Yup - Our Lord and Savior is back. The messiah of matrimony. The Jesus of Jodis. The Angel of arranged marriage. The Queen of compromise. The emperor of adjustment. The Nicolas Cage of Nuptials. The Shaktimaan of Shaadis. The Mogambo of Monogamy. Sima Aunty is back for season 3 of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking, people!
Time after time, season after season, we get a new roster of people looking to find love - who become the subject of our unhealthy obsessions and catty commentary. We fall for some, feel for others, relate to many and judge them all. We advise them, criticize them and sometimes despise them. We instantly and unapologetically judge books by their covers and often scream RED FLAG ALERT, and THAT DUDE IS CLEARLY A FUCKBOI at our screens as if they can hear us. N-no? Nobody else does that?
All this, while I also assault my friends with a barrage of messages of my own assessments and live commentary. Any reality show that demands that sort of visceral reaction and intense investment, however momentary, can't not be a success. The fact is, it's not easy to achieve Indian Matchmaking’s delicate balance of fun and frivolous without ever feeling entirely synthetic and silly. A delicious guilty pleasure, yes, but also one which gives you a lot of food for thought about navigating modern dating and relationships.
What also struck me this season was just how well-packaged Indian Matchmaking is. It’s no wonder it's so watchable, whether it’s the brisk pacing which keeps things light and constantly in motion, perfectly catering to the Instagram generation. Or the shiny visuals, spunky music and energy and even the various little travel montages of each new city and country Sima Aunty visits. It's basically a travel show at this point. And this season, she continues her quest for world domination - expanding her matchmaking operations beyond just the US and India to include the UK as well. But enough chit-chat - let's meet some of our players, shall we?
Returning from last season is Viral - who continues to be going strong with the forever dazed Aashay, who exudes real fuckboi-in-headlights energy. There’s also last season’s Shital, who’s now looking to settle down with Niraj, the dude she didn’t meet through Sima Aunty. Shital, along with Arti, a new client we meet this season, are both a shining testament to Sima Aunty’s spectacularly poor track record of successfully matching literally Anyone through three seasons of this show.
In terms of the new folks on the block this time, there’s the British divorcee Priya who’s looking to get back out there again and, ideally, find a man with a “growth mindset” and a man bun. I literally don't know what to do with that.
Priya gets to date the most colourful guys this season. First, there’s the forever friend-zoned bobblehead Bobby - a passionate maths teacher who seems nice...when he isn’t busy bursting with frantic puppy energy. Priya also gets to date Jai - a cardboard corporate guy who looks like the living embodiment of the Terms and Conditions sections. Jai literally can’t seem to string a half-interesting sentence together, and yet HE feels that there was “a lack of romantic chemistry” with Priya. Men AmIRight? We really are the gift that keeps on giving.
There’s also the California-based, bubbly, Bollywood-loving, wedding-obsessed Vikash. He’s one of those Amrikans who made being Indian and Indian culture his entire personality, you know? I shudder to think of what will happen if he actually jumps on a flight and comes here. I imagine he’d have what can only be described as an India-gasm.
Vikash wants a Hindi-speaking wife but not one with an Indian accent, so they need to be Indian but not too Indian, but also kinda Indian but not as Indian as him but still pretty Indian. Cool. One of the biodatas Sima Aunty gives him to check out belongs to a woman who describes herself as “Mostly Bengali”. I don't know why that made me laugh so much.
But one thing I STILL don't get is that when people first meet Sima Aunty and describe the qualities they're looking for in an ideal partner - they KEEP using these Generic ass words like Kind and Loving and Caring. WHY MUST THAT CRITERIA BE SPECIFIED?? You might as well be like, “I want someone who breathes in and then uhh breathes out and maybe then uhh breathes in and possibly breathes out”. What do they think is going to happen if they don't mention the obvious stuff? Will sima aunty just rock up and be like, “Here you go, I got you a Nazi drug dealer.. Well, you never specified you wanted a “nice guy”, so I got you a total jackass!"
I also continue to struggle with the confounding, seemingly random - free-for-all structure of this show. How much time we spend with certain folks from previous seasons vs new faces. The fact that some of these folks stay with us for 4 episodes and others for 4 scenes. Even where each episode ends feels arbitrary and they all sort of just blur together. Almost as if there’s no real structure in place and the makers are just scrambling to find each season on the edit table.
On the flip side, I do love the show’s smaller cutaways and asides, like how certain episodes include clips of random older married couples sharing their love story. There’s something so sweet and wonderful about these, maybe it’s because it's real people talking about an actual relationship rather than the more synthetic actual subjects of the show.
Indian Matchmaking also continues its legacy of Sima Aunty’s lovably dated and often regressive worldview. Things like her saying 30 is the latest anyone should be married is fine; nothing new there. But the fact that across three seasons, we’ve still never seen a client who's Muslim or someone from the queer community or any minority community for that matter. It just gets more and more uncomfortable each time.
Stepping into and walking out of season three I kept thinking about this idea of familiar formula vs freshness. About the balance of giving us more of the same but also evolving a show. Indian matchmaking has done the same tried and tested thing for three seasons now. To the extent that you can check out my review of season 2 and most of it will probably hold just as well for this season.
On some level, these ideas will never not be relevant - the clash of generations and relatable dating struggles, but, at this point, it feels the makers are out of ideas. After three chapters, this template has run its course and the novelty has worn off. Even for those of us who worship at the temple of Sima Aunty. If I had to make a prediction like that face reader dude who keeps popping up in the show, I’d say the best of Indian Matchmaking lies in the past and not in its future.
You can watch Indian Matchmaking Season 3 on Netflix.