Welcome back to another hour-and-then-some of strenuous viewing: it’s MAFS, it’s Tuesday, it’s definitely just killing time until the dinner party, so please fill your nearest vessel with the inebriating substance of your choice and join me on this journey into the yawning ethical void that is reality TV.
Our newest couples, Kerry and Johnny and Liam and Georgia, are being forced into doing “crash-course week”, i.e. Catch Up With Everyone Else By Undertaking A Traumatically Rapid Series Of Fake Relationship-Building Exercises. They’re already up to the “intimacy” part of the obstacle course.
Johnny is stoked about this because he famously has “blue balls” (they haven’t shagged yet). Sucked in, Johnny! You have to fake laugh at each other instead.
Meanwhile, in the once-idyllic Zooey Deschanel-inspired mid-2010s love pad of Booka and Brett, things have taken a turn for the bogus. They’ve been in a “negative spiral”. Booka is making up her own exercise. Take a hike, experts! You’ve been made redundant!
Booka says Brett is always telling her to “lighten up” and “stop being so intense”. Gotta be honest with you, that would drive me up the fucken wall. Props to Booka for responding by writing a list of “things that are sick” and “things that are sucky” instead of garrotting Brett with a guitar string. Very restrained.
do the work, but make it ~quirky~
The sick/sucky list is essentially a pros and cons breakdown of their relationship. Brett immediately says it’s “really dark and intense”. Read the room, pal!
Booka points out that they have different ideas about what it’s okay to joke about, especially re: social justice. It really bums her out. There are some other things (she plays music that Brett doesn’t like, she can get fixated on stuff), but I think that first one is the main thing. Brett is not endearing himself to me by saying, “She has sort of got up in her own head again when I’ve asked her to just relax and have some good times together.” Aren’t you guys supposed to be married? It’s not just fun superficial banter times all the time, brah!
Whatever, this is really harshing my whiskey buzz. Let’s go enjoy Bec and Jake sniping at each other post-cinema of family-related horrors. Remember when the mums just started yelling at each other over Zoom, while projected 12 feet tall? I think I’ve had that exact nightmare.
Bec’s back on her ice queen bullshit. It’s kind of satisfying seeing her hit so many squares on Mean Girl Bingo: I’m sorry that Jake takes things I say the wrong way / he’s obviously just more sensitive than I am / when I called him boring I wasn’t trying to offend him / I HAVE apologised before!
you telling me that I was mean to you like, really hurts my feelings
Anyway these two are really on the rocks. Good! Go home, both of you! Stop being hot and disinterested in each other’s presence and go be hot and disinterested where a bunch more people can see you, as is your legal duty.
Meanwhile, it’s time for Jason and Alana‘s trip to the movies. The spark has gone between them, but these former root-rats are trying their best to salvage things. What’s the best thing to help with that? How about a three-way convo with Jason’s mum and sister and Alana’s two hot and intimidating siblings.
one thrice-cooked lizard, coming up
Hot Sister #1 wants to know if Jason’s actually still keen on things. He’s like, Oh I just get lost for words sometimes. Then Alana is like, Talking would help! He always just ignores me! Jason’s mum and sister agree that he shuts down when he’s angry. That’s not good enough for Alana: their fights just involve Alana getting ignored, not knowing why Jason’s upset, and then just… moving past it. The lack of resolution is grinding her down.
This turns into an embarrassing little fight right there on the red velvet chairs, in front of the judgemental gazes of all four women on the giant screen. Hot Sister #1 is trying to use dog-training techniques: “Jason! Alana! Look at me!” Doesn’t work. Are our favourite bonk-bunnies also destined for MAFS failure/freedom from this prison of an “experiment”? We can only hope.
They go back to their apartment to continue to argue. It’s very boring and I get distracted by the rattling of ice cubes at the bottom of my Slurpee cup. On my way back from the drinks trolley I have the misfortune of hearing Jason snap, “Why are you still here then?” and Alana respond, “I’m not here for long, Jason.” Our former favourite lizard goes the reddest he’s been so far.
is he trying to camouflage against a cricket ball
There’s a lot of “fine”s and “good”s and “great chat”s getting thrown around. Jason looks close to tears. I think the lizard’s feelings are actually hurt, but I also think they’re both going to bail on Sunday night. Scamper free, my reptilian friend! You’ve gone far too long without environmental enrichment. I was about to call the RSPCA.
Next up in the velvet seats of judgement are Booka and Brett, and I need to take a sec real quick to appreciate how GOOD THEY BOTH LOOK.
a towering queen and her faithful jester
Both their mums and dads have shown up for the occasion. A moment of appreciation for the peak White people fashion and decor on display here, please:
that’s a gallery gift shop scarf if ever I saw one
Brett’s parents immediately say they didn’t like seeing how serious they’ve both been on the commitment ceremony couch. “You’ve got to lighten up,” says his mum. Booka’s dad’s like, Well, actually – “I don’t think you should feel bad about intense times to be honest. You need to plumb the depths and find out about one another.” Veerrrryyy interesting. What does this mean for Booka and Brett’s fundamentally different communication styles? Considering what we know about Booka’s recent musical output… I’d hazard a guess it’s not going to be good.
Meanwhile, Johnny and Kerry are being bullied into sharing their deepest darkest secrets with one another (and the entire country) via the letter-writing exercise. Johnny is quietly packing it about whatever it is he’s about to share.
can’t I just do the Godfather monologue instead
Aw, he says he regrets not spending more time with his aunty, who was like a second mum to him, before she died of cancer. He has a handsome cry. Kerry is impressed. Her secret is (watch out, it’s super cute) that she really likes him!! This is a big deal because it’s not easy for her to say things like that out loud. It’s adorable. NOW KISS!
The next morning, Kerry is being coy about what the intimacy tasks have led to in their relationship. Johnny isn’t. “Yep!” he chirps. “We slept together.” Great job. Now please never say “blue balls” again.
Bleh yawn we’re back in Alana and Jason’s terrarium of misery. He’s trying to tell her he hopes that they have more good times than bad. But they fight all the time and it makes her feel like shit. He apologises for saying stuff he didn’t mean. She apologises too. That’s nice and all but I wish they would stop trying to reanimate this sexy corpse! Just accept that you shagged it to death, have the scantily clad funeral and move on.
no it’s still good we’re good
To continue the unmitigated cruelty of “feedback week”, the rest of the original couples are being given yet another irredeemable task: to provide written feedback on another pair’s relationship. Fucking. HELL. And just to absolutely sweep away any sense of credibility attached to this, Bryce and Melissa have been asked to exchange feedback with… Bec and Jake.
Yes, good, what an ethical choice to give the man who has serious uncontrolled rage issues the opportunity to belittle and insult the people against whom he holds a grudge. Can someone get the Hague on the phone? I have a war crime to report.
come, friendly asteroids
Bec says she’s not going to be mean, she’s just going to be… honest. Bryce, king of honesty, is going to love that. Bec and Bryce both think the other is controlling and taking their partner for a ride. Actually I do applaud the MAFS producers for really giving Bec her time to shine ‘cos she is leaning the hell into this bitchy shit.
tell them that I’m just so WORRIED and CONCERNED about their FAILING RELATIONSHIP
Bryce is doing his best to write a scathing letter but is seriously hampered by being kind of dumb.
you… are… a…. stinky… butt… head. no – POOP head
Bec and Jake are first to receive their feedback letter. It’s disappointingly bland, saying that the pair of them seem checked out, and that Bec still hasn’t apologised for calling Jake boring. Bec says she’s happy to take feedback from anyone in the experiment – except Bryce, who won’t even take feedback from the experts. I’ll allow it.
Now it’s Bryce and Liss’s turn, and I am quietly dreading the inevitable tantrum. Their letter is LONG. It calls Bryce out specifically for being aggressive and manipulative. “You build fear into Melissa to a stage where she is submissive towards you,” reads Melissa.
“That’s like, pretty immature,” says Bryce incorrectly, because he is a man with a brain the size of macaque’s.
*agitated monkey noises*
Ooh, Bec and Jake have set Bryce and Liss a task: Melissa gets to have complete control over Bryce for 24 hours, down to what he wears and when he brushes his teeth. “Doesn’t worry me at all,” says Bryce, through gritted teeth.
“I think Rebecca and Jake see me as some sort of victim,” Melissa tells the camera. “I’m going to have fun with these activities. I hope Bryce does too. I hope he doesn’t take it too seriously.” She laughs. “I don’t want him to leave me!”
ha ha ha send help
Bec and Jake’s activity, as set by Bryce and Melissa, is to roleplay as each other for a day. I can’t see this going wrong in any way!
Meanwhile, Liss is having an extremely good time playing dress-up with her man-sized monkey. What are his favourite colours? Sucked in, Brycey, you’re not allowed any of them! It’s also time for hairclips, and lots of ’em. Do they play the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song? You fucken bet they do!
the most likeable this man has ever appeared
In Jake and Bec’s apartment, Jake is acting out a fantasy that I didn’t know I had, and swanning around in a dark red slip and lippy.
Bec has donned a Nirvana T-shirt and done some ad-hoc body art.
got this one in Bali
They’re approaching this whole exercise in good faith and are having a good time for once, gently taking the piss out of each other and cackling like a pair of kookaburras – or at least I think they are, ‘cos I’m finding myself getting… very distracted.
“Bryce wanted to ruin our relationship,” says Bec from under her Chicago Bulls cap, “which I find quite funny actually, because due to doing his activity Jake and I have reconnected.” Shut up, Bec, I’m trying to concentrate on the artwork.
Alana and Jason have been tasked with a cute mood-board activity from Booka and Brett, which has resulted in Jason gesturing to the clipping on Alana’s board that says “bigger is better” and crowing, “That’s me!”
The mood boards are supposed to visualise the things they think are important in life. It’s a sweet opportunity for them to see how much they have in common – wanting kids, wanting to build something with someone else. Jason gets all choked up about wanting a family of his own. It’s reassuring to Alana to see that he has real feelings. Still a lizard, but a lizard with depth.
For some reason, Belinda and Patrick have been tasked with giving feedback to Booka and Brett. As much as I love Bel and Pat, these hyper-nerds/ancient underwater deities are not qualified to give feedback on, well, anything in the mortal realm.
seek ye the blessing of the witch of the sea? then answer me these riddles three
That’s not going to stop Pat from really putting his foot in it: he has it on good authority (Brett) that Booka is self-absorbed and dismissive and by golly he’s going to write all that down and consequences be damned!
“Booka,” reads Brett’s moustache to a slightly Cuddlepot-esque Booka. “We have observed that you are thinking about yourself too much. You think the world revolves around you. You spend time telling people how smart you are, how high your IQ is, and how good your band is. You haven’t spent time getting to know Brett and find out what’s important to him.” Fucking yikes, Patrick and Belinda.
fetch me my nerd-murdering kit
The task they’ve been given is for Booka to host an evening that’s all about Brett, during which she’s not allowed to talk about herself at all. She is not impressed by this. Brett, to his credit, looks like he’s about to have a nervous chunder.
Does Brett believe all the stuff that’s in the letter? “Yeah, I do,” he nods, more bravely than I would have given him credit for. Booka points out that Patrick doesn’t know her very well – that his only real understanding of Booka comes from Brett.
“How badly have you painted me out to be to your friends?” she asks.
Booka is devvoed, and I simply cannot blame her! She tells the camera that no-one’s ever said shit like that to her in her life, and that she’s finally seeing what her husband really thinks of her.
“It sounds like you just don’t like me,” she tells Brett. “If this is what you’ve said to Patrick, then… I’m like quite shocked, to be honest.”
“Yes, Patrick and I have had conversations,” says Brett. “And he has put it into his own words.” Ugh, buddy. He reckons he feels “largely unnoticed” in their relationship, because Booka hasn’t asked him any questions about himself. He wants her to acknowledge that he feels like this. She wants to get the hell outta there, because “this conversation sucks”. Off she goes, leaving Brett alone with his salad.
Down the hall, Patrick and Belinda are poring over feedback from Alana and Jason.
is it some kind of elven script?
The root rats disapprove of Bel and Pat’s lack of intimacy. They prescribe a Titanic-style nude drawing session. Patrick is thrilled about this prospect. Belinda… not so much.
can’t imagine why
Belinda hasn’t even seen Pat’s “thing”, as she insists on calling it. She says if she were to see it, she would scream. Fortunately, Pat’s got a good grip on that wedding photo, and Belinda is able to focus on her masterpiece.
Poor Belinda can’t handle it. She doesn’t want to see a nude human man! She wants to return to her underwater realm and feast upon the bodies of drowned sailors. Stop being mean to the sea witch, MAFS!
They swap roles. Belinda busts out the red undies and makes excellent use of her hair in the tried-and-true mermaid hair-bra style. Patrick’s life drawing skills, however, leave something to be desired.
she’s all curve, baby
Doesn’t matter how disastrous Patrick’s drawing ends up being – he’s absolutely thrilled to see Bel in any state of undress at all. I, on the other hand, have spent long enough in the sweaty nerd flirtation zone, and would like to visit someone, anyone, else. Please. Please?
Oh thank god, finally. We’re back in the root resort with Alana and Jason, and she’s decided that cooking dinner in her lingerie is the best way to continue to spice up their relationship. Turns out, she’s right.
“That’s amazing,” says Jason wholeheartedly. Bless our simple reptile. “This was the most amazing moment of my life.”
the face of a lizard undergoing a religious experience
Meanwhile, Booka is responding to her instructions to make the evening “all about Brett” in malicious compliance style.
this bodes well
She has turned the apartment into a Brett shrine. Pictures of his face are stuck everywhere, including over both of their faces in their wedding photo. It is… good quality shit.
Brett has no recourse here really, considering how often he goes on about Booka needing to “lighten up”. And yet: he doesn’t think it’s that funny. He thinks she’s not really adhering to the spirit of the activity.
Maybe he’ll like the song Booka’s talking about? The smash hit that really reminds her of him?
“What’s it called?” he asks hesitantly.
“Brett,” says Booka through a mouthful of taco.
I am having some regrets
He’s all cut about it because he wants Booka to respond to his feelings about being ignored or not paid attention to in the relationship. That’s sort of fair – except I don’t think Brett has ever actually talked to Booka about that? He just bitched to Patrick about it and then nodded through the extremely brutal letter that Patrick wrote Booka. Sure, Booka’s not having the most mature reaction, but at least it’s funny – and it’s that what Brett wanted? To keep things fun????
Oh well, that’s it for that MAFS-shaped waste of time! Tomorrow is the dinner party and if the previews are to be believed, it’s going to be yet another booze-fuelled pageant of bullshit. See you then!