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One Week Love Life Lessons - Gari & Kasey

One Week Love Sheds Light On Overlooked Social Issues In SG – Here’s Why We Should Talk About It

One Week Love life lessons

We naturally root for certain characters when we watch shows, or pick out favourites to stan. That feeling only gets stronger when it comes to reality shows, ‘cause instead of actors playing a role, we’re watching regular humans like you and I. There’s also a tendency to zone in on contestants who either display traits we admire, or even share parts of ourselves with.

In the case of Singapore’s very own One Week Love dating show, there are viewers who might have identified with Sam’s muso side, or Atiqah’s homebody nature. But on a deeper level of relatability, familiar pitfalls of social navigation were highlighted from Episode 1 all the way to the season finale

We dive a little deeper into how the dating show – a concept that was supposed to be fun, flirty, and frivolous – ended up casting a spotlight on some major pain points in society today; and which don’t get nearly enough attention.

What is One Week Love?

One Week Love is Singapore’s first reality dating show produced by TheSmartLocal.

Where can I watch One Week Love?

One Week Love was first released on YouTube in 2022. All 10 episodes and a bonus episode are now available to binge-watch on Netflix.

The case of Gari vs Gari 2.0 – Misunderstood before he could shine

It’s always a little awkward to have your flaws and weaknesses pointed out, much less in front of cameras where you know thousands of strangers will be watching. Since the start of the series, it seemed like Gari couldn’t catch a break.

Gari Dania Nutella
A very heated confrontation about … Nutella.
Image adapted from: TheSmartLocal YouTube

From the mic adjustment fiasco with Kasey to the infamous “Nutella-gate” with Dania and – who could forget – the brutality of being told to your face that you “can improve on many, many things” during the Unfine Dining activity in Episode 6. It’s safe to say that he had his social skills dragged to filth openly while in a group setting.

Gari Burned Scalded Cooking Challenge
Viewers progressed from cringe to straight-up forlorn pity when Gari scalded himself, and none of the contestants so much as showed concern.
Image adapted from: TheSmartLocal YouTube

At the same time, support in the comment section got louder with each episode, with viewers affirming that “Gari needs more love” and “justice for king Gari”. Then, things seemed to flip 180° in Episode 8 when Gari was prompted by the producers to reveal more of his true self even when the cameras were rolling.

One Week Love Gari 2.0 - Gucci
Image adapted from:
TheSmartLocal YouTube

Literally overnight, Gari let his endearing freak flag fly with quips like “Of course, shawty”, “It’s all G”, and the ultimate crowd favourite: “What’s cooking, good looking?” – now immortalised in unofficial merch which some of the One Week Love gang took it upon themselves to print.

One Week Love Gari What's Cooking Good Looking T-Shirts
Kasey, Sam, and Brendan rocking their Gari tees.

Image adapted from: @thesamdriscoll via Instagram

Needless to say, love for Gari grew even stronger among the viewers. And the rest of the One Week Love contestants, particularly the boys, have since publicly expressed what a cool dude he is to hang out with.

One Week Love Reality Dating Show
Image adapted from:
@garialdisalim via Instagram

It goes to show that first impressions can be misleading, and that you never know what a gem of a friend you could be missing out on making if you don’t give them some time to warm up. After all, One Week Love unfolded through an ultra condensed 7-day timeline.

So if we got to witness the dramatic unfolding of Gari’s personality from misunderstood outcast to lovable King Of One-Liners, who’s to say what meaningful connections we could potentially form with folks of all backgrounds – even those we thought we couldn’t vibe with from the get-go?

Kasey’s 4v1 standoff – The dangers of gang mentality

In the case of Gari which was a mistaken first impression turned major glow-up, Kasey was an unexpected outcast towards the end of the series. After all, Kasey seemed to be the poster sunshine girl who exuded positive vibes from the start. 

One Week Love Girls
Dione speaking of Kasey’s energy and confidence, and how it influences those around her.
Image adapted from: TheSmartLocal YouTube

She made conversation with everyone she had the chance to, doled out generous compliments, and was even highlighted by Dione to be so supportive that she “brings out confidence in [the rest] as well”.

One Week Love Kasey Donovan
Image adapted from:
TheSmartLocal YouTube

Avid fans of reality shows would be privy to the fact that there always seems to be an outcast. From the viewers’ POV, it isn’t exactly clear what spurred the divide between Kasey and the rest of the girls.

Some commenters have provided counter arguments that Kasey could embody the token Pick-Me Girl, a presence which fellow females might get threatened by and become forced to pick a side. But somewhere in between Kasey’s new sponsorship announcement and her late-night chats with Donovan, the girls grew increasingly distant from her.

One Week Love 4v1 Girls Confrontation
The unfortunate progression of events culminated in the 4 versus 1 standoff in the series finale.
Image adapted from: TheSmartLocal YouTube

Although most of us haven’t been in the specific position of starring in an online dating reality series, it’s easy to see why Kasey’s story is one that led to a familiar prick in many viewers’ hearts.

Hordes of commenters expressed how it triggered unpleasant memories within them; be it from their school days, being outcast from friend groups even in their adult lives, or suffering from toxic behaviour in the workplace.

Justice & support against toxicity in the real world vs online

As many viewers aptly pointed out, groupthink is incredibly dangerous and multiplies toxic behaviour tenfold. Especially when bystanders opt to keep the peace instead of veering on the wrong side of the aggressors, it may seem easier to stay neutral instead of sticking up for the underdog.

The painful truth is that, in the real world, there aren’t viewers and commenters calling out toxicity and offering support and consolation for those at the mercy of social persecution.

Such is the cruel way society operates, and while it’s not entirely realistic for us to dream of a world where everyone is kumbaya, nicey-nice, at least the jarring scenes we witnessed and how much they struck a chord reminded us of 2 things.

Kasey One Week Love
Image credit:
@kaseyavariellelow via Instagram

Firstly, anyone can be the subject of bullying and hostility, no matter how textbook likeable they may seem. And although it seems difficult and even risky, it’s all the more crucial to stick up for what’s right when it’s in the face of overwhelming opposition.

Shoutout to Brendan for noticing how Kasey was left out of the girls’ victory cheer, and said the most melodious sentence anyone who’s ever been outcast could ever hear: “You’re welcome to join [us]”.

The virtues & pitfalls of demanding justice on social media

It’s important to note that while mistreatment should be called out, not much good can come out of fighting hate with more hate. As jarring as it was to see some of the girls’ toxic behaviour on the show, at the end of the day, this is still a reality show where ordinary people are thrust in the spotlight; their flaws put under a microscope for all to see.

One Week Love Truth Booth
The Truth Booth Episode is a sobering reminder that everyone is fighting his or her own battles.
Image adapted from: TheSmartLocal YouTube

Nobody deserves to be crucified on social media, especially to a degree where some of the contestants’ appearances and religion are being flamed, and commenters are asking for their careers as models, financial advisors, and real estate agents to be sabotaged as a result.

Unexpected life lessons from a reality dating show

While One Week Love is addictive in its own right and some good bingeing material to wind down with, it caught us by surprise with how deeply it made us think.

It’s almost as if the short 10-parter held a mirror up to ourselves, our past experiences, and the way society ticks; making us realise that in going through the motions of life, not many of us properly stop to question if certain things we allow are really that acceptable.

Whether it inspired you to adopt a tougher fighting spirit and embrace your true self, be kinder to those around you eve if you have your differences, or stick up for the underdogs and stand for justice when it matters most, it’s pretty cool that a reality dating programme could teach us valuable life lessons along the way.

One Week Love YouTube comments
Image adapted from: YouTube

And to think, such issues never would’ve been brought to light if not for the championing of hyperlocal content. It’s a way for us Singaporeans to be both engaged by and relate to content that’s entirely homegrown, and the unintended byproduct of highlighting social issues and spurring self-reflection just make it even more of a win.

Food for thought, and takeaways that will definitely endure beyond One Week.

P.S. check out our compilation of One Week Love fun facts sourced straight from the show’s producers if you can’t get enough of the tea.

Watch (or re-watch) One Week Love here


Check out our other guides for things to watch:

Cover image adapted from: YouTube
Originally published on 18th November 2022. Last updated by Raewyn Koh on 20th February 2024.