As a self-confessed lover of reality TV, I’ve watched almost every dating show under the sun. From the classics like The Bachelor to recent hits like Love Island and even the more obscure shows such as Playing it Straight (season two specifically and IYKYK). However, I never made the effort to watch Married at First Sight, I have my reasons but none of them is justifiable considering the other ‘crap’ I consume.
So, when this MAFS season rolled around, I thought “why not give it a go?”! I had many preconceived ideas and notions going into the show, some of these have proven to be true but others I’ve been surprised to find I was wrong about. Without any more context, here are five things that have surprised me while watching Married at First Sight for the first time…
1) People are genuinely looking for love
We know by now that often the contestants on these shows aren’t actually looking for love. No, they’ve got stars in their eyes, and they are merely looking for FAME. While this is certainly the case for many of the cast members on this season of MAFS, I’ve been surprised to see some who have genuinely applied to the show looking for love.
Some of these people are so shy and, this is mean to say, uncharismatic that they will never be able to sustain a career as an influencer. Take later-comer to the show, Kate, for example, she’s 38 has never been in a relationship and describes herself in her Instagram bio as “Kind. Genuine. Sensitive”. Over her time on the show, she steered clear of the fame-making drama and stuck to her own lane. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with her show-husband, but both did seem genuinely in it for love.
2) There’s no way these people are actors
A comment thrown out quite regularly is that actors are cast on the show. The most recent example is bride Holly who had an unpleasant time with her gaslighting husband, Andrew. People online claimed she was an actor and all the drama which ensued with herself, and her husband was manufactured.
I have a few thoughts on this- firstly, no- Andrew was just a dick and Holly reacted appropriately to that. Secondly, the show relies on the unhinged behaviour of naturally dramatic people, professional actors would be too self-aware of their environment to make this work.
Sure, some of these people might’ve wanted to become actors at some point in their life (which is true in Holly’s case) but it’s safe to say by the point they’re willing to destroy any professional reputation they have, they’ve given up on that career path (also when have you seen them in anything previously?).
3) The experts sometimes say things that are helpful
Ah, the ‘experts’. We don’t need to go into detail about how their track record proves they are not great matchmakers. However, they sometimes do give unexpectedly good advice. The show’s clinical sexologist certainly seemed onto something when she sent the couples a set of raunchy activities to enhance their sexual connection. It was mostly received very well (except for the few people who really hated it).
What’s most satisfying is when the experts scold someone who has been acting like a right a-hole. Other times they simply say to someone “you need to try more” and somehow that results in a change in that relationship, who knew!
4) Contestants are allowed to DRINK
Back in the day when reality tv was still in its ‘youth’, iconic shows like Big Brother would provide, what looked like, unlimited alcohol to their contestants. This led to some WILD scenarios.
Things have changed in recent years, and we’ve seen the decrease of alcohol given to contestants, undoubtedly for very valid reasons. For example, the contestants are limited to one or two drinks a night on Love Island. MAFS on the other hand should credit alcohol as a producer of the show. It seems every group scenario, such as the weekly dinner party, is fuelled by unlimited drinks. This first came to my attention watching one of the first dinner parties where each shot of the same bride, throughout the night, had a different drink in her hand. We’re talking wine, champagne, beer… do the experts ever give the advice not to mix drinks?
5) I’ll watch it again
I have no shame in saying I will watch this show again.