With the rise of reality television throughout the past decade, shock value has become harder and harder to come by.
But one insane new show manages to up the ante.
“Married At First Sight” premiered Tuesday night on A&E’s new lifestyle network FYI. It’s exactly as crazy as it sounds — a panel of experts finds people who are unlucky in love and “scientifically” pairs them up for marriage. They head down the aisle without knowing anything about the other person, and they meet for the first time at the alter.
The marriages are real, according to the show’s publicist, and the network will finance a divorce within six months of the wedding if the couples realise they aren’t meant for each other. The show follows the couples through their wedding attended by friends and family, a honeymoon, and moving in together.
“Married At First Sight” is being billed as a social experiment/commentary, but as The Hollywood Reporter points out, it “seems particularly callous … at a time when the definition and legalities of marriage are at the forefront of national conversations.”
Dr. Logan Levkoff, a sexologist who’s part of the show’s panel of experts, wrote about the show for The Huffington Post:
Though I made certain assumptions about this experiment, I took a call with one of the producers. I listened to her tell me about the premise of the experiment. I heard words that resonated with me. Documentary. Provocative. Thoughtful. And then the question that hit home: “Logan, what if four experts in their respective fields — social scientists — can help to create meaningful relationships?”
… Married at First Sight isn’t just a television show; it is a social commentary. I worry that we are so used to jumping in and out of relationships that we don’t even know what’s worth fighting for anymore. We tend to run at the first obstacle instead of working our way through challenges. This experiment asks people to commit so that they have to fight for something. They have to put the work in — the work that we all need to put in — into partnerships.
The show, of course, completely disregards the importance of chemistry in a romantic relationship and approaches marriage as a scientific, almost business-like partnership.
Check out this sneak peak video of the show from FYI:
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