This summer, it’s high tide on reality TV shows. Boy’s Island in full swing on HBO Max, the bachelorette is back on ABC with *two* tracks, and the girls from the island of love are already getting excited. Are you ready for another?
Walk in cosmic love, a pioneering experience that premiered Monday on Amazon Prime and seeks to combine the bald sincerity of astrology with the sheer goofiness of the reality TV genre. The rules are both simple and designed for maximum drama: four tracks, each representing one of the elements, weave their way through a shared group of singles in search of their perfect matches.
The “elements” must overcome their (poor) natural dating instincts to find their astrologically compatible matches. Then the real game begins: once the elements have confirmed all their matches, they must eliminate those with whom they see no future. In the end, the elements will decide at the altar whether or not to marry their soul mate.
There’s just one catch: the contestants our four protagonists are dating can also (and certainly do) hook up.
Some of our “elements” handle the chaotic environment better than others. Noel, the Pisces with a Wandering Eye, represents water – and in the six episodes made available for review, he seems to be having a good time. Phoebe, a feisty Leo who craves the focused attention of her matches, struggles a bit more. Maria portrays Earth, an emotional Capricorn who grew up watching Walter Mercado but struggles to trust the “Astro Chamber” (the mystical guide, voiced by Cree Summer, who is believed to guide the elements on their journeys) . And Connor, a somewhat reclusive Gemini, must find a way to overcome his air sign tendencies to feel more grounded.
As with most of these shows, the mess is by far the best part. As season leaders battle singles in the house for attention, the Astro Chamber often treats these frustrations as challenges to overcome. It can be fascinating to see how each element communicates with their various dating perspectives, especially as they ostensibly try to overcome their habitual instincts and habits.
In this context, astrology becomes a useful tool for self-examination and reflection. More importantly, though, it’s endless fun to watch hot, needy singles turn to a supposedly sentient orb for advice; it just never gets old to see someone sitting down their match band for a town hall that begins with the words “The Astro Chamber just told me…”
The activities on cosmic love range from the usual silly, often bikini-clad games (such as painting each other’s bodies with colors representing various virtues) to emotionally intense exercises that require contestants to dig deep. At one point, a contestant who normally serves as comic relief bursts into tears while paying tribute to a cousin who died of COVID-19. As often happens on shows like this, some of the efforts feel sincere, while others land more awkwardly.
As intentionally goofy as cosmic love maybe, a show like this was probably inevitable. Astrology apps have proliferated in recent years – “Are you a Costar person or are you on The Pattern?” – and Tinder is full of profiles featuring the “Big 3” of users. (For the uninitiated, that would be the Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs.) Honestly, it’s a miracle it’s taken anyone this long to get into the integration of the astrology on a dating show.
On that note, this show’s real flaw is the one that plagues most of our dating content in reality: it’s pitifully, terribly straight. Given the queer community’s embrace of astrology, the obligatory heterosexuality of cosmic love stands out even more. Likewise, it’s hard to understand why, like so many dating shows that claim to foster deeper connections, cosmic love seems to have been cast with a target BMI slice in mind.
“It’s hard to understand why, like so many dating shows that claim to foster deeper connections, “Cosmic Love” seems to have been launched with a target BMI range in mind.”
As for astrology itself, the card readings presented on cosmic love don’t seem quite up to, say, Indian Matchmaking in terms of complexity. But astrology enthusiasts will be relieved to learn that the show ventures beyond the sun sign (unnecessary on its own) to explore the 3 major signs of the group, the north and south nodes, and more.
I guess, however, that most viewers watch cosmic love are more passionate about the dating half of his equation; these are probably not people who are, say, looking for the latest Chani Nicholas book. If you’re looking for another source of reality TV mess, cosmic love could well be The One. But beware: the stars are not for the faint-hearted.