Pity the reality show developer. Their work day, I imagine, always starts the same way: with the words “pick up 10 hot singles” inked on a blank page. But what comes next? The developer scribbles the word “island” but hastily, embarrassed, crosses it out. She needs to be more imaginative – putting different things together, seeing what fits. What about a show where contestants can’t talk to each other and must instead communicate through animal mating rituals? Old hat! love in the jungle came out in June. A show where siblings hang out side by side? Nope: Dated and bound streams on Netflix in September. Before the reality show developer knows it, the day is over and there’s nothing on his page.
She plods to the parking lot and turns her pleading eyes to the sky. “It’s all done,” she laments. And then she sees it – a twinkle in the hazy, navy blue sky.
Perhaps this is how we entered the era of astrological dating shows. With islands, jungles and the First Dates restaurant sold out, executives turned to the stars. from Amazon Prime cosmic love follows 20 singles as they search for a spouse through astrological matchmaking. written in the stars, coming to Discovery+ in November, sees presenter Clara Amfo help match 12 singles based on their birth charts. Dating formats in reality, it seems, are like buses: two arrive at the same time, and you’re unlikely to find love inside.
Cosmic love is the fruit of the so-called AstroTwins, the American authors Ophira and Tali Edut, who combine 30 years of experience in astrological advice. “It’s a time when reality shows are very popular, astrology is very popular and they were meant to cross paths,” says Ophira, who conceived the show with her twin two years ago. Although the Eduts did not appear in Cosmic Love, they were central characters behind the scenes, laying out the contestants’ astrological charts and making matches.
The twins even did a “little protective ritual” once the production team finalized the cast for the show. “We wrote their names on a piece of paper and circled all their names with words,” Tali explains. “It’s a bit hokey, but we wanted them to be in a nice, safe bubble because they opened up spiritually on the show.”
Early in production, the Eduts purchased a number of crystals that “gave different energies” and kept them on hand throughout filming. If the twins noticed that one of the candidates needed more courage or needed to be more emotionally available, they would place the appropriate crystal on their name overnight.
There are four main singletons in Cosmic Love, each representing one of the zodiac elements: Phoebe is fire, Noel is water, Maria is earth, and Connor is air. In the first episode, they are thrown into a house with 16 other single people and allowed to date whoever they want; later, their first “perfect astrological match” is revealed. Each of the main four has four perfect matches in the house, but they are only revealed gradually, by a mysterious glowing orb called the Astro Chamber.
Voiced by actor and singer Cree Summer, the Astro Chamber reminds me of Kaa, the hypnotic serpent from The Jungle Book, though he says things like “Your partner awaits you in the celestial sanctuary” and “The Perks dating a Capricorn: they mate for life.” While Cosmic Love is in many ways fodder for the reality show’s bingo (contestants insist they are “very focused on there are illicit canoods on funky furniture!), the presence of the Astro Chamber mixes things up nicely. beginning.
Another noteworthy quote – this one unrelated to astrology – is: “He has the face of an angel but the actions of a little slut.” After 10 episodes of such ideas, viewers will find out whether singles listened to the stars and found love or rebelliously teamed up with an incompatible Capricorn. The Eduts will not reveal the wealth of the candidates. “You will have to look and see!” Tali said. “But there was definitely some real love that happened on the show, we can say the same.”
How, then, does astrological matchmaking work? The twins say people should first study their own birth charts, which Ophira says are “a kind of chart for yourself…or the instruction manual.” By discovering your own board, Tali says, you can learn more about your needs.
“Most people know their sun sign, your zodiac sign, but there’s so much more to it,” she explains. “The moon sign, which is your emotional nature, will say a lot about what you need to feel safe and relaxed with someone. And then Mercury is your communication style. When one person has been fully mapped, the twins look at each other’s charts to see if they might make a good match. Of course, Tali clarifies, couples “can always choose” who they end up dating.
“It’s not about saying, ‘Oh, you have a Gemini rising. I can’t talk to you,'” Tali explains. people are so quick to cancel now and we are not cosmic cancellers.
Astrology has been around for millennia but its popularity has exploded like a supernova in recent years. Many astrological dating apps have been launched, including Struck, Stars Align, Oromoon, and Astrodita. TikTok videos tagged #astrology have had over 41 billion views, while Google searches for the term peak at the end of 2020. In 2021, leading tarot card publisher American game systems said business was booming, with print runs doubling during the pandemic.
“I think people have become more and more curious as the world becomes more uncertain, people are looking beyond the material plane for answers,” Tali says. Experts agree. In their 2021 article “Social contagion of astrology on social media amid the Covid-19 pandemicresearchers from De La Salle University in the Philippines surveyed 400 college students and concluded that the more stressed a person is, the more they tend to have a “greater consumption of astrology-related information” online.
Of course, Cosmic Love and Written in the Stars don’t require their audiences — or even their contestants — to actually believe in astrology. In a July Instagram post announcing his hosting gig, Amfo wrote, “Whether you’re an avid follower of astrology, cynical, or indifferent, we can all agree that watching people navigate attraction and connection doesn’t will never be uninteresting!” The ultimate appeal is the age-old format.
“Reality shows are like the Greek choir, Shakespeare, or the Colosseum of our time,” says Ophira, “We learn by watching others.” The twins hope their show will be educational and “normalize all genders by using astrology for dating.” Already, however, the cynics are shining brightly. Top reviews on a trailer for the show posted in late July, reading “This looks stupid as hell” alongside a sobbing face emoji and “This can’t be real. Hope this is a simulation, no one in their right mind would think that is good.
The twins, as serene and unwavering as the CGI orb that represents them in the series, don’t care. “I say, ‘Welcome to the party!'” Ophira said, “Because you shouldn’t just believe something just because someone tells you — that’s just plain stupid.” Ophira distinguishes between a cynic and a skeptic: the former “dismiss things without even trying” while the latter are willing to do a little research. “So be skeptical: try astrology and if it’s not for you, great. But you might just learn something really useful about yourself.
It’s hard to be too cynical with the AstroTwins, who are ultimately and perhaps ironically very grounded (and yes, who asked me my star sign and gave me a grateful “Oh!” when I said Cancer , “Because you asked such thoughtful questions!”). It’s easier to be cynical about the rise of the astro-dating format – many Cosmic Love contestants seem to want to become stars rather than consult them for advice. Plus, there’s the fact that contestants have to decide if they want to marry their matches, a twist on the dating show that was once considered edgy and extreme and is now sadly mainstream.
Ultimately, it’s the success of these shows, not the pairing within them, that will determine whether copycats begin to orbit. You don’t need a crystal ball to predict a tarot-based dating show or a show in which contestants are matched by the love lines on their palms. Then again, cosmic dating shows might just be the flavor of the lunar month — not even the most talented diviner could decipher the chaos inside a reality TV developer’s head. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how do I wonder what the next shows are?