Married at First Sight: Valid Social Experiment or Vapid Reality Garbage?

Jason and Cortney pose for their wedding photos on Married at First Sight.
Jason and Cortney pose for their wedding photos on Married at First Sight.
Courtesy FYI Network

First comes love and then comes marriage? Not necessarily. And especially not when there are reality TV cameras. We have been on this wild ride since we were first taken to Temptation Island, then the endless vicious cycle of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Now we at are the point of Dating Naked and the most extreme, Married at First Sight. The latter just had its finale last Tuesday with the reunion special tonight and we need to just exhale, contemplate, and take in what happened and what our culture is coming to.

Married is on a network you probably have never heard of, FYI, and is based on a hit Danish show that sought to conduct an "extreme social experiment." A sexologist, a sociologist, a psychologist and a spiritualist (not the start of a joke) poured over a slew of singles who agreed and applied to be married blindly, based solely on the decision of these specialist.

Six brave desperate people had their so-called "perfect match" chosen and at the end of the first episode and on the second episode they met the other name on the marriage certificate at the altar. For the first time!

We were hooked and extremely stressed out.

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The most memorable first encounter was Jamie and Doug. She looked repulsed by her groom as she kept whispering and holding back tears and crouching against a wall in her gown saying, "I am just not attracted to him." But she went with it, thinking the experts knew something that perhaps she did not.

Another bride, Monet, was shaking uncontrollably but boned her husband Vaughn the first night. The best matched was the youngest couple: Cortney and Jason. She's a gorgeous buxom blonde makeup artist and burlesque dancer and he's a firefighter/EMT in training with dreams of being a wrestling star.

Vaughn and Monet's wedding. Those groomsmen's faces say it all.
Vaughn and Monet's wedding. Those groomsmen's faces say it all.
Courtesy FYI Network

However, unlike other dating reality show garbage, it all began at the wedding but that wasn't the end goal. What happened in the next few weeks was a hyperlapse of newlywed milestones: the honeymoon, finding a place, coordinating schedules, and first fights. And ultimate hurdle was at the end of the experiment: Would they want to stay married or get divorced?

Sure, like most reality TV, it's probably scripted and it is definitely edited for dramatic effect but we are accustomed to suspending truth for the purposes of reality television. Don't get us started on "scientific matchmaking." Although, it was really refreshing to see some real conversations that we've never seen televised before, like talks of (gasp) finances.

The outcome?

The couple that bedded the first night realized that sexual chemistry was about all that they had in common. Unlike the other two couples, they chose not to start fresh in a new home but instead tried to co-habit in one of their already established homes, causing instant resentment and encroachment. They ended in divorce.

 

Doug and Jamie wed on Married at First Sight.
Doug and Jamie wed on Married at First Sight.
Courtesy FYI Network

Jamie eventually became less repulsed by her husband, but they had yet to go all the way. Despite Doug's overly cuddly nature and lying to Jamie about smoking, the couple decided to stay married.

In no surprise, Cortney and Jason also decided to stay married. Despite being the youngest, they seem to be the most mature, scheduling in date nights into their hectic schedules and supporting one another. They also dealt with real family issues, opening up their hearts in the most honest and real way.

As crazy as it sounds, this experiment was actually a success. And where it failed was the participants' error, in that sometimes we don't know what we want -- which is the joy, pitfall, and purpose of dating. Surely there is an easier way to get that realization than a reality show and an actual divorce proceeding but these experts seemed to deliver.

In a world where OKCupid is admittedly experimenting on human beings and "doesn't really know what it's doing" even if you think you're running the show of your love search, it is still a mystery controlled by pseudoscience. It isn't hard to see the appeal of having someone else, especially a so-called expert -- even a sociologist known as Dr. Pepper (true story) -- do the legwork in finding you an ideal mate.

Plus, with so many matches a right swipe away, it's no surprise that people are voyeuristically looking for matchmaking to go deeper and hone in on "the one." Perhaps that's when the extremes of stripping away clothes and marrying a complete stranger on television come in.

It is rare we find someone in the Tinder-age of 2014 that we want to go on a second date with, so having a 2/3 odds on delivering a match you'd agree to stay married to a month later is quite remarkable. The stakes are much higher and that makes for a better chance of working through for a lasting relationship and must-see television.

Tonight at 9 p.m. on FYI, we will find out if they stayed together beyond that initial month in a two-hour "six months later" reunion special. But the show was clearly a hit, bringing the unknown network record ratings for the finale.

And casting has begun on the second season, apply here if you have given up on traditional dating and want to marriage before love.

So far, the odds are in your favor.

Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.


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