reality tv

Olivia, Dom, and the uncomfortable conversation around what a woman should sound like.

To catch up on all the MAFS 2022 recaps and gossip, visit our MAFS hub page.

Time moves differently in the land of reality TV. Just a moment ago Olivia was the hero, with her poignant story about looking after her dying father, and her admission that she struggled with her body image her whole life. Her love story with Jackson was sweet and drama-free too. We all thought we'd found the couple we could root for to make it on the outside.

But now, the goodwill is shattered. Olivia has superseded the previous villains of this season - Selin, who hated her husband Anthony with a passion and has now left the experiment, and Carolina, who, well, hates her husband Dion with a (Latina) passion and is now having an affair with "divorced" Daniel - to become Number One Villain.

Olivia started off last night's episode by telling a story about the time she was supposed to be a bridesmaid at her friend's wedding. 

"I was a bridesmaid for a dear friend," she said in a piece to camera. "She picked out these awful brown bridesmaids' dresses. When I owned the dress for six months, she asked me if I liked them. And I was like, 'I don’t, I hate them, they’re disgusting. Like, why are you making me dress like a poo?' 

"And then she got cranky with me and she fired me from being a bridesmaid. And then she asked for it back. I cut it up and sent it to her. [Laughs]. Into five pieces with the kitchen scissors just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. People think I’m just a sweetheart. But look, I can be b*tchy. I can be awful at times."

Guys. You can't make this stuff up. People actually say these things on national television - scratch that, international television, since this will also be screened in the UK.

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Then, at the girls' night dinner party, she harped on about her amazing sex life with Jackson, knowing full well that Domenica had just had an argument with her husband Jack about their less than amazing sex life.

By the way, à propos of nothing, what is with Jackson's shirts? Why doesn't he do up the buttons more than halfway? What is happening? 

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Anyway, back to Olivia. After watching Domenica and Carolina duke it out across the dinner table, she decided to get in on the action.

"You know what Dom, I'm sick of hearing you yell all the f**king time!" she... yelled. "I'm sick of your voice yelling all the f**king time! I'm bored of your voice! I'm f**king bored! It's all I hear all the time! I'm losing my mind! I hear you yelling all the f**king time! I go to bed, I hear you yelling in your room! I'm sick of it!"

"Yelling in my room?" Domenica replied.

"ALL I'VE HEARD YOU DO TONIGHT IS YELL! I'M SICK OF IT, DOM!" Olivia yelled in her loudest yell ever. 

"All I was saying was that I was sick of this conversation..." 

"WHILE I'M SPEAKING! THAT'S F*CKING RUDE, DOM!"

"That's just the way I speak! That's the way I talk!"

"IT'S NOT A NICE WAY TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE!"

"That's my voice!"

"IT'S NOT OKAY!"

She accompanied all this with her signature "Come At Me" look, which, let's face it (pun intended), only served to inflame an already volatile situation.

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"So my voice isn't okay?" Domenica questioned. 

"APPARENTLY NOT!" 

"Is she f**king serious?" Domenica said to the room at large. "No, no, no, no, no, my entire f**king life I've been told my voice is not good enough!"

I'm not going to excuse what Domenica did - which is to break her wineglass in a fit of rage. And nor am I particularly on her side when she says things like "I just tell the truth" to explain why she feels the need to provide her opinion on other couples. Sometimes that is just a way of saying something negative about someone else. And even if it is the truth, sometimes the truth doesn't need to be said, especially if it's already been said. If we all went about telling each other "the truth" all the time, we would never be able to look each other in the face afterwards.

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But I feel for Domenica when she says she's been told her voice is not good enough. When you're a migrant (Domenica is Italian), and especially when you're a migrant who either can't speak English or can't speak English well, you get judged for it.

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I've overheard comments from people over the years about the way Chinese people speak - we always sound like we're arguing when all we're doing is speaking. Mandarin and Cantonese languages themselves can sound harsh and abrupt. It's not a "romantic" language the way French is. 

If Olivia ever came to one of my family gatherings, she would lose her mind. We are a very loud group of Chinese/Fiji Islander/Rotuman people who definitely don't understand what "inside voice" means. It is very much cultural. Inside and outside are the same thing when you're from the Islands. We talk from our core.

And if you've ever been to China, you'll understand why people talk loudly. There's one billion people in China. That's a lot of noise being made - so the louder you speak, the more likely you will be heard. We know we're loud. That doesn't mean we can change it. As Domenica says, "It's the way we speak." 

In a preview of a future episode, we see Olivia call Domenica "white trash". She is coming from a place of privilege and Australia is not having a bar of it. Okay, okay, it's not the whole of Australia, it's only MAFS fans. Still, it's heartening to see the number of people who are calling out Olivia's privilege on social media.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: MAFS is a subset of society. In amongst all the confected drama, there are real things we can learn about life. This is one of those times.

And to Olivia, let me know if you ever want to come to one of my family gatherings. We have amazing food. And we're a pretty interesting bunch. You're most welcome. Maybe you can learn a thing or two, too.

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