And that’s a wrap. Nine’s Married at First Sight has finished after a blockbuster, record-breaking, soul-destroying 10 weeks.
MAFS is reality TV for rookies. Its plot twists are over-produced, its characters largely unlikeable and moronic – how many of them would you be friends with? – and its editing slickly annoying.
But it’s also the best television show in Australia in terms of delivering what it promises. Its producers are excellent at their jobs. Its advertising clients and publicists would be thrilled.
Look at the ratings figures: Sunday’s night’s episode drew an unbelievable 2.9 million viewers, and before Monday’s final it had 38 consecutive nights as Australia’s No.1 show.
The 2019 season dished up indignity after indignity.
Still, there were three big surprises saved until the final episode.
The first: That the show’s resident matchmakers – psychologist John Aiken, neuropsychotherapist Dr Trisha Stratford and ‘dating expert’ Mel Schilling – still have a job.
Based on their Married at First Sight track record, the trio has failed spectacularly in their professed career field.
Their matching of couples this year, said to take three months and involve ‘pheromone’ and other testing, saw just two of 10 original couples stay together.
— Married At First Sight (@MarriedAU) April 8, 2019
As matchmakers, Aiken, Stratford and Schilling appear as insightful and effective as used teabags.
The second surprise: The unexpected detente between love rivals Elizabeth Sobinoff and Ines Basic, with the latter – the show’s unapologetic firecracker – saying sorry for her behaviour in romancing Elizabeth’s husband Sam Ball.
“If anyone looks like a dickhead, I think it’s me,” she said during a tearful explanation to Elizabeth. “I appreciate your strength because I don’t think I have it in me.”
Ines then earned a weird Little House on the Prairie redemption from the cast, including Elizabeth: “I appreciate you. Thank you. Honestly.”
Thirdly, there was bride Heidi Latcham finally breaking it off with her smug TV husband Mike Gunner.
Heidi, who has been manipulated by either Mike or editors or both all season, had the final victory when saying she was no longer in love with him.
His response: “I do miss you. I didn’t meant to break your heart.”
Who says you did? Boo hoo. See you on the D-list, buddy.
The non-surprise? That Sam Ball failed to appear in the finale.
With a sky-high opinion of himself and a penchant for torn jeggings, Sam was involved in several major plot ‘twists’ including an early absence and set-up affair that uncovered his doltish small talk about cheese platters.
Viewers now have nine months to reset before the next series, which producers have reportedly said will go back to basics as a legitimate scientific ‘experiment’.
Sure. That’s called saving the best gag for last.