TV Show Review: “Single’s Inferno” is brilliantly boring


Atheeth Ravikrishnan

It may be the most ingenious show I have ever watched. It has not an ounce of sophistication or pacing but it remains captivating.

In 2015, the genre of gathering a group of singles in hope of lighting a spark between them became an international phenomenon with Love Island’s release. This show out of jolly old England became the forefather to the shows we see today. With this international popularity, many countries have tried their spin on it, including South Korea. 

Single’s Inferno season one originally aired on Dec. 18, 2021. An unexpected success, the first season managed to become one of Netflix’s top ten most popular shows internationally, garnering critical appeal for its authenticity compared to the market of shallow reality serials. In Single’s Inferno, a group of contestants (evenly split between men and women) spend 10 days on an island and try to spark a new relationship. They partake in wild games like tug-of-war, cook and eat dinner together, all in an effort to start a relationship. 

First things first, a Christmas show is not. Season two’s release during the winter months is the polar opposite of the sunny, humid setting of Inferno Island. Its breathtaking scenery awash with the green of nature and dotted by heavenly mountains serves as a gorgeous backdrop for the ensuing romance.

Well, that does it for the positives. To summarize quickly, Single’s Inferno is brilliantly boring. It may be the most ingenious show I have ever watched. It has not an ounce of sophistication or pacing but it remains captivating. 

However, don’t be mistaken. While this show can be scintillating, it remains infuriating. Its first and most devious sin is its length. Twelve and a half hours of my life was spent watching ten episodes of Single’s Inferno. Was it painful? Yes. Do I regret it? Yes. Moments of pin drop silence permeate throughout the show. Not a word was said, with blank stares to supposedly build tension. These take millennia to finish and could’ve been so easily eliminated or chopped up in the editing room. Its second sin is awkwardness. So rarely have I seen a show that portrays the awkwardness of conversation like this one. It is so deadly accurate at doing so that it becomes fascinating. Yet, such accuracy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant to watch. Quite the opposite. I was creasing in my seat while these long pauses in conversation flew by. The third and final sin this show performs is simple: the challenges feel disconnected from the rest of the show. The sheer lunacy of the challenges clashes with the more grounded reality of the rest of the show. Adding onto that, the games seem underdeveloped and something that was made up on the spot. It reeks of Single’s Inferno trying to emulate other serials in its genre.

Be that as it may, I still kept watching the episodes. The reason for this engagement alluded me. How could a show so terrible keep me interested? Mid-way through the season, I finally figured out what kept me watching: Authenticity. Reality television, from Hollywood, tends to be fake beyond comprehension. On shows like Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle, it is clear that the people participate to get a quick boost to their Instagram following and become famous. It lacks real weight or authenticity which makes the show uninteresting. Compared to that, Single’s Inferno feels real. I genuinely, one hundred percent believe that these characters want to find a match for themselves. The stares into the camera, awkward laughs, and weird conversations make me believe that. For example, when there is a moment of drama or heartbreak, there is no loud shouting. It remains nuanced, quiet, with the emotions being seen in the face. This makes it utterly brilliant. It leaps over artificial TV shows and becomes more captivating because of it.

Ultimately, Single’s Inferno season two is still terrible. It could be my morbid curiosity that kept me watching this beautiful trainwreck of a show. It might be my innate desire to waste away my hours by doing something other than school. Whatever it may be, Single’s Inferno season two is expertly abhorrent, ingeniously boring, and undeniably enticing.