I’ve been wrong about what’s going to happen. I thought for sure SK was saying yes to Raven [last season]. We want it to be real. I always tell them, from a cynical producer’s point of view, I literally do not care whether they say “I do” or “I don’t.” If we have delivered the audience a very compelling journey, then let’s lean into the authenticity of that. But for you, you live with that forever. The only thing that matters to me is that each person makes the right decision for themselves. The alignments between the right decision for them and great television is the same, because it’s real.
Why did you decide to have a live reunion?
That was Netflix’s idea to do it live, and I think it’s great. They’ve only done one live program so far which was obviously the Chris Rock special, so to have them want to lead their second live effort around “Love Is Blind” is exciting!
The “Love Is Blind” live reunion streams on April 16 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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