Coronavirus: San Francisco-based online dating series 'Quarantined Bachelor' is the love story we all need right now

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We're well familiar with working from home - but what about dating from home? Two men based in San Francisco started an online dating series "Quarantined Bachelor" based off the popular television series, "The Bachelor."

James Parenteau and Tyler Cohen created the Instagram online dating series. They originally wanted to start a live dating show based out of San Francisco but had to quickly pivot and thought of doing a virtual dating series.

RELATED: Happy hour goes virtual as people try to be sociable while social distancing during COVID-19 crisis
"We vet five contestants and then they go on a series of virtual dates and have a roll ceremony to choose who they'd like to go on a date with when quarantine is over," Parenteau said.

Instead of a rose, like on the television reality series "The Bachelor," contestants are given a roll of toilet paper. Each series occurs over the span of a week and a half. The process consists of a group meet-and-greet and one-on-one virtual dates that are edited down to a couple of minutes.

"Modern problems, I guess, need modern solutions, and I felt like this is kind of an important way to let love grow still during shelter-in-place. Normal people asking - will you go out with me when this is over? So I think our audience really, really enjoys that. We're not picky where you have to be pretty or too dramatic," Parenteau said.

This is the first "season" of the series and they chose Richard Shall, based out of San Francisco, as their first bachelor.

"Oh it's been fun, something different, new having to do it virtually. A little less pressure because you're not next to them. Having to pick someone publicly is not easy, not fun," Shall said.

Sara Grace Rosselli, originally from Fremont but now in Chicago, said she got mixed reactions from her friends watching her dates once they were edited down.

COVID-19 DIARIES: Coronavirus and the new normal of living in the San Francisco-Bay Area

"I had some friends that texted me and were like wow, that was so cute. That was so fun. But I had other friends that texted me, you look so awkward, that was horrible. I couldn't even make it through the whole date," Rosselli said.
She said, overall, it's been nothing but a great experience.

"All of the girls that were involved are absolutely amazing and so, no matter who he picks, he is making a great choice. It's just been fun, it's been great. I don't think I could say anything bad about this experience," Rosselli said.

The final roll ceremony was recorded Thursday night but will air on Instagram Friday night.

Parenteau said an online dating app called Flutter Dating has reached out to them.

Parenteau and Cohen said they are learning as they go and hope to expand the series to same sex couples.

"We're learning from our contestants and they're learning from us on what's the best way to go about it," Parenteau said.

You can follow along on their journey here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.