reality tv

A rigorous investigation into the 'comprehensive testing' that goes into matching MAFS couples.

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Another two couples got hitched tonight and we must have a chat about how the experts pair the contestants.

To say it has its kinks would be putting it too lightly.

According to John Aiken, this season saw more than 15,000 applicants put their names forward to be ridiculed on TV. Believe it or not, there’s quite a rigorous screening process.

First comes the initial application. Thanks to fellow Mamamia writer, Chelsea McLaughlin, we know that prospective candidates need to answer questions like ‘Have you had cosmetic surgery?’ ‘Have you ever been declared bankrupt by a court?’ and ‘Do you have any skeletons in your closet? If so, what are they?’

MAFS Experts: UNCUT | Episode 1. So this is how the experts make the matches. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

Then it’s up to the experts – John Aiken, Dr Trisha Stafford and Mel Schilling – to match the contestants through multiple rounds of tests and individual meetings.

John is in charge of “personality, attachment styles, and how they communicate in relationships”. Mel attempts to understand their “values, their lifestyle preferences, and a bit about their personality” and clinical neuro-psychotherapist, Dr Trish, tests the emotional brain of the participants and is lead t-shirt sniffer.

As there are only a measly three couples still together after six seasons of the show, it would appear they need to change their tactics. But alas, here we are.

After some thorough MAFS re-watching and searching, this is how they do it.

1. The t-shirt smelling.

If you’ve been following this season, then you’ll know the experts are big on t-shirt smelling. (Remember that shot of Michael in Trish’s lab, really enjoying Stacey’s natural odours?)


Well, it’s apparently one of the cornerstones of the expert’s matching routine.

michael mafs recap
How did that work out for you, Michael?? Image: Channel 9.

Speaking to A Current Affair in 2019, expert Dr Trish gave us a look into the process.

“They sniff t-shirts,” she said. “They get sent a t-shirt and they have to put it in a snap-lock bag every night and wear it to bed and no deodorants, no spicy foods.

“They do that for a week and then they send it in and they smell each other’s t-shirts.”

Not to be judgey, but that sounds gross. Hard pass.

2. Photo flipping.

In theory, this sounds... slightly plausible... in comparison to smelling two-week-old t-shirts.

Contestants are asked to go through a gallery of people who may resemble their prospective partners in order to find out what they're physically looking for in a partner.

For example, these were the faces on Michael's reel.

Image: Channel 9.
Image: Channel 9.
Image: Channel 9.

It's like scientific Tinder.

3. Comprehensive personality testing.

Let's face it, the experts have picked a few bad eggs - the list includes but is in no way limited to every partner who has cheated on their fake spouse.

John Aiken gif

4. Relationship analysis.

Not to start beef with the experts, but surely there were indicators that could have predicted this little situation...

Hayley MAFS 2020
When you forget to include 'will you use your wife's toothbrush as a toilet cleaner?' in the questionnaire and it turns out horribly for EVERYONE involved. Images: Channel 9.

Instead, might we recommend the inclusion of the following questions:

- What is your conflict resolution style? Do you tend to fly off the handle?

- Finish this sentence: If I found out my spouse cheated, I would...

- Have you ever vindictively smooshed your partner's personal possessions into their own faeces or put them at risk of developing sepsis or food poisoning by ingesting their poop?

It's really just 'duty of care 101'.

Feature image: Channel Nine.

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