Issue #17: Gosh and Are You The One?

Shoutout to all the pear.

Simone Polanen

Hey guys.

Sorry about last week. Things got a little intense, even for me. I’m recovering—slowly but steadily. If I’m lucky, I’ll hit my head hard enough and forget that Kpop even exists.

Until then, I’ll just pretend that I don’t know about the deep and intimate relationship that Jenna Bush Hager and Got7 now share. I’ll also pretend that people like my tweets for once.


I love this week’s HIGHBROW because it really speaks for itself. I feel like I could just say, “Go watch the music video for Jamie xx’s Gosh,” and call it a day.

I’m tempted to leave it at that, but sadly, the production story behind the video is interesting. I say “sadly” because it means I have to write more which is at odds with my personality (lazy).

Gosh was filmed in Tianducheng, just outside of Hangzhou, China. You may know it as the place with the massive replicas of the Eiffel Tower and Versailles. Or the place travel writers describe as “strange” and “bizarre” and all these other coded words that seem like idk TheUsualRampantAndUncheckedRacismInTheCultureWritingCommunities but no one asked me so 🤐. It’s just… there’s a whole fucking Paris in Las Vegas, my G. Does anyone feel like stretching their brains for once?

Tianducheng is, however, the perfect backdrop for a production of scale. And that’s exactly what director Romain Gavras and his team set out to accomplish (Yes, his team. Directors can be men too!). Maybe I’ve experienced one too many producing traumas, but when I first saw the video, I nearly had an anxiety attack. A million questions ran through my head: Where did they find 300 kids? How did they manage to bleach all 300 of their heads? How did they teach them such coordinated choreography? How the heck did they get this shot?

When I went searching for answers, I found this great piece from Dazed about the making of the video. The write-up is interesting, the interview with the director is… something. But I really love this short doc with scenes from the production. Seriously, this team is so impressive. Who has the energy?


Speaking of impressive production teams, I would like to introduce you to the greatest minds in television history. They are the team behind the most brilliantly conceived reality TV show of all time: MTV’s Are You The One?

Here’s the premise:

10 girls and 10 guys who “suck at dating” are given the chance to find true love over one booze-soaked summer in HawaiiPuertoRicoDominicanRepublic. They know that one person in their nondescript tropical paradise home is their Perfect Match, and it’s their job to figure out who it is.

Every week, a matchup ceremony is held. The 20 men and women—in their Fashion Nova best—pair up based on who they think their Perfect Match is. At the end of the ceremony, it is revealed HOW MANY perfect matches they’ve found, but not WHO those perfect matches are. If they get 10 perfect matches, they win ONE MILLION DOLLARS (split among the 20 of them). But if they don’t manage to find their Perfect Match within the ten-episode-plus-one-reunion-special season, they win nothing.

I like to think of it as a high-stakes, sexy version of Mastermind.

There is one way to determine with absolute certainty who is or isn’t your perfect match. That is the power of the Truth Booth. Each week, one couple can be sent into Truth Booth. There, they will find out for certain if they are or are not a Perfect Match.

That’s where the show gets juicy.

What usually happens is one couple will hit it off immediately. They get swept up in the romance of high humidity and unlimited Fireball Whiskey. They get it in their heads that they are a Perfect Match. The rest of the house, not wanting this couple to get ahead of themselves, sends them into the Truth Booth. The Truth Booth confirms they are a No Match. The house rejoices—that’s one more piece of information that gets them closer to a million dollars. The couple is devastated—the love of their life that they met two days ago is not their Perfect Match. The couple continues to hook up in secret. Someone in the house finds out. The whole house turns against the couple for fucking with their million dollars. The couple tries to defend themselves by explaining that YOU DON’T GET WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FEEL TRUE LOVE LIKE THIS. And this is just one of the many dramatic scenarios that can unfold in this game.

Each season, the producers try to introduce a new complication into the game to switch things up. They introduced new penalties that ate into their prize money. They had an “eleventh girl.” They upped the daters from 20 to 22. But one thing that has stayed consistent is the emphasis on hetero love. It’s always “guys” and “girls” looking for “girls” and “guys.”

Until now.

Season 8 of the show premiered yesterday, June 26, 2019. This season’s twist? Everyone’s queer and fluid, baby! Perfect Matches are no longer gender-bound. So line up the shots of Fireball, ‘cause it’s about to get even sexier!

You can watch the Season 8 premiere episode at (or I supposed if you have cable like a Boomer, you could watch it there too). Some episodes from previous seasons are available online as well. You really can’t go wrong with any season, but I have yet to see anything top Season 1. Pure gold.