Channel Seven is rolling the dice on love with two new romantic reality shows, The Proposal and The Super Switch.
One is weird and the other not as shocking as it claims to be. And that might be a good thing.
Love it or loathe it, Channel Nine’s Married at First Sight has become the benchmark against which all romality shows are measured.
Although this season enjoyed bumper ratings, there was also backlash against the show’s ‘experts’, whose love matches and advice seemed geared towards manufacturing drama and exploiting contestants rather than helping them.
Here’s how Seven’s new offerings stack up.
Will you accept The Proposal?
The concept of this is ‘Perfect Match puts a ring on it’ or ‘speed dating with bling’. Shot in front of a studio audience, The Proposal has a similar look to last year’s dating flop Take Me Out, minus host Joel Creasey (who was that show’s sole redeeming feature).
Resplendent in a tux, Luke Jacobz hosts as eight singles put their best selves forward to impress one potential spouse.
After four elimination rounds (and a few too many rehearsed one-liners) two will propose marriage, without having ever clapped eyes on their intended.
Single mum Jess is looking for love in episode one. The first challenge for her suitors is the swimsuit section (seriously!) in which the blokes get togged up to show how they’d dress for the beach. It’s cheesy but at least the audience has something real to hoot and holler at.
They discuss deal breakers (money, family, religion, sex) as Jess continues to cull numbers, and her teen daughters are called in to quiz the suitors.
The Proposal delivers on what it promises – two blokes on bended knee – but what we really want to see from this kind of novelty match-up is what comes next.
Will they make it down the aisle? Or even past their first date?
Some couples will be revisited in future episodes to answer these questions.
Changing realities on The Super Switch
Billed as Australia’s most controversial social experiment (sound familiar?) The Super Switch is actually much gentler than it claims to be.
We’ll soon see whether this gives it an edge over MAFS.
Six monogamous couples have signed up to repair their floundering relationships. They are paired with a “like-minded” partner for the experiment, sharing a house, bed and all kinds of awkward situations.
Unlike the MAFS ‘experts’ whose specialty is adding fuel to fire, The Super Switch couples get some pretty decent guidance and sensible advice from counsellors Guy Vicars and Jacqui Manning.
You’ll barrack for some couples, and sincerely hope others break up. Most concerning is Melbourne couple Justin, 29 and Neesha, 22.
He would like her to push out a couple of kids in the next year or two – his preferred timeline, you see – then stay at home to look after them while he goes to the pub with his mates.
She’s a clingy lass, who isn’t sure she should abandon her fledgling beauty business just as it’s getting started. She shouldn’t.
Then there’s Port Douglas peeps Lachlan, 27 and Miranda, 24. He doesn’t trust her to talk to other men, and thinks she encourages them.
With an attitude fresh out of 1954, he is suffocating her, and she is annoyingly defensive of his jealous tendencies.
These guys need help, and they get some.
It’s not entirely altruistic – this is reality TV after all. They are put in ridiculous situations and the editing will not flatter them.
But we’ve seen far worse treatment of lovelorn contestants in recent times.
The dinner party concept (borrowed from MAFS) works well in this setting as paranoid partners set about judging each other.
And isn’t that everybody’s favourite pastime?
The Super Switch airs on Seven at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 12.
The Proposal is coming soon to Seven