When we had a sneak peek at the new season of Married At First Sight earlier this year, much was made of the first lesbian couple appearing on the show.
The new pair would deliver “the most emotional and moving wedding we’ve ever had on the show” according to one of the show’s relationship experts, John Aiken.
But it turns out the honeymoon was short-lived.
It could be said the producers absolutely cooked this ground-breaking opportunity by teaming Amanda Micallef with Tash Herz – arguably the most wildly mismatched couple since Jessika was paired with Farmer Mick.
An individual with no eyes or ears could have picked that this couple would clash from 100 kilometres away.
On Sunday evening’s episode, after a tumultuous few weeks, Amanda and Tash mutually decided to leave the experiment.
It’s a failure that clearly disappointed Amanda, who said in her exit interview “unfortunately, this relationship has not been a representation of what gay relationships are really like”.
“There are a lot of good functioning gay couples out there. And I’m sorry that this was not [one of those],” she said.
We represent such an underdog community … this didn’t do the gay community justice this time around”.
On Monday, Tash went on KIIS 1065 and took aim at the show’s three “relationship experts” Aiken, Mel Schilling and Dr Trisha Stratford for thinking that Amanda would be a good match for her.
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She also said she thought it was “ridiculous” that another expert wasn’t brought on to match the show’s first lesbian couple.
When quizzed on why the existing panel couldn’t pair a lesbian couple, Tash said “I’m a bit confused about all or most of the pairings but yeah, and I’ll tell you why … every lesbian that is in my orbit and even strangers have reached out to me [about the pairing with Amanda] and been like, ‘What? Why did that happen?’
Even Amanda fans don’t think that I was suited to her, so it was just like this monumental fail really.”
— HeatherCG (@HClesidia) February 24, 2020
To further highlight the shortcomings of the expert’s pairing process, Tash has since been romantically linked with a woman named Maddison who auditioned for the series, but wasn’t selected as a match by the experts.
Tash told the KIIS radio hosts it showed just how flawed the matching process is.
“[Maddison and I] are what each other both asked for … she makes me feel safe, she makes me feel respected, she makes me feel every way a person that you’re in love with should make you feel.”
But, as Haydn Hickson writes on GOAT, perhaps our expectations of how things were going to play out for MAFS’ first lesbian couple were unrealistically high.
“Amanda and Tash were never going to represent the entire queer community because it is literally impossible to do so,” he writes.
In fact, if they showcased anything, it’s that queer couples and heterosexual couples go through the same romantic experiences.
“There’s kindness, there’s romance and yes, there’s fighting … which, as we all know, is killer content when it comes to ratings.
“It’s naive to think that drama and ratings aren’t the main focus of the pairings, regardless of sexual orientation.”
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That view was expressed this week by ex-MAFS participant Carly Bowyer, who appeared in season five of the show.
She told Confidential that the series’ relationship experts have “questionable” matchmaking skills, and said claims that they use a scientific process when pairing the couples are “complete rubbish”.
As the article points out, since the show began in 2015, nearly every single couple matched by the experts has split.
Only three out of 48 couples are still together and the experts’ embarrassingly low success rate has prompted claims of deliberate mismatching for ratings.
I would say don’t go on a reality show to find love. You’re probably not going to find it. It’s virtually impossible” Bowyer said.
“The couples know nothing about each other. They’re [matched] by experts who don’t know them either, so it’s pretty bloody unlikely.”