Tinder's Horny Streaming Series for Gen Z Exposes Your Terrible Soul

Image: Tinder

Gather ’round, fellow olds. Let’s explore the future of match-matching for a new generation of singles.

Just days ago, reports surfaced that Match Group had wrapped filming on an apocalypse-themed, choose-your-own-adventure series to stream on the Tinder app. On Friday, the company officially announced it’s launching Swipe Night, an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-style streaming series targeting Gen Z users that will debut next month. Viewers will have the ability to swipe to move the story forward, and according to Tinder, it will then match users based on whatever terrible in-app decisions they make along the way.

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“Swipe Night follows a group of friends played by Angela Wong Carbone (Chinatown Horror Story), Jordan Christian Hearn (Inherent Vice), and Shea Gabor, led by none other than you,” Tinder said in a blog post. “As the story unfolds, you’ll face moral dilemmas and practical choices, with only seven seconds to decide and no going back. After each Swipe Night story release, critical choices will be added to members’ profiles, showing which decisions potential matches did or did not make. And all of this new information will make for plenty of material for post-apocalyptic banter.”

Image: Tinder
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The company says the goal of Swipe Night is to facilitate natural conversations for Gen Z (Tinder claims that half its users are 18 to 25). Tinder chief executive Elie Seidman told the New York Times that its young users “speak in gifs, they react in emojis, they talk in stories.” Tinder’s plan to engage its younger demographic with the series is clear in the talent attached to the project. Beyond the cast, Karena Evans, who’s directed music videos for Drake, directed Swipe Night.

But setting aside for a moment that we are almost certainly being trolled by our own unhinged simulation prison, this Gen Z spin on “Netflix and chill” seems like a potential recipe for disaster. Tinder says that users will have only seven seconds to make a decision about how to proceed in Swipe Night, meaning impulsive decisions about so-described “critical choices” will offer a whole new way for users to be assessed and judged if, as Tinder says, those choices are displayed on user profiles. For example, the Times reports in-app decisions will range “from the seemingly unimportant (how to best D.J. a party) to the critical (whose life to save).” Who’d you save?! Choose wisely or risk dying alone!

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But let’s be honest here. The chances that this thing facilitates a budding romance between anyone are close to zero. Like an innocuous Buzzfeed quiz about Nickelodeon in the ’90s, this is just another way to cloak psychological profiling in the guise of a fun game. Whereas Facebook could probably guess how you’re going to vote, Tinder is getting better at understanding whether you’ll be a massive creep on the first date—and also how to better market to giant creeps.

The Times described a rough cut of the series’ first episode as “reminiscent of J.J. Abrams’s 2008 movie, Cloverfield,” which sounds at least somewhat promising. According to Variety, Tinder’s match-making (or breaking!) streaming series had a budget of more than $5 million, a good chunk of change to spend on manufacturing conversation points for people who evidently have nothing to say to each other.

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The series will premiere October 6 at 6 p.m. local time and will be live until midnight. A new episode will appear at the same time on Sundays thereafter.

God, I feel fucking old.

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