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Down for Love

TELEVISION | Dating show celebrates people with Down syndrome


<em>Down for Love</em>
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Rated TV-14

Down for Love is a new series that follows young adult New Zealanders with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities as they go on dates. Carving out space for real-life stories from this truly marginalized community provides powerful testimony to their full human dignity. And with courteous conduct the norm (nothing exceeding cuddling and light kissing through four episodes), Down for Love stands out from the myriad other dating shows.

To be “down for” something means to yearn for its realization, and the show’s subjects all have their hearts set on romance. Josh is looking for a girl who’s “funny and cheeky like me.” His first date with Libby begins with wine ­tasting and ends with her head on his shoulder.

There are, however, several misuses of God’s name and occasional suggestive dialogue. After Josh and Libby’s date, her grandmother quips to his mother, “Do you think we should get some contraceptives?” (Leave it to ­family to supply the cringiest moments.) A few interviewees also speak plainly about their ­sexual desires.

The show’s producer asks the love-seekers, most of whom have strong verbal skills, about the characteristics of an ideal partner. Smart, handsome or pretty, and kind, they often say. And a “relationship educator” gives advice for making small talk on dates. Disagreements surface—such as whether to have children—but so do many gems.

“She is mwah,” Brayden says of his date, Leisel, kissing his ­fingertips Italian-style. “Al dente.” (That’s my new favorite line!) “I’m never going to cheat,” he adds. The bachelors and bachelorettes of the popular dating shows could learn a thing or two here. These young Down for Love stars are mwah—al dente!

Bob Brown

Bob is a movie reviewer for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and works as a math professor. Bob resides with his wife, Lisa, and five kids in Bel Air, Md.



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