I missed the very first season in 2015, but since then I’ve been completely hooked on the TV show Married At First Sight (MAFS).
It was my guilty pleasure – we all know it’s trashy reality TV – but I just couldn’t resist! I’m a total romantic, in love with love, and all I wanted was to see each couple getting their happily ever after!
I love that moment when the bride and groom lay eyes on each other for the very first time, decked out in all their wedding finery. Will they like what they see? Is this the person they’ve been waiting for? Will there be ‘chemistry’ – that magical element which nobody can predict?
I loved nothing more than to kick back and relax in front of the box of an evening, to see how these arranged marriages played out.
But this year? I’ve made a conscious decision not to watch it now the 2021 season is airing, and it’s not because I want all those many precious hours of my viewing time back!
Things have changed a lot since I first tuned in back in 2016.
The Wrong Sort of Sparks are Flying
At first it really felt like the experts were working hard to select each participant’s perfect match; nowadays I think we’re all quite sceptical. They don’t exactly have the best track record, do they?!
If the experts were serious about making real matches, surely they would pair up individuals from the same city or at least state. As my own experience demonstrates, a relatively minor move across town can be a major challenge even in a well established relationship (ie a real marriage), let alone one that is still in its infancy. The only other option is to have a long-distance relationship (at least for a while), once the director has called ‘cut’, and these don’t exactly have the highest success rates!
Instead, it seems like these so-called experts have been (pressured into?) pairing the individuals most likely to provide good television – ie ones that are not going to get along so well, and will in fact press each other’s buttons, rather than tick all their boxes. Destined to bring out the very worst in each other, rather than find their soulmate.
And while the brides and grooms have signed up willingly for
their fifteen minutes of fame the chance to meet the love of their life, I don’t think they realised exactly what they were in for, as each series seems to plunge to new lows. We’ve seen bullying, emotional abuse, physical assault, infidelity, lies, backstabbing, gossip and more, with the guilty parties seeming to have no problem with justifying their bad behaviour all in the name of “finding love”.
What about Mental Health?
Marriage at any time is right up there on the stress scale – (yes, even good life events create change and chaos which elevate our stress levels considerably) – let alone to a total stranger in front of a national television audience. Yet despite that, from what I can see, proper psychological and counselling support is not provided.
If anything it seems that producers have chosen some extremely vulnerable individuals for their “experiment”, giving them a partner carrying a ton of baggage, and even a personality disorder or two! All in the name of making TV and getting good ratings.
In this day and age, don’t the producers have a duty of care to the show’s participants?
Some Things Should be Kept Private
The other thing that has really turned me off the the show, is the way it has gone from implying a potential sexual relationship developing between the couples, to outright asking and even insisting on it.
Call me a prude if you want but that is a step too far in my book. Whether they have sex or not (and please, don’t call it “being intimate” when they’ve known each other five minutes!) is nobody’s business but theirs.
So no, I’m not watching Married at First Sight this year. If I could sum up
my rant the reasons why in just two words, it would be these: too far.
If you’re watching MAFS this year, can you tell me if my instincts are correct and that it’s getting worse, not better, as the years go by?!
I think it is disgusting how TV “reality” shows treat their guests. It is nothing about doing what is right for them and all about doing outrageous things to make ratings. They have no basis in reality whatsoever! I won’t watch any of them. I guess that I am in the minority as they continue to rate highly and justify the ongoing funding to make the pathetic shows. Given the current outcry from women on their status in society, why do they continue to put themselves out there to be exploited in such shows?
Tracy Norris says
That program has always been disgusting!
The only reality show I occasionally watch is The Block (& even then I hate the carry on between couples etc). I only watch it for building & decorating ideas.
I completely agree. I absolutely loved this show when I first started watching it, but it seems to get worse each year. I watched the first couple of episodes of this season but haven’t continued watching. Most of the couples are terrible matches and seem like they’ve just been put together to annoy each other and create drama for TV viewings. Such a shame really!
Great point Lyn, I’m cynical, I think they’re in it for their 5 minutes of fame more than anything else.
I avoided it the first year because the concept of it didn’t sit well with me but found myself drawn in after that. I’m the same, I hate all the drama, if I’m going to tune into The Block or similar it’s only when they do the room reveals!
It is, especially when our family used to bond over watching MAFS!!!
It is the mental health issue I worry about. Rejection is an awful thing to process, much less on TV with a wide viewing audience. I also think the pairing is ‘fixed’ in the wrong direction, to inspire angst not life long love. I haven’t watched it for several seasons.
Too right Dianne. Couldn’t agree more.