James Weir recaps the Married At First Sight all-stars
Every year we pretend to be shocked by the Married At First Sight trainwreck and the vile people riding aboard it, but each year we demand it get faster and more reckless.
Let’s not pretend: no one wants happy couples with potential for lasting romance. We’re not tuning in for that gushy red-headed lady who has found love with that short guy who’s into cricket.
We want scheming and treachery, bad hair extensions and virgins who end up in the ER.
This year’s series has it all — but still, it’s plagued by rumours of paid actors, embellished storylines and producers being big meanies who make contestants say wild things. It’s almost like we can’t trust reality shows anymore.
Producers have thrown everything at the wall, and it has us missing the simple, upstanding characters of previous years.
Ines and Sam have nothing on Dean and Davina. And it’s impossible to top the magic that came with Tracey Jewel being blime-fibe-eb at every turn.
Tracey was a just a big, unaware, producer’s dream. Despite her failures in love, she had branded herself as a relationship coach. She slept with a framed photo of Oprah beside her bed and claimed to have been a guest on the legendary host’s talk show despite YouTube proving otherwise. Months before appearing on Married At First Sight, Tracey visited a heavy-handed surgeon and, like that, the Traphey we know and love was catapulted into our living rooms.
Finding a Tracey Jewel is rare. It seems producers have tried to emulate her with other contestants this year — Jessika has the lips and Lizzie has, well, everything — but Tracey isn’t someone you can replicate, even if you have access to the world’s most questionable plastic surgeon.
We miss the simpler times. The show has grown from a monster to a beast since it started. It’s now almost unrecognisable to what originally hit screens.
The year was 2015. Jason Derulo was at the top of the charts. Ariana Grande was caught on candid camera licking a doughnut and putting it back. And Australia was introduced to eight singles who agreed to being blindly married.
Religious groups hit the streets. Well, I don’t know if I recall that part correctly but there was outcry for the whole six episodes the experiment lasted. Oh yeah, it only lasted six episodes. This year we’re being slogged with 42.
The best part about that first series is it had never been done before so none of the nutbags who signed up knew what to expect. The show stayed close to the original Danish format it was based on — rough and ready, a bit low budget. Nothing about it was slick.
Couples weren’t put up in fancy apartments overlooking the harbour. Instead, one half of each couple was made move into the poorly-decorated crap shack of their significant other and we basically watched them fight and do the groceries. It was enthralling.
Instagram wasn’t a thing and there were no influencers trying to score sponsorship deals from injectable melatonin companies. Instead, we had Roni and Clare.
Roni was a middle-aged divorcee who masked her high anxiety and insecurity with forced positivity. Each morning, she’d wake up, look in the mirror, hold back the tears and plaster on a smile. We watched intently as it all unravelled at a group dinner party where she started screaming at everyone before locking herself in the bathroom and recording a grainy video diary as her mascara-tinged tears blotched the lens. She tapped herself out of the series after this incident.
Clare was a wannabe actor from Sydney who had mild OCD and ignited vitriolic arguments. Sometimes we couldn’t tell if she was only starting fights to show her skills as a dramatic actress in case the casting director for Neighbours was watching, but we didn’t care. She was terrible at acting which made it more thrilling to watch. The height of Clare’s fame came when she made the camera crew follow her to a dingy local community theatre and we keenly witnessed her tread the boards in front of empty seats.
The contestants got more outlandish as the show exploded. There was Clare Verrall, whose husband Jono cringed at the sight of her at the altar. She went on to get drunk at a dinner party in the Blue Mountains before running off into the night. She resurfaced as an Uber driver.
And then we had Anthony who dissed his wife Nadia’s boobs. Australia got particularly vicious with him and he went into hiding because the general public basically started chasing him in the streets.
Looking back, we all probably went a bit too far with some of these people. It’s just a silly TV show after all. Hindsight’s a witch.
With this knowledge, will we stop sharpening our hashtags and hurling them at Ines and Sam and any of the other clowns on this year’s series?
Nah. They’ve got to work hard for their injectable melatonin sponsorship deals.
ADULT VIRGINS WALK AMONG US
Still on Married At First Sight, and it seems we’ve all been very ignorant with our joking about the adult virgin Matthew. Apologies, former adult virgin. Turns out he’s in rather famous company.
Courteney Cox has revealed she was also in a similar situation. She told James Corden this week she was 21 when her mum started trolling her and made her get it over with. She told the story differently but that’s basically it.
Matthew, at 29, was made by a team of television producers to lose his virginity to an adult acne survivor he had only known for three days while we all tweeted along at home.
Very similar situations. What a memory to cherish.
THIS IS LIKE THAT BUT NOT
Nothing’s more annoying than when Australia tries to do its “answer” to something.
Channel 9’s new drama Bad Mothers premieres tomorrow night and the network’s programming director Hamish Turner described it last year as “Desperate Housewives meets Big Little Lies”.
Firstly, no one wants to revisit Wisteria Lane. Secondly, we don’t need an Australian Big Little Lies. We have a Big Little Lies. It’s called Big Little Lies. And the fabulous-looking second season of the HBO series is set to drop any minute. We’ll happily wait.