It’s a terrible beauty we’ve made: MAFSAU

Drinking/wife swap (Photo credit: Nine)

Telv took one look at Sarah and thought she was a bit of a looker.

Troy has been trying to get his leg over his wife Ashley for weeks now.

Dean (nearly all the men have four-letter names) cried at the final commitment ceremony then ungraciously took a dumping from Tracey. He looked over a fence in shame.

Tracey has a signed Oprah photograph. Dean’s a Creative in a Creative Industry who can rap and skate.

John Aitken sat, blue-blazered, serious, and recapped the same old thing over and over for eight weeks.

Couples will have to decide whether there’s enough in this for the marriage to work.

Trish, hands folded together, nodded in agreement. The judges/psychologists have the sex appeal of Glad Wrap. They are also the experts.

Have I been watching this for eight weeks?

Each week, more or less, the same things happen. Dean and Tracey revisit Dean’s affair with Davina. The women, all desperate to stop their eye makeup running, dab at eye-corners with Kleenex while sitting on a couch. John’s couch, their sister’s couch, the couch in the shared tiny bridal apartment. Nobody does anything, really, except sit on a couch, drink, and cry. Sometimes Dean looks over the balcony holding a longneck.

Now and then a sound-effects technician pushes the gong or cymbals button on their computer. We’d never know this was a turning point in the plot without those cues. A salty Gabrielle to Nasser:

Bad luck, Donald Duck! (crash)

John and Melissa talk about their upcoming long-distance relationship, which John seems pretty excited about.

The week’s roller-coaster of tête-à-tête culminates in a group dinner that resembles a workplace Christmas do.

It’s a table in a studio somewhere littered with large wine glasses of Chardonnay and Lindauer. Nobody truly eats the food, just like a real work function.

The couples neck as much booze as possible in order to fuel an imagined slight by their partner. If nothing is lighting the touchpaper, the producers take the only two options left: fill up the glasses even more, or drag out a terrible game of I’m Going To Ask You Everything.

Such a sensible idea.

Can I trust you? It’s just a simple question. Yes or no.

Sometimes small groups break out into other rooms for private chats. Charlene invariably yells out “be a man” to both her own and others’ partners.

And the credits roll, but not before we’ve been previewed the entire contents of tomorrow’s episode. Trish’s face of concern, John’s hair, and Dean’s sweaty mug, all in varying states of either bewilderment or horror.

Married at First Sight is like terrible beauty. It’s hard to stop watching, once you’ve started.

It enables us to compare our own relationship experiences to something highly abnormal, and feel better.

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