Hello friends and welcome to our very first MAFS recap for 2021! Somehow they managed to film Married At First Sight, a show featuring lots of kissing and sex (well so I’ve been promised?) in a pandemic, which can’t have been easy. They deserve a medal.
I’m Josie, Head of Editorial at PEDESTRIAN.TV and I’ll be taking you on the MAFS recap journey this year, which I’m fairly sure will span around 500 episodes and 17 months. Quick disclaimer is: I’ve never watched this show! So it’s really a time of huge discovery for me. Episode 1 went for about 5 hours, so please read 3,000 words about it that I wrote, just for you. Enjoy!
We start the MAFS episode with my NUMBER ONE MOST HATED thing in a reality TV/romance show. The words “I’ve never had a boyfriend in my whole life”. Doll, if you’ve never had a boyfriend then why are you defaulting to going on a reality TV show that is aimed at getting you a husband??? Trust me, boyfriends are enough to navigate. I don’t have one but I can imagine husbands are worse? It just irks me that instead of like, going to the pub on a Saturday night to meet someone, these people are like “cool I’ll just go be the Bachelorette/get married on a TV show”. It’s not normal behaviour at all.
Anyway. This chick is here, she’s a graceful wholesome dancer and we’re supposed to feel sorry for her that she’s never had a bf. She says she’s not the “typical attractive girl” but meanwhile she is cute as? I have no sympathy for you, let’s move on.
Here we have our first Man Staring Pensively Into the Distance. If I know reality dating shows, he will be the first of many. He (soon revealed to be Jake) says he’s been through many different challenges in his life, and I need to know if one was growing out his fade to such a nice length. Sorry if my thirst is showing, but this guy is cute. Can’t wait for him to prove me wrong with some deeply problematic behaviour!
He says he’s keen to settle down, “foind moi woife” and start a family. I’ll see it when I believe it.
The next lady we glimpse is a single mum, so I already love her. I always root for the single mums doing it tough! Although alarmingly her and her child seem to be pyromaniacs, which to my knowledge is an early indicator that you’re going to be a serial killer.
Another man looking into the distance! We are up to two in the first 2min 55sec of the first MAFS episode!
The woman doing the MAFS voiceover does the token COVID reference by saying breathlessly “in a time of uncertainty, never have we needed love more”. I would argue that a vaccine is sliiiightly higher on my list, but whatever gets you going.
We have our first lady admiring her wedding dress in the mirror, another classic MAFS trope. Sadly, it’s very ill-fitting. I hope they sort out that bum bunching before she trots down the aisle.
WE’RE UP TO THREE NOW.
There’s a new expert this time, and the MAFS producers would like us to know that she is sexy and exotic. She has a Euro accent and wears red busty outfits and says “sex” about 1800 times in 30 seconds.
But all that was just the intro! We now kick the episode off for real with our single mum Samantha. She’s 31 and she only had $1.50 in her account when she got divorced and had to sit on a couch from a tip for a year and slowly rebuilt her life and made her own career as a property developer. I don’t even know this woman and I’m bloody swelling with pride, let me tell you! Am I crying already? Maybe!
Soon Samantha is joined by Belinda, the ballerina from before (who is actually a door-to-door salesperson) whose first foray into dating is in front of millions of television viewers on a high-rating reality TV show.
Belinda confesses to Samantha that she’s never had a boyfriend and is a cat lady, to which Samantha replies “Are you a virgin?”. Belinda hesitates and says “No” which I’m gonna go ahead and assume is “Yes”.
Over to the communal MAFS bucks party and we meet Bryce, a 31-year-old radio announcer, Sam and Russell in quick succession. I certainly hope Bryce is matched with Samantha because he seems to share her family’s noted love of fire.
We then go back to one of the blokes we saw in the intro, who is so nervous his voice has reached a pitch only audible to neighbourhood dogs.
His name is Patrick and he’s a 27-year-old personal trainer from Victoria. I have to say he’s not what you’d usually picture from a personal trainer, but where I’m from they have small heads, large bodies, minuscule singlets, year-round tans and reside exclusively in Bondi.
He says he doesn’t get a lot of attention from ladies and my heart immediately hurts for him. I’m not crying (I reserve that just for single mums achieving their dreams) but I do want him to find happiness.
Back to the ladies and we’re meeting Coco, a 30-year-old Pilates studio owner who part of me wants to end up with Patrick because imagine the fitness centre they could open together! It just makes sense professionally.
I adore Coco because in the space of one sentence she manages to throw not one but two shakas. It’s an energy I aspire to.
She also claims to be “psychic” and immediately clocks Belinda as a dancer. Coco doll, look me up because I want to be your best friend. Samantha then asks Coco who she will be marrying. Coco gives her a mysterious, appraising look and says “I’m feeling a farmer boy”. Samantha shrieks because of course that’s her dream!
Five more ladies roll in and honestly I only catch one name – Lana? Alana? Lanolin? Something. And that one chick is in a metalcore band.
Then Beth, who is 39 and a retail worker/psychology student, comes in. She’s the one we saw earlier trying on the dress that didn’t fit right around the bum. Anyway she says all she wants is kids and worries she is running out of time. At this point another one of the girls says “Oh I have three boys!” and Beth is like “COOOOOOL.”
Coco is back on her psychic predicting bullshit after this and says her guy won’t be a “cut of the mill” guy (whatever that means???) and that his name will start with B. Then immediately we meet Brett! He’s says he’s not a run of the mill kinda guy (ahhhh that’s what she meant). We know this because he has quirky short trousers, a moustache and glasses!
Brett is 31 and a sparky. He’s also a psych student so maybe he will marry Beth and they can analyse each other for eternity.
Also we are up to four here, just quietly.
Brett with his *points to heart* “I’m more worried about what’s in here man” schtick may as well be wearing a t-shirt that says I AM A SOFTBOI written across it in red, but go on mate, prove me wrong.
Three more blokes come in (including Jake? Jack? Jayson?) and the blokes all have beers and a good blokey beery laugh about it all.
Then the dramatic music cuts in and keen to upstage Ms I’ve Never Had A Boyfriend Belinda, the woman in the limo, Melissa, claims she’s NEVER BEEN ON A DATE.
Why. Why are you here.
She then admits she’s got what certainly sounds like social anxiety and says she’s not super confident, so on one hand I feel bad for yelling but also going on a national TV show instead of just going down to the pub seems like an odd life choice.
Anyway the other girls are actually so nice and supportive when she admits that she’s never been on a date, it makes me wonder who is going to throw wine in her face in 6-8 episodes time.
All the girls and guys are assembled now, we’ve got a handful of emotional back stories, so now it’s time for the experts to come in and get them all geed up. This leads to a lot of chatter, including this guy saying that it’s a dealbreaker if the woman he’s matched with isn’t “hot”.
Of course resident MAFS softboi Brett says if the woman can make him laugh, then he’s sold. Uh-huh, sure.
Over at the MAFS hen’s party and it’s going downhill from supportive lovefest FAST. I might get a wine throwing in the first episode? Basically my best friend Coco (which Samantha helpfully points out might *not* be her real name) has probably had 18 champagnes at this point and is sitting there laughing like a drain and screaming out random catchphrases like “that’s showbiz baby!” “I pay 10c extra for sauce” “that’s life, honey!”. I for one find it very entertaining but Samantha does not, especially when Coco screams out “Call the judge!” when Samantha reveals she got with her ex when she was 17 and he was 33. Yikes.
Samantha looks at Coco like she wants to pick her up by her fake ponytail and boot her clean off the balcony, and proceeds to make her way around the party badmouthing Coco to everyone who will listen. In my world this is called “stooping to her level”.
Over at the boys’ party Softboi Brett is back at it, talking about how he smells the pillow when a girl leaves and that’s how he knows he’s in love with her. Marshall Mathers IV over here isn’t having a bar of it.
Samantha decides she’s had enough property developer pours to call Coco out for judging her earlier, to which Coco begrudgingly apologises and acknowledges that she miiiight have been “disrespectful”.
Samantha even more begrudgingly accepts the apology and the girls seemingly move on, but you just KNOW Samantha is not over it and WILL be tossing a Savvy B in Coco’s face within the next fortnight. I’m hanging out for this.
Moving on from hen’s and bucks finally, Melissa (who goes by Liss) heads to see exotic sexologist Alessandra and unpacks a bit of trauma.
I now definitely feel bad for yelling at her earlier, because she clearly has abandonment issues from her dad leaving her family when she was just a baby. She hasn’t processed it at all and seems to blame herself, but what I love about Liss is she knows she can work on this part of herself and she desperately wants to change. I just need the producers to not pair her with a flog because she needs a nice man in her life.
It looks like she’s being paired with Bryce which pleases me because he wasn’t behaving like an absolute tool at the bucks party like a couple of the others. He seems nice, and genuine, and says he was in a 5 year relationship before MAFS (he was engaged!) but had to break it off because the lady wasn’t really looking to settle down.
Next up is Jake. He used to be a professional AFL player for Carlton and the producers decide to make him jog around in slow motion to remind us that he’s sporty. I am not mad about it.
He talks candidly about the pressures of being drafted into the AFL and to perform on a weekly basis at the elite level, and how it was detrimental to his mental health. He had such bad anxiety that it inspired him to create a mental health charity. I want to hate him ‘cos he looks like a knob, but I’m also touched by him trying to help others.
He’s going to be matched with Bec, who for a hot second I thought was Coco and I actually screamed at the screen. Bec was at the hen’s party vaguely siding with Samantha but we didn’t get her backstory. Basically she is businessy and career driven and hasn’t given any time to romance once her 10-year-relationship (with an AFL player, coughs) ended. Bec is a such a boss lady that she even gets in on the guys’ club of staring pensively into the distance. (This is six, if you’re counting.)
Alessandra reveals that Bec has trouble expressing affection because her family wasn’t affectionate while she was growing up. She doesn’t want to come off reserved or standoffish with her new husband, and I flat out challenge her to not throw her arms around Cute Jake when she meets him.
Now that our first two couples are revealed it’s bloody WEDDING TIME PEOPLE. Liss is getting the full hair, makeup and blowdry treatment and Bryce is tizzing up too by tweaking one (1) strand of hair.
All the guests gather and I always wonder if this is a MAFS rent-a-crowd or do these people actually know each other? I’m feeling the former because that is definitely Jason from Big Brother 2015 saying the candles are amazing.
Bryce is in a limo with a very unsupportive friend who says things like “yeah” and “you’ll be right mate” and “mate I’m nervous for ya!” even though poor Bryce is clearly shitting bullets.
Melissa’s cousin is equally useless, helpfully reminding Melissa to “breathe” while she herself inhales a large champagne.
Finally after a very cute interlude with her adorable Pop, Melissa makes it down the aisle where she and Bryce fumble and are just extremely cute and awkward and I want them to have 100 babies after MAFS and live in bliss for eternity.
The two seem to instantly like each other and can’t stop grinning. They even give the elderly rellos in the front row a shock by having a big old pash after exchanging vows.
Awww you GUYS.
Over at Bec’s MAFS wedding prep, and she’s telling her bridesmaid Kristy that she’s glad Kristy is there. To which her mate replies “Why, what am I gonna do?” Look, if you’re going to be an unsupportive friend like Bryce and Melissa’s, you may as well be upfront about it. I applaud Kristy for this.
Bec’s main pre-wedding jitters are that she will be a big cold fish when she sees her new hubby. Meanwhile Jake’s main concern seems to be very slowly taking the ring box lid off, tilting the ring so it sparkles just so, then putting the boxes (brand up) side by side. An important MAFS job, and he nails it.
Quick sidebar to say that when Kristy tells Bec she looks like Princess Diana, Bec DOESN’T KNOW WHO THAT IS. Praying for her sake that Jake isn’t a closet royal fanatic with a prized commemorative Diana & Charles wedding mug in his china cabinet.
When Kristy clocks Jake she gives him the old up-and-down and says “hmm Bec’s gonna love youuuu” and it’s so delightfully pervy. Kristy, you’re honestly bringing me so much joy in this 1.5 hour slog of a MAFS premiere.
When Bec exits the limo and approaches Jake, she’s not super fussed because he gives her the whole pursed lips ‘dayummm’ look. She says she would have preferred a nice big open smile and she felt like a piece of meat and I actually get that. It’s not a great start, and her body language screams wet fish.
Jake proceeds to say the longest vows known to man as Bec picks out everything she doesn’t like about him (He bites his nails! He doesn’t have a tie on! His teeth aren’t perfect! Pretty sure he is breathing!)
An awkward double-kiss and the pair are married, but Bec is NOT feeling it at all. I predict this MAFS union lasts 0.5 minutes. At least we have Melissa and Bryce, who look like actual long-term lovebirds all giddy at their reception.
Melissa is all nervy about telling Bryce that she’s been single for 12 years, even though he promises he won’t be shocked and wants to know how long it’s been since she was last in a relationship.
Of course Angel Bryce takes it really well and then it’s his turn to talk about his engagement ending just 6 months ago. Turns out Melissa is a liiiitle more shocked than his revelation than he was about hers, and having sucked the last drop of prosecco out of her glass she finds the nearest Savvy B to help get her through it.
Melissa’s big issue is that it took her 10 years to get over her ex, but Bryce only just broke up with his partner 6 months ago — so Melissa’s worried he won’t be over her yet. But her relos urge her to keep an open mind and talk to him about it.
Back at Awkwardtown, USA, Jake refers to Bec as “wifey” in his wedding cheers and… just no.
The whole thing is doubly awkward because their wedding reception is literally a roundtable of like 5 people all staring at each other like a really well-dressed job interview. Everyone’s bright red and anxious, especially poor Kristy.
Kristy’s fear is that Bec has shut down and she’s not going to give Jake a chance, which it certainly seems like she has, saying if it was a date and not MAFS she’d be outta there already. She does a dash with Kristy to the toot, while Jake says to his friends that he can tell Bec has a wall up but it’s his job to help her through that.
Outside, Bec tells Kristy that she and Jake got off on the wrong foot and Kristy very diplomatically tells Bec through her hives that she needs to give him more of a chance because he’s probably just nervous.
It’s a pep talk for the ages, and I really feel like we all need a Kristy in our lives. Turns out that she was the most supportive MAFS mate of all.
Back at Bryce and Melissa’s reception, they escape the party to have a bit of one on one time. They tell each other how comfy they are with each other, and how they were over the moon when they saw each other. It’s honestly so cute I am screaming into a cushion, especially when they pash on.
Sadly we have to tear ourselves away from the loveliness of Melissa and Bryce’s wedding over to Bec and Jake, who seems to have caught Kristy’s hives.
Bec is open with Jake about the appraising look her gave her when she walked up the aisle, and he’s horrified that she thought that’s all he saw her for. Bec admits that she thinks Jake is very different as to how she perceived him at the wedding, so yay maybe they aren’t doomed after all? Then they awkwardly dance in front of their three (3) guests and all is well with the world.
PHEW 3,000 words later and I’m bloody exhausted. And guess what? I’ll be back at the MAFS recap fun tomorrow! So please join me for our fave psychic Pilates instructor’s big day.