Welcome back to another hellish week of Married At First Sight, the show that will gradually erode your sanity to the point at which you start thinking: Should I, too, marry a stranger??? I’m here to tell you: No you should not! Anyway let’s get into all the MAFS madness without delay, because if the previews are anything to go by tonight is gonna be a Hôt Mésse.

Now that three of the four main vectors of drama on this show have gone (Cam, Coco and Pig Sam – the remaining drama bomb is Bryce but I will not give him any more words unless I am absolutely forced to), I’m interested to see how the MAFS producers are going to continue to wring out of the remaining contestants the levels of psychotic interpersonal conflict we’ve come to expect. Will any of the new couples match the raw chaotic energy of their precedents?

No time to work ourselves into a tizzy about that, as we’re immediately flung into a high-stakes missing person situation. Jo, whose husband James was responsible for the atrocious “joke” about being in love with Alessandra last night, has disappeared. Good!

Not good, according to Jo. He’s left his wedding ring and everything. She is deeply displeased about this, and about the humiliation she suffered on the commitment ceremony couch last night. I have a strong sense that, somewhere in the greater Sydney area, a very wealthy dickhead just spontaneously burst into flames.

into this ring she poured her cruelty, her malice, and her will to vaporise all Lamborghini salesmen 

Jo feels like a fool. Forgive me for my controversial opinion here but I feel like it is James, in fact, who is the fool. Where is he? I don’t care. Let Jo go home to her three boys and James disappear under the wheels of one of his penis replacements.

Meanwhile everyone else is waking up with “a hangover of sadness”, per Booka, after last night’s absolutely punishing commitment ceremony.

I’m just so sad for everyone who’s not us, you know?

They’re all gossiping about how much of a flog Bryce is. Patrick accurately points out that he’s an embarrassment to himself. Bryce is still annoyed about the whole thing because of course he is. I am furious that I am still forced to perceive and then write about this toenail of a man.

offensive in the extreme

Sweet alien Melissa has thoroughly drunk of the toenail Kool-Aid (gross, sorry), and is all like Omg babe you were totally unfairly attacked last night!!! Then she says that while she appreciated the experts’ concern, she loves the way Bryce makes her feel, and – get this – last night when they got home, he told her, “There’s a lot that I like about you,” and he’s never said that before! And this woeful excuse for affection made her “rapt”!

I! Can! Not! The trauma on display here is bordering on the pornographic! The bar for this man is so low it is subterranean! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!

They both completely believe that they are in a strong relationship and that everyone else is just “jealous”, which really says a lot about the narratives we are fed regarding what constitutes a healthy romantic connection. I’m wondering how long it would take to drown myself in a mug of pinot noir.

Oh good, here come Bec and Jake to rescue me from that particular impulse. Wait, no, the opposite: watching these two impeccable hotties fail to connect is torturous. In case you’ve forgotten, Bec wrote “leave” last night, while Jake wanted to stay. Bec reckons their issues stem from communication problems, but I reckon it stems from the fact that an elemental ice being forged at the dawn of time is never going to be able to meaningfully connect with a mortal man, no matter how preternaturally sexy he is.


you have no power here, you exquisite fool

Elsewhere in the hotel, James has returned and Jo is on the warpath. I wish MAFS wasn’t quite so good at triggering my repressed trauma but here I am, watching this deeply dysfunctional duo perform a pantomime of every argument I’ve ever had with a problematic significant other.

Jo is like, “You were missing for twenty-four hours. Where were you? Why didn’t you answer my calls?” while James tries to dismiss her, avoid answering her questions and deflect blame back onto her by being like “You’re intimidating me! You’re standing over me and raising your voice!” For the record, she is not raising her voice. And neither was I.

‘Gaslight’, playing now in living rooms all across the Western world

Eventually he’s like, I don’t see why I should have let you know where I was, you’re nothing to me. Jo leaves. I want to throw up. Can’t we go visit Alana and Jason for some refreshingly simple sexual compatibility? No, we need to see Jo sitting along in bed and taking her wedding ring off. Someone call Amnesty International, we are all having our human rights abused here.

Back in the experts’ den of iniquity, they’re all being brought to the edge of climax at the thought of visiting MAFS’ specific brand of horror on four more unsuspecting victims.

extremely upsetting energy

First on the chopping block is Liam, a 29-year-old prison case officer/”country boy” from Brisbane. Expert John says he comes from a “broken home” which is a term I’m more used to hearing in PSAs from 1970s America than my own Australian television in the year 2021, but okay.

Liam’s dad left the family when he was 10, and he has had nothing to do with him ever since. That fucking sucks, and my heart sinks at the thought of this particular trauma getting manipulated for ratings. Prove me wrong, MAFS! My skepticism knows no bounds!

you and me both, Topsy

Liam’s also officially the first bisexual man on MAFS. Even though he’s been in relationships with men and women, he reckons he wants to settle down with a woman because he wants to start a family. It is not my place to examine the implications of that particular statement but I will tentatively say: hmmmmm.

An even bigger HMMMM is reserved for Alessandra though, who says, “For somebody who’s openly bisexual, we certainly need to pair him up with someone for whom this is not an issue.” Are we still on this gross trip, society at large?! Who’s it going to be an issue for? Bigoted morons?? Why even air that regressive bullshit comment? Mel jumps in with her own retrograde nonsense, suggesting that they pair up Liam with someone called Georgia, because “she’s incredibly open-minded.” He’s bisexual, not fucking Bigfoot!

Imageunless…?

Whatever, let’s meet Georgia. She’s 25, an events coordinator/entrepreneur, and she loves pink. I’m getting intense Elle Woods vibes and as such am already deeply in love with her.

what, like it’s hard? 

This is a big deal for me because the other main vibe I’m getting from Georgie is WEALTH. She has a pink-striped dressing room the size of my house. She has a pink power suit. She has her own bikini line. By all accounts I should be contractually obligated to loathe her, but her Haim-style cool rich girl energy has won me over. Sorry!!! She has horses too, so this is clearly a match made in heaven.

also I had this exact Barbie as a kid so I’m biased

The next neck under the MAFS guillotine is Johnny, a 29-year-old theatre producer from Queensland. He’s Italian, has a gap between his front teeth, and I want to shrink him down and put him in my pocket.

come give mummy a kiss you Billy Elliot-looking dreamboat

Oh no, he’s been married before! It only lasted for six months before his wife left him. After being single for the last year and a half, he’s taped his heart back together and is ready to give things another go. Be nice to him, MAFS! (Doubtful.)

They want to match him with someone who won’t break his heart again – someone called Kerry, a 30-year-old occupational therapist. She’s adorable and Maltese, and she’s worried she’s going to miss the boat on having her own giant Mediterranean family because she hasn’t had any luck finding someone to settle down with in Queensland, where she ill-advisedly lives.

are all the men up there blind?!

Oho, she’s ALSO been married before, in her early twenties. They amicably divorced because they were pretty much just mates, and they kept living together until recently. So progressive! I love it!

Back at the hotel of torment, the existing couples have received invitations to the new weddings, because we all know the real test of a relationship is going to a stranger’s nuptials along with the rest of the people you’re trapped in a psychotic televised “experiment” with.

Kerry and Johnny are up first, and the voiceover lady is trying to tell me something about how nervous Johnny is feeling. Unfortunately I can’t hear anything over how ABSOLUTELY STACKED HE IS.

my thoughts exactly, groomsman

He’s not actually nervous, anyway – just sad that his big Italian family, who live interstate, can’t come to see his fake TV wedding. They’re also still cut that his real marriage failed so abruptly. He feels bad that it upset them so much – like he let them down. Don’t cry, my musclebound Billy Elliot!

maybe doing a special shirtless dance would make you feel better?

At the plush outdoor venue, a black van full containing half the existing MAFS contestants shows up, and the giddy bunch realise that – surprise! – they’re at the wedding of their new neighbours. Most of them are stoked, but Jo would very clearly rather be gnawing her own foot off than at a wedding with her dickhead husband. Good luck escaping this bear trap, Jo!

Johnny shows up and Bryce immediately comments on how hot he is. “He’s a good-looking rooster,” he says, normally.

it’s rooster vs. lizard, folks!

Sweet Johnny is like, Sorry, who are you? to the gaggle of ashen-faced couples up the back. At first he thinks they’re a rent-a-crowd (hilarious). But no! They’re the ghost of Christmas future! Run, Johnny! While you still can!

nooooooooo

In the limo, Kerry is hoping that her new husband has a nice smile. Have I got good news for her! She looks gorgeous, even though they’ve given her a bouquet that’s mostly bird.

do you want avian mites? cos that’s how you get avian mites

Johnny is frothing on her. He does the face that I’ve been doing at him this whole time.

that’s the one

Kerry is similarly chuffed. Her checklist was: nice smile, kind eyes, taller than her. Nailed it!

Aw, Johnny’s vows are very sweet. He says that he had to put his love life on hold, but now he’s ready to let love back in. He vows to have her back at every single step. That theatre background is really paying off! I’m tearing up! Fucking slay me, Billy Elliot!

Kerry’s are just as good – she talks about a lifetime of fateful moments leading them to each other, and says she promises to put her all into the experiment. She is so sweet. I love her little cartoon mouse face.

They have a proper snog and I’m not even mad about it. My visual cortex manages to continue to process images and everything!

I’ll allow it but only because you are both Extremely Sexy and Hot

Over at camp Georgia and Liam, he’s worrying about being accepted for being bisexual, and she is wearing a tiara.

100% here for this pageant bullshit

The other half of the existing MAFS couples are at this wedding, and the rest of the guests are reacting exactly as I would if a bunch of underdressed strangers showed up at my mate’s ceremony.

is that a fucking white dress

In the limo, Liam is looking blandly terrified and reminding me that my glass is empty.

 
nice teeth but

In her own limo, Georgia and her mum are serving psycho 90s live-action fairytale remake lewks and endearing themselves to me immeasurably.

Cinderella is busting for a refill

Expert Mel is giving us some to-camera rubbish about how Georgia is “one of the most unique brides” the experiment has ever seen. A blonde white woman, on MAFS? Unique! Courageous! Extraordinary!

Apparently because Georgia is “loud and confident” she can be “misjudged”. This is really setting up a mismatch for the ages. I desperately hope that Liam is ready to meet Georgia’s slightly loony Drop Dead Gorgeous vibe.

Oh thank god, he’s stoked. He even thinks her little “woo!” on entry is adorable.

psycho horse girl energy out the wazoo

Georgia’s vows are about how she’s dreamed of her wedding day her whole life, but she’s never stuck to conformity or been conventional. She promises to be fun and spontaneous, compassionate and kind, and empower him to be the best version of  himself. Nice!

Liam’s explain that he’s a country boy who has no filter, and that even though he doesn’t know what a husband is supposed to do (ey?), he promises to be the kind of husband she dreamed of as a child. Slightly creepy but she’s rapt! Smooches for everyone!

Barbie’s Dream Wedding, now only $29.99 (genuine emotional connection not included)

Back at the bird-themed boho picnic wedding of my 19-year-old self’s wildest dreams, Kerry and Johnny are getting along like a house on fire.

is that a vintage Airstream?! *glomps*

The Greek chorus of the other MAFS couples is murmuring approvingly, but Jo is still absolutely fuming about being thrust into this kind of romance-oriented situation with her fuckheaded husband James.

Who cares – Kerry and Johnny are immediately broaching the subject of exes. Kerry explains that she’s still really good friends with her ex – he’s looking after her two dogs! There’s a lot of ominous music which even the very easily manipulable (me) can see is forced onto the situation, because these two are being mature and generous. Johnny reveals that he has been married before as well and Kerry is obviously totally fine with it.

How will the producers manufacture some conflict in this situation? How about by getting Jo drunk enough to start loudly dunking on the new couple. James says they look good together, and she slurs loudly, “From the outside, yeah.” No-one is stoked on this development.

*disapproving lizard noises*

“You’ll be happy for the first five days, and then the rollercoaster will begin,” she imparts sagely, while everyone looks around desperately for a convenient distraction. It’s MAFS, you fools! Nothing’s going to save you from intense emotional discomfort here!!!

“We were good for ten days,” says James helpfully.

you’ll be lucky to have another good ten seconds once I’m done with you fucko

Oh, be still my heart: Billy Elliot has leant over to his new bride. “That was pretty harsh,” he says, “but you don’t ever have to worry about that. I would never throw someone under the bus like that.”

“I’m not a very dramatic person,” Kerry assures him. “I’m a fixer.” God bless them both.

Jo and James start sniping at each other again. Melissa tries to remind them that they’re at a wedding and maybe they could behave themselves. Best of luck, Liss! Nothing’s going to stop the pass-agg train once it’s built up this much steam!

would have worked on my planet

Jo asks James if he regrets getting married. He says he doesn’t. She reckons they gave up so easily, and everyone reminds her that their experiment isn’t over yet. Would that it was! James takes her off for “a chat”, which bodes poorly imho.

Back with Liam and Georgia, her bridesmaids are dishing the goss to her new husband. She loves pink! She loves ponies! Lucky, ‘cos Liam has five horses. I love that he’s matching her intensity, but he’s still nervous to tell her about his sexuality. He reckons he might as well get it out in the open.

Before he can do that, though, the rest of the MAFS crew is making a spectacle of themselves in a profoundly relatable way.

je suis Brett

The new couple go over to introduce themselves – it’s very natural, very organic. “We have no idea who you are,” says Liam woodenly. MAFS producers, get out of shot! I can see you!

And then there is a deeply strange interaction during which Bec asks, unprompted (sure), what the couple’s non-negotiables are, and it somehow occurs to Georgia to ask Liam if he’s bisexual. He looks uncomfortable and says yes. Everyone at the table is gobsmacked. Before the newlyweds can properly discuss it, they’re called away to cut the cake.

I HATE this. It is regressive and biphobic as hell. There’s an opportunity here to completely normalise bisexuality to a massive audience on a very popular mainstream TV show (and like honestly, how shocking is being bi? In this the year of our lord 2021?). But instead, MAFS is playing it for shock value, hard.

Imagine how cool it would have been if Liam’s sexuality was treated the same way as everyone else’s on the show: as a given, not something to be whispered about, played up with scary music, made into a plot point, and revealed without his consent or agency. A bisexual Queensland country boy who’s open and unapologetic about his sexuality should be celebrated, not sensationalised in this scummy, homophobia-pandering way. Fucking boo, MAFS. BOOOOOOO.

Meanwhile, at Kerry and Johnny’s wedding, the newlyweds are kissing a bunch and Jo and James are demonstrating closed-off body language out in a paddock.

I can feel the effortless comfort from here

James apologises for being a prick, and they decide to give things another go. I don’t care. They deserve freedom, just like everyone else in this experiment. Just like me! FREE ME FROM THIS NIGHTMARE oh look it’s my new boyfriend maybe things aren’t so bad.

much better thank you

Back with Georgia and Liam, the newlyweds have retreated to a private spot to have a conversation about Liam’s bisexuality. Georgia gives this weird little speech that certainly throws her whole “openminded” thing into doubt for me: “Honestly, I so believe that whatever like, things that you did before, it all led you to be here today and the person that you are, so as long as you choose to be with me and we are the people that we need to be for each other, it doesn’t bother me.”

Look, Liam’s happy with that and therefore so am I. He says that marriage is a one-time thing, and he’s going to fight for this. He wanted to enter this arrangement with things out in the open. She likes that he’s up front about things. They have a cute little fairy-lights smooch.

And that’s it! At least until we experience more manufactured drama thanks to that cursed little object known as the Honesty Box. How I loathe it and everything it stands for. See you tomorrow!