Married at First Sight NZ isn’t going to wow the entertainment world with its deep insights on the human character. 

“From my point of view, it’s just ice cream TV that I just stuff in my face and feel bad about afterwards,” says TV reviewer Karl Puschmann.

But it’s surviving in a world when local TV news is circling the drain. 

Which says a lot about local news.

[…] “That also includes stuff like MAFS and house renovation shows, cooking shows …that is also a part of the culture … they’re still reflecting that part of New Zealand that exists. 

[…] “If you can just turn off all basic critical functions, you might be able to enjoy these shows as well. Like myself.”  

The Detail today also talks to AUT senior lecturer and reality TV expert Dr Rebecca Trelease, who’s experienced the genre from both sides – she wrote her thesis on the subject, and was a contestant on The Bachelor in 2016. 

“I’m so invested,” she says of the new season of MAFS.

“It’s three hours a week, and I’m invested and I’m wanting to watch it at 12 o’clock when it’s released on the streaming platform instead of waiting until 7.30 in the evening for broadcast television. It’s changing my schedule! 

[…] Why would anyone sign up to a programme that shows contestants at their worst?  

“When you watch people do really well, when you see those relationships work, when you see the love blooming … imagine getting that for yourself. It would be amazing. Imagine if it could actually happen, and you were a part of that, and it got to happen to you.” 

You’d have better luck using Tinder.

[…] Karl Puschmann says the show “gives you permission to indulge in gossip, to embrace your worst human instincts in the name of entertainment”, but he only wants the best for MAFS. 

“I sincerely hope that this awful show returns next year and is even worse, in all the best ways,” he says.  

MAFS is a truly awful show but I have to admit to being a fan. For those who don’t know, MAFS is about a bunch of horrible people getting hitched with a bunch of other horrible people. Throughout the show they are given “challenges” meant to bring them closer together but which are actually designed to create as much drama as possible, such as a “rate the other grooms” challenge, or a “Hand over your phone so I can who you’ve been texting about me to” challenge.

Participants are incredibly dumb. I mean numbingly dumb. It doesn’t occur to them that they’re in the spotlight and their actions are being judged. So when they get hit with the public backlash they blame the editing or being taken out of context.

Which brings me to why I watch it. MAFS, while on surface being a match-making show, is actually a morality play. It is a car crash but at the same time shows you how not to act and the kinds of people to watch for (there’s always at least one gaslighting sociopath).

Currently MAFS NZ is being shown on TV3. MAFS NZ is like MAFS AU, but for beginners. So far it’s been pretty boring but only a matter of time before it starts getting interesting…

Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Has voted National and ACT. May have voted Labour once but too long ago to remember. Favourite saying: “There but for the grace of God go I.”