Given we’ve not long had the likes of the BBC’s I Like The Way You Move and make-or-break marriages on Netflix’s The Ultimatum, you probably thought dating shows couldn’t get more contrived. Well, prepared to get schooled – literally.
Swapping bikinis for letterman jackets, a group of glamorous singletons are getting a second chance at finding their teenage sweetheart by enrolling at Lovestruck High – an all-American high school uh, Devon.
They’re here to live their best Mean Girls fantasy with a busy term of cheerleading practice, sleeping through class, and finding someone to snog behind the bleachers.
There are some big stakes here – the most loved-up couple will be crowned Prom King and Queen and win whopping $100,000 reward (£84,000), while those who fail to hand in their dating homework on time will be expelled.
Boasting a diverse LGBTQ+ cast and voiced by former teen-queen Lindsay Lohan, this should be totally fetch, right? Erm, wrong.
Because it’s just a bit weird to see a bunch of twenty-somethings doing hornier versions of school classes.
After all, it isn’t a bunch of hormone-fuelled 16 year olds acting this desperate – they’re adults with actual jobs (one of them is an accountant – not that he’ll let you forget it).
But luckily, the cast is largely so immature it just about works.
Their first assignment is to ask somebody to the Homecoming Dance, and after trying to work out everyone’s sexualities, they start coupling up.
Love Island once famously protested that having LGBTQ contestants is just too ‘logistically difficult’, but one thing Lovestruck High proves is that this is straight-up nonsense.
It’s fun to watch the different dynamics this brings – the fabulously confident Junaid secures his dance partner, the hunky Welshman Alex, within about three seconds, while the straight boys try to pull uninterested girls with banter so bad it deserves a detention.
Plus some people soon learn that their gaydars need readjusting…
As well as romances, they’re also here to find friendships, and they soon start to settle into their cliques as jocks and popular kids. But we’re missing some too – where are the nerds? The goths? Anyone who doesn’t look like they only shop at Missguided?
Hopefully some new arrivals rocking up during the term will shake that up, and as the series continues we’re sure to see some rivalries arise.
At the end of the day though, this high school throwback just doesn’t work. The lack of authenticity is already beginning to wear thin across the genre, and pushing it into its hyper-manufactured culture-clash, age-reversing max isn’t the answer.
My advice to the producers? Stop trying to make these weird dating shows happen.
Lovestruck High is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.