Comedic writer Toby Halligan has some thoughts on Channel Nine’s new TV show.
In the annals of commercial TV glory, Channel Nine’s Married at First Sight is unlikely to be recalled fondly or indeed, at all.
If you’re unaware the premise of the show is that a couple meet for the first time at the altar and “marry”.
It’s since been acknowledged that due to a quirk of the law in Australia they won’t technically be married and will have to decide after 30 days whether to follow through.
SOFT I say, at least insist they get facial tattoos of one another’s names…
Since its announcement Married At First Site has created plenty of heat and wind on social media, very little of it positive.
A petition on Change.org that has gathered 17,500 signatures demanding its axing declares:
This television show is a disgrace.
It is morally unsound and should not be aired on Australian television. It is appalling that we live in country that will not support marriage equality but will support a television show such as this.
The idea of pre-emptively petitioning against a show stinks.
It’s good manners to at least let this pungent fart erupt and THEN make faces and run.
But what about the core objection – that the show is a slap in the face for homosexuals who can’t marry?
I’m one of those homos. And I’d one day like to get married.
The ongoing failure of Australia’s political system to sort out a change now enacted by seventeen countries despite overwhelming public support is pathetic.
One of my dreams, is for my Mum and Dad to see me getting married.
And the fact that my parents, both approaching their 70s, may never get to share in the joyous occasion of spending too much on cake and witnessing an in-law vomiting over a botanical display, doesn’t make me angry – it saddens me.
Really and truly saddens me.
The problem with pre-emptive objections to Married At First Sight is that it is a symptom, not the cause, of a problem.
It’s certainly offensively lacking in imagination. Arranged marriages were (and sometimes still are) the norm in sections of the world. But instead of overbearing parents there’s overbearing producers, with three experts operating as their proxies linking up the couples. Of course, as the shows producers have acknowledged, people technically aren’t getting married on the show.
That aside, the show demonstrates perfectly why conservative arguments that marriage is sacred are so silly. If straight people can participate in what the show’s producers call a “social experiment” where they don’t know the person they’re getting hitched to (even if that happens 30 days after the ceremony), then why can’t committed gay couples who have been together for decades?
It highlights a major hypocrisy and adds insult to the injury of being denied a privilege that matters to a lot of gay couples.
There’s no doubt that marriage matters for SOME gay people.
It means committing to one another. It means acceptance. It means recognition. And it matters.
While Australia may have come a long way in the last 20 years being gay can still be a litany of petty tyrannies and harassment. Two days ago a good friend of mine was waiting to cross a street and two men in a ute sat at the intersection and screamed homophobic abuse at him.
I, like most gay people, am careful about showing affection to my partner on public transport because I got tired of being threatened.
Gay youth still kill themselves at four times the national average, and a recent study found that a third of teenage boys wouldn’t accept a gay friend. As long as the Government refuses to support gay marriage, whatever the reasons (and all those that are provided are pitiful), that abuse feels like it somehow fits with a wider pattern of state sanctioned discomfort with homosexuals.
By the way, if you’re still worrying about what gay marriage means for marriage, you need to get checked.
Because what the hell does that even mean?
What COULD it possibly mean for marriage? How the hell is YOUR marriage affected by anyone else’s? Like remember when that lady down the road got married for the fourth time?
Remember the MASSIVE impact it had on your communication with your spouse? NO OF COURSE NOT YOU CRAZY PERSON. “Defending marriage” is code for “gay bashing”. Nothing more, nothing less.
Which brings us back to Married At First Sight.
If the show achieves anything, hopefully it’s a reminder that change has come for gay marriage.
So don’t sign the petition to shut it down, sign this petition to support marriage equality.
Because that matters, much more than this show, much more than any show.
Here is a taste of some of what is to come on Channel Nine’s new show…
Toby Halligan is a comedy writer and stand-up comedian and runs a political comedy room in Melbourne every second Sunday of the month called Political Asylum.