MAFS RECAP: My Heartiest ‘Fuck Off’ To James, The Gaslightingest Gaslighter To Ever Light Gas

Welcome back to the highlight of everyone’s sad little weeks, the slow-motion trainwreck also known as the MAFS Commitment Ceremony. Who will stay! Who will leave! Who will drink her way through a whole box of cab sav by the end of the recap! Let’s find out!!!

On Planet MAFS, it’s still the morning after the dinner party, and everyone is in top-gear gossip mode. Liss is soooo over the drama, and girl, S A M E. Bryce still reckons he’s “top of the list” of the most honest people on the show, to which I have only one response:

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Liss drops a huge understated burn on him when she says about his behaviour at the dinner party, “You weren’t bad, but I definitely moved your water glass away.”

god forgive me for committing murder so casually

But then, very concerningly, she tells the camera that she and Bryce haven’t had any arguments because “Bryce doesn’t react well”.

“When it comes to something that upsets me, I tend not to bring it up,” she says. “I’m scared what will happen. I’m scared Bryce will leave. That terrifies me.”

I’m going to be absolutely serious right now: this is an extremely unhealthy thing to experience in a relationship. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say we’ve seen some pretty unacceptable behaviour playing out this season on MAFS, from various key players.

Bryce puts Melissa down, humiliates her in front of other people, and makes her afraid that he’ll leave her; James gaslights Jo, minimises her concerns and says that the things she’s upset about didn’t happen; Pig Sam insulted Coco, made her feel bad about herself and called her crazy for speaking up about it; Jaimie belittles Chris for his looks and the way he talks, and runs him down by questioning his intelligence.

All of that shit is unacceptable behaviour, and just because these people feel comfortable doing it on national television does not mean you need to put up with it in your own life. Nor does it mean that you can get away with it if you’re the one subjecting a partner to your insecurity writ large. Everyone, please use this idiotic reality TV show and these facetious recaps as an opportunity to closely examine your own relationships and behaviours and make the choice to DO BETTER. You are better than the pig-people beamed onto your TV screen every week! YOU ARE!!!

Okay I’m off my soapbox. Let’s go look at Johnny and Kerry talk about the real issues: what’s going to be their cute couple name? Kerry thinks it should be “Jerry”. Johnny thinks it should be… “Jorrie”.

jorrie not jorrie

Apparently we’re at the halfway point in the experiment! Thank FUCK. Surprisingly, a major point of tension this week is between star shaggers Alana and Jason. A distance is opening between them! They’re not doing it as much! Alana is worried that he’s not as into her as she is into him.

*ambivalent lizard noises*

The other big drama is obviously Jo and James, who had a confrontation at the dinner party about James’s shiftiness, lies and constant disappearing without warning. I truly cannot wait to see Mum grind that worm into the floorboards with the point of her stiletto.

Because MAFS takes a “divide and conquer” approach to caring for their contestants, the boys and girls are again split up ahead of making their commitment ceremony decisions to stay or leave. This is obviously just an excuse for them to gossip, and for the editors to get in a bunch of shots of Chris looking like a newly-introduced Marvel superhero.

they call him… Eyegasm

In amongst some hired greenery, Melissa is telling Belinda and Jo that she just doesn’t think Bryce has enough time to have a girlfriend on the outside. The main problem, she says, is that she’s terrified of conflict. “With him,” she clarifies. There it is again!

“I just feel like I might be dismissed. He’ll shut down, he’ll walk out, and it’ll be over and he’ll leave,” she says.

“But you don’t want to be too scared to be able to go and talk to your partner,” says Jo, correctly. I’m glad to see someone is trying to act as the voice of reason here!

have you considered that having Bryce leave would be………..good

Meanwhile, Liam and Georgia are both gushing about each other to their respective knitting circles. Kerry and Johnny are doing the same. Jaimie, on the other hand, has literally nothing positive to say about Chris. Really babe? You can’t think of anything?

nothing good going on here, no sirree

Chris thinks everything is going fine with Jaimie, because he is a sweet optimistic good-hearted giant. He thinks that whole insulting hand-washing interrogation was just a communication blip. Jaimie says that they’re aligned on family values, morals, respect, and he’s been so thoughtful and considerate. I really hope she’s talking herself out of the next thing she’s about to say but nope!

“He’s got a Queensland haircut. There’s lots of big things for us to work through,” she nods.

*judges you in Elle Woods*

At the commitment ceremony, Bryce reckons it’s his chance to set things straight re: the whole Bec/rumour/girlfriend thing, while Melissa says she just wants to focus on her relationship, please! I can’t concentrate on either of these things however as Expert Mel has clearly been raiding Alessandra’s wardrobe and girl, I am loving this LOOK ON YOU.

step on me, Doctor

Belinda and Patrick are first up, and things are going great! They’re getting much more affectionate and Belinda is initiating physical contact and they have each other’s backs. I genuinely want everything to work out for these guys in the long run so I am ecstatic to see them functioning so well as a pair. Expert Mel brings up their teamwork last night, during that unpleasant scene in which James called Belinda “frigid”.

“I hate that word,” says Belinda.

“So do we,” says Expert Mel, while James looks as though he’d rather Rumpelstiltskin his way through the floor and back to Hell than face what’s coming for him.

“I felt like it crushed my progress,” continues Belinda, “because I was just so insulted and so offended by it.”

“So were we,” says Alessandra, and I can sense an expert-led James-obliteration approaching.

Here comes James to hasten his own demise, butting in to deliver an “I’m sorry, but” speech. Oh my god! Die!

where does a chauvinist pig get his water from? a well, actually

Fortunately Alessandra has been absolutely champing at the bit to vaporise the Lamborghini salesman ever since he kissed her hand last week. She notes that James admits that it was the “wrong choice of word” – can he explain why?

“Because it offended Belinda,” he mumbles.

“Can you think of anyone who wouldn’t be offended by the choice of word? It’s so outdated, it’s so archaic, it’s so prejudicial. It reeks of sexism and misogyny and the fact that you even came to that word is really telling,” she says, while James’s flesh melts from his bones like he just looked directly at the ark of the covenantDoes James even realise how demeaning it is?

Oh, he reckons he comes from a family that’s female dominated! “I have a lot of respect for females and their rights and what have you,” he says illuminatingly. Fuck you, James.

fuuuuuuck you

Whatever, leave him to his pile of melted skin – is Patrick falling for Belinda? “Look, the feelings are growing, definitely,” he says, blushing becomingly. They both decide to stay, OBVIOUSLY. A million kisses for the mathletes!

Next up are Booka and Brett. She says she’s realised that she’s just been focusing on the negatives in their relationship, like their differences in humour. Brett said she’d noticed that Booka had been holding on to things, but she recognised that she’d fallen into a pattern and was working on changing things – for him! They are perfect and I love them. They both choose to stay as well.

it’s genetic and unattainable

Now it’s Liam and Georgia’s turn, and a wave of calm washes over me. I just love and trust these two so much. They have overwhelming cool parent vibes. I’m suddenly gripped by an urge to regress to teenagerhood just so I can smoke a little weed in their deep-carpeted family room while Liam has a drag and Georgia winks at me over her pink Margherita.

as long as you do it in the house

They wanna stay because of course they do! They get to do a bunch of fun activities and then head back to the sunken living room and the shagpile carpet!

Bec and Jake are up next and she has totally dropped her ice princess act (and possibly raided Georgia’s wardrobe). Jake sticking up for her at the dinner part has really thawed things out. Good for them! They’re both staying!

now kiss!

Bryce is muttering away in the stalls about Bec being “fake” and “selling it well” – shut up! God it’s a bad look. Has anyone ever looked at a bloke with a deathgrip on a meaningless and psychotic grudge and thought, “Phwoar, get me some of that?”

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Aaaanyway, up come Alana and her lizard Jason, whose health I’m starting to worry about as he is just getting redder and redder by the day.

someone set the heat lamp in your terrarium too low, babe?

Jason reckons they’ve had the best week because Alana’s stopped her nagging. Oh, good! Alana actually doesn’t think things have really improved. There is a drawn out and uninteresting conversation where it becomes clear that the two of them really do share about forty brain cells between them. It’s not their fault! They shagged them all out!

Alana feels like she’s tired of being the one who always has to initiate affection. Jason says she has a bigger sex drive and wants more affection than he does. Dad John asks how Jason actually feels about Alana. The lizard does bad.

“How do I put this. I don’t know how to answer this. How do I say this.” DON’T SAY IT.

*panicked lizard noises*

He settles on saying, “I don’t know.” His feelings for her aren’t continuing to grow. This is sooooo sad because Alana said right at the start of this god-awful “experiment” that she wanted a real relationship, that she was always dealing with blokes treating her like a casual sex partner and nothing more. Is there even still a spark between them? Our champion bonk-buddies aren’t generating enough electricity to make my hair stand on end?! Is nothing sacred!!!

Alana wants to stay to try to get back to the way they were at the start. Jason seems defeated but wants to stay – “for now”. John accurately points out that saying “for now” is likely to fill a partner with dread.

What’s the prescription, Doc? Oh, they should just think about the fun times they had and do that shit again, says John breezily. Where did this bloke get his qualifications from? The Hollywood Upstairs Medical College?

A palate-cleanser, please! Thank god, it’s Johnny and Kerry. They’re so hot and they ooze Gold Coast personal trainer vibes. I want them to tell me to do one more rep and then call me champ.

gotta give it 110% full credit to the boys!!!

They’ve overcome the minor hurdle of Kerry still being really good mates with her ex-husband, and turned it into real feelings between them. Also they have a lot of sexual chemistry, even though they haven’t had sex. Johnny has blue balls! He can’t wait to shag Kerry! I’m happy for them! Stop talking about sex now please!

dad’s getting all flustered

Up next are Chris and Jaimie and I am simply dreading the casual cruelty we’re going to see visited upon the giant hottie on this couch of torment. He’s nothing but praise for his hot, intelligent, head-turning wife.

Jaimie mentions that they had a “little disagreement” over her “banter” (constant picking at and berating Chris). They’ve put it down to a communication issue. Are there other differences? Oh my, yes: did you know that Chris is a FIFO worker? Could you IMAGINE.

and not even on your own private PLANE

Jaimie lightly rags on Chris for starting work early and not going to uni, and John gives her some magnificent side-eye. Then he’s like, What’s your deal though, as a couple? You’re all formal and weird.

Chris goes to answer and Jaimie just straight-up interrupts him. Seeing the disrespect towards that mild-mannered Goliath is really making my blood boil. Fortunately there’s lots of lingering shots of Chris’s sculpted features that really take the edge off. They both choose to stay, which would give me anxiety if I didn’t get to look at this image for as long as I wanted.

better than Valium

It’s Jo and James now, and James leads by apologising to everyone for his shitty joke last week. Good! Then he reckons that their relationship has been improving a bit, after they had a bit of a come-to-Jesus at Johnny and Kerry’s wedding. He was trying to lower his walls, he says! Jo is shaking her head and looking like she’s about to go supernova.

mum’s PISSED

She does. She interrupts him to say, with the perfect enunciation of the truly enraged: “You are full of shit. Will you just stop your shit.”

She says he didn’t try, he lied to her face, he went missing, he didn’t reply to any of her texts, and he’s just trying to make himself look better in front of everyone. Everyone is like: yeah that tracks. Alessandra’s getting her Spanish fury on.

if this were a telenovela I would poison you without hesitation

Jo says that James manipulates every conversation: turns her questions back on her, redirects things, avoids answering, and in the end, makes her question the truth that you know. What do we call that, everyone? That’s right!

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It’s fucking gaslighting! In fact, it’s “classic, stereotypical gaslighting behaviour,” according to Papa John, who’s obviously been itching to roast James about this for yonks. I couldn’t agree more, and would like to add, just in case James is reading: suck eggs and kick rocks, you fucking plank.

go fuck a Rolex

John continues to call him out: they’ve got the receipts! They watched him do it for hours at the dinner party! It’s gotta stop, buddy.

“Can you give me an example?” James says, because he is an idiot.

John points out that the whole thing around Belinda being “frigid” is a great example: James said she was frigid, and he was called out for it. Then he was like, No I never said that! I asked if she was frigid. Bingo! It’s good to see it laid out like this and I hope everyone is taking copious notes.

James isn’t. James looks mad as hell.

the face of a balanced and receptive man

John is trying to get James to acknowledge the truth that’s being laid out before him: that he has been gaslighting Jo. James simply… refuses to do so. I’m starting to see why so many toxic men aren’t in therapy. It just doesn’t fucking work on them because their density is so pronounced they’re basically neutron stars.

He’s like, “Genuinely I sometimes don’t understand where Jo’s coming from,” and everyone tries their best to detonate him on the spot.

why are my ice powers not working

Thank god: they have both decided to leave. Alessandra gives James a little parting advice: he should consider allowing himself to be truly vulnerable, because otherwise he’s never going to connect with another human being. I think we all know James would rather stick his dick in a Lamborghini tailpipe than attempt to forge real romantic connection but I respect Alessandra for trying.

Ah wonderful, it’s time for my favourite segment of the show: any time where I have to look at Bryce’s big stupid red idiot face.


On the couch, Melissa says that this week has been challenging, and Bryce clarifies that it’s nothing in their relationship that’s challenging them – it’s just that he’s been dragged into “high school crap”. They tell the experts about the rumours. Liss says she’s satisfied that the rumours aren’t true, but she’s upset that no-one came to her with the rumour weeks ago. Fair enough.

John asks Bec if there’s any truth to the rumour, and she says, “One hundred per cent. I only spoke the truth last night.” She tells the gym story again, about Bryce telling her that he put her at the top of list during the hot-to-not exercise, and then blabbing about having a girlfriend on the outside and not wanting to get her a gift because he’d get caught. So far, so boring. Then John asks a very good question:

“What compelled you to tell Rebecca where you placed her in the ranking, in terms of being number one? What made you do that?”

Bryce reckons it was just general conversation. Mmhmm.

“And Melissa,” John asks, “how does it make you feel to know that he had that conversation with her?”

please don’t make me answer that

Poor Liss. This entire ordeal has been nothing but melancholy and humiliation for her. After some further prodding from John, she finally turns to her porklike husband and says: “Why? Why would you tell her?”

Bryce keeps repeating “it was just a general conversation”, while I imagine anvils dropping from the rafters onto his head.

“It’s embarrassing for me,” says Liss.

“I don’t think it’s embarrassing for you,” says Bryce, helpfully.

“It is. It’s how I feel.” Fucking finally. Tell him, your intergalactic majesty!!!

Bryce tries to turn the convo back to his drama with Bec, which is exactly the slimy kind of move I’d expect from him but certainly doesn’t do much for my level of interest. He’s leaning over his long-suffering alien princess, gesticulating at the woman sitting on the other couch. It’s aggressive and gross and he should be imprisoned for the rest of his natural life.

one well-timed swing with a steak knife would take this arm right off

John tries to step in and Bryce throws one more insult at Bec: “It’s like arguing with a child.”

“Why do you always belittle people?” she says. “Even in the gym, you’re belittling your wife to me, to make what, yourself feel bigger?”

my powers are back, bitch

He tries to interrupt her and she says, Can I finish? And he goes – HE GOES – “I don’t think you deserve it, not during our couch time.” No-one is impressed with THAT.

*Spanish disdain intensifies*

John tries to get Melissa to talk about how all this shit – her husband arcing up, the rumours, whatever – impacts her. She is adamant that she’s not affected because she doesn’t listen to anyone else. “I only listen to him,” she says. Yikes, girl!

“But it has an impact on you,” says Expert Mel. “All we want right now is to support you in this relationship. We can see that you’re hurt. We just want to hear what’s really going on for you.”

no I just have resting hurt face

“This probably isn’t something that I’ve really ever talked about, but I just have this intense fear of losing people,” she says. “And I don’t want to lose him.” Verrrrry healthy.

“We haven’t had a major blowup yet, but it’s almost like I’m preparing myself for it to happen,” she says. “I don’t like confrontation or conflict. I don’t want to voice how I actually feel.” Because she’s seen how he is in conflict with other people? Ah yah, that’s part of it!

John asks if there’s any reason she feels like Bryce is going to abandon her. She says yeah, he’s mentioned leaving – not because of her, but because of the stuff in the experiment. Doesn’t really matter. Hearing that still hurts her and makes her feel like she’s not worth sticking around for.

Bryce, being a brick with no redeeming qualities, simply WILL NOT accept accountability for his behaviour. He keeps bringing up the rumours, people talking behind his back, anything to deflect the blame. John is in flamethrower mode and I am being brought back to LIFE by it.

“I just don’t handle lies being made up and thrown at me,” says Bryce, and John practically yells: “Lots of people can! So learn to handle it!” GET HIM, DAD.

by “handle it” you mean “throw a tantrum” right?

Both of them decide to stay. Bec shakes her head vigorously. John implores Bryce to be gentle, delicate, sensitive to his wife’s feelings. Bryce decides now is the time to ask for advice on dealing with “pure stupidity or idiots”.

I could have been a pilot

Yadda yadda, Bryce is still cranky about Bec, he’s doing his repellent macho thing to camera, who cares – are you seeing these previews?! Tomorrow they have to sit in an empty movie theatre and get yelled at by each other’s parents?!! Their mums and dads have been watching the commitment ceremonies?!!?!? THIS is the silver lining to the pandemic we have all been waiting for. See you tomorrow for some no doubt excruciating MAFS bullshit. I am READY!!!!