In the hopes of finding love, a group of single contestants is confined to a remote location and tasked with truth-or-dare games generated by Cupoid, the show’s artificial intelligence (AI) host. AYFR? is widely considered to be the first reality show in the elimination romance competition genre generated and hosted entirely by a dreaming AI.
In December 2048, a second season dubbed AYFR?: Space Mission premiered, evolving the original premise by confining contestants to an artificial spacecraft and assigning them to group tasks in which one contestant is always an AI saboteur played by Cupoid.
In February 2049, production and airing of AYFR?: Space Mission was halted when a contestant was killed by another during filming. The murder investigation has led to the highly publicised Cupoid’s Arrow murder trial, with the jury having gone into deliberation as of October 4th 2049. Euphoria has not announced plans to resume production or airing.
Table of contents
Are You For Real? contestants move into a single location and are divided into couples by Cupoid, the show’s artificial intelligence (AI) host. Each day, Cupoid generates both dialogue prompts (Truths) and group tasks (Dares) aimed at generating intimacy or discord between the couples. Couples who successfully complete challenges win the opportunity to add keywords or phrases to Cupoid’s training data, potentially influencing the upcoming prompts.
A key component of the format is that couples are only allowed to speak to each other face-to-face during Cupoid’s Truth phases. At the end of each day, contestants visit the Verify Booth to exchange messages with their partner, with no way of knowing whether they are speaking to a real person or Cupoid’s simulation of that person. Couples who fail to Verify each other have to wear orange jumpsuits branded with the word FAKE and spend the night in the Fake Room at risk of elimination.
History and development
Season 1: Mansion House
The first season of AYFR? is commonly referred to by fans as AYFR?: Mansion House to distinguish it from the second season, which centres on AI-generated games involving a more complex premise.
Showrunner Earlybird‘s initial pitch to the Euphoria Network proposed a competition dating show predicated on training AI on data created by the contestants themselves. Earlybird also wanted to explore whether contestants could differentiate between requests and instructions from one another and those given by an AI. Euphoria tentatively greenlit AYFR? for a single six-episode season, citing the experimental format and Earlybird’s “anxiety-inducing resume” as cause for hesitation. 
After the first episode was released on October 20th 2047, the show steadily picked up a dedicated viewership. A record-breaking 39.8 million Euphoria subscribers tuned in for the season finale, during which finalist couple Jenyzcia Lake and Marsh Fubbins both correctly identified that each had been taking dares from the other, not Cupoid. Lake and Fubbins also surprised one another with a mutual commitment proposal at the first season’s reunion episode, watched by 15.9 million subscribers. 
Season 2: Space Mission
Following the success of the first season, Euphoria commissioned Earlybird to produce a more robust second season, similarly based on contestants engaging with AI-generated objectives and story content. The network believed the first season owed its success to audiences captivated by the “game” of distinguishing real people from an AI trained to emulate them, and tasked Earlybird with further developing this angle through the use of iconic “hidden role” contestants. 
AYFR?: Space Mission was conceived by Earlybird from the beginning as a twelve-episode story arc. Its first episode premiered to a peak viewership of 41 million subscribers, though participation steadily dropped to about eight million subscribers per episode with the exception of the fourth episode, “In Space, No One Can Hear You Rap.” This episode featured Code Aberrant as a guest judge and brought in 22 million subscribers. On February 4th 2049, production on AYFR?: Space Mission was halted after a contestant was found murdered by another in the game’s Airlock Zone.
- Nakahara, S. (April 2048). “Fake Room Confessions: The Real Story of AYFR.” The Guardian. ↩
- Pasquale, K; King, K. (December 2047). “ARE YOU FOR REAL? SEASON FINALE!” Are You Fan Really? The Euphoria Fancast! ↩
- Billings, M. (February 2048). “Can A Game Make You Cry? One AI-Loving Designer Says Yes.” Ninjaku. ↩