The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, a new Netflix show from the creators of Love is Blind that is so torturous that it should probably be subjected to ethical review by the Office for Human Research Protections. It features six established couples, all of whom have given the other an ultimatum to propose or break up. The partner who isn’t interested in marriage has several reasons: They’re not ready; they’re not sure if this is “the one”; only one of them wants children; only one is human.
That isn’t even the most bizarre aspect of this show. What’s even crazier is that Ultimatum has each couple pretend to break up before forcing each contestant to enter a three-week “trial marriage” with another “newly single” contestant. To enter this trial marriage, both strangers must mutually choose each other. Following that, they will enter a second three-week “trial marriage” with their original partner, and at the end of the show, they will decide whether to propose to the old person, propose to the new person, or leave single.
The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On is essentially a mashup of all the great reality dating shows that have come before it. The show is a cross between Temptation Island and The Seven Year Switch, with a dash of Are You The One thrown in for good measure. There are no dull moments; from the moment we meet the six couples and learn about their commitment issues and insecurities, we know things are going to get messy fast. The situation is set up to generate a lot of drama, with people switching partners and then going out for drinks with them to talk about how much they like their partner, how attracted they are to them, and how much they wish their own partner was more like them. Let’s be honest: that would be difficult for anyone to hear, let alone someone who is already unsure about their relationship.
It’s fascinating to see people who have been in long-term relationships suddenly thrown back into the dating scene, having to live with strangers and navigating a relationship with someone new. It’s an interesting experience to watch as a viewer. On the one hand, you hope that the original couples make it through unscathed. However, you frequently find yourself rooting for the new pairings. It truly elevates the concept of “guilty pleasure” viewing to a whole new level.