The second season of controversial reality show Seven Year Switch started on Tuesday night, with four new couples looking to switch partners for two weeks in an attempt to save their relationships.
This year, an unexpected twist sees the couples ‘marry’ their experimental partner – because if there’s one thing we needed from Seven Year Switch, it’s for it to be just a little bit more like Married at First Sight, please.
While the participants didn’t see the ‘marriage’ element coming, and are therefore probably going to behave in ways that make for superb reality television, the first season of Seven Year Switch had a much bigger twist we never saw: The contestants weren’t actually aware of what they signed up for. At all.
Listen: Clare Stephens and Tiffany Dunk chat to Michelle Guest about the latest season of Seven Year Switch on The Binge. Post continues after audio.
In an interview with Mamamia‘s TV podcast The Binge, former participant Michelle Guest said the current season of Seven Year Switch is fundamentally different because the people on it “know what they’ve gotten themselves into”.
“They know they’re going to be partner swapping, whereas last season, we didn’t know any of that,” she said. Guest also admitted she thought it would be easy to judge this year’s participants, because “who in their right mind would go onto a partner-swapping show?”
While it might seem like a strange comment, given Guest and her husband Jason went on the very same show, she’s adamant they had no idea what they were walking into.
When asked if she had any regrets about doing the show, she said, “I guess for me, we went onto the show, Jason and I… we thought it would be different to what it was. So that’s the only thing”.
"We thought we would be together. We didn't know we'd be partner swapping," she said.
"We thought we might be going away together... maybe counselling sessions together.
"It wasn't until a little bit later in the process we realised we weren't actually going to be together for some of it. But we never knew... until I actually saw Ryan standing there I didn't know it was going to be a man, for starters, or that Jason's going to be with Cassie. We had no idea.
"It was very different to what we had thought was going to happen."
As a result, Guest says "it wasn't a lovely experience".
"Would I tell my best friend to do it?" she asks. "No".
In later correspondence with Mamamia, Guest said the show she and Jason originally signed up for went under the name Relationship Rescue. "We were assured many times that it was not going to be a reality television show," she said. "We only found out what it was called the same time as everyone else did, when the first ad went to air ."
Guest has previously written for Mamamia about struggling with post natal depression after having her first and second babies, and questioned why none of her extensive conversations about PND were shown when Seven Year Switch went to air.
"Is it because it's still not really spoken about?" she asked, "Or is it because my story without that defining factor is more interesting?"
Either way, it appears Seven Year Switch, and other shows like it, represent a world far, far from reality.
Channel 7 was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.