Married At First Sight producers dredge the murky swamps of Instagram and toxic wastelands of Tinder to assemble a cast of new singles in Monday night’s premiere that’s about as appealing as the day-old Krispy Kremes at a 7-11.
The nation’s most controversial social experiment is back to blindly pair unlucky-in-love bachelors and bachelorettes with their perfect match and/or off-brand Invisalign companies.
Guiding us through the nightmare are our experts. John Aiken is back to mansplain everything and Mel Schilling returns to offer superb facial expressions.
Dr Trish finally quit and is replaced by some random Puerto Rican sexologist. For now we’ll just call her Fake Trish.
“It’s gonna be super awkward at times,” Fake Trish warns of the intimate discussions she’ll initiate with the couples.
Oh Fake Trish. It’s gonna be awkward for all 42 episodes of this free-to-air mess. Welcome aboard.
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As a tease for what’s to come over the series, we’re treated to a sizzle reel featuring upcoming drama and meltdowns.
“Ya fake!” someone screams.
“I’m outta here!” another growls while wheeling their luggage down a carpeted hallway.
“Liaaaaar!” comes a final cry.
It’s what we’ve come to expect from all the loons on this show and it’s also what my own personal therapist expects of me. And the wheel goes ‘round.
Ahead of their weddings, all our contestants are assembled for bucks’ and hens’ nights in plush waterfront Sydney mansions. Producers always try to throw a classy soiree when, really, the only thing these crazies want are pre-mixed cosmos and a limo Hummer.
Who to introduce first? We’ll ease our way into it with some of our more down-to-earth and low-key entrants. Guys, meet Coco.
“They gotta ride the ol’ Coco wave! Surf’s up, baby!” she screeches, road testing a potential catchphrase.
Coco’s clearly making the most of this valuable opportunity. Everyone knows the way to win big on these shows is to develop a viral catchphrase that you can screen print on T-shirts and mugs.
And she’s a double threat. She has a secret plan to corner the market by also becoming a meme. And there are enough OTT reactions to keep the meme artists toiling away.
Coco’s not quite happy with the lacklustre reaction her first catchphrase received, so she decides to try out another.
As Melissa holds back tears and reveals she has never been on a date, Coco senses a lull in the conversation and slips in.
“Get that money honey!” she chants while raising the roof.
Coco seems like the kinda gal who makes friends easily — avoiding drama and really considering people’s feelings before speaking. So it comes as a complete surprise when she insults and mocks a single mum.
Samantha is 31 and has three little boys. She tells us about the divorce and the financial hardships she has faced and how she had to buy her couch from the rubbish tip.
It’s heartbreaking and I totally sympathise. I once dated a guy who had a couch from Fantastic Furniture.
Anyway, Coco discovers the 16-year age gap between Samantha and her ex-husband, and decides to pry.
“How old were you when you got with him?” she asks.
Samantha pauses before revealing: She was 17.
Coco has thoughts and feelings about this:
“Seventeen and 33? Ughhh,” she shudders.
We’d be disgusted in her response if we weren’t impressed by her fast math calculations.
“Mate, call the judge! That’s a bit red hot isn’t it?” she mocks.
Samantha purses her lips and blinks away tears. She’s humiliated. Sure, her couch is from the rubbish tip. But here, she’s surrounded by garbage.
We’re then treated to our first confrontation of the series. This show is nothing without confrontations. Confrontations can save even the dullest of episodes. They’re even a fun way to pep up a boring day at the office if you’re sick of fake-working. Try it on an unsuspecting colleague tomorrow.
Coco can’t believe she’s being turned into the villain in all of this. It’s obviously just a misunderstanding that can be fixed if she just explains her side. She leans over to Samantha, stares sympathetically into her eyes and clasps their hands together.
“It is a large age gap,” she blurts.
Samantha rips her hands out from this woman’s grasp and it’s around now we lose interest and get distracted by this chick’s tattoo of a monkey wearing a top hat and a monocle while reading a leather-bound book.
Samantha runs to the other girls and they decide one thing is for certain about Coco: “She might steal our husbands. One thousand per cent.”
Coco doesn’t care. There’s still one more catchphrase she needs to test out.
As some of the more self-conscious girls gather to quietly share their fears and anxieties about the pending marriages, Coco lurches out of the shadows.
“Sauce me up!” she bellows. “I’ll pay 10 cents extra for sauce!”
Reality TV catchphrases don’t always need context. In fact, the less context, the better. I’d absolutely wear a slogan tee screen-printed with the words: “I’ll pay 10 cents extra for sauce”.
Coco is promptly shunned by the group but she doesn’t care — her work here is done.
“That’s showbiz baby,” she sighs while fake-smoking an imaginary cigar.
Over at the bucks’ night, it’s nowhere near as fun. No one’s getting insulted or shamed about past relationship age gaps. There are no inventive catchphrases. Boo.
While all this is going on, the experts are carefully matching up the couples using scientifically proven methods. Mel Schilling takes the pile of girls’ headshots and drops them on the floor. Then John Aiken does the same to the pile of guys’ photos. And then Fake Trish picks one picture up from each pile and … “voila!” Sorry, I meant “wallah!”.
They pair some guy called Bryce and some lady named Melissa and their wedding is pleasant and that’s not how you get featured in a recap. We want bogans behaving badly.
Which brings us to …
“I’m next-level sassy. My friends call me The Sass-Hole,” Bec declares. “The Sasshole means half sassy and half ass-”
Yeah, we get it, Bec. No explanation required.
The experts pair her with Jake, whose serious experiences with anxiety inspired him to launch his own charity. He’s kind, sensitive and polite.
But when the bride meets him at the altar … well. She turns into a Grade A sasshole.
“Are you serious?” she spits. “Ahh, first impressions … wasn’t quite what I expected. I thought I’d see this really happy, amazing smile. But I got more of a, ‘Ooh, she’s hot’ kinda face. He’s looking at me like I’m sex on a stick! I definitely think I was looked at as a piece of meat.”
Um, OK. A little conceited. Maybe a tad arrogant. But we’re happy to examine this call by going to the instant replay.
Here’s the groom’s face:
“You look beautiful,” Jake smiles at her.
But she’s not done.
“He bites his nails!” she shrieks to us.
“I think it’s his teeth. I’m someone for really good teeth. I’m a brusher — twice a day. Two minutes. Extra floss.”
KABLAMO! The Sasshole strikes again.
“And I noticed he wasn’t wearing a tie. I just think, on your wedding day, it’s a day to be extremely formal.”
YOU HAVE CLAM SHELLS EMBROIDERED ON YOUR BOOBS.
At the reception, Bec’s fuming and wants the day to be over. When Jake’s relatives ask her how she was affected by coronavirus lockdowns last year, she sighs and details her ski trip to Japan that got cancelled and then scolds her new husband for not knowing that Osaka is “the only place” to ski in the country.
His mate takes the opportunity to jump in the ring and take a swing at The Sasshole.
“No it’s not,” she pipes up across the table.
“What?” Bec shoots a look over the candlestick centrepiece.
“You can go to Saku,” she laughs as the rest of the table watches The Sasshole’s know-it-all persona crumble before them. “I’ve been to both,” the mate smiles, basking joyously in The Sasshole’s destruction.
When Jake goes to the bathroom and The Sasshole continues to wield her sass, the groom’s family and friends take the opportunity to out-sass her again.
“We wondered, ‘What if you’re hard work?’,” shrugs the Ski Queen.
“No, we didn’t say hard work. We said, high maintenance,” someone else clarifies.
“Oh, perfect,” smizes The Sasshole.
The Sasshole can’t believe this. No one sasses The Sasshole!
She leaves. Probably to yell at a waitress. That’s how sassholes recharge their sassiness.
How will it end? Just wait and see, ya pack of sassholes.