Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the local dating pool ... a new season of "Provo's Most Eligible" is coming to a streaming device near you.
The local internet sensation is back for Season 2, with the first of eight episodes dropping Thursday at 8 p.m., and the quirky dating reality show is promising a new and improved format and production.
"We decided to create our own unique dating show that was completely different than any other out there," said Remington Butler, co-creator and host.
Some might say the show achieved that in its premiere season, providing plenty of Provo-style drama and entertainment. Fans will recall that Season 1 involved one bachelor and a gaggle of girls vying for his affection -- at least until revealing they already had boyfriends, were otherwise engaged or put in their mission calls. But, hey, aren't those all perfect pitfalls of dating life in Provo?
Season 2 has thrown a complete wrench into the format as it will feature three bachelorettes and 30 guys at the starting gate opening night. Each girl will then choose six men she wants to keep dating, eliminating one each week as the season progresses, until they have chosen a winner.
"It is possible for guys to get to know the other two girls as well, and at the end of the week, if two girls want to date the same guy, then that guy gets to choose what girl he wants to date and be on her team," Butler said. "So, yes, lots of people move around, causing a lot more drama this season -- which is what we were going for."
One endearing aspect of the show that will not be changing, apparently, is the cringe factor. In fact, creators and contestants alike openly embrace the inherent awkwardness that comes with participation in "Provo's Most Eligible."
"We fully embrace the cringe on our show," Butler said. "That is just a natural result of dating in Provo. Not only that, but when you throw cameras in people's faces and watch them as they date, it gets even more cringey and awkward. Everyone would be awkward in that situation. So we embrace it. And, yes, there are a lot of cringey moments on this upcoming season."
In separate email interviews, the three female contestants all admitted to being somewhat nervous about seeing which of their wince-worthy moments make it into the show.
"I definitely had my share of cringy moments this season," said Ellie Richards, 19. "I just know that I'm going to be terrified -- and excited -- watching each episode and waiting to see which awkward moments made the cut."
Elizabeth "Bee" Eide, 23, said that the first-season's episodes she has seen were awkward, but endearing. This season will have a different feel, she noted, but there will be more drama.
"It will still very much be 'Dating in Provo' -- aka, cringey," she said. "Without having seen the footage yet, I can think of a few moments off the top of my head that are going to be very hard to watch, and very hard to talk about when friends and family inevitably ask me about them. I am not an easy person to fluster, but I got pretty awkward in Episode 1, and during my first on-screen kiss. As long as I don't think about the fact that my parents are going to watch this, I don't cringe too much."
Lauren Hunter was a bit more detailed when it comes to cringey moments that stood out in her experience this season. The 24-year-old cited a trio of specific examples.
"I hate, hate, hate three moments," she said, noting a first-night dance off, a subsequent karaoke night ("I couldn't sing that day and the unexpected drama felt sooo uncomf!"), and the first attempt of a guy who tried to kiss her.
Another major change from the first season which should produce timeline and production benefits was the filming schedule itself. The premiere season was shot and released as it went along over a period of several months. Everyone was in school during that time, Butler said, which often made things feel spur of the moment and rushed.
Season 2, he said, featured a set filming schedule that started at the beginning of June and ended in the middle of July. The entire season was captured during those six weeks.
"We spent a lot of time planning what venues we wanted to shoot at and when, and made sure that all of our contestants were available on those days," Butler said. "From Season 1, we learned a lot about production, time management, working with cast and businesses, and a lot about social media."
Around 800 women and 600 men applied to be part of the show. Butler said multiple rounds of interviews helped the production team select a cast of disparate personalities, interests and backgrounds.
"We knew it would be interesting to see which guys gravitated to which girls," he said, "and we also wanted more variety for the audience and more people they could relate to."
Speaking of variety, while all three women came to be on the show from a starting point of humor, their methodology was definitely different.
"It was pretty much a joke between my roommate and I saying how fun it would be if we got me on it," said Hunter. "It wasn't until I met the guys that I realized something real actually could come from this instead of just trolling the show with my friend Kwaku like we had originally planned. Either way, I knew it'd be a fun time."
Richards, who went to a technical college for digital media design and makes her own videos, said she actually applied to be on the show's crew.
"I remember watching Season 1 and thinking it was absolutely hilarious," Richards said. "The whole time, all I could think was, 'I want to be involved in this.' So I guess you could say my dream came true."
The production team liked her so much in that initial interview, they instead offered her one of the main contestant slots.
"Little did I know I'd walk out of my crew interview as a bachelorette," she said. "I was definitely shocked when they first asked me to be on the show, but it didn't take much convincing for me to agree. I never pass up an opportunity, and I knew I'd regret it if I said no."
Eide's road to "Provo's Most Eligible," was a little more convoluted. When applications first became available, one of Eide's friends filled one out for her -- but nothing came from that. Later on in the process, however, another friend informed her that she had recommended Eide to a recruiter for the show.
"Apparently they had found the first two bachelorettes and were looking for a specific type of girl to complete the cast," Eide said. She was then contacted by Butler, went through two interviews within a week and was offered the final spot.
"I have an attitude of never closing the door on a good opportunity until you know with certainty it won't work or it's not what you want," she said. "I took this approach when I was offered the first interview. I thought, 'It couldn't hurt, let's just see what happens.' "
Befitting their different personalities, the three women offered disparate conclusions regarding their overall experiences filming the show.
"Never in a million years did I ever think I'd be on a dating show," Richards said. "It was such a crazy, overwhelming, fun experience, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. To everyone watching, I can't believe you're about to see my dating life in action. Yikes! You're welcome for publicly humiliating myself purely for your entertainment. Get ready to cringe!"
Hunter chose to address a pair of unnamed boys in her summation.
"To two of the boys who were my friends, I wish you wouldn't have been so quick to make yourselves look good at my expense. It kind of tainted our friendship, but I forgive you," she said. "With that being said, there was a lot of pressure, so please send love to the bachelorettes. I think it was really hard because we're scrutinized a little more since there were less of us. I love everyone who was part of the show, and I'm glad we're family now."
Eide foreshadowed some conflicting emotions about her experiences filming the show.
"There are many good times and happy moments for me, but my time on the show was not all roses and candlelight," she said. "I felt hurt, rejected, betrayed, disappointed, embarrassed and sad. But that's dating. So I hope others can learn from my experiences too, or at the very least take heart in knowing that even the most 'eligible' of Provo goes through the exact same thing."
New episodes are scheduled to be released every Thursday at 8 p.m., with the finale airing on Nov. 7. There will be live events, including viewing parties and dances, along the way.
"This season is going to be amazing," Butler said. "It's unlike anything anyone has ever seen before."
For more information about this season, the cast and crew, visit provosmosteligible.com.
To learn even more about Season 2's trio of bachelorettes, CLICK HERE.