It’s a cold hard truth that all good things must come to an end. Take That’s leather-waistcoat phase, Brad and Jen’s matching highlights, watch-rings – all great things whose demise we have had to make our collective peace with over the years. And into that box of loved but never forgotten items we must now put series 6 of Married at First Sight Australia, which after eight long pash-filled, explosive-dinner-party driven weeks comes to an end tonight.
If, like me, you have sat sofa-bound since the start of January watching every night - for 90 minutes each time - through endless rounds of commitment ceremonies, made-up relationship challenges, dinner party drama and inexplicable close-ups of the wedding photos each couple ‘decorates’ their identikit sterile matrimonial pods with – then you too might be nursing a looming sense of loss at the show’s finale.
I’m here to tell you: that’s entirely ok. We are not experiencing this loss in normal times, and this is no ordinary series. Even if you take the fact that it started at near enough the precise moment we all got locked down for the fourth time (in the darkest and gloomiest month of all) out of the equation, the sheer velocity of the episodes, the exponential volume of the content, would have rendered us all powerless to its charms.
Married at First Sight Australia is the viral load of entertainment programming, attacking the body from all angles until you just sit prone with your mouth agape, frantically messaging your mates a steadily increasing amount of exclamatory nonsense: “Ines!”, “Sam!!!!” “Poor Ning!!!” “OMG MIKE STOP!!!!” DAN AND JESS DESERVE EACH OTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!
For me though, this show has been more than a TV programme. It’s been a social event at a time when literally zero the-fuck-else was going on. Every night, myself and ‘the girls’ (a WhatsApp group of four brilliant women created solely for the purpose of saying hilarious things to each other whilst watching shit dating-related shows on TV) watch along together. We message the group thoughts, feelings, musings, quips, memes, gifs and barbed contempt for the show’s experts for the full 90 minutes. Sad? No friends. It’s power. It connects me to a world outside my flat and forces my brain to give up its sedentary ways and work harder to be as funny as they are. And yes, I am upset that for now at least, it’s over.
I guess it’s the same feeling other (normal) people must have when their netball team breaks for summer or they get to the end of whatever extracurricular activity has kept idle fingers off their news feed for a few hours a week. And that feeling has never been more important than it has in the last few months, where we have all sat siloed in our own homes, both frantically anxious and mind-numbingly bored by the state of the world outside.
MAFSA was the escapism we all needed. It allowed us to jump into a world of blue seas, boat trips, big family parties, dinners with food and wine that other people served, and ‘intimacy’ with complete strangers with insanely white teeth. I have had romantic relationships that have lasted less time and not taxed my emotions as much as this show. I have committed probably in total days of my life to the romantic fortunes of this cohort and I am invested goddammit.
So, if you’re also worried about how you’re going to cope with the fact that you won’t hear the phrase ‘came here to find love’ repeated circa 80 times a night, or are concerned whether anyone has actually realised that Dan lives on the Gold Coast, and Jess lives in Perth, it’s time to accept your status as a MAFSA widow. It’s ok to mourn the loss of this batshit comfort blanket.
It’s time to take some coping strategies straight out of the MAFSA experts psychological playbook: we all need to ‘choose love’. Stop self-sabotaging your own healing process. Let go of the past and build intimacy with something else (if you haven’t already I’d suggest doing this with season 4 and 5 of MAFSA which are both on All4). And if that doesn’t work? Married At First Sight season 7 is coming in summer. Time to start cancelling plans… now.
Follow Amy on Instagram @amygrier17
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