Lovestruck High is the most cursed dating show ever made… but I can’t look away

Someone expel Lindsay Lohan and put her out of her misery

There’s something deeply sinister about the new Amazon Prime dating show Lovestruck High, named like it’s the title of a romance book aimed at 13-year-olds you might find rotting in the two quid bin at The Works. It is a show I watched what could only be described as against my will, as I rocked up to stay over at someone’s house last night and was told that we would be binging the first three episodes. I’d already caught a glimpse of the high school hellscape via Gogglebox on Friday – but it wasn’t until I unwittingly unleashed three full episodes upon myself that I realised how truly deranged Lovestruck High actually is.

Somebody please tell me who greenlit this!

The concept of Lovestruck High is that a load of 20 somethings (and one 30 year old, who above all else, certainly should know better) are pretending to go to school. They’re all from the UK, and one of them is Irish – but they’re inexplicably pretending that they’re in America despite the fact this show has been filmed in a sleepy corner of Devon. The fact that we’re in Devon doesn’t detract from Amazon carting the bunch of adults masquerading as high schoolers around in big yellow school buses, and having them “taught” by three teachers who speak with the finest GCSE drama accent they can muster.

So, everyone rocks up, they look like they’ve been dressed by someone pressing randomise Sim on the Sex Education wardrobe that Netflix rejected and they’re ready to couple up, find a date to prom and then win $100,000. And Lindsay Lohan narrates it all. This is not a fever dream or an April Fool’s, this is available to watch right now.

It all feels a little bit… perverse

There is something deeply, well, off about Lovestruck High. It’s got an insidious, cult like energy to it. It’s very fascinating to me that a show got the go ahead when its premise is to, honestly? Sexualise school situations. There’s a PE class section where the cast are all doing aerobics and stretchy yoga poses and the lads comment on the rears of the women, as they stretch their legs above their heads and practice back arches. The girls don’t seem to really mind – it’s just the context. Why are we at school? Are we the viewers meant to be enjoying the view, or thinking of the cast as school children?

There’s something a bit unnerving to me about teachers doing a CPR, mouth to mouth, safety class that’s just seeing who can snog who under the guise of it being a school. I assume this whole school narrative is to differentiate Lovestruck High from the 80 million dating shows it rips off at every corner – but I can’t stress how much its sickly sweet nature is nauseating.

Lindsay Lohan is here in spirit, for some reason

Whilst the Hollywood icon is nowhere to be seen, she can be heard all over Lovestruck High – reading her script with some gusto even though I’m not entirely convinced she’s watched a single episode. She is the most random part of Lovestruck High, no matter how many times they try to shoehorn a Mean Girls reference in. In the words of Gemma Collins, Linz, “If you’re hard up for the electric I’ll pay you for it.”

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To the credit of the show, Amazon Prime has cast a diverse group across race and sexuality and a lot of shows should take note that you can do a dating show with straight, gay and everything in between. Even if the show that diversity is happening on is a dumpster fire of chaos, it’s nice to see everyone represented and all the different sexualities respecting and understanding each other.

I do think, however, that the show sometimes uses these sexualities to divide each other. It feels like it relishes the different camps of straight, gay and lesbian cast members battling it out amongst themselves for a date. They do not seek to create unity and friendship – just competitiveness and cutthroat. But with 100 grand on the line and a ticket to prom, WHO CAN BLAME THEM!

Unfortunately, friends, I could not look away

I regret to say that I melted my brain steadily and slowly across these three episodes. I watched mouth agape at the audacity of these romance seekers, navigating their way through Made In Chelsea styled scripted scenarios in locker rooms that look like they’re part of an Alton Towers theme park ride. I relished in the fights, the dramas, the melodrama of people who’ve known each other for three days acting like they know the ins and outs of every person here.

At the end of episode three and during the culmination of a dramatic twist, a cast member is kicked out of the show (expelled, if you want to give that the time of day) and the reactions from everyone would make someone without context think that this person just got took outside to be executed. One person literally says, through tears, “I’ll miss their laugh so much!” It is fascinating and deranged TV. And we’ve only just began!

I sadly await the next instalment with bated breath.

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