‘Single’s Inferno’ Brings the Heat

The contestants of ‘Single’s Inferno’ battle it out in games on the beach. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

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Before Valentine’s Day, learn the do’s and don’ts of the first stages of courtship from “Single’s Inferno,” the hit Korean reality dating show whose second season is gaining international popularity.

“Single’s Inferno” revolves around 12 singles who are thrust onto Inferno — a remote island — and told to mingle in an attempt to forge a romantic bond in nine days. This is remarkably similar to the atmosphere of a college campus at the start of the semester, which can be doomed with small talk. Some of the contestants are college students, so it’s fun to imagine spending a summer on a dating reality show instead of worrying about next semester’s courses. The show’s rules state that contestants can’t mention their age or occupation. Forcing them to rely on their natural charms. Contestants engage in both amusing ploys for attention and interactive guessing games. If a couple expresses mutual interest in each other or win enough games, pairs can escape Inferno and have a date night at Paradise, an extravagant resort.

Though the contestants change each season, Kyuhyun from the K-pop group Super Junior, actor Lee Dahee, rapper Hanhae and entertainer Hong Jin-kyung remain as the celebrity commenters. The peanut gallery pops in every now and again. This format could potentially annoy watchers since it cuts down the couples’ screentime, but their insight is interesting since they catch minute details and act as a bridge into Korean dating culture with their analysis for international fans. The panel can also be a source of comfort for watchers, mirroring the audience’s emotions and reassuring them that it’s not weird to react strongly to a reality TV show.

The two seasons have distinct vibes, so if one of them does not work for you, do not discount the other. Both have their charms, but the first season is more serious since it sets the rules for future iterations. On the other hand, the second season has a more laid back atmosphere, although both have their apprehensive moments. This seems to be an intentional shift based on Netflix’s new lighthearted animation style in the opening credits. While the first season is more akin to standard high-stakes American reality shows, the dynamics of the second season fall more into the tried-and-true tropes of classic K-dramas, making a more captivating story for avid romance lovers.

After the completion of season two, Netflix has released plenty of extra content to keep fans interested in the series. Recently, they posted a 40 minute video of the season two cast reacting to the first eight episodes of their season. Since the show was filmed in summer 2022, fans were looking for clues in the videos to see which couples are still in relationships. Though nothing is certain, the way the contestants talked about their experiences on the show warmed audiences’ hearts — and not just because of the island weather.

The producers of “Single’s Inferno” are currently working on a new reality show for Netflix called “19/20” which follows the lives of 19 year olds as they turn 20, focusing on coming-of-age themes and learning to “adult,” something that is sure to resonate with college students. Since the show is coming out later this year, this is a great time to get familiar with the producers’ work and prepare for “19/20.”

With its short seasons, “Single’s Inferno” is as easy to breeze through as a tropical island wind!


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