Married at First Sight is not a high-brow documentary series. We are entirely aware of this.
But last night’s episode, watched by over two million Australians, struck a unique chord with viewers and generated a heated ethical discussion with implications far beyond the realm of reality television.
Andrew Jones was sculpted as the quintessential jilted groom – a ‘good bloke’ who had been rejected by an indecisive and ultimately cruel woman. His bride, Lauren, left him following their wedding reception. He was given no explanation, and it appeared that for him, a 38-year-old fireman, the experiment had ended before it began.
Andrew braved the first dinner party alone and it was here he met Cheryl, a 25-year-old hairdressers receptionist who was matched with Jonathan. They lacked any emotional connection – a not uncommon outcome for a program that marries strangers.
Listen to Laura Brodnik and Tiffany Dunk explain why we need to call out the men on Married at First Sight on The Binge. Post continues after audio.
But when Cheryl discovered Jonathan’s ‘texting scandal’, she decided she had been matched with the wrong person from the beginning. It was Andrew she was interested in.
From the moment she made her ‘relationship’ with Andrew known to the other couples, there was unprecedented animosity. Reserved only for Cheryl.
Andrew deserved a second chance, while Cheryl was indecisive, immature, and likely had an ulterior motive.
Over the next few weeks, it became clear that this relationship wasn’t going to work. But it all came to a head on Sunday night, when the men and women separated. The ‘boys night’ was confronting viewing.
Andrew was asked what he makes eye contact with when he talks to Cheryl, and made a joke about “totally, her eyes” while pretending to grope a set of breasts. He mocked her interests, laughing that she only talks about “the Kardashians and hair extensions,” and said “conversation seems too much for Cheryl.”