Indian Matchmaking

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Indian Matchmaking TV Poster Image
Bingeable dating show raises questions about class, culture.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

People are matched in hopes of finding suitable marriage partner; marriage is marker of success in matchmaking process. Much of the advice given to women when trying to find compatible matches can be considered sexist; preferences for other attributes can be interpreted as racist or classist both within Western and Indian circles. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Clients range from being inflexible in their criteria to being unwilling to commit. Parents often state that all they want is happiness for their son or daughter, but then reveal very specific criteria for their future son- or daughter-in-law. 

Violence
Sex

Brief references are made to importance of being satisfied in the bedroom in order for a marriage to succeed.

Language

"Damn" is uttered once or twice.

Consumerism

Series serves as promotional vehicle for Sima Taparia's marriage consultant business. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcoholic beverages (wine, champagne, cocktails) are sometimes consumed during social gatherings and dates. One date makes a point of noting that he doesn't drink alcohol. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Indian Matchmaking is a reality series about a professional Indian matchmaker who helps single Indians find marriage partners in India and throughout the United States. It features conversations about marriage and compatibility that some may consider sexist, racist, or stereotypical, but are often still part of the arranged marriage process in India. Divorce, the role of sex in a successful marriage, and other mature themes are also addressed. People often drink wine, mimosas, and cocktails at social gatherings and during dates. Families can talk about the class issues that are still present in India and how the show presents them, as well as the idea of arranged marriage itself. 

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What's the story?

INDIAN MATCHMAKING is a reality series about a Mumbai-based marriage consultant's efforts to match compatible clients in hopes that it will lead to a wedding. Professional matchmaker Sima Taparia works with clients in India and in the United States to find them perspective mates. After personally meeting a client, she spends time understanding their criteria for an acceptable partner. She also gets a sense of the parents' preferences. Armed with this information and her personal observations, Sima puts together a list of candidates who show the most potential for a good match. The client then meets with each person in hopes of finding a connection with one of them. Some dates seem to go well, while others are disappointing. But Sima is committed to finding each of her clients a satisfactory spouse. 

Is it any good?

This fun but challenging series offers an interesting, and troubling, look at what modern-day Indian matchmaking is like. It offers a cultural perspective on the practice, but it doesn't heavily exoticize the experience to make it more entertaining for non-Indian viewers. In fact, much of what is presented here is a lot like any other dating series: People go on blind dates, experience some uncomfortable moments, and share their thoughts about each other. But the pressure placed on some of the young singles featured here keeps reminding you that these meetings are part of a process that is only considered successful if it culminates in marriage. 

Some viewers will find the methods used to match people, and to improve their odds of finding someone compatible, fascinating. However, the discussions about finding "suitable" matches among Indian singles, an idea originating from ancient Hindu caste system, also highlight a way of thinking that many Indians today consider sexist, racist, and, to an extent, classist. Some may also see this unscripted show as a vehicle for reinforcing Western stereotypes about India and Indian culture. Ultimately, Indian Matchmaking offers some solid reality entertainment, but what it sets out to accomplish beyond this isn't clear. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about matchmakers. Many cultures around the world rely on matchmakers to advise families, arrange marriages, and perform other duties. How do the criteria they use to successfully provide these services differ from culture to culture? What does Indian Matchmaking highlight as being the most important criteria for successful Indian matches? 

  • What are the reasons given for the failure of Sima Taparia's clients to find suitable matches? Do the reasons offered differ between men and women? Do you think they reinforce stereotypes

  • What can international reality shows tell viewers about the culture of a city or country? Do you think they tell the whole story? Why or why not?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 16, 2020
  • Cast: Sima Taparia
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: August 13, 2020

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