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Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023)

What Is So Different About This Reality Television Series?

Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023), is a new and, surprisingly enough, unique reality television series from other reality television franchises. The show starts off by introducing each couple that will be participating in the given ‘social experiment’ in hopes that it will either strengthen the couple’s commitment to each other or let them fall in love with someone else. In each couple, one partner issues the ultimatum to either get married or break up. After the couples either temporarily or permanently break up (the viewer will not know until the end of the series), they mingle with the other couples. After some short time, each person has to pair up with someone, excluding their original partner, and live with them for three weeks as a ‘trial marriage.’ After each new couple’s trial marriage, the contestants return to their original partners to participate in another trial marriage – contrasting the first one. As one can imagine, drama is very prevalent due to the possibility of certain contestants falling out of love with their original partners and falling in love with a potential new life partner. Many reality television series have similar tests and motives, yet this version of Ultimatum (2023) is different from the rest of its franchise along with other franchises due to a small, yet very unique, difference. All contestants and all couples are lesbian. 

What’s This All About?  

Because of its stand-out characteristics of being queer-centered, a different tone is present in this reality series consisting of; the lack of men and testosterone, progressive mindsets, and representation for its queer viewers. Most reality television series, such as The Bachelor, focus on traditional straight relationships and have very conventional romantic dates and plots of jealousy are often romanticized using their editing and music selection. In Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023), the focus is on experimenting with one’s relationship, compromising priorities, and sacrificing certain notions to have a successful relationship which is much more realistic in its entirety. No relationship has two perfect partners that have no sign of conflict, which is exemplified in a dramatic yet hopeful light in this new progressive reality series. 

The audience becomes connected to each relationship, whether they were originally partnered together or found each other throughout the show. The viewers’ investment in each contestant’s story makes the series easy to binge-watch. That said, it would be a lie to say the series does not slow down during the trial episodes. Instead of watching all women interact and confront issues towards each other as a group, the trial episodes focus on the individuality of the couples, mostly swaying from drama. It can be a bit boring at times (unless one’s sole purpose for watching is to see love blossom/end) since most of the couple’s human interaction is within their relationship rather than as a group. Despite its habit of becoming slow, it is crucial to watch the trial episodes to show the viewer what exactly goes down when the group leaves. Arguments are conspired, leading to either the overcoming of conflict or the end of the couple’s trial marriage – or even a genuine relationship. 

How Are the Contestants? Characters/ Acting 

Just because the couples are all women does not mean manipulation and toxicity are not present in the show – they very much are. Like any reality show you watch, there will be likable contestants and some who make it too easy to hate. Whether the viewer likes the contestant or not, they are unwillingly invested due to whomever they are partnered with.

The Ultimatum Queer Love

For instance, the contestant, Vanessa, is shown constantly degrading and manipulating her partner, Xander. Vanessa tends to think of only herself and then pushes the blame when she is confronted about it by other contestants. Because almost everyone who watched the show could easily spot Vanessa’s poor intentions, it couldn’t help but to force the viewer to have concern towards Vanessa’s very kind and sweet girlfriend, Xander. As much as the viewer wants to tune Vanessa out, it is impossible due to the fact that Vanessa (along with all the other contestants) are all in two different relationships in which the viewer creates an opinion about who should end up romantically with who. Depending on each couple, the audience will either hope they get married or hope they will break up. It’s clear that each original pairing had issues to work through (hence why they are on the show to begin with), yet some surpassed ‘normal’ issues into the realm of toxicity and unhealthiness within a relationship. Because the viewer can see each constant at their worst, best, and most vulnerable state, it is easy to pick and choose who the viewer likes from relatability or dislikes due to their response within tough conversations. 

Representation of Queerness 

Although this is a reality television series focusing on each contestant’s journey to love and self-discovery, its escapism traits are not the only themes shown. All couples are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. When contestants are of a group of minorities, the reality part of television is guaranteed to have recorded conversations about their struggles. To create a reality television show focused on the love between all queer people, controversial yet needed conversations arise. Queer people never really had a show that combines escapism and relatability – nevertheless, within a reality show. Many shots include security footage of the couples doing intimate activities in their bedrooms, which until recently, was completely unheard of. 

Not only do they normalize sexual intimacy within the queer community, but the topic of difficulties brought onto one due to their queerness is explicitly conversed. One contestant in particular, Aussie, has a very traditional family that does not even know their daughter is gay. This is extremely important to the gay community because many families have disowned their children due to their sexuality. Aussie’s choice to keep her sexuality hidden is extremely relatable, as many queer people have lived their lives in the closet because of their fear of how their friends and family would respond. Other contestants speak on how being a member of the LGBTQ+ community has uninvitedly given them obstacles of prejudice that heterosexual people cannot experience. Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023) is a great series that gay people can watch for a sense of reliability and even escapism. 

Final Rating 

Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023) is a progressive yet entertaining reality television series that is worth the watch. The investment each viewer retains in the couples and contestant makes the ten-episode season a fast and intimate viewing. Despite its representation of the queer community, straight people can enjoy it as well, and become just as invested due to its drama and the couple’s history. It touches emotion, sex, fun, and conflict all together in a way where each contestant has plenty of opportunities to speak about how they feel and where their specific perspective lies. Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023), along with the rest of the Ultimatum franchise (Ultimatum: Marry or Move On and Ultimatum: France) are available to all of its subscribers on Netflix. If one is into reality television or apart/interested in queer intimacy, this is a must-see!

The Ultimatum Queer Love

The Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023) Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Nora Merritt is studying Writing for Film, Television, and Emerging Media at Ithaca College. She has been involved in the film industry since the age of fourteen, working on many different film sets, including Netflix’s series, Ozark. Her passionate and strong writing style entertains her readers.