Perfect Match Series-Premiere Recap: Francesca Proves She’s the Baddie of the Bunch

Perfect Match

Week 1 (Episodes 1-4)
Season 1 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Perfect Match

Week 1 (Episodes 1-4)
Season 1 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Vulture; Photo: Netflix

Netflix is building up its very own Bravo Cinematic Universe, or at least trying, and I don’t know which is sadder.

On Perfect Match, contestants plucked from Netflix’s laundry list of reality shows are placed in a villa where they must pair up and survive challenges and temptation in order to be deemed the true perfect match. This is part Bachelor in Paradise, part Love Island, and all chaos. It’s important to note that we are four episodes deep, and I still don’t know exactly what the couples will receive if they win. I’m assuming $1 million?

Our contestants are a rotating cast of characters, but on day one, we are introduced to some familiar faces:

Nick Lachey refers to the group as extraordinary and desirable singles, which is exactly why they’ve been subjected to looking for love on reality television. And, just like Bachelor in Paradise, some of these contestants have history; Joey has been linked to both Francesca and Kariselle, for example. I wonder if all Netflix stars are ushered into a Netflix WhatsApp group or listserv? It seems like Kariselle simply slid into Joey’s DMs, but you never know. Nick recites the rules for night one: All players must mingle and match by the end of the night. The next day, they’ll all participate in a compatibility challenge, and the winners will receive a date and control of the boardroom, meaning they get to choose which new people to bring into the pod.

Francesca is the baddie of the bunch, and all the guys are interested, or at least intimidated. Shy guy Dom and his painted nails manage to sail past the competition and match with her. Nick, our MIT grad who channels Mark Zuckerberg (derogatory), can’t read social cues and chases after them as they head upstairs to their bedroom. Too little, too late, pal. He and Savannah decide to pair off strategically; they both want other people, but from my point of view, they seem to be scheming soulmates. During his run on The Circle, Joey was a lovable GTL bro. It’s been about two minutes, but his energy on Perfect Match seems much douchier. I reserve the right to change my mind as these episodes progress. Kariselle and Joey decide to give their on-again-off-again situation one last shot. Kariselle wonders if it’s fate because what are the odds? I hate to break it to you, girly pop, but they’re actually quite high. You’re both Netflix reality stars and have hooked up before? The thing about reality show producers is they do their jobs! And by doing their jobs, they bring back Shayne, who doesn’t seem quite ready to jump into true love again, but I’m not a psychologist. He is immediately obsessed with French girl Ines — the two have DM’d before — and swears he could learn French in three weeks if he put his mind to it. I actually believe him. That leaves Ines and Shayne, who actually make sense within the context of this show, and Zay and Anne-Sophie. I forgot Zay’s ass existed, but once I was reintroduced, I did not forget how boring and bland this guy was. Poor Anne-Sophie. I’d be building a barricade down the middle of the bed too.

The next morning, we play a rousing round of “Fact or Cap” and bless Ines’s bilingual heart. She is like, what the fuck is a cap? To be fair, I don’t think Nick Lachey knows what it means, either. Shayne is hung up on his ex, which is completely understandable, and Ines, in a very cool French girl way, doesn’t care. Kariselle, meanwhile, rightfully flips out over Joey admitting to still feeling conflicted over a breakup that happened four years ago. From this game, it’s clear that Dom is disposable to Francesca. This girl is here to win and is visibly annoyed when Nick and Savannah place first. This game signals that our contestants exist in two very different camps: Those who want to fuck around and hopefully find love and those who want to walk home with a chunk of change. Savannah and Francesca are chasing the money. Nick is here for the money, but I suspect he’ll soon fall victim to being surrounded by hot women. Nick is peak former nerd who got one ounce of attention (drink every time he calls himself “Daddy Nick”) and is now running with it. It would not surprise me if Nick once had a Social Network moment of his own.

The happy couple (?) heads to the boardroom, and we finally get to lay our eyes on who’s down the pipeline. Their task is to pick two potential lovers and set them up on blind dates with two people who are already in the house. All the girls hate Joey on Kariselle’s behalf, so they’re focusing on finding her a new man. Immediately I dread Damian’s eventual arrival, but luckily it’s staved off for another week or so. Agents of chaos Nick and Savannah select fuck boy Chase for Kariselle and Calvin for Anne-Sophie, who is bored out of her mind by Zay. Zay’s only “line” seems to be “talk to me.” On his date with Kariselle, Chase refers to their reality stardom as “B-list, A-list, whatever,” and Kariselle confides to us viewers that she thinks it’s charming when “someone is hot and doesn’t know a lot.” Calvin, in his confessional, tells us he wants someone to have his seeds, so there’s that.

Kariselle returns to the villa hand-in-hand with Chase. Joey loses it, predictably, and loses it even more when Chase and Kariselle start making out. I already hate Chase, but I love him for the sake of this show. Zay should take a page out of Chase’s book because I already forgot he was still here. Kariselle goes back to Joey — all she wants is attention! — and Chase moves on to the other ladies. He immediately clocks that Francesa is a villain because it takes one to know one and heads back to the drawing board. Ines and Shayne and Dom and Francesca match for the night, and before long, Nick and Savannah join them. Kariselle ends up back with Joey, and Anne-Sophie is left with a choice to make: Chase or Calvin. She goes for Chase! Big mistake, big, huge, for her, delightful for us at home. Calvin and Zay go home. Bye!

We start to see cracks in Nick and Savannah’s agreement. Nick is mad that Savannah isn’t initiating anything, but does he not remember the start of their relationship? It’s public information that his first choice was Francesca, and he “settles” for Savannah. Why would she be trying anything with you? This alliance is one of strategy, not affection. I want these two to get on the same page because they could go all the way if they could get it together. For breakfast, Francesca is suspicious because Dom hasn’t tried anything with her yet, and it seems like Kariselle and Joey are doing just fine in the PDA department. Nick Lachey swoops in with a solution, and their next challenge: A make-out game where they all kiss each other … anonymously. Blindfolded and wearing noise-canceling headphones, everyone will make out and then rate each other’s kisses, and whichever couple has the most points, or something, wins!

Nick and Savannah give each other nines, Francesca gives Dom an eight, and Kariselle accurately notes that their ratings are depressing to watch. Ines racks up high scores and seems to be the best kisser, and then Chase gives Kariselle a one and claims she chipped his tooth. Kariselle does not take this well, and she shouldn’t because Chase admits to gaming the system in order to win and get into the boardroom. What a little snake! Francesca is pissed she didn’t win this challenge, and she and Dom regroup after. These two are way too in their heads. They feel wildly insecure that they had the lowest combined couple score (Francesca’s fault, by the way), and Dom insists he still knows her, listing her favorite horror movie as proof. Savannah spots this crack in their foundation and is on a mission to break them up.

Chase and Anne-Sophie head to the spa while the rest of the group shit-talks Chase and discusses their celebrity crushes. Nick says Megan Fox in her Transformers Era and Emma Watson because she went to Brown. He is such a nerd, lmao. The cast isn’t sure if they should trust Chase. Babes, you shouldn’t! Collude to get this boy OUT of here! Meanwhile, in the boardroom, Chase and Anne-Sophie match Nick with Izzy (Too Hot to Handle) and debate setting up the other guys before deciding no; their matches are solid. And suddenly, it looks like Chase is the only boy left on the board … looks like he’ll have to take one for the team and go on a date with Georgia (Too Hot to Handle). I am cackling at this point. Chase is such a snake; I’m obsessed with him. Anne-Sophie is stunned and silenced by this maneuver and just … lets it happen, I guess? She returns, alone, to the villa and relays what happened to the group. Kariselle is out for blood, and Ines is pissed. Nick and Izzy seem to hit it off on their date, and Chase and Georgia bond over the obstacles of dating as reality stars. My eyes are rolling out of my head at this point.

Back at the villa, Francesca warns Georgia that she can’t trust Chase, but Georgia is not thinking with her head here. Shayne and Ines decide they’re off because they haven’t had a conversation in 24 hours, and Shayne rightfully points out that Ines is a lot more intellectual than he is.

Here’s where things get confusing. Let’s slow it down. Earlier in the day, Ines says that Nick is her usual type, and the other girls encourage her to talk to him. So once he’s back from his date with Izzy, Ines interferes for some face time with Nick. She needs to plead her case. She confesses to him that if Shayne chooses her, she’ll just go home because she knows in her heart it isn’t right. All of a sudden, Nick has three options: Ines, Izzy, and Savannah on the back burner. He decides to level with Izzy and tell her that he felt a spark with Ines on day one, but they never had a chance because she paired off with Shayne. Now he’s curious and wants to see where matching with Ines will lead. At the same time, he’s excited about his new connection with Izzy. A classic case of wanting your cake and eating it too, which is a textbook problem for a former nerd turned hot person. Izzy isn’t overjoyed by this information but appreciates Nick’s honesty and wants to stay in the game. The couple grabs Ines and Shayne for a literal conference to explain the situation and then, get this, swap partners. Ines calls it the “oddest double date” she’s ever been on, and she’s right. Now, Nick has to break the news to Savannah, who tries to manipulate Nick into choosing her. Is Nick just going to let her go out like this? Easily.

Because Savannah’s no longer safe with Nick, she saunters over to Dom to shoot her shot. This does not make Francesca happy and she confronts Savannah over making a pass at Dom. Franny clearly likes to have the last word because all she does is bitch Savannah out and then walk away. I am almost in tears when Savannah marches right back over to her to finish the conversation. Anne-Sophie and Kariselle are simply spectators, watching these two girls throw jabs back and forth. I am proud of Savannah for sticking up for herself. Like, this is a reality dating show. She’s not a home-wrecker. And to make matters even more unbelievable, the next day Francesca literally ditches Dom’s ass for Damian. Shakespeare himself could not write this.

But back to the night at hand, here’s how the couples match up:

  • Francesca and Dom
  • Joey and Kariselle
  • Chase and Georgia
  • Nick and Ines
  • Izzy and Shayne

This leaves Anne-Sophie and Savannah in the dust and sent packing.

The next morning, Ines reevaluates her situation and realizes it’s not working. She was basically kept as a consolation prize. Nick is already over her, and they’ve only been paired for maybe 10 hours at this point. Shayne is also annoyed with Nick for setting himself up with two dates, basically, and threatens to leave for the first of what will likely be many times. But the show must go on, and the couples report for their next challenge, which is an auction of some kind. This is how I describe the game: Imagine all the Survivor producers sitting around, spitballing ideas. This game is like the beta version of a challenge that’s eventually scrapped. It makes no sense, but we learn that Dom thinks Alaska is a country, and Joey doesn’t know if China is one. All that matters: Dom and Francesca win.

On their date, Dom admits to not knowing what a fig is and once thinking that a papaya was a carrot. I can see Francesca realize in real time that this is the man she decided to throw down over the night before. They return to the villa, where the rest of the cast is playing a dumb but fun version of truth or dare. Everyone’s in good spirits and not taking it seriously. Joey is proving himself to be the lovable bro we know and love, and I’m so relieved! Kariselle is dared to make out with someone, and he takes it in good fun, as does she when Joey performs a Magic Mike number on another girl. The fact that they’re not jealous at all is surprising and refreshing. Then, Francesca receives a dare. She must eat a banana with another person, Lady and the Tramp style. Harmless and stupid. Your mouth will be so full of banana by the end of this dare, you won’t be able to kiss. Doesn’t matter to Dom because this sends him over the edge. Francesca skips the dare and consoles her sensitive guy.

In the boardroom, Francesca and Dom decide that Bartise (not Bartise!) is the best match for Ines before Francesca pulls a Chase and picks Damian for herself. I screamed! I have to laugh. This girl is crazy. After all of that! After engaging in World War III with Savannah! She just leaves her man in the dust! Dom has no choice but to head back to the villa solo with a clear message: The game has officially started.

Match Point

• Speaking of the Bravo Cinematic Universe, is it just me, or does Francesca give off Paige DeSorbo vibes? And speaking of Francesca, I fear that her date with Damian will scar Dom in a dark way. You can’t play with these sensi boys’ hearts!

• I want a full transcript of Shayne and Joey’s gains and calf implants conversation, along with Dom’s commentary on their “bro science.” Maybe Shayne and Joey are the perfect match here.I want a full transcript of Shayne and Joey’s gains and calf implants conversation, along with Dom’s commentary on their “bro science.”

• My bet is that Kariselle and Joey win it all and maybe even get married. Their chaos is evenly matched, and they seem to be playing the game the right way: committed to each other but not taking it too seriously.

Perfect Match Series-Premiere Recap