In perfect Netflix calibration, Dating Around gave thirsty, horny television types some excellent post–Valentine’s Day content. The six episodes are a breeze to go through, and offer a fascinating anthropological look at how other people date. So in that horny anthropological spirit, we decided to dust off our favorite middle-school game and play “Fuck, Marry, Kill” with the contestants on each episode.
The rules are these: Three of the five dating prospects from each episode will get picked for each category. The other two will fade into oblivion. The protagonist of each episode is ineligible for consideration, so as much as we love Mila, we can’t marry her. (But, Mila, call us! Even though one of us is a gay man and the other is a married straight woman!)
All right, let’s get to intellectualizing our horniness and (purely theoretical and in no way malevolent!) murderousness.
Episode One: Luke
Kathryn: I am very curious about your picks for the first episode, because I think it’s the most straightforward for me. At least for the F and K parts. The “fuck” has got to be Betty, right?
Alex: I do have to say that I’m extremely disappointed that Netflix (and therefore we) must begin with the most nothingburger dater of the six: Luke. With that said, in terms of pure boning, Betty seems like the clear winner here. Hair, body, face! She can teach you “how to dance.” Her dress is so short that I’m having flashbacks to Zulema’s dress from Project Runway!
Kathryn: Absolutely agree, although I sure did spend a nonzero amount of time trying to figure out if it actually was a dress or just a short romper? Regardless, fantastic work from Betty.
The “marry” for me is also a clear pick, and not coincidentally, this is the biggest saving grace of the admittedly underwhelming episode. I’d pick Victoria for this one, and the fact that Luke also picks Victoria, the strangest person in the bunch, seems like an indication that Luke realizes he needs someone to make him quirkier. She walks headfirst into the door! I’m a fan.
Alex: I do agree that Victoria is probably the best match for Luke, but for me, a homosexual? Absolutely not. I find her boring in the manner of girls who think going to Peloton is a personality. While I think Tiffany, of the lip-smacking school of chewing, is a camp icon in the making, in terms of long-term happiness I’m picking Ashley. She’s absolutely gorgeous, and clearly no-nonsense. She knew that she wasn’t vibing with boring Lukey (which speaks to good taste) and was polite and direct and called herself a Lyft. We love an independent woman.
Kathryn: Tiffany is a camp icon in the making, a glorious, unapologetic person who feels no compunction about coaching her date to open his mouth wider while eating his food. But for this reason, alas, I must select her for the “kill” column. I can’t go with Ashley, who only wanted out of a chemistry-free date. I can’t pick Kate, who wore a great jumpsuit! But I believe Tiffany’s sudden, dramatic death would only maximize her legacy, and I cannot watch more of her chewing.
Alex: I can only wish for a “Page Six”–level death for Tiffany, like falling out of a penthouse apartment while trying to smoke. Being boring and forgettable is a kind of death, so because I can’t choose Luke, I’m choosing Kate, who I wouldn’t be able to pick out of an Anthropologie lineup.
Episode One Conclusions:
• Kathryn: Fuck Betty, Marry Victoria, Kill Tiffany
• Alex: Fuck Betty, Marry Ashley, Kill Kate (but only because I can’t choose Luke)
Episode Two: Gurki
Alex: Let’s spice things up and start with murder for this one.
Kathryn: Surely the choice of murder for episode two is unanimous?
Alex: Yes, I think the Twitter mobs are ready to send Justin to the guillotine, and rightly so. I felt an incandescent rage hot enough to power the solar system watching this episode. I thought he was straight trash from the beginning, when he orders a Miller High Life and reacts to the fact of Gurki’s parents’ arranged marriage by calling it “terrible.” Those were enough red flags for me, but then during drinks, he does everything that I imagine shitty straight white men with Nazi-youth haircuts do on dates, which is gaslight, belittle, and insult women. Thank u, next.
Kathryn: Co-sign everything you said, with the small addition that I’m honestly surprised my rage didn’t fuel a superhuman ability to reach through my screen and knee Justin in the groin. (Also great job reducing another culture’s long history of arranged marriages to “they basically did a dating app,” Justin.)
Alex: Let’s lighten the mood and move on to fucking. I extremely want to bone Manny. He can choke me with his Krav Maga moves anytime.
Kathryn: ALEX YOU STOLE MY PICK (it’s cool). Manny is so adorable, and endearing, and by the end of the date when he’s drunk and attempting to protest Gurki’s categorizing him as a goofball, I was all-in on Manny. My friend Christina says Manny looks like a prince from a cartoon, and she is not wrong.
Alex: And with that I would say that Manny is also my marriage pick. (We make the rules!) He’s mature, he’s hot, and I liked that he and Gurki bonded over going through their respective divorces. He seems like someone who knows what a relationship takes, but is also game for adventure in a way that would make for a great lasting partnership. Yes, Manny, I say yes!
Kathryn: While Manny would probably also be my marriage pick (look, I have kids and he seems like a great parent), in the interest of breadth I’m gonna go with Salim. He has his act together. He can speak high-school French. He asks for a phone number instead of an Insta handle. He’s cute. I reserve the right to rescind this choice if it turns out his beverage company is dumb.
Episode Two Conclusions:
• Alex: Fuck Manny, Marry Manny, Kill Justin
• Kathryn: Fuck Manny, Marry Salim, Kill Justin
Episode Three: Lex
Kathryn: Let’s once again juggle the order and begin with marriage for Lex’s episode. I would happily, right now, get married to Brad. Wow that is an attractive man. He used to play football and doesn’t even watch it anymore, which is great because he and I will sit on the sofa and I’ll show him Babylon Berlin instead. He’ll object, because apparently that’s his whole deal, but I think he’ll come around.
Alex: Well, I really want to pick Lex, but because of our arbitrary “rules,” I’m also going to go with Brad. He’s confident, sexy, and loaded. Excellent first-divorce material.
Kathryn: My sex choice here is Cory. He’s so tall, and there’s a sense of enthusiasm about him that seems very promising. He’s like a Labrador puppy. I doubt we’d be a good long-term match, but Cory does come across as someone who’d want to make sure everyone has a nice time.
Alex: Sorry, what was that? I fell asleep. Cory is so boring! He does have strong youth-pastor energy, which could be fun in a kinky way because you just want to mess him up. (I suspect this is why Lex chose him.) That said, I’m struggling with a marriage pick because I don’t think anyone is really as charming or sexy as Lex is. (Lex, text me!) Anyway, I’m just buying myself time before I decide to go with … Manny? Bring Manny back!
Kathryn: HEY, NO FAIR! We’d all bring back Manny if we could, but we’re stuck with Cory or Jonathan With the Mustache.
Alex: Okay, fine, I’m just going to be boring and pick Brad again. While he’s not exactly my type, he seems like an experience.
Kathryn: There’s a persuasive argument for picking Jonathan for the “kill.” The combination of his mustache and the jacket suggests that his funeral would be a mid-19th-century circus affair produced by Baz Luhrmann. But I have to go with offing Mic, based entirely on his mid-sternum unbuttoning shirt scheme. I will not be taking questions at this time.
Alex: Complete co-sign. I am all for a trashy, sexy lewk, but that is not the right shirt to do a belly-button unbuttoning! (Something Lex does very well on his second-date outfit!) Also, he extremely does not know how to read the room. Mic gets the ax for me, too.
Episode Three Conclusions:
Kathryn: Fuck Cory, Marry Brad, Kill Mic
Alex: Fuck Brad, Marry Brad, Kill Mic
Episode Four: Leonard
Alex: I’m happy to return to our original order and start with fucking. I’m a little torn, but I think ultimately I’m going with Eileen, the artist who makes Leonard a lipstick drawing on a cocktail napkin. She’ll tell you what she wants, but she’s ready to have fun, which are the fundamental building blocks of good sex. Come on, Eileen!
Kathryn: Yes, Eileen! She reminds me of Carol Kane, specifically Carol Kane as Valerie, the witch from The Princess Bride. I don’t know why that does it for me, because human sexuality is a beautiful mystery, but there it is. Her unwavering insistence that Leonard never ever tell the frog joke again was the moment I fell in love (even though her tight-seal joke is just as bad).
Alex: As for marriage, I think Leonard made the right pick. Dianna is wonderful: warm, kind, funny. She seems like she has made (and would make) a fantastic partner.
Kathryn: Here’s my version of “bring back Manny!” Can I pick Leonard? I love Leonard! He’s a private eye who loves drugs and was devoted to his wife for years. He seems game, and he’s inquisitive, and he’d scold me about being on my phone too much at dinner, but he’d do it in a fun, not-mean way.
Alex: As you did with me, I’m going to force you to stick to the rules. (Although I do love the twinkle in Leonard’s eye and the fact that he’s basically a Veronica Mars character.)
Kathryn: Oh, wow, “basically a Veronica Mars character” hits a little too close to home for me, interest-wise. Fine, I will also pick Dianna because she’s great, and if I don’t pick her then I’d get stuck with the sweet but insecure phys-ed teacher who realized she needed to make her late husband jealous, which could be fine, but could also be risky.
Alex: Well, let’s get this grisly situation over with. Unlike episode two, I like everyone in this episode. I suppose, if forced, I’m going to pick Gloria for the sin of texting while conversating. That said, I don’t really mean it. I think you’re great, Gloria! Just don’t text and date!
Kathryn: While I held back on killing Mustache Jonathan for the funeral alone, I will instead invoke that as the deciding factor for Lauren. Like you, Alex, I have no ill will toward anyone in this episode, and if I could make Lauren a Real Housewife of New York rather than murdering her, I’d do it in a second. But just think about the things we’d learn after her death. The estates she left behind, the secret correspondences she has stashed under her mattress, the tiny-but-not-impossible chance that she has some late husband’s skeleton literally hidden in a closet somewhere … everything about it is too good to pass up. Celebrate Lauren’s life, and then have a wild party at her wake.
Episode Four Conclusions:
• Alex: Fuck Eileen, Marry Dianna, Reluctantly Kill Gloria
• Kathryn: Fuck Eileen, Marry Dianna, Reluctantly Kill Lauren
Episode Five: Sarah
Kathryn: We begin once again with killing, and somehow it does not surprise me that the two episodes featuring straight women dealing with straight men are also the episodes with the most obvious kill candidates. For me, it has to be Adrian here. “Sarah,” he says. “Relax.” To Sarah’s credit, she pushes back on this right away, but it wasn’t enough. Toss him in the trash heap.
Alex: I’ll be honest, I’m experiencing some real face blindness with these guys, a lot of whom have a similar douchebag-at-the-mall vibe. While there are many worthy candidates, I think Adrian’s stoner thing saves him. Instead I’ll choose John, the one who tells her she’s giving him a “headache” and then asks her if she likes it “big.”
Kathryn: You’re right, they are unremittingly dull. My boning and marriage choices are almost interchangeable, but I have to go with Nick for the boning. He tells Sarah that he’s not at all interested in her nine-minute joke about Greek mythology, and as previously stated in our discussion of episode four, knowing what you want is really important in bed. (Nine-minute joke about Greek mythology?!)
Alex: It’s also pretty clear to me that Nick is “not ready for marriage,” but extremely ready to get it in. He feels like a fun fling, someone to wait out a rainy day playing board games and sexing. I’m unconvinced he’d stick around too long after. So with that I’d say that Sarah makes the right choice in picking Matt. She seems like she wants someone who’s in it for the long haul, and Matt has that steadiness.
Kathryn: Matt is probably also the marriage pick for me. He’s a “design technologist”; I’m a basic person who likes financial security and men who are nice. Bonus shout-out to Antonio for knowing this date was definitely not for him!
Episode Five Conclusions:
• Kathryn: Fuck Nick, Marry Matt, Kill Adrian
• Alex: Fuck Nick, Marry Matt, Kill John
Episode Six: Mila
Alex: This is another episode where it’s abundantly clear that the protagonist is the real winner. No wonder Mila has only been in a string of long-term relationships: Everyone is trying to lock that shit down. So in lieu of just wanting to smush and marry Mila, I think my choice for fucking would have to be Nina. She’s the kind of woman who will look deep into your soul before fucking you long and deep.
Kathryn: Nina is amazing, but so many of the women are amazing! (Also, yes Mila, all day long.) But I think my choice for boning has to be Ashley. I want to steal her whole social group. She’d be great in bed and we’d have fun, but I don’t think we’re love material. She obviously knows everyone, though, and she knows where all the best parties are, and who you need to get in with so you can be invited to the inner circle of New York lesbians. I want us to have a sweet and amicable fling, and then I want her to send me holiday cards forever.
Alex: The entire episode is an exhibition of how queer people are more interesting than straight men. They have to go through shit and process it and come out on the other side as fully formed, charming human beings! Anyway, I think for marriage, I like the warm and steady types, which is why I’m picking former track star Christina.
Kathryn: I might go for Charlotte on the marriage? It would really depend where she feels like she’s at in her life, because she describes herself as a former host of the biggest gay party in New York, and I simply do not have the energy. Maybe once she’s into “but now I mostly watch TV” territory, it could work between us. Her forthright vibe is so appealing and effective! Plus, she models perfect sexy consent in the car ride home, asking Mila if it’s all right to kiss her and then waiting for assent. It’s so sweet! But again, only once I don’t have to regularly stay out after 9 p.m.
Alex: Well, let’s talk about death now, shall we? I’m going to keep it simple and superficial: I’m picking Jarry because Asian people with colored contacts freak me out.
Kathryn: Based on this episode, Jarry’s in the “kill” category because of the accent: Linguistic patterns that drift between Wales and Connecticut and seem to take a sharp divergence through Australia somewhere along the way make it hard for me to trust you.
Episode Six Conclusions:
• Kathryn: Fuck Ashley, Marry Charlotte, Kill Jarry
• Alex: Fuck Nina, Marry Christina, Kill Jarry