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'Love Is Blind' reunion’s most shocking moment wasn’t tech failure or cast drama

I expected the ick on Sunday when several castmates crossed paths again. But it was a line of questioning from co-host Vanessa Lachey that had me cringing the most.
Hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey during season 4 of "Love is Blind."
Hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey during season 4 of "Love is Blind."Netflix

The “Love Is Blind” live reunion, which brought together the hit show’s season four cast for what promised to be an hour of delicious reality TV escapism, was a bit of a disaster. 

Technical failures plagued the episode, billed as Netflix’s second-ever live event, prompting a tsunami of social media posts from frustrated and confused fans. After an hour-plus delay on Sunday, Netflix eventually ditched the “live” promise and announced the episode wouldn’t be available worldwide until 3 p.m. ET Monday. It was the latest in a string of fumbles for the streaming giant, including its first live event: last month’s Chris Rock stand-up special.

Somehow, as I kept refreshing Netflix on Sunday night, I was eventually able to watch the episode. To my surprise, it wasn’t the show’s massive technical face-plant or the juicy cast drama that made the reunion so hard to watch. The show’s premise — an “experiment” testing whether people will get engaged after dating for a few days sight unseen and then tie the knot weeks later — is bound to produce some awkward moments. I fully anticipated the ick with “mean girl” Irina Solomonova’s resurgence or the possibility Zack Goytowski would sing to his wife, Bliss Poureetezadi. And I prepared myself for potential fireworks surrounding the Marshall Glaze, Jackie Bonds and Josh Demas love triangle.

But what gave me Chrissy Teigen cringe face the most was a comment — rather, a series of comments — from co-host Vanessa Lachey, whose relentless and regressive line of questioning about the contestants’ reproductive plans made me wonder whether I had been transported back to a time when her husband’s music career was relevant.

It started early on with Lachey’s pointedly telling Poureetezadi that she desperately wants a “‘Love Is Blind’ baby” and prodding a bit about her and Goytowski’s possible plans to start a family. Poureetezadi appeared to be caught off-guard but said they weren’t quite at that stage.

I clocked the awkward moment but chalked it up to a onetime flub possibly caused by Lachey’s nerves after a series of production mishaps. But it happened again. And again. And again. 

Lachey made a point to ask all of the three couples onstage whether and when they want to have kids. Noticeably, she didn’t poll any of the single people, who, by the way, can also choose to have kids. This felt especially cruel given contestant Micah Lussier — who was dumped at the altar by Paul Peden, in part because he claimed she wasn’t “nurturing” enough — told Lachey earlier in the night through tears that she wants more than anything to be a mother.

Asking someone out of the blue about their family planning choices may resurface painful memories and emotions.

Lachey came back to Poureetezadi at another point, pressing her again about a potential baby and practically falling over herself when she thought they might make a pregnancy announcement. (They didn’t.)

As a woman in her mid-30s with several friends who have struggled to conceive, I feel especially sensitive to the heartbreaking challenges many couples face when they try for a baby. After all, infertility is far from uncommon, affecting roughly 1 of every 6 people worldwide at some point in their lifetimes, according to the World Health Organization.

I shudder to think about the intrusive types of questions and comments that used to be common, including some I’m sure I rattled off a decade ago to recently married friends and family members: So, when are you going to have kids? Are you trying yet? I bet you can’t wait to have kids. Having kids is everything.

For all we know, Poureetezadi or another cast member could be pregnant and isn’t ready to share that news yet. Given that 80% of pregnancy loss occurs during the first trimester, it’s widely known that many people choose to wait to announce until the second trimester. 

Or it’s possible some cast members are actively trying to and are struggling to conceive. Some may have had abortions; others may have experienced stillbirth. And some simply may not be interested in having kids — and that’s perfectly valid.

Stop interrogating people about their baby plans. If they want you to know, they will tell you.

The point is we don’t know what reproductive issues and decisions people are facing. And asking people out of the blue about their family planning choices may resurface painful memories and emotions.

So it was shocking that Lachey — who is 42, shares three children with her husband and co-host, Nick Lachey, and has publicly discussed her own pregnancy challenges — felt entitled to ask these questions on Sunday and that producers apparently gave the green light to do so.

Listen, I’m not saying Vanessa Lachey is a terrible person for this misstep. She did an otherwise fine job moderating the reunion, especially given all the technical blunders (at one point, she had to pause to tell someone in the control room to turn off their mic). And I get it: This is reality TV, and contestants sign up for having their lives exposed, to some extent. But the baby questions felt gratuitous, dated and incredibly insensitive. 

It’s bound to happen again, but let’s just say it all together now: Stop interrogating people about their baby plans. If they want you to know, they will tell you. You have no idea what people are going through behind closed doors or how much pain you may be inflicting by asking.

As Vanessa Lachey reminded us in an Instagram post early Monday after the show wrapped, "Please keep in mind online (and in life) that 'words have weight.'"

So let’s nix the baby questions and focus our collective energy on the more pressing questions: How are Tiffany Pennywell and Brett Brown such angels? What caused the livestream to malfunction? And for the love of God, when is season five coming out?