yacht rock episode 4

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yacht rock episode 4

The 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time

Yacht rock isn’t exactly a genre. it’s more a state of mind..

yacht rock episode 4

Yacht Rock is the musical equivalent of a mid-afternoon mimosa nap in a nautical location—a balmy lite-FM breeze with the substance of a romance novel and the machismo of a Burt Reynolds mustache comb.

But what exactly is Yacht Rock?

Yacht Rock is ‘70s soft schlock about boats, love affairs, and one-night stands.

Typified by artists like Christopher Cross, Rupert Holmes, and Pablo Cruise, Yacht Rock is not just easy to mock. It’s also deserving of the abuse. There’s a sensitive-male brand of chauvinism that permeates this material—like somehow because you could schnarf an 8-ball of cocaine and sail a boat into the sunset, your indulgences and marital infidelity were actually kind of sexy. Cheap pickup lines and beardly come-ons abound.

And yet, this stuff is irresistible on a slow summer day. It reeks of sunshine and laziness, and couldn’t we all use a little of both?

These are the 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs, in order. Zero suspense. (Sorry if that's less fun for you).

If you would like to learn more about Yacht Rock without getting a sailing license, read on...

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What are the qualifications for inclusion on our list?

So Yacht Rock refers to a type of soft rock, right? But there’s a ton of soft rock out there that doesn’t fit the bill. There’s no room on my boat for Barry Manilow. At the Copa? Sure. But not so much on my boat. So what makes a great yacht rock song exactly?

Ideally, one or more of these themes will be present:

Finding the love of your life;

Having a memorable one-night stand; or 

These features pretty much capture everything that’s great about this milieu. But there's also an important cheese factor at play here. While Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, CSN, and the Doobie Brothers all made songs that might qualify for inclusion here, the artists themselves are--let's just say it--too good to be considered Yacht Rock.

We'll make sure to include them in our deluxe playlist at the article's conclusion.

But in order for a song to be considered for our list, it must be at least slightly embarrassing. Case in point, the top song on our list...

1. "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes

"The Pina Colada Song" is arguably the most perfect embodiment of yacht rock, fulfilling, as it does, all three of the qualifications cited above. Holmes sings about making love in the dunes, attempts to cheat on his wife, then ultimately, rediscovers that his "old lady" is actually the love he's been searching for all along. That's the holy trinity of Yacht Rock themes, all wrapped up in a breezy story of casual adultery.

And at the turn of a new decade, listeners were feeling it. Released as a single in 1979, "Escape" stood at the top of the charts during the last week of the year. Falling to #2 in the new year, it returned to the top spot in the second week of 1980. This made it the first song to top the charts in two separate, consecutive decades. Fun fact: Rupert Holmes never drank a Pina Colada in his life. He just thought the lyric sounded right. Hard to argue that point.

2. "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) by The Looking Glass

Formed at Rutgers University in 1969, Looking Glass topped the charts in 1972 with the tale of a lovelorn barmaid in a harbor town haunted by lonely sailors. It would be the band's only hit. Lead singer Elliot Lurie would go on to a brief solo career before becoming head of the music department for the 20th Century Fox movie studio in the '80s and '90s.

That means he was the musical supervisor for the soundtrack to Night at the Roxbury . Do with that information what you will. And with respect to "Brandy," see the film Guardians of the Galaxy 2 for Kurt Russell's surprisingly detailed treatise on its lyrical genius.

3. "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts

The title track from the soft-rock duo's breakout 1972 record, "Summer Breeze" is an incurable earworm, a bittersweet twilight dream that captures everything that's right about Lite FM. From an album inhabited by Wrecking Crew vets and studio aces, "Summer Breeze" curls like smoke drifting lazily through an open window.

4. "Africa" by Toto

Toto singer David Paich had never been to Africa. The melody and refrain for this #1 hit from 1982 came to him fully formed as he watched a late night documentary about the plight of the African continent. The lyrics touch on missionary work and describe the landscape, as inspired by images from National Geographic , according to Paich's own recollection. Putting aside its self-aware inauthenticity, "Africa" is an infectious, 8x platinum AOR monster.

5. "Reminiscing” by Little River Band

Released in the summer of 1978 and reaching up to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Reminiscing" was guitarist Graeham Goble 's nostalgic take on the swing band era. Not only is it the only Australian song ever to reach five million radio plays in the U.S., but rumor is that it was among the late John Lennon's favorite songs.

6. "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray

Originally recorded by a country-swamp rocker named Jeffrey Kurtz, Dobie's 1973 cover became his biggest hit, reaching #5 on the charts. Though not explicitly nautical, "Drift Away" captures the distinct sensation of cruising at sunset.

7. "Love Will Find a Way" by Pablo Cruise

Pablo Cruise may have the most "yachty" of all band names on our list. And "Love Will Find a Way" is sort of the musical equivalent of a ketch skipping along a glassy surface on a crisp summer dawn. Pablo Cruise was formed in San Francisco by expats from various mildly successful bands including Stoneground and It's a Beautiful Day.

And there is a certain slick professionalism to the proceedings here. Of course, Pablo Cruise was never a critic's darling. Homer Simpson once accurately classified them as wuss rock. Still, they perfectly captured the white-folks-vacationing-in-the-Caribbean energy that was all the rage at the time. Love found a way to reach #6 on the Billboard charts, remaining in constant radio rotation during the red-hot summer of '78.

8. "Ride Captain Ride" by Blues Image

Blues Image emerged from South Florida in the late '60s and served as the house band for Miami's vaunted Thee Image music venue upon its inception in 1968. This gave Blues Image the opportunity to open for ascendant headliners like Cream and the Grateful Dead. The association landed them a contract with Atco Records. Their sophomore record, Open , yielded their one and only hit. The Blues Image reach #4 on the charts in 1970 with a tune about a bunch of men who disappear into the mists of the San Francisco Bay while searching for a hippie utopia.

9. "Eye in the Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project

This #3 hit from 1982 has nothing to do with sailing. But it's infectiously smooth production sheen, layered synth, and dreamy vocals make it a perfect Lite FM gem--one cut from the stone that gave us yacht rock. The "Project" was actually a British duo--studio wizard Alan Parsons and singer Eric Woolfson.

The title track from their sixth studio album is their very best recording. It's also often paired with the instrumental lead-in "Sirius," a song famous in its own right for blaring over unnumbered sporting arena PA systems.

If that tune doesn't make you think of Michael Jordan, you probably didn't live through the late 80s.

10. "Miracles" by Jefferson Starship

Marty Balin was a pioneer of the San Francisco scene, founding Jefferson Airplane in 1965 as the house band for his own legendary club--The Matrix. But in 1971, deeply shaken by the death of Janis Joplin, Balin quit his own band. Four years later, he was invited to rejoin his old mates on the already-launched Jefferson Starship.

He immediately contributed what would become the biggest hit by any Jeffersonian vessel. "Miracles" reached #3 in 1975. Gorgeous, elegant, and open, this is a complete anomaly in the Airplane-Starship catalogue. Listen closely for the NSFW lyrics that have often flown under the radar of some adorably innocent censors.

11. "Sad Eyes" by Robert John

In 1972, Robert John had a #3 hit with his cover of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." And yet, just before recording "Sad Eyes", the Brooklyn-born singer was employed as a construction worker in Long Branch, New Jersey.

In the summer of '79, he would again climb the charts, this time to the top spot. In fact, the charting success of "Sad Eyes" was part of a cultural backlash against the reign of disco. A wave of pop hits swept on to the charts, including this slick soft rock throwback. With his sweet falsetto and doo wop sensibility, Robert John knocked The Knack's "My Sharona" from its 6-week stand atop the charts.

12. "Magnet and Steel" by Walter Egan

Before launching headlong into his music career, Walter Egan was one of the very first students to earn a fine arts degree from Georgetown, where he studied sculpture. The subject would figure into his biggest hit, a #8 easy listening smash from 1978.

Featured on his second solo record, "Magnet and Steel" enjoys the presence of some heavy friends. Lindsey Buckingham produced, played guitar and sang backup harmonies with Stevie Nicks. By most accounts, Nicks was also a primary source of inspiration for the song.

13. "Lido Shuffle" by Boz Scaggs

Of course, not all yacht rock songs are about sailing on boats. Some are about missing boats. Boz Scaggs looks dejected on the cover of 1977's Silk Degrees , but things turned out pretty well for him. This bouncy #11 hit is a classic rock mainstay today.

The band you hear backing Boz--David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, and David Hungate--would go on to form the nucleus of Toto that very same year. Toto, as it happens, is essentially a recurring theme of the genre. Before rising to massive success in their own right, the members of Toto absolutely permeated rock radio in the 70s, laying down studio tracks with Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Michael McDonald, and more.

14. "What You Won't Do for Love" by Bobby Caldwell

This smooth-as-silk tune reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its 1978 release. It also reached #6 on the Hot Selling Soul Singles Chart. This is significant only because of Caldwell's complexion. He was a white man signed to TK Records, a label most closely associated with disco acts like KC and the Sunshine Band.

Catering to a largely Black audience, the label went to minor lengths to hide their new singer's identity--dig the silhouetted figure on the cover of his own debut. Suffice it to say, once Caldwell hit the road, audiences discovered he was white. By then, they were already hooked on this perfect groove, which you might also recognize as a sample in 2Pac's posthumous 1998 release, "Do For Love."

15. "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" by Michael McDonald

Technically, Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin'" is an adaptation of an earlier tune by the same name. In fact, the original "I Keep Forgettin" was conceived by the legendary songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller--best known for iconic staples like "Hound Dog", "Kansas City", "Poison Ivy" and much, much more.

The original recording is by Chuck Jackson and dates to 1962. But McDonald's 1982 take is definitive. If that wasn't already true upon its release and #4 peak position on the charts, certainly Warren G. and Nate Dogg cemented its status when they sampled McDonald on "Regulate". Get the whole history on that brilliant 1994 time capsule here .

Oh and by the way, this tune also features most of the guys from Toto. I know, right? These dudes were everywhere.

16. "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty

To the casual listener, Gerry Rafferty's name should sound vaguely familiar. Indeed, you may remember hearing it uttered in passing in the film Reservoir Dogs . In a key scene, a radio DJ (deadpan comedian Steven Wright) mentions that Rafferty formed half the duo known as Stealers Wheel, which recorded a "Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favorite from April of 1974" called "Stuck in the Middle With You." In the same scene, Mr. Blonde (portrayed with sadistic glee by Michael Madsen), slices off a policeman's ear.

At any rate, this is a totally different song, and is actually Rafferty's biggest hit. "Baker Street" is a tune that reeks of late nights, cocaine, and regret. Peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Baker Street" soared on the wings of the decade's most memorable sax riff. Raphael Ravenscroft's performance would, in fact, lead to a mainstream revitalization of interest in the saxophone writ large.

17. "Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang" by Silver

There are several interesting things about Silver that have almost nothing to do with this song. First, bass guitarist and singer Tom Leadon was both the brother of Bernie Leadon from the Eagles and a member of Tom Petty's pre-fame band, Mudcrutch. Second, the band's keyboardist was Brent Mydland, who would go on to become the Grateful Dead's longest-tenured piano guy. Third, Silver put out their only record in 1976, and future Saturday Night Live standout Phil Harman designed the cover art.

With all of that said, Arista executives felt that their first album lacked a single so they had country songwriter Rick Giles cook up this ridiculous, gooey concoction that I kind of love. Let's say this one falls into the "so bad it's good" category. Anyway, the song peaked at #16 on the charts. The band broke up in '78, leading Mydland to accept the deadliest job in rock music. He defied the odds by playing with the Grateful Dead until an accidental drug overdose claimed his life in 1990.

18. "Biggest Part of Me" by Ambrosia

I admit, I'm kind of hard-pressed to make Ambrosia interesting. In fact, they were extremely prolific, and earned high regard in early '70s prog rock circles. And in the 1990s, lead singer David Pack would actually be the musical director for both of Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration concerts.

But this Southern California combo is much better known to mainstream audiences for their top-down, hair-blowing-in-the-wind soft rock from the decade in between. Peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, "Biggest Part of Me" is the group's best-known tune--a seafoamy bit of blue-eyed soul served over a raw bar of smooth jazz and lite funk.

19. "Baby Come Back" by Player

Player released their self-titled debut album in 1977 and immediately shot up to #1 with "Baby Come Back." Bandmates Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley had both recently broken up with their girlfriends. They channeled their shared angst into this composition, a self-sorry guilty pleasure featuring former Steppenwolf member Wayne Cook on keys.

Granted, Steppenwolf's edgy disposition is nowhere to be found on this record, but it is pretty infectious in a late-summer-night, slightly-buzzed, clenched-fist sort of way. Player endured various lineup changes, but never returned to the heights of their first hit.

20. "On and On" by Stephen Bishop

Remember that scene in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) where there's this dude in a turtleneck singing a super cloying folks song before John Belushi mercifully snatches away his guitar and smashes it to smithereens? That guy was Stephen Bishop, who was actually in the middle of enjoying considerable success with his 1976 debut album, Careless .

"On and On" was the album's biggest hit, a vaguely Caribbean soft-rocker that reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in '77. The gentle electric riffs you hear there are supplied by guitarist Andrew Gold--who wrote the theme song for the Golden Girls . (I freakin' know you're singing it right now).

21. "Chevy Van" by Sammy Johns

The classic tale of boy-meets-girls, bangs-her-in-his-van, and brags-to-his-buds, all with backing from the world famous Wrecking Crew studio team. In 1975, a lot of people super related to it. It sold over a million copies and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can't tell you this song is good. But I also can't tell you I don't like it.

22. "You Are the Woman" by Firefall

Firefall's lead guitarist Jock Bartley perfectly captures this song's impact, calling the band's biggest hit "a singing version of [a] Hallmark card." That feels right. The second single from Firefall's 1976 self-titled debut was only a regional hit at first. But it was driven all the way to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the strength of radio requests.

As Bartley explained, "Every female between the ages of 18 and 24 wanted to be the woman portrayed in the song, and that caused their boyfriends and spouses to call radio stations and subsequently flood the airwaves with dedications of the song and the sentiment."

23. "Sailing" by Christopher Cross

Arguably, "Sailing" is the single most emblematic song of the Yacht Rock genre. Its thematic relevance requires no explanation. But it's worth noting that the song is inspired by true events. During a tough time in his youth, Cross was befriended by Al Glasscock. Serving as something of an older brother to Cross, Glasscock would take him sailing.

He recalls in his biggest hit that this was a time of escape from the harsh realities of his real life. In 1979, Cross released his self-titled debut. In early 1980, "Sailing" became a #1 hit, landing Cross a hat-trick of Grammys--including recognition as best new artist. Though Cross and Glasscock would lose touch for more than 20 years, they were reunited during a 1995 episode of The Howard Stern Show . Cross subsequently mailed a copy of his platinum record to Glasscock.

24. "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree

Apparently, this song was perceived as so blatant a ripoff of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins' "What a Fool Believes" that legal action was actually threatened.

It never formulated. Instead, Robbie Dupree landed a #6 Billboard Hot 100 hit with the lead single from his self-titled 1980 debut. Critics hated it, but it was a dominant presence in the summer of 1980. It even earned Dupree a Grammy nomination for best new artist. He ultimately lost to the man listed just above--Christopher Cross.

25. "This is It" by Kenny Loggins

You didn't think we'd get through this whole list without an actual Kenny Loggins tune. This song has the perfect pedigree, teaming Loggins and Michael McDonald on a 1979 composition that became the lead single off of Kenny Loggins' Keep the Fire.

Coming on the tail end of the '70s, "This is It" felt positively omnipresent in the '80s. I may be biased here. I grew up in Philadelphia, where a local television show by the same name adopted "This is It" as its theme song. But then, it did also reach #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And in that spirit...this is it, the end of our list.

But as usual, here's a bonus playlist--an expanded voyage through the breezy, AOR waters of the mid-'70s to early '80s.

yacht rock episode 4

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Sail Away: The Oral History of ‘Yacht Rock’

By Drew Toal

This story was originally published on June 26, 2015

I n the late 1970s and early 1980s, musical artists like Kenny Loggins , Michael McDonald , Steely Dan , Toto , Hall and Oates , and dozens of others regularly popped up on each other’s records, creating a golden era of smooth-music collaboration.

And on June 26th, 2005, an internet phenomenon was born. In 12 short but memorable episodes — first via the the short-film series Channel 101 and then online — JD Ryznar, Hunter Stair, Dave Lyons, Lane Farnham and their friends redefined an era and coined a term for the sultry croonings of McDonald, Fagen, et al.: “yacht rock.”

As “Hollywood” Steve might say, these guys docked a fleet of remarkable hits. This is the story of Yacht Rock, told from stem to stern — a reimagining of a bygone soft-rock renaissance, courtesy of hipsters with fake mustaches, impeccable record collections and a love of smoothness. Long may it sail.

The Michigan Connection JD Ryznar (Director, “Michael McDonald”): I moved from Ann Arbor to L.A., and ended up making friends with all these other guys from Michigan, like “Hollywood” Steve Huey, Hunter Stair, and David Lyons. Pretty much every weekend I’d have “Chinese Thanksgiving” at my apartment — we’d eat BBQ chicken and burgers, drink beer and listen to records of what I called “yacht rock.” You know, like Michael McDonald is singing background vocals and like there’s guys on boats on the covers; it feels like you’re on a yacht listening to it. And the guys were like, oh, we know this music.

Dave Lyons (“Koko”): You know how, in the Seventies, these big bands started playing arena rock? We liked the idea of these smooth bands playing “Marina Rock.” I thought it was a better name.

“Hollywood” Steve Huey (“Hollywood Steve”): What I mostly remember is JD playing Journey records all the time. He was so into Journey that he had photocopied a photo of Steve Perry and pasted it onto his liquid soap dispenser. He wrote “Steve Perry Soap: Clean as all fuck” on it.

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Every awful thing trump has promised to do in a second term, the 250 greatest guitarists of all time, the 500 greatest albums of all time, the 50 worst decisions in movie history.

Lane Farnham (editor, “Jimmy Messina”): JD and I had talked about Journey for a year before we did Yacht Rock. In the third episode, that whole “you need to fly like a pilot” bit? Those are direct lines from Steve Perry in this crazy documentary we found. He’s coked to the gills, in the Eighties, just blabbering about who knows what. We got a kick out of that stuff. 

Sail Away: The Oral History of ‘Yacht Rock’ , Page 1 of 12

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Yacht Rock Episode Rating Graph poster

Yacht Rock Episode Rating Graph

Jun 2005 - Apr 2010

Yacht Rock Episode Rating Graph poster

Browse episode ratings trends for Yacht Rock . Simply click on the interactive rating graph to explore the best and worst of Yacht Rock 's 12 episodes .

Best Episodes of Yacht Rock

Yacht Rock Danger Zone

Danger Zone

24th Apr 2010

This special finale episode of Yacht Rock screened at Channel 101 on April 24th, 2010.

Yacht Rock Footloose

27th Jan 2008

This special episode of Yacht Rock had it's west coast premiere at Channel 101's January 2008 Screening. Jimmy Buffet and the story of "Footloose." Enjoy!

Yacht Rock Keep the Fire

Keep the Fire

24th Jul 2005

Hall and Oates go toe to toe with McDonald and Loggins in a back alley contest, with tragic results.

Yacht Rock Believe in It

Believe in It

30th Oct 2005

In this very special Halloween episode, McDonald and Loggins must unite to protect smooth music from Michael Jackson "beating it."

Worst Episodes of Yacht Rock

Yacht Rock "Big Rapids" Gary's Tales of Significant History

"Big Rapids" Gary's Tales of Significant History

29th Jan 2006

Yacht Rock takes a turn for the even more historical.

Yacht Rock What a Fool Believes

What a Fool Believes

26th Jun 2005

Longtime Channel 101 bridesmaids J.D. Ryznar and Hunter Stair have finally entered Prime Time, and they've done it Batman style, straight through the skylight. Pilots that debut at #1 tend not to fizzle quickly; could Yacht Rock be a new House of C**bys?

Yacht Rock Gino the Manager

Gino the Manager

26th Mar 2006

Hollywood Steve carries us back to Yacht Rock's very origins.

Yacht Rock Runnin' with the Devil

Runnin' with the Devil

28th May 2006

The story of a Van Halen hit.

Yacht Rock Episode Guide

Yacht Rock I'm Alright

I'm Alright

28th Aug 2005

shaken from smoothness by the wake of Koko's death, Kenny Loggins entertains the temptation of non-Yacht-rock.

Yacht Rock Rosanna

25th Sep 2005

A desperate Toto attempts to shanghai McDonald's career into a new age.

Yacht Rock I Keep Forgettin'

I Keep Forgettin'

26th Feb 2006

A bet between Loggins and McDonald takes a decade and a gangsta to settle.

Yacht Rock FM

25th Jun 2006

Steely Dan's feud with The Eagles resolves itself in a well-known song.

Yacht Rock Storyline

  • Danger Zone S 1 E 12 rated 8.0
  • Footloose S 1 E 11 rated 8.0
  • Keep the Fire S 1 E 2 rated 7.8
  • Believe in It S 1 E 5 rated 7.8
  • "Big Rapids" Gary's Tales of Significant History S 1 E 6 rated 5.8
  • What a Fool Believes S 1 E 1 rated 6.1
  • Gino the Manager S 1 E 8 rated 7.3
  • Runnin' with the Devil S 1 E 9 rated 7.3

The first episode of Yacht Rock aired on June 26, 2005 .

The last episode of Yacht Rock aired on April 24, 2010 .

There are 12 episodes of Yacht Rock.

There is one season of Yacht Rock.

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Yacht Rock (2005)

Kevin Bacon (Jason Lee) and Gene Balboa convince Jimmy Buffett to trick Loggins into making another movie song. Devoted Buffett fans kidnap Loggins, but McDonald and James Ingram (Wyatt Cena... Read all Kevin Bacon (Jason Lee) and Gene Balboa convince Jimmy Buffett to trick Loggins into making another movie song. Devoted Buffett fans kidnap Loggins, but McDonald and James Ingram (Wyatt Cenac) come to his rescue. Kevin Bacon (Jason Lee) and Gene Balboa convince Jimmy Buffett to trick Loggins into making another movie song. Devoted Buffett fans kidnap Loggins, but McDonald and James Ingram (Wyatt Cenac) come to his rescue.

  • J.D. Ryznar
  • Lane Farnham
  • Hunter Stair
  • Wyatt Cenac
  • 'Hollywood' Steve Huey

Wyatt Cenac

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Jason Lee

  • Kevin Bacon

David B. Lyons

  • Jimmy Buffett

J.D. Ryznar

  • Michael McDonald

Dan Sachoff

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  • Parrothead Dancer
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  • December 27, 2007 (United States)
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  • Read more: ‘Perfect Match’ star Justin Assad dishes on dating in Mass. and on reality TV

The rise of Justin and Elys

It can be difficult for viewers to accurately gauge how much time has passed between scenes while watching “Perfect Match,” but according to Assad, he and Hutchinson were together in the villa — the show’s residence and primary setting — for somewhere between 10 days and two weeks. This is a lengthy relationship by “Perfect Match” standards, he said.

After a somewhat awkward first date involving a tiny ice bath , Hutchinson told Assad she was romantically interested in him, and they matched at their next opportunity. In the next day or two, he began to relax and get more comfortable with her, and she soon told him that she was seeing a new, fun side of him that she liked, he said.

The couple grew closer and developed a routine where Assad would make Hutchinson coffee and avocado toast each morning — an aspect of their relationship that “Squid Game: The Challenge” star Bryton Constantin later mocked as being “boring” while trying to coax Hutchinson into leaving Assad for himself. But the conversations about life that Assad and Hutchinson had each morning were among the things Assad liked most about their relationship, he said.

“It’s the little things, right?” he said. “Big dates are fun ... but if you had to pick and choose the greatest moments, it’s probably the ones that lay in between when you’re just solely existing with one another.”

In fact, according to Assad, one of the show’s producers later told him the 160-page compatibility questionnaire the cast members filled out prior to the show indicated that Assad and Hutchinson were the most compatible pair among the cast.

The conflict viewers didn’t see

Despite Assad’s and Hutchinson’s strong connection, Assad said a conflict between another couple later led to cracks in his and Hutchinson’s relationship, though these scenes weren’t included in the final cut of the show.

In one episode, Assad can be seen backing Hutchinson in suggesting to “Love is Blind” star Micah Lussier that she explore other romantic connections after Lussier expresses frustration with her current match — “Dated and Related” star Kaz Bishop. What viewers didn’t see was that Assad later regretted his support for Hutchinson’s recommendation after realizing he hadn’t discussed the issue with Bishop, who Assad said is still a close friend of his.

After an apology from Assad led to an emotional reconciliation with Bishop, Assad went upstairs to the room he shared with Hutchinson in tears and told her he was thinking of leaving the show. Filming had become stressful and nearly cost him a valued friendship, he told her.

Hutchinson became angry and upset, questioning how much Assad cared for her if he was willing to abandon their connection, he said. He ultimately decided to stay on the show and try to make things up to her by being more affectionate — as she had requested.

It was Hutchinson’s previous encouragement of Assad being more open about his feelings for her that made her decision to match with Constantin a few days later so shocking to him, he said. Even more surprising was the explanation viewers heard her give to other cast members — that the relationship had become “too serious too quickly.”

“For everything to slip and switch in a matter of, like, 10, 15 minutes was crazy,” he said.

The episode later showed Hutchinson attempting to explain her decision to Assad only to see her attempts spurned by her former match. He ultimately leaves the villa, citing on camera a lack of romantic interest in other cast members.

Hutchinson and Scarfone did not reply to multiple requests to comment on this article.

An unaired romance that sheds new light

Regardless of what transpired between Assad and Hutchinson, viewers saw “Perfect Match’s” producers repeatedly reinforce Constantin’s characterization of their relationship as dull and unexciting through their scene editing.

The most blatant example is during a scene that takes place shortly before their split in which Assad can be heard telling Hutchinson he wants to solidify their connection. The show’s editors superimpose images of Constantin over the scene and play a romantic song reminiscent of ’80s yacht rock while Assad speaks, implying that Hutchinson is not listening to him and is instead fantasizing about Constantin.

In a less obvious example in an earlier episode, Assad is seen apparently trying and failing to connect with “Too Hot to Handle” star Holly Scarfone. The clip shows Scarfone telling Assad he speaks eloquently, after which she asks what his favorite book is. In the show, he answers “Goodnight Moon” — a famous children’s book, which appears to put off Scarfone. The episode then cuts to a confessional clip of her saying she “didn’t feel a spark” with an unnamed cast member and would not be pursuing him.

In reality, not only did Scarfone attempt to flirt with Assad over the course of a much longer conversation, but according to Assad, his initial answer to her question was “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway. Scarfone didn’t seem familiar with the classic American novel, so Assad unsuccessfully attempted to save the moment through a joke.

Even more notable is that, according to Assad, after Hutchinson matched with Constantin, Assad and Scarfone reconnected and decided to match — a development that was not included in the show. This may be because, after speaking again with Hutchinson, Assad recanted his decision despite his affection for Scarfone.

“I wasn’t gonna falsify some sort of emotion and drag someone along just for the sake of screen time,” he said. “I was really there trying to find my perfect match, so I made the conscious decision to leave.”

Scarfone later told Assad his reversal on their matching left her feeling “blindsided” because he had convinced her to match with him, he said. But the pair reconciled after he explained that his decision was not about his attraction to her and was instead a due to “timing.” They also kept in touch after the show and have since had “cheeky moments,” though Assad declined to go into further detail.

Where Assad and Hutchinson stand now

Initially, Assad felt guilty for shutting down Hutchinson’s attempt to explain why she decided to match with Constantin. At the time, he said, the conversation felt forced and pointless.

“You made your decision. Why don’t you just own it?” he said of Hutchinson.

Assad also cut off the conversation was because didn’t want to risk letting Hutchinson’s view of their relationship impact his self-worth, he said.

“In that situation, I wasn’t going to let someone else determine my own value or my thought and perception of myself,” he said.

After the show, what most troubled Assad most was thought of regressing on progress he’d made in therapy towards letting himself be emotionally vulnerable in romantic relationships. He had gone on the show intent on turning a new leaf and had successfully opened up to Hutchinson only to eventually feel that the carpet had been pulled out from under him, he said.

“I’m not necessarily upset that Elys doesn’t pick me, but my mind starts stressing about ‘Am I gonna revert back to that person that I was before and is it gonna be tough time getting back,’” he said.

Even so, despite some reservations about how viewers might perceive his reaction Hutchinson’s choice, Assad ended up experiencing an outpouring of support from fans that has helped him heal.

“I’m finally able to gain closure from that situation,” he said.

Assad and Hutchinson have communicated since the show ended, according to Assad. So far, the former couple appears to be friendly.

While Assad sometimes wishes he’d pursued other connections on “Perfect Match,” he said he ultimately stands by his decision.

“I knew what I wanted. I followed my heart, and when things didn’t feel natural or organic to me, that’s when I closed that chapter,” he said.

Possible unexpected twists

“Perfect Match” season two’s final episode is set to premiere on Friday, June 21, and there are still many lingering issues.

First and foremost is whether Netflix will decide to air footage that would clarify the biggest source of conflict this season: “Too Hot to Handle” star Melinda Melrose’s claim that Harry Jowsey — another “Too Hot to Handle” alum — kissed her whilst matched with “Love is Blind” star Jessica Vestal. Joswey — who has a reputation for promiscuity — repeatedly denies the claim on the show, and so far, the episodes have only included clips showing Jowsey carrying Melrose, purportedly to spare her bare feet from some rough gravel.

At the time Jowsey is supposed to have kissed Melrose, Assad was sitting with Scarfone with his back turned to Melrose and Jowsey, he said. He did not see what happened between Melrose and Jowsey — who is is close friend, but he still takes Jowsey at his word that a kiss never happened.

Notably though, Scarfone said at the time — and still maintains — that she saw Jowsey and Melrose kiss.

It is unclear if Netflix even captured footage that would support or disprove Melrose’s claim, but Kinetic Content — which produces both “Love is Blind” and “Perfect Match” — is notorious for keeping viewers hooked by waiting until the tail end of a season to air footage of any he-said-she-said moments that caused conflict over the course of the show.

Then there is the question of which couple will win season two of “Perfect Match” — the prize for which is a luxury vacation for the pair. On Monday, Assad indicated that the winners will likely come as a surprise to viewers.

“You’re gonna see who wins this and you’re gonna be like, ‘Wait, when were they a couple?’” he said.

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