‘Love on the Spectrum’ is heartfelt, authentic and real

The show is streaming on Netflix. Supplied
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Updated 15 August 2020

‘Love on the Spectrum’ is heartfelt, authentic and real

DHAHRAN: Right on the heels of “Indian Matchmaking,” Netflix acquired streaming rights to Australian dating show “Love on the Spectrum” for a global audience. While these releases offer minority groups visibility and representation in mainstream media (the Indian diaspora and adults on the autism spectrum, respectively) the latter takes a nuanced and thoughtful approach to matchmaking.

“Love on the Spectrum” is also a refreshing departure from the Netflix brand of glamorous, hypersexual reality TV as endorsed by “Too Hot to Handle” and “Love is Blind,” both of which were released earlier this year.

First released on the Australian Broadcast Corp. last fall, the unscripted show follows seven singles on the autism spectrum as they look for love and companionship, and two autistic couples as they make momentous relationship decisions.




“Love on the Spectrum” is also a refreshing departure from the Netflix brand of glamorous, hypersexual reality TV. Supplied

Unobtrusive and done respectfully, the show offers insight into their lives and vulnerabilities — what autism on the spectrum looks like for each individual, the challenges they face in social situations, and why they seek companionship. Alongside heart-warming interviews with participants and their families, the episodes feature first dates, mixer events and sessions with autism or relationship experts.

The highlight of the show remains raw human emotions and the participants’ endearing personalities that shine through. One cannot help but laugh out loud at 25-year-old Michael’s one-liners that double as sage advice.




The highlight of the show remains raw human emotions and the participants’ endearing personalities. Supplied

But while these “quirks” seem loveable and endearing to a neuro-typical audience, autistic audiences have voiced that in their quest to make a show interesting, these snippets romanticize high-functioning autism and disregard Level 3 autism (the most severe). They have also voiced a desire to see an autistic and non-autistic pairing.

At the outset, a show that follows autistic young adults in the dating world may not seem like something one can relate to. But as the five-part docuseries unravels, one can agree that the universal experience of navigating the dating world and finding love is difficult — autistic or not. With awkward first dates and heartbreak, “Love on the Spectrum” is heartfelt, authentic and real, and therein lies the appeal of the show.


Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

Updated 42 min 55 sec ago

Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

DUBAI: The search for global music group Now United’s newest member is finally over. Enter Nour Ardakani, the 18-year-old singer from Lebanon, who is set to become the band’s 16th member – and first Arab – after an extensive, months-long search for talent across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who founded popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

“I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United,” Fuller told the singer and dancer in a video call.

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

The singer, who currently resides in Beirut with her family, joins fellow group for the band’s latest single “Feel It Now.”

Founded in 2017, the multinational music group announced in November last year that they were looking for a new member from the MENA region.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nour Ardakani (@noursmusicdiary) on

Out of thousands of hopefuls in the Middle East and North Africa, 13 were shortlisted and invited to participate in a virtual audition last week in front of Fuller. Eventually, it came down to Ardakani and a 15-year-old Emirati singer, Alya Al-Ali.

Fuller picked Ardakani after hearing her recording of Now United’s song “Habibi.”