Image: BBC/Twofour

‘I Kissed A Girl’: New BBC Dating Show Gets It Right

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2024 and there has not been a lesbian reality-dating show in the UK, despite the many years Love Island has taken over our screens. BBC Three’s I Kissed A Girl premiered on 5th May and continues to release two episodes weekly.

I Kissed A Girl comes after the popularity of its sibling show, I Kissed A Boy, which hit our screens in 2023. Dannii Minogue brings camp, ally elegance as host alongside lesbian Tiktoker, Charley Marlowe who voices the show.

The show follows ten single girls who are all looking for love and a long-lasting connection during their hot queer girl summer in an Italian Masseria. Contestants are coupled up on their arrival and meet their ‘partner’, whom they have to kiss upon meeting. The show relies on the introduction of a first kiss, without contestants knowing each other’s names or having to swipe on dating apps to find their match. This forces contestants to find their ‘match’ based on initial attraction and chemistry. If the chemistry is there, they can remain together; if not, they can try their luck with other contestants. 

There is no cash prize or public vote, meaning contestants are in control of their own destiny

Throughout the show, contestants are met with constant surprises as they encounter mini-challenges and the arrival of more contestants, all in the hope of finding their ideal partner. Some episodes contain a “Kiss-Off” where coupled-up contestants can choose to remain with their current partner or kiss someone else, however, if the outcome is not mutual, contestants can face being eliminated from the Masseria. As the show continues, the final couples will have the opportunity to “make it official” and continue their relationship in the outside world.

I Kissed A Girl stands out compared to other reality-dating shows as there is no cash prize or public vote, meaning contestants are in control of their own destiny. Relationships on the show seem more sincere, as contestants are not incentivized to make strategic decisions to stay in the competition in the hopes of winning the cash prize. Contestants on I Kissed A Girl appear to be in it for the long haul, looking for a true connection, even love.

There have been many significant moments during the show, despite only four episodes having been released. One most memorable moment is a poolside discussion between the girls (in episode 2) where they discuss labels. In this emotional and goosebumps-raising conversation, the cast bond over their dislike of the term ‘lesbian’, as a result of its historic negative connotations, and their preference for different terms. Hearing ‘lesbian’ being used in a derogatory sense is a common experience for many queer women and can often make the process of coming to terms with one’s sexuality quite difficult. Contestant Georgia Robert provides the other girls with a brief history regarding the origin of the ‘L’ being at the start of the LGBTQIA+ acronym, which dates back to the AIDs Epidemic. The girls highlight the necessity to reclaim the term lesbian and how it should be something to be proud of. The show provides an important platform for queer women, many of whom will hopefully benefit from such discussions while finding acceptance of their sexuality and some much-needed representation on-screen. 

The show highlights the important sentiment that there is not one way of being a queer female

Representation is one of the show’s main strengths. I Kissed A Girl’s diversity does not come across as tokenism or a box-ticking exercise. The show features an all-female cast who identify as either bisexual, lesbian or queer. There are multiple people of colour within the cast and the contestants encapsulate a broad range of queer lived experience across the masc and femme spectrum. The show highlights the important sentiment that there is not one way of being a queer female and urges both its contestants and audience to unapologetically embrace their identity away from societal judgement.

I Kissed A Girl turns modern dating on its head, proving that it takes more than sexual chemistry to create a deep and long-lasting connection, while bringing banter, tears, heart-felt conversations, friendships, romances and arguments; what more could you want in a reality-dating show?


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