With Love Island off screens for the time being, millennials have needed something equally as juicy to binge-watch and Blue Therapy is the answer.
The YouTube series, from Trend Centrl who also created BKChat LDN, has sparked a huge social media conversation about the trials and tribulations of relationships – compromise, love languages, family and compatibility, to name a few.
In just two episodes, Blue Therapy has had two million views making it more popular than some TV shows.
The six-part series takes place on therapist Denise’s couch with two couples; Chioma and Paul, and Deborah and Jamel, to get to the root of their issues.
Of course, discussions are relatively respectful at first but it’s not long before the dirty laundry is thrown, partners are storming off and poor Denise is trying to get a word in edgeways – yes Paul, we’re looking at you.
It gives viewers the chance to be a fly on the wall into the lives of two young couples and all the millennial trappings that threaten to impact their relationships.
Can Jamel give up Clubhouse? Will Deborah accept one Gucci bag a month instead of two? Will Paul ever tell his sister that no, Chioma isn’t available to babysit her kids?
More importantly, are the couples even real?
They’re all the burning questions we’ve been desperate to know and one man who knows the truth about it all is spilling the hot tea.
Andy Amadi is the brains behind the series and created it off the long-running success of BKChat, and spoke to Metro.co.uk about what he wanted the show to say about millennial relationships.
‘I wanted it to touch on real things young Black couples go through,’ Andy revealed. ‘I wanted to dive into a lot of relatable situations and whether you resolve it or not, I just want to highlight that they’re there.
‘It just highlights Black love and how difficult it can be sometimes and how not difficult it can be too.’
Many of the social media conversations have centered on whether the couples are even together in real life or if they are simply actors.
Andy insists they are actually dating IRL – although he admits therapist Denise is an actress and Chioma wants to start acting.
‘What I will say is this: The cast are real. They’re not actors, none of them are actors,’ the director said.
‘It’s a reality show and I feel everyone should enjoy it as a reality show. Whether it’s real or fake… that’s down to the viewers’ interpretation. None of the cast are [actors] apart from Denise who has acting experience.’
Some viewers have pointed out that none of the couples have each other’s photos on their social media pages, suggesting that they might not be together after all.
Andy’s reasoning? ‘I don’t have my partner’s pictures on my Instagram, that’s neither here nor there. People want to connect the dots that are just sometimes not there.
‘If we wanted to we could put fake pictures there. This is reality and we’re highlighting the fact that some couples just don’t put each other on there. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened,’ he added.
On whether the show is scripted, Andy stated: ‘There’s no reality show on the face of this planet that’s in some form not controlled. Their personalities are really like that, but it’s maybe been enhanced a bit for the cameras.
‘But we haven’t coached them how to be with each other, that’s why it’s kind of hard to decipher what it is. A lot of people want it to be completely scripted but it’s not completely controlled, it’s just reality TV.’
He also confirmed that the couples aren’t improv actors either.
Many have wondered whether it would have been beneficial for the couples to speak to a Black therapist who would perhaps better understand the cultural issues they explore in the sessions.
For example, Jamel has suggested the reason he hasn’t introduced Deborah to his family after a year of dating is because his Ghanaian parents wouldn’t take well to her ‘loudness’ being that she’s Nigerian.
Andy admitted it was a conscious decision to use a white therapist, explaining: ‘I know a lot of people in the comments are like, “Why isn’t the therapist Black?” I knew it would have that reaction but the truth of the matter is a lot of my research has led me to position things the way that I did.
‘If I had a Black therapist there, as much as they’d go “it’s nice”, people wouldn’t take it as seriously. That’s just my opinion. I have to be realistic.
‘It’s sad I have to say that but I’m a realist.’
Undeniably the most problematic cast member so far has turned out to be Paul, who has garnered criticism for his approach towards the therapy sessions and his partner. He’s been called out for being rude to Denise, misogynistic to Chioma and being unwilling to see her point of view.
Andy explained that the cast members were ‘vetted’ beforehand and, while he already knew Chioma from her BKChat days, he was less familiar with her partner Paul.
‘He has no TV experience, he’s not online at all,’ Andy revealed.
He recalled: ‘I had a word with him and asked him so many questions to gauge his personality.
‘I knew straight away that he had strong views as a man and knew how he wanted his woman to be and, after doing shows like BKChat I knew what the audience wanted to see and what sort of problems they like to talk about.’
Paul isn’t the only cast member to receive criticism from viewers – Deborah took to her Instagram recently to address the backlash she’d received since the episodes aired.
However, Andy said the couples individually receive support from the production team.
‘When I create these shows, from experience I know I need to prepare them prior to it being released,’ he explained. ‘We had a lot of sessions after filming where we said look, if this does what we want and need it to do, please understand that although you guys aren’t from this world, there will be a lot of backlash and a lot of people looking at you as public figures now.
‘They’ll want to be quite intrusive about your life and ask questions and you need to be prepared to handle that.’
According to Andy, the couples said they were ‘prepared to handle [it]’.
He continued: ‘I can’t hold their hands at this stage through it but they have a counsellor on the team whenever they need it, if they have any issues they call me or other production managers to talk it out. Or they call each other, they all know each other now and it helps.’
Blue Therapy is a simple concept that has clearly resonated well with viewers so it’s no surprise that Andy is already thinking about season two.
‘The way things are going, I’ll definitely do a season two,’ he promised.
‘Hopefully it gets picked up which is what I’d love but if it doesn’t, I’m always here for the online subscribers.’
Should we expect a reunion episode like the Real Housewives franchise?
‘I don’t want to say too much but we have something bigger planned with the couples that you’ll see in future seasons. So it might even be a bigger reunion,’ he teased.
Blue Therapy episode three is available to watch on YouTube.
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