Do people ever change? Do we grow, do we mature – and do we become better? Has Singapore changed? We’ve been plagued with these heavy thoughts since watching the local dating show One Week Love.
The show by travel and lifestyle publication The Smart Local premiered on Oct. 18 but has only been much talked about recently due to people discussing it on platforms like TikTok.
As people who consume a disgusting amount of culture, it was hard to avoid watching the show. Everywhere we went, friends, friends of friends, and people at work events would ask, “OMG have you seen the local dating show?” and eventually we caved in.
After putting off watching the immensely popular show for a while, we decided to see what the hype was about. On top of watching the show, we also deep-dived into the One Week Love universe and ended up watching a bunch of related videos, reading Wiki pages on the contestants and scrolling through their personal IG pages.
We weigh in on what works and what doesn’t – and why everyone is hooked.
One Week Love is on YouTube and runs for 10 episodes, with each episode about 30 minutes to an hour long. It borrows elements from international dating shows like Singles Inferno, Love Island and Terrace House that are “unscripted” but orchestrated. Plus it also features a VERY annoying theme song.
No one gets eliminated from the show but they do go through a series of challenges and dates during the week that help them “form genuine connections and a deeper understanding of each other.”
And of course, the hopeful outcome is that some of them find true love during the week – and on camera.
Here’s a quick run-through of the cast, with some much-needed side commentary.
There’s Oliver, 22, the one either always with his boobs out with a shirt one too many buttons unbuttoned, sleeveless or just full-on shirtless. He’s the girls’ eye candy but only has the hots for Dione, 22, a Basic model who just wants to be friends with “a bunch of hot people.”
The youngest, Dania, 20, is known for being the “bro-girl” with a “blur” face at the start but turned out to be curt, a big meddler and ultimately treated like the little sister. Confident Atiqah, 24, is only open to older guys (that’s two out of five of the guys), and says she mostly cooks western but struggles with steak. Nasi Ayam? No problem at all, except she doesn’t eat the sambal. She also claims she often gets hit on by guys who ask her “can we go out and catch some coffee, you know, or waffle?”
“I’m a musician, I play music,” says Sam, the eldest at 28 years old. He pretty much led Roziana (Roz), 25 – the goodie girl next door – on at the start and didn’t tell her he was looking elsewhere until confronted.
Brendan, 24, uses “dad pick up lines” (not lines to pick up dads but cringey attempts to sway girls) like “Auntie you seem like you’re hor fun.” He confidently uses them on Dania, who he called “cute” several times until she ripped his heart out by telling him that he was not funny — the worst comment he could hear. Ouch.
Garialdi (Gari), 27, the one who was pitied the most by viewers, was also the butt of jokes for the girls because they felt he came off too serious. He was vocal about liking Kasey, 25, your typical basic Singaporean girl (she said it herself, not us) who likes to go to spin classes and is always in athleisure wear. But the jokes the girl’s made behind his back about him seemed like they played a part in Kasey’s annoyance with him.
That is until muscley Donovan (Don), 24, who came in as the 10th member in Episode Three and gifted as a hunky-tatted-up gift to Kasey.
Throughout the series, it is evident that the boys have a better bond than the girls, as much as the girls like to deny it. The dudes ate boiled sheep testicles together with Gari for a challenge when they didn’t have to, wore each other’s clothes and sunbathed on the same bed indoors.
The format of the show revolves around some sort of physical challenge after which the winners go on a date with each other. More intimate bonding sessions are scheduled during breakfast in the Coffee, Tea, and Me Selection where they get to choose who they want to start the morning with, and mini 1-1 heart-to-heart talk sessions with another if requested. There are also communal cooking sessions where they cook local food like Nasi Lemak, Indian butter chicken, Singapore Noodles and egg fried rice with chili oil dumplings.
“DRAMA” WITH KASEY: PETTY SECONDARY SCHOOL PROBLEMS
The main “drama” (and probably the spiciest moment) of the show was when the girls decided to go against Kasey for a bunch of petty things they resented her for like bragging about her Gentlewoman sponsorship (which she denied), saying she was Sam’s number-one pick in front of an upset Roz, and the biggest gripe — spending too much time with the boys (especially with Don).
They thought that her spending time with her love interest on a dating show with a few days left in the week was abominable.
The girls said it was all “small matters” and brushed it off at first until Kasey was cornered (literally) at the end and everything was brought up like one of those childish confrontations during secondary school that some of us might relate to.
Dione even accused Kasey of making them look like “mean girls” (which they were) and Dania took it to her curt level and said Kasey was making herself look “fucking pitiful.”
Of course, Kasey played dumb: “I don’t get the hint, I’m not that smart, you know!”
She kept apologizing, cued the waterworks and suddenly, this “drama” was put out and the series moved on quickly.
Post-show, the internet comments started coming out to defend Kasey and criticize mostly Dania for being mean. Things got so bad IRL that show host Fauzi Aziz had to put out a PSA not to spread hate. Spicy.
UNNECESSARY BEEF AND BULLYING: GARI CAN’T CATCH A BREAK
With that matter being blown out of proportion, we thought the main drama should have belonged to how the girls treated Gari.
He came in as the serious guy and was immediately shunned by the girls and made fun of behind his back, especially by Dione who said that she’d “cry” if she goes on a date with him and only those who “work in office” and are “old fashioned” would date him.
The hostility against him then spread to the rest of the girls.
Not to mention the entire Nutella incident was bonkers to watch. Gari accidentally got peanut butter and bread crumbs in the shared Nutella jar during breakfast one morning and Dania lost her mind. She just wouldn’t let it go and the bitterness carried on for TOO LONG.
Then there’s the “touchy” incident with his love interest Kasey — him trying to adjust her mic strap on her back and other friendly touches — which was nothing creepy (Kasey also agreed) but if it was Don (a guy she fancied), she probably wouldn’t have said anything.
Later in the series, during the Unfine Dining challenge, he was basically insulted by Dione who told him he needs to improve on his “social skills” when this man has never once flared up when he could understandably have. As far as we know, him not lashing out showed that he has great manners.
There was finally a turning point after the Truth Booth aka Adam Khoo segment (contestants were placed in a dim room and forced to write their insecurities and cry together) when Gari was told by producers that he was behaving very differently with them than with the cast. They told him to “just be himself.” With all that he dealt with and them making him second-guess his own actions, how could he?
But the producers got more than they asked for when he came back as “Gari 2.0” who turned out to be a wannabe frat boy who uses bad pickup lines and shoots last-season phrases like “shawty,” “Gucci” and “fleek.”
The pairings were pretty predictable – Oliver and Dione, Don and Kasey chose each other – but the shocker was when Atiqah chose Brendan. It was surprising, considering she showed that she didn’t want to be there during their first date.
We thought that everyone besides the two couples was just riding the wave and waiting for the week to end.
The remaining Dania (who we pretty sure got the hots for Don but is sister-zoned), Roz, Sam, Gari and Brendan didn’t end up choosing anyone.
Dioliver fans brace yourselves – they didn’t last. They said in the reunion episode that they lack “compatibility,” it didn’t really work out in the end and had no intention to force it. Their tufting date, in hindsight, was “forced” and “awkward.” Dione said she is seeing someone else and Oliver is pursuing someone.
Kaseyvan fans rejoice! The couple didn’t have any dates on the show but had plenty afterward.
We bet they will stop talking or meeting together as a whole next year or maybe only make an appearance in the second season. And Kasey confirmed this in her own separate video where she said she was also no longer friends with any of the girls.
“We’re not friends, we don’t have to be,” she said, adding that she is still hanging out with the guys without being guilt-tripped for it 🥴.
It’s not a proper dating show without some sniggering and secondhand embarrassment from a panel of hosts. One Week Love’s is made up of The Smart Local’s Fauzi Aziz, Amanda Feng, Devika Panicker and Leah Shannon.
Devika’s spiels seem a tad better than the rest, who just exaggeratedly reacted more than they provided perspectives – there were plenty of comments that didn’t add value to the show. Their comments, fortunately, did get a lot better toward the end when trying to break down the “drama” that happened with Kasey.
This is also probably the first dating show where the panel had equal screen time with the cast. There was too much focus on their needless comments, where at times the video would jump cut to them without saying anything or a black screen to maybe create suspense but ended up feeling like an abrupt disconnect instead.
Maybe it’s because there wasn’t enough saucy material to work with or the need to drag it out to 10 episodes but the entire series could have been way shorter and more concise without cutting to the panel after every scene.
There were a couple of technical goofs we couldn’t help but notice. The most apparent one was the blurry shots in the house with audio that did not sync.
There were also many missed opportunities while capturing spicy moments like Oliver and Dione’s first kiss. It was the one thing dating show fans want to see and they didn’t film it.
Clips of the accusations about Kasey that caused rifts in the girl gang were also omitted, including the alleged parts about her “boasting” about her Gentlewoman sponsorship and that she was Sam’s number-one pick would have made the “drama” seem more credible.
One Week Friendship?
Let’s go back to our opening questions about whether people change and if Singapore has changed as well.
From talking to Singaporeans who watched the show and loved or hated it, there were so many triggering aspects of it. The Truth Booth made us talk and laugh (now we can laugh) about the Adam Khoo sessions that made us cry in front of our parents in school and also how we’ve come so far in overcoming high school mean girls and petty drama.
Thing is, yes, we overcame it but look, all the same sort of drama is still happening in this group of Gen Z-tinged youths.
As much as we could identify these shared experiences, are they really representative of Singapore’s singles? After all, the series only shows a week’s worth of their personalities and we cannot judge every one of them based on edited footage.
We’d also like to see the challenges and dates be a little more challenging, in a way that gets them to be more intense. As it is now, we felt that all the episodes were pretty mild and the “drama” was only really getting going in the last few episodes.
After crunching all 10 episodes and other assorted material, we can say that One Week Love is definitely one of the least exciting reality dating TV shows we’ve seen. The tepid drama and less-than-sagacious behavior of the contestants certainly did little to add to the reality dating show genre. We found our notes getting shorter and shorter in correlation to our dwindling interest as the episodes progressed.
But we must applaud and give credit to The Smart Local for their effort to localize trashy dating shows.
The show did its job in terms of marketing possible venues for dates, its cooking sessions focused on local cuisine and if Dania and Kasey can make rice, so can you (also it’s totally fine to fry garlic together with your dishes)!
The series has also garnered a substantial amount of viewers and following, which proves that there is definitely a market for this. Who knows? Maybe they’ll do a second season that will resonate with viewers even more and get them to start dating as they should.
For now, we think that’s enough screentime for us, we should probably go out and touch the grass and read some books with no pictures for a while.
October 11, 2022