Netflix’s ‘Perfect Match’ Creates a Reality TV Supervillain

Photo Illustration by Erin O'Flynn/The Daily Beast/Netflix
Photo Illustration by Erin O'Flynn/The Daily Beast/Netflix

What is it about Francesca Farago? From the moment contestants see her on Netflix’s new dating show, Perfect Match, it’s as though they’ve spotted Venus herself standing on a seashell near the luxury villa in Panama where the show filmed.

The series gathers contestants from almost every Netflix reality show to date so that they can, well, date—or at least make out, feud, and make up. In its opening stretch, however, the proceedings might as well be titled The Francesca Farago Show. A seasoned reality villain with absolutely no concern about the approval of others, Francesca is a force beyond everyone else in the house. She’s also frustrating as all hell. And yet, it’s just impossible to look away.

From a casting perspective, Netflix seems to have left no stone in its archives unturned for Perfect Match. Contestants vying to become the show’s one “Perfect Match” come from series including Love Is Blind, The Circle (US and France), The Ultimatum, The Mole, Sexy Beasts, Twentysomethings: Austin, Selling Tampa, and more.

Perfect Match is the latest step in what appears to be a long-simmering plan at Netflix to, in essence, create its own Bachelor-verse or Bravo-verse—a self-sustaining tier of celebrities who can also help promote Netflix’s reality shows on an ongoing basis. What better face for that effort than Francesca, an agent of dating chaos?

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Nick Uhlenhuth, Francesca Farago, Ines Tazi, Shayne Jansen in episode 1 of Perfect Match. </p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Netflix</div>

Nick Uhlenhuth, Francesca Farago, Ines Tazi, Shayne Jansen in episode 1 of Perfect Match.


‘Perfect Match’ Is Netflix’s Craven Attempt to Create Its Own Bachelorverse

A raucously playful dating show in the mold of Are You the One, Perfect Match also happens to be the perfect stage for Francesca’s villain act—and she gives the performance of a lifetime. Netflix viewers first met Francesca on Too Hot to Handle, where she and her flame broke all the rules and cost the group tens of thousands from the shared prize pot as a result. Then she crashed a Love Is Blind party with a contestant’s boyfriend. After spending her last two shows endlessly annoyed by Francesca’s whole deal, I must admit that after Perfect Match, I’m now just impressed. This villain has once again leveled up.

For the most part, Perfect Match is about what one would expect: Singles from various Netflix shows gather together to mix, mingle, and pair off before the end of each night. Anyone left without a match must go home. Each week, paired matches will compete in “Compatibility Challenges” that determine who has the power to send any two players on a date with someone not yet living in the villa. In the end, only one pair can be the “Perfect Match.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Dom Gabriel and Francesca Farago in episode 4 of Perfect Match.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Netflix</div>

Dom Gabriel and Francesca Farago in episode 4 of Perfect Match.


But what does it mean to be a “Perfect Match”? On what basis is that distinction determined, and will there be a prize for whoever wins? You will not get any answers from Netflix’s consummate dating show host, (Obviously) Nick Lachey—at least, not until the very end.

In other words, Perfect Match is basically an emotional meat market—and Francesca seems to thrive in this kind of environment. “It’s gonna sound so conceited to say,” she says during the premiere, “but I usually always get what I want. If I want someone, I will get them. I’m cute, I have great boobs, I’m great in bed, and I’m super sexy. I don’t have to try that hard, to be honest.”

“The people that I date are usually obsessed with me,” she adds later, “and that’s usually what I like the most about them.”

As in other reality universes, events from the “real world” outside of Perfect Match appear to have laid its foundation. Some contestants have already hooked up before the show, and multiple admit to having crushes on Francesca. “Things are gonna get dirty,” The Circle Season 1 winner Joey Sasso says in the premiere. “They’re gonna get raw, and they’re gonna get weird real quick.” Too Hot to Handle star Chase De Moor calls the show “Hunger Games for dating.” No one takes that idea deeper to heart than Francesca.

But it’s not just that Francesca apparently has pheromones that can make almost every man in the house drool; it’s how she wields that power. In a word? Ruthlessly. She wields it like an absolute menace. One night, she’s happily matched; the next, she’s feuding with another woman for talking to her man, and a night after that, she’s kicking him to the curb for someone else.

She’s like a siren, and no one (man or woman) seems to be able to ignore her song as it beckons them to heartbreak. Francesca might’ve gotten under Giannina Gibelli’s skin when she showed up to a Love Is Blind mixer with Damian Powers—Giannina’s soon-to-be ex—but on Perfect Match, the emotional roller coaster goes even steeper. As in, Damian definitely shows up on this show, too.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Shayne Jansen, Chloe Veitch in episode 6 of Perfect Match. </p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Netflix</div>

Shayne Jansen, Chloe Veitch in episode 6 of Perfect Match.


Perfect Match executive producer Chris Coelen runs a small empire of high-concept dating programs, both at Netflix (Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On) and beyond with shows like Peacock’s Love for the Ages—in which middle-aged couples at crossroads in their relationships swap spouses.

‘Love Is Blind: After the Altar’ Confirms SK Cheated, Ends with Raven in Tears

Perfect Match might not be his most visionary work (that’s Love Is Blind) or his most diabolical (that’s definitely The Ultimatum), but it might be his most pleasantly light-hearted. The sun is shining, the stakes are unclear, and everyone mostly seems invested in having a good time while (obviously) making the most of their time on screen. Without a villain, the show could’ve verged on boring. Thank God Francesca not only showed up, but also came to play.

Keep obsessing! Sign up for the Daily Beast’s Obsessed newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.