Okay, you know how there are hardly any reality shows around these days, especially around love and dating?* Well, do we have the answer for you!
Based on the “seven-year itch” theory — that happiness in a romantic relationship declines after seven years — Seven Year Switch is “controversial!” It’s “real life!” The couples are “all straight!” and “all white!” They didn’t sell it on that, but they are. They’re all white, straight, they all have tattoos, and it’s really hard to pick them apart.
Here’s the concept: four couples whose relationships have foundered are split up and sent to live with another “like-minded” partner for two weeks. It will shock Australia, apparently, and the reason is: this isn’t any old Wife Swap. This is Wife Swap where they have to share a bed! Aiiiiieeeeee! *clutches pearls*
Apparently, experts call the concept “switch therapy”. Which experts, it’s not specified. Could be wig enthusiasts, or people who are really good at flicking switches, I’m not sure. I’m not a doctor.
“Will their experimental spouses be able to fill the void they’ve been yearning for, or will they discover that the grass isn’t always greener?” poses the promotional material.
Oh, here are our professionals, Jo Lamble and Peter Charleston. I assume they have some kind of authority to be doing this. They stride around looking important and poke around our couples’ homes.
Jo Lamble, one of the two resident psychologists on the show, told the Sydney Morning Herald that “switch therapy” is “not a thing”.
“There’s no point googling it to see the literature, no point asking the Australian Psychological Society what they think. We probably know what they think anyway.” Hmmm, that’s reassuring.
At the end of the experiment, the couples reunite to decide whether or not they’ll stay together. This could get tricky if they’ve taken a fancy to their bed sharing arrangement with their new partners.
I watched the first episode of the show, and my conclusion is that anyone whose relationship is in trouble should probably NEVER DO THIS.
Isn’t the basis of this experiment ultimately false and incredibly cruel? Taking time out of your life to hang out in a beach house with a stranger, with no kids or responsibilities — that’s hardly going to tell you whether or not you should stay with your partner. It could definitely tempt you to stray, though.
Want to meet the unhappy couples?
Tim and Jackie: she’s kind of overbearing: “take me on a date, buy me a gift, motherfucker!”; also she swears a lot.
Watch: Jackie tries to make Tim say ‘I love you’ on television. Post continues below.
He could be feeling emasculated by her — she does most of the work in their small fitness business while he plays with his dog. He is incapable of being physically affectionate towards her.
Brad and Tallena are getting married in a few months. The problem? They’ve already postponed it once because Brad reckons it’s too expensive (but is cool with buying brand-new TVs he doesn’t need).
He’s more into golf and his bird Squishy than Tallena. She knows it.
Jason and Michelle have two kids — a four-year-old girl and an eight-month-old son. He wants things to be how they used to be; she wants him to know she’ll “never be that person again”. He thinks she’s too focussed on being a mother and has neglected herself. So does she. “I used to be fun, the life of the party I guess. I’ve lost every sense of who I am.”
She feels like they’re not a team. Jason works a lot — to make ends meet — so she feels alone in looking after the kids.
Cassie has a nine-year-old daughter and together with Ryan, a nine-month-old. She thinks Ryan has not grown up. He wants to get rich from Keno. He wants to be a pro-surfer. He skateboards. He says wants his wife to fall in love with him again.
They had a stillborn son three years ago, and Ryan turned off his emotions and started a business she didn’t want him to, which takes up all his time. The professionals’ opinion? “Ryan is a man-child”.
No one, NO ONE, is having sex.
So, who’s going to be matched with whom?
Brad, the guy who has many big-screen TVs yet won’t spend any money on his wedding, is matched with workaholic bossypants Jackie.
Brad’s fiance Tallena is being matched with Jackie’s giant baby boyfriend Tim.
Man-child Ryan is going to be matched with Michelle, who will appreciate his youthful energy, apparently.
Jason, the overworked, will be matched with Cassie.
The couples tell their friends and family they intend to embark on an “experimental marriage” with someone else in order to save their relationships. They all look suitably shocked and dubious, and say things like, “Yeah right. Full on. Wow.”
Watch the promo for the show here. Post continues after video…
Upon their parting, Jackie tells Ryan: “As much as you annoy the fuck out of me, I actually love you.”
“I could do without being nagged-”
“Say you love me back on TV, you ****,” Jackie orders. They actually bleeped that swear, so I’ll leave it to your imagination what she said.
Anyway, he can’t seem to bring himself to kiss her goodbye. She divulges that he’s only once told her he loves her in three years — in a text message. She took a screenshot of it.
The homes that the new “experimental marriages” will be played out in are excellent beach houses, complete with pools and spas, fridges stocked with booze, and just one bed.
I wonder what on earth will happen next?!
We have to stay tuned next week to find out what happens when the couples meet. Will you?
*Read this in a voice dripping with sarcasm.
Listen to Rosie Waterland talking about Seven Year Switch on The Binge podcast…