Happy hump day my fellow MAFS masochists – it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, aka faithful drama factory the DINNER PARTY. What horrors of vicarious humiliation await us tonight? Do let’s find out.

Belinda and Patrick are making duck noises at each other, which absolutely tracks for the kind of adorable nerd lunacy I’ve come to expect from them. Across the hall, however, Joanne is still cranky about being attached to an enormous tool called James, who keeps telling her he’s keen to work things out and then simply… not doing that.

am I pensive or am I telepathically commanding all the seagulls in Sydney to shit on my useless husband

Since they decided to try to give things another go, he hasn’t messaged her or spoken to her or anything! In fact, he didn’t even come back to the hotel last night. What a champion.

The three new couples are wrapping up their honeymoons and being summoned into the maw of the beast. There, the original lineup are enthusiastically gossiping about a rumour that has been going around about Bryce having a girlfriend “on the outside” (side note: love that they’re just leaning in to the whole prison lingo thing as it is highly appropriate for the whole situation).

Booka‘s trying to say something about how Bryce is supposed to have a girl back home who he’s buying presents for but I am thoroughly distracted by the reappearance of THOSE BOOTS.

giv shoos ples

“Juicy,” says Brett, clearly thinking about something other than the rumour.

Belinda and Patrick are also dishing the dirt while Pat plays hairdresser, which is the cutest shit I have ever seen in my life.

so you got a boyfriend babe? you in school? so much hair babe wow i’m jealous

Meanwhile Jason reckons it’s only right that he let Bryce know that everyone’s gossiping about what a flog he is, while MAFS does Alana real dirty with their chosen shots of her.

this is my listening face

Bryce denies everything, obviously. Who does he reckon started the rumour? “It’s probably one of the girls, to be honest,” he nods, brickishly. “They like to create drama and whatnot.” I laugh aloud into my empty house. Yes, Bryce! It’s the girls who like to create drama!!!

fetch me my burn book, lizard

Oh good, now we’re treated to another deeply unpleasant interaction between James and Jo. She asks him if he came back to the hotel last night, and he very unconvincingly says, “Yep!” He’s clearly lying. He continues to try to gaslight her into thinking she’s unreasonable. He wants to hold hands while they walk into the dinner party together. She thinks that’s pretty fucking rich.

Over in Bryce and Melissa‘s room, Bryce is letting Liss know about the rumour. She immediately assumes the expression that I’ve come to know and loathe so much: the face of a woman automatically fortifying herself against further impending humiliation.

shields at 90% and holding

Bryce has a big sook about everyone having a go at him all the time, and Liss is obviously the picture of the supportive (brainwashed) partner. There are a lot of big-boy macho words said to camera but I have honestly tuned out. These are my defence mechanisms and I will not apologise for them! Being forced to witness Bryce’s toxic machismo is fucking criminal and I will not stand for it! I WILL NOT.

Thank god we’re back with Georgia and Liam, whose easy comfort with each other is rapidly making them my favourite pair. Also I just can’t help but stan a queen with a consistent aesthetic.

~ Barbie, you’re beautiful, you make me feel my Barbie doll is really real ~

Johnny and Kerry are also cute but whatever SHUT UP SHUT UP here comes Chris, the long-lost Hemsworth brother, and he’s shirtless and holding a champagne glass!

[wheezes]

Jaimie still isn’t so sure about her enormous hunky husband and I still suspect she has some kind of undiagnosed brain disorder. Who cares, more Vikings cast member for me!

The dinner party commences, and the experts have lined up to spectate in their dimly-lit lair. As couples start arriving, they waste no time in getting into the juicy business of gossiping about Bryce’s rumoured “girl on the outside”.

there’s an outside?

Jason tries to find out who told Jake the rumour, and Jake’s like, Oh I’ve heard it… here and there… which is absolutely code for “the producers told me but they’re standing behind the camera making neck-slicing motions so I can’t exactly say that can I”.

Here come Bryce and Melissa. Liss has clearly decided to wear the full regalia of her home planet and I support that decision entirely.

we Betelgeusians scrub up pretty good

Jason and Bryce immediately start whispering together like the catty little gremlins they are. Who started it? Who’s gonna cop it? Bryce reckons Bec and Jo have something to do with the rumour, and I am quickly tiring of being able to see the producer’s puppet strings in frame. Up your editing game, MAFS!

The girls have a whisper as well, and are interrupted by the temperature dropping to below freezing as Jo and James arrive. Bryce reckons Jo is the instigator of the rumour so he immediately starts giving her the evils. Liss finds out from Jo that actually it was Bec who started the rumour, and Bryce fires up about it and ohhh gooooddddd I’ve been out of high school for fifteen years why am I forced to revisit this mind-numbing drama mill I don’t CARE!!!

Fortunately Bryce says something so stupid I am roused from my stupor to do a spit-take: “Bec’s got this real fascination with me and getting involved with what I’m doing. I don’t know if she’s jealous that Liss is with me or what. I know I’m a good-looking bloke but hey, Liss is the lucky one in this situation. Is she trying to get me into bed or something?”

…no

Ooooh here come Kerry and Johnny, whose effortless sex appeal really takes the edge off the atmosphere in the pregaming lobby. Nothing like a pair of hotties to calm everyone down!

Georgia and Liam are next, looking like they’ve been happily married and swinging for about thirty years.

“Hey my girlfriend saw you from across the bar and we really dig your vibe. Can we buy you a drink?”

No time to dwell on their fun poly energy, we’re right back into the least engaging drama since the final season of Game of Thrones. Jo is confronting Bec about the rumour and complaining that she got thrown under the bus. Bec is like, “Let’s make that clear, you are the gossipers, and that’s how it’s esskyulated.”

I want to be effluent and practise serial monotony

Bryce and Bec go head to head and Bryce has clearly underestimated the ice queen’s powers. He’s like, Don’t you have anything better to do than talk about other people in the experiment? and she looks at him as though she’s calculating the milliseconds required to turn him to dust. She chooses mercy, and says coolly, “I’m just giving you the opportunity, Bryce, to come clean. I think you should use it.”

Her Royal Iciness suggests you fuck around and find out

Bryce is saved by the six-foot-two musclebound bell: in comes Chris and Jaimie, and everyone else has had enough champagne to go absolutely crazy about a new couple being introduced. Booka and Brett have the exact correct attitude. “Surprise! They’re both really hot!” says Booka. “I’m going to be looking at them heaps.”

“More attractive people to look at,” agrees Brett.

molto benne

Meanwhile, Liss is feeling so embarrassed to be back in the centre of attention. Belinda is filling Bryce in on what she’s heard from Bec (that’s too many Bs, sorry) – apparently Bryce and Bec had a conversation in the gym about Bryce wanting to buy his girl on the outside a gift??? Hell really is other people. Wish there weren’t cameras there.

Bec shows up and refuses to walk back her statements. Something about Bryce’s mate from Canberra being here, and Bryce not wanting to get caught giving his outside girlfriend a gift? It is a struggle to keep my eyes open but I am trying, dear reader, I am TRYING.

To camera, Bec elaborates: “We were at the gym, we were having a conversation where Bryce said that Liss would be easy to get to the end with, that there is a girl on the outside. His mate was in Sydney and asked if he wanted to get her a gift. He said no, he didn’t want to get caught doing anything like that.” Okay that is pretty juicy. I’m 60% awake and ready to see what Bryce, documented stooge, has to say for himself.

He denies everything, and Bec straight up calls him a liar. If she’d said that to me I would have immediately disintegrated into my individual molecules so I guess I’ll give credit to Bryce for being a particularly structurally sound brick.

same colour too

Bryce does his patented technique of trying to get everyone else involved, calling “Jake! Jake!” like that prairie dog from 2009. Bec is like, “Stop pulling everyone into the room all the time. You’re not an avocado. Not everyone loves you.”

wait… whet?

You know who is an avocado? That hot waiter.

worth a house deposit to smash THAT

The rabble head in to the dinner table, and everyone’s glasses are already full to the brim. This bodes well!

They’re all straight back into it. Bryce is working himself into a horrible little tizzy, and Liss is anxious that there’s going to be another blow up. Fair enough! Having to watch your man-child husband chuck his toys out of the pram every time you sit down to a meal with more than one other person is exhausting in the extreme!

The experts accurately point out that Bryce is simmering away – it’s not a matter of if there’s a blow-up, but when. Are we not going to question the ethics of putting a man who clearly has unaddressed aggression issues in these high-pressure situations, especially considering the significant potential for collateral damage to the long-suffering woman attached to him?

No! No we are not. Let’s spend more time with the new hotties. Booka is looking at Chris in a manner very familiar to me.

that is so handsome. I mean hilarious

Bryce is still kicking off. He reckons Bec’s whole deal is “a jealousy thing”. Why is it always the most mediocre men who are convinced everyone else is jealous of them? What does Bec have to be jealous of? She’s an exquisite ice figurine and you are a brick with hair!

Whatever – everyone’s demanding the real story. Bec insists that the conversation in the gym went differently to how Bryce is describing it – he says he was just talking about how great Liss was. Sure. Bec points out that she has nothing to gain from making shit up.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh okay. Here we go. Bryce is like, What did I say then? And Bec reveals that the conversation in the gym was really more like a “Bryce being sleazy to Bec” kind of deal.

“You said, Oh, I don’t want to tell you where I put you, but I put you up on the top of the attraction scale,” says Bec.

hello darkness my old friend

“And then you said, It’ll be so easy to get to the end of this with Liss, she’s easy to get along with – and I was thinking, why are you treating this like a game? Then you said there’s a girl on the outside, you have a friend here -” She turns to Liss. ” – and I don’t know if he did, in Sydney, and he said to me that his friend was going back and asked if he wanted to buy a gift for this girl. But he didn’t want to get caught, so he didn’t. That was the conversation.”

Bryce says she’s blatantly lying. Bec says she’s not, and Bryce is the liar. I am actually intrigued for the first time in my MAFS-viewing life because they had this conversation AWAY FROM THE CAMERAS and for once we don’t have the receipts!! It’s a genuine mystery!

Oh wait, no it’s not, Bryce is too much of a fucking moron to keep his side of the story hoisted up.

“I said the comments,” he says, “but I never mentioned a gift.”

“But you mentioned a girl,” says Bec.

“Mate, sorry I met a girl on Tinder two months before coming here and slept with her a couple of times,” says Bryce, like the fucking tool he is.

that was easy

Poor Liss looks right on the edge of tears. I, on the other hand, am right on the edge of my SEAT – finally this shit is getting good!

“I didn’t even know that,” says Bec, “but thanks for sharing that with the entire room as well.”

do not plasma cannon him, do NOT

Bryce says it ended four weeks before he came on MAFS, and then has the audacity to declare himself the most honest person on the show. Brett does what I do and bursts out laughing.

fucken go off sis

Everyone cracks up, actually, which is the wrong move when dealing with an ego as fragile as Bryce’s. He immediately goes on the attack and has a go at sweet Patrick, who to his credit does not take it lying down. “Pipe down,” he says, and I love him for it.

Then Alana suggests that Bryce “say his piece”, and he says, “No, I’ll let the fucking puppeteer here go,” referring to Bec. This means we get to see honourable himbo Jake step in the role he was built for: defender of women’s rights to not be spoken to by a fuckwit called Bryce.

“Oi – do not speak to, not only my wife, but any other female, with language like that,” he says, while Bec suddenly feels a flush of almost-human warmth towards him.

the ice maiden appreciates a mortal melting

“Don’t swear,” says Jake. “It comes across abusive. I won’t have it. So don’t do it.” I have practically slid off my chair at that. Call it as it is, King Jake! KING!!!

Meanwhile, poor Melissa is feeling very embarrassed. Hearing about this Tinder girl is uncomfortable for her. But she thinks she needs to be there to support him! That’s what makes them strong! Ooofff.

Alana asks her if she’s okay, because she doesn’t look okay. “I’m not okay with this interrogation,” she says. “If you’ve got something to say, if you hear something, just say it to the person.” She says she’d rather have things out in the open than be embarrassed on national television. Extremely fair! “I’m done with it,” she says. “Let it lie.”

The experts wonder when Liss is going to decide enough’s enough. Liss asks the table if they can’t just enjoy themselves and get to know the new couples? Yes, wouldn’t that be nice! If the producers let that happen I’ll eat my wine glass.

Booka and Brett are expressing their deepest sympathies to the new couples (to camera, obviously). “Welcome to hell, bitches,” says Booka, and I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks that!

blink twice if you need help

Patrick and Johnny both take the time to congratulate Jake on being a stand-up bloke. Men reading right now: this is what we mean when we say “call out your mates”. Just like that! It’s not that hard and you can actually make a tangible difference in the culture of violence and hatred towards women!

Bec likes it too. It’s nice to see her warm up towards him. God I hope they both decide to leave at the next commitment ceremony, though, ‘cos no amount of bonding-through-hardship is going to actually make them compatible.

Down the other end of the table, Brett and James are playing celebrity heads with a level of self-awareness I find refreshing. Jo, however, doesn’t find it amusing. Time for mum to pop the fuck off. She’s out-and-out bitching about him to Belinda and Patrick.

“He’s been humiliating her,” observes Alessandra accurately.

Here come Jo and Belinda, clearly fuelled by several bottles of wine each, to confront James about being a disrespectful disappearing act.

you’ll live to regret incurring the wrath of the sea witch, bitch

James does the thing he and all other slimy motherfuckers do, and twists the argument around to attack Jo. It makes me wanna spew, it really does. Belinda goes in on him and we simply love to see that. “You’ve been treating her like absolute shit,” she spits. “You’re so controlling.”

He’s all like, There are two sides of the story, and she’s like Oh yeah? Well I’ve heard you’ve been talking shit about me, too!

“You called me a frigid,” she says.

“No, I said, Is she?” he says.

Jo’s like, “No, it wasn’t a question. And you asked if she was a virgin.”

Best of luck digging your way out of this one, fucko! Belinda is fully arcing up and I am HERE. FOR. IT. “To be honest that word is very offensive and insulting to me,” she says. “I’ve explained on the couch that this is my first relationship and I’m taking things slow.”

a courtesy I will not extend to the speed at which I fucking destroy you

James is fixated on the difference between saying she’s frigid and asking if she’s frigid, which is… the wrong thing to fixate on. Patrick isn’t having a bar of it. He demands an apology, and I demand a knighthood for him.

James finally really apologises. “I didn’t realise it actually hurt you, I’m actually sorry about that, I really am,” he says. Belinda isn’t convinced, but she and Pat are willing to let it go. Watching them work together is very satisfying.

“When we’re a team, it’s so sexy,” says Patrick to the camera, and I couldn’t agree more.

Back at the table, Pat and Jake are bonding over being the two best blokes in the kingdom.

ahh, courtly love

The inevitable happens and Patrick and Jake decide to ask Liam about his bisexuality. Liam is the epitome of class and confidence: “I fall for someone’s personality. I don’t see if you’re a dude, you’re a girl, whatever. I’m just open, and that’s what it is.”

Jake admires his openness and courage. Same! They have a nice little chat until Brett gets jealous of being left out of the bromance and comes to sit on Liam’s lap. I love seeing blokes express physical affection and my withered heart is warmed by this uncomplicated little lovefest.

I’m the Carrie, Patrick’s the Miranda, Jake’s the Samantha, which means you’re Charlotte!

Liam is officially One Of The Boys. Knighthoods for all!

Meanwhile the tension between Jo and James is bringing everyone’s mood down. “Do you think you’ve been a good husband?” asks Jo. “Do you think you’ve been a good wife?” he shoots back. It’s gross and I hate it and him. James tries to get Johnny onside with him and Johnny makes the correct face in response.

no thank u

Jo calls James out: “You fucking sit here at the top of the table thinking that you’re fucking King Dick.” Get him mum!!! “You’re a liar, you’re a controlling freak, you make yourself look good in front of fucking everybody. You sit there with your smug face, you’ve treated me like shit, you haven’t cared about my feelings.”

“Oh, you care about my feelings?” he says. Of course he does.

Jo gets up and leaves. James responds by taking my favourite cartoon mouse hostage and squawking with laughter like the vulture he is.


get your claws off my tiny beautiful friend!!!

Jo is done with it. She’s not going to cop it any more. I think that means that she’s about to stamp him into the floor during the commitment ceremony, and I for one am ready in mind, body and soul. See you then!