Married At First Sight: A Rant
Reality Television- you either love it, or you hate to love it. Claire Ince explores all the ways ‘Married at First Sight’ has changed her life.
For my entire student life, I’ve found shows like Ten’s ‘The Bachelor’ and Nine’s ‘Married at First Sight’ (or MAFS) to be crucial for the improvement of my mental health, as watching them is often the only activity that’s light-hearted enough to stop my brain from going into overdrive.
And even though Bachie will always have a special place in my heart, MAFS has been a favourite of mine since the series aired. For the last few years, it has offered everything I could possibly ask for; romance, comedy, fashion, friendship, and a little dash of drama to keep things interesting- it was truly a diamond in a field of chocolate baths (or something like that).
However, for me, this year’s season has been nothing short of a disappointment. We’ve seen endless fights (both verbal and physical), multiple affairs, lies, betrayal, and a whole lot of judgement- and it’s been bloodcurdlingly frustrating to watch.
So, instead of unhealthily bottling up my frustrations, I’ve decided to share a list of ways in which MAFS 2019 has ‘altered’ my life.
1. I’m stuck in an endless spiral of cognitive dissonance
My mind has been consumed by this show, but not in the typical “omg, did you see what so and so did on MAFS” type of way.
Every fibre of my being does not want to keep watching MAFS, because I’m pretty sure I do not like it, but I still watch and… maybe I sort of do like it?
Every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I spend the entire day trying to convince myself to not watch it, yet every time 7:30 rolls around, I’m on my lounge, impatiently waiting for the drama to play out in front of me.
And when it eventually does, I inevitably fall for the editing, and angrily commentate for its entire duration.
As soon as it’s over, I experience more regret than I do about my pre-teen fashion choices and proceed to hate the fact that I’ve sat through yet another episode, before sulking for a while and promising that I will never watch it again.
And then I do it anyway.
It’s like I’m Mick and MAFS is Jess, (and for some deranged reason, I’m ok with it).
2. I fear that my expectations for marriage have been tainted
As someone who has never had a boyfriend, let alone a husband, my frame of reference for what it’s like to be married is quite limited- but something tells me that this portrayal might not be very accurate.
And even though I have observed real marriages in the flesh, I have to wonder whether said portrayals have somehow infiltrated my subconscious, and tainted my expectations a little bit.
What if my future self questions her relationship if her boyfriend doesn’t say ‘I love you’ within two weeks?
What if my future self is frequently gaslighted by her husband and has no idea how to stop it because that part of the narrative was allegedly ignored by a panel of experts on national television?
3. The show is at the forefront of everything that I do
Perhaps the most concerning side effect that I have noticed, is that on two occasions I have seriously considered using this show as a case study in my uni assessments, or as a supporting argument in class discussions.
Thankfully, I quickly overcame this momentary lapse of judgement on both occasions.
4. I’m beginning to question my critical thinking skills
UON is one of those uni’s that really loves their students to learn to think critically about the world around them.
In most scenarios, I’m the kind of person that analyses, hypothesises, and theorises about pretty much everything, so sometimes I naively think that I am ‘above’ passively consuming blatantly obvious forms of capitalistic behaviour.
In many ways, we all ‘love to hate’ reality shows for this reason. We think that the masses are consuming the preconceived narratives formed by the shows’ producers and that by ‘figuring out’ that they are ‘scripted’, we as individuals aren’t privy to the TV network’s ‘ploys’ like all of the other viewers, and this gives us some kind of sick satisfaction.
But what if that’s the whole point?
What if these shows are being manufactured to trigger our inner conspiracy theorists, get us thinking- and thus, commenting on social media, and subsequently engaging in free promotion?
After being sucked into this analytically charged vortex, I am subsequently being pulled down a rabbit hole of dislike:
- Disliking myself for watching this show
- Disliking myself for watching this show despite the fact that I dislike this show
- Disliking myself for liking to dislike this show
- Disliking myself for realising that I actually do like this show and that even though I am genuinely concerned about this fact, I’m going to continue watching it
All in all, let’s just say that I’m quite ready for MAFS to conclude so that I can finally focus on more important things, like ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’