"There’s an even more warped sense of nostalgia attached to shows like The Circle, Love Is Blind, and Too Hot to Handle," Colin Horgan says of the three hit Netflix dating reality shows that premiered this year. "Watching them in our current state doesn’t prompt a memory of our former routine lives or the closeness we once shared with other people. Instead, they create a strange longing for a time when the extreme scenario we now seem to inhabit was still considered… well, extreme. Perhaps now our binge-watching preferences have simply flipped. Our escapism is no longer in reality TV’s extremes, but in our boring old lives — the formerly routine existence that shows sought to manipulate. We miss when things — even people — were, for lack of a better term, normal. That feels like a simpler time, when reality TV was not merely comfort food for the brain — a warm loaf of mental sourdough — but also a way to witness a distorted and unfamiliar version of our world, safely. Because as effective as reality TV is at amplifying human nature beyond its usual limits, it’s equally good at bringing things down again and returning us comfortably to a place where, by comparison, our own lives feel under control."