Entertainment TV Married at First Sight returns with one big twist
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Married at First Sight returns with one big twist

Josh Cathy Married at First Sight
Newlyweds Josh and Cathy were hitched in the first 2020 episode of Married at First Sight. Photo: Instagram
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The biggest twist in the 2020 series of Nine’s ratings behemoth Married at First Sight is – so far, based purely on Monday’s first episode – there appears to be fewer self-obsessed der brains than in previous seasons.

With his hilarious blingy watch and inability to shut his trap (“I’d rather cry in a Ferrari than a Datsun”) Michael Goonan is the obvious exception, but it’s early doors and someone has to be the fall guy loser out of the gate.

There’s also the requisite amount of lip filler, gym-honed rigs and people proclaiming they are “intimidating” yet have a “heart of gold”, but this is MAFS after all.

A vital ingredient is randoms who will soon become Instagram stars and household names thanks to their villainy/loud mouths/emotional back stories.

But for the most part, this Married at First Sight batch seems nicer than in past years, as if Nine decided to choose real people rather than caricatures along with its first same-sex couple.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of drama – Hayley and Stacey have probably been pegged by producers as this year’s equivalent of 2019’s attention seekers Ines and Jessika – but for now the obnoxious quotient is dialled down.

Single mother Poppy Jennings, 38, was an instant hit with middle Australia, recounting how her ex-husband left her when their twins, now two, were six weeks old.

“My husband had a terrible accident. It was a really hard time in my life,” photographer Poppy said.

“He tripped and fell and landed in his co-worker’s vagina, and he’s still stuck there.”

She slugged back “bridal bourbon” before the wedding, talked about the only men in her life being The Wiggles and revealed her nicknames for her twins: “C–k and Block”.

She was matched with FIFO worker Luke Eglin, also 38, who has two teenage daughters, longs for family life and seems like a decent, grown up and emotionally intelligent man.

 

MAFS did well to whip through the bachelor and bachelorette drinks parties at a good clip because at home, we all just wanted to see the reactions from those seeing their ‘spouse’ for the first time.

Good news for them was that this year the selection process didn’t just involve ‘experts’ John Aiken, Mel Schilling and Trisha Stratford pushing around paper slips with names on them.

This time, clinical neuropsychotherapist Trisha had hopefuls sniff each other’s dirty laundry.

It gave her the confidence when Josh Pihlak and Cathy Evans were matched to proclaim, “They love the smell of each other’s T-shirts, so the pheromones are working”.

So, onto the first wedding – and an unprecedented bridal breakdown.

Poppy and a “smitten” Luke cried during their vows then clang, she realised being on Married at First Sight would mean being separated from her boys for 10 weeks.

Sorry, what?

“It’s really overwhelming,” said a doleful “guilty” Poppy, who may have been using a stunt double during her previous zingy one-liners.

She wept during the reception, ignored Luke and was what you and I would call a drainer.

“It feels like a train wreck,” said Luke.

“I’m like a stiff mannequin with no soul,” said Poppy.

A quick pep talk from mates later she was suddenly fine again. It was pointless and annoying.

Meanwhile, logistics investigator Cathy, 26, and tradie Josh, 28, were totally into each other from the get go, which meant that a hurdle had to be found.

Easy: Cathy was required to show a flash of insecurity over whether she was keener on her groom than he was on her.

He had the same fear. Cue a fireside chat and Josh baring his soul: “I’m crushing hard. Holy demon.”

Cathy was “ecstatic”, the pair kissed and the bride – in the grip of “sexual tension and chemistry” made a pronouncement: “Josh could actually be the one.”

Of course, Nine is easing us into things with likeable couples admitting to an instant spark.

This is not how Married at First Sight works.

The first outing was heartwarming, but the show won’t be truly interesting until they crank out the cranks.

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