It takes a certain degree of mess to get me interested in a dating show. Despite years of frying my brain on reality television’s most narcotic offerings, the idea of watching civilians compete for “love” in a fancy mansion has never appealed to me. (Unless you count VH1’s mid-aughts Flava Flav, Tiffany Pollard, and Bret Michaels-starring offers, but those were touched by God and exist on a far more heavenly plane of existence).
Something just doesn’t click. Why watch 20 bad actors—who can’t even go into the fantasy suite because they’re waiting for their venereal panels to come back—vie for one person’s attention? I could be watching 60-year-old women scream at each other so hard that they lose their voices and can’t wish their daughters a happy birthday.
But I’m nothing if not adventurous. I like to try everything under the sun at least once. I’ve just been burned by too many attempts to try to emigrate to Bachelor Nation and have been marooned more than once on FBoy Island. In some ways, dating shows are my white whale; I obsess over trying to connect with them, only to fail with a new level of dejection each time. When I heard about For the Love of DILFS, the new OUTtv dating show premiering Tuesday hosted by the legendary porn star and Trump foil Stormy Daniels, I was certain I’d be tricked into meeting the same fate.
It turns out, all I needed was my very own Moby Dick—heavy emphasis on the “dick.”
For the Love of DILFs is both my dating show entry point and obsession. It is, at once, the most ludicrous and glorious thing I have ever witnessed with my own two eyes. There is not one part of its conceit that makes any sense, and yet it somehow feels like it has been around forever. It may even be here long after my bones have become one with the earth.
The show follows a fairly simple dating program formula: Put people in a rented house, give them some light challenges to complete, and watch them make fuck-eyes at each other from across the room before tearing each other apart. For the Love of DILFs’ pool of contestants consists of five “Himbos” and five “DILFs,” who pair up under the guidance of the omniscient Stormy Daniels before she shuffles the deck to start creating drama.
Naturally, there are a few twists; if you haven’t yet gleaned from its host that this is not your average gay dating show, perhaps you will when a contestant asks to sniff a jockstrap provided to him by Daniels. And that’s just in the first ten minutes of the series premiere.
At long last, some wicked genius dropped a pin to the perfect reality television destination, located in the intersection between bizarre and uproarious. The show is so remarkable because it’s unassuming. It’s not trying to be anything more than it is, and not trying to captivate a wider audience than it knows it can. For the Love of DILFs is smart enough to know that if you craft something outlandish in earnest, the people will come—double entendre fully intended.
The show begins by asking that tale-as-old-as-time, hot-button question at the forefront of everyone’s minds: Can a Himbo and a Daddy fall in love? After all, Himbos are chaotic and always ready for a party, while daddies are insightful and established, if a little too stuck in their own routines. This is a regular star-crossed lovers affair, like Romeo and Juliet if Juliet drank double vodka Red Bulls instead of poison.
From the moment that Stormy Daniels struts out of DILF Mansion in her floral shift dress, her eyes as piercing as the silver stud above her lip, it’s clear that For the Love of DILFs is very much in on the joke of its own existence. “I’m your host, Stormy Daniels, and I was brought here by Doctor DILF,” she tells us with a glimmer of a wink in her eye. “…Which I know sounds kind of weird. But hey, the check cleared!”
Daniels’ mission is to guide these ten men through a life-changing two weeks that will test their skills in both love and competition, under the watchful eye of the mysterious Doctor DILF. The Himbos arrive at the mansion first, consisting of Tony Cannoli (his Christian name), Nathan, Phoenix, Matteo, and Tokeyo.
Their first task is to choose one of five briefcases splayed out before them, which each contains items pertaining to a different DILF’s interests, including a pair of their underwear. The Himbos are already living up to their title, as Tokeyo grabs a briefcase with a microphone in it and asserts, “This says to me that he speaks his mind.” We later learn that the microphone was representative of a DILF who likes karaoke.
Speaking of the reason for the season, the DILFs enter next: Tony, Alex, Jeffrey, Bobby, and Gordon. You can tell these are the “more traditional” daddies—opposites of the wild Himbos—because they have names that would fit better on a desk nameplate than on a go-go boy lineup at Hamburger Mary’s. Each DILF pairs up with the respective Himbo who has chosen their briefcase, and the pairs head out on their first dates to get to know each other.
From here, the show snowballs in the best possible way as each pairing has to figure out whether or not they’ve just royally screwed up. A couple of the pairs have no spark, which isn’t a problem, as the Himbos and DILFs will be allowed an opportunity to mix and match partners—which could surprise some of the contestants who thought their dates were going well. And to keep the twists coming and the pheromones flowing, a new DILF will enter the mansion each week, outnumbering the Himbos and sending one of them home.
As the esteemed physician Doctor DILF tells us in a voiceover at the beginning of the series, For the Love of DILFs is a social experiment that’s setting out to “change the way [the Himbos and DILFs] view relationships and themselves.” By the end of the season’s eight episodes, one couple will rise to the top and win $10,000—and, allegedly, true love. But it’s far more entertaining to invest in the individual contestants themselves than any of the prospective pairings.
This show takes place in a strange world where every gay man must own several ugly fabric necklaces. Despite that, each cast member is strangely compelling. Especially when it comes out that some of the competitors had a history with one another before they stepped onto the manicured lawns of the DILF estate.
But the very best part of For the Love of DILFs is Stormy Daniels, who shows up to work ready to have the time of her life. She seems genuinely invested in this game, and brings a gentle friendliness to all of her interactions with the men.
Daniels presides over the grounds of DILF Mansion with vivacious and contagious energy. There’s a reason why she’s not just a porn actress, but a porn star. And she gets to put her porn acting chops to great use at the end of each episode, during a “call” with Doctor DILF where Daniels just regurgitates expository dialogue with all of the naive intrigue of a busty broad placing a phone order for one large pizza with extra sausage.
At long last, some wicked genius has tapped into what reality dating shows have always needed: pure slapstick energy. Watching these men bungle around a mansion, getting into petty fights, and trying to pretend like they’ve arrived there for love and not hot orgiastic sex is so beyond enthralling that I was legitimately devastated when I finished the last of the three episodes provided for press.
Watching the show feels akin to the Big Bang. It’s as if, one day, DILF Mansion just rose out of the earth, with the Daddies and Himbos already inside, and Stormy Daniels woke up holding a key to the property gates. For the Love of DILFs doesn’t so much lean into its premise as it does step on the gas and crash into it at the highest speed possible, filming whatever wreckage might take place.
This is trash television that doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It works because it’s scrappy, honest, and sincerely hilarious. I never cared about dating shows before I met these DILFs, but now I finally understand their power and potential. To think, the only push I needed was a little more visible back hair.