Instagram Dating Show Helps Those Looking For Love During Lockdown

It’s kind of like “The Bachelor” meets Tinder — only instead of roses, they give toilet paper

NBC Universal, Inc.

Finding love online isn’t really new, but finding love in an online show during quarantine? That might be a first. Welcome to the Instagram show “Sheltered in Love.”

Creators Tyler Cohen and Jimmy Parenteau came up with the idea. It allows for single men and women, gay or straight, to meet over video chat and then pick their favorite. It’s kind of like “The Bachelor” meets Tinder.

Oh, and instead of roses – they give each toilet paper.

“It’s been remarkably successful, it even shocks Jimmy and I how successful this has been so far,” Cohen said. “The first two couples are still keeping in touch all the time, they’re going on Facetime dates.”

Cohen and Parenteau originally planned for a traditional dating show, live and on-stage. But COVID-19 forced them to think outside the box.

So the two switched gears, and essentially kept “everything we had planned, but let’s do it live on Instagram instead of in person. And let’s do it over a week and post videos,” Parenteau said.

And it’s working. They have attracted more than 450 applications from singles looking for love. While most of the daters are in their 20s, not all of them are. Cohen, a Long Island native, swears his own grandmother wants in.

“She submitted an application on our form, and she’s looking for an 85 year old man who has a driver’s license and can still see,” Cohen said.

They are currently airing season three. Both believe people have made real – albeit virtual – connections at a time when that may the thing that helps get people through the pandemic and shutdown.

“I mean I have heard of people going hiking together already, and all three couples already have plans for real dates once the quarantine is over,” Cohen said.

“We’re building community here. I think, even if we don’t start relationships, being a part of something during this time is super important for your overall sanity and mental health,” said Parenteau.

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