I don’t know what’s more crazy – marrying a complete stranger or debuting a two-plus hour season premier about people marrying complete strangers. And we only get to see one couple meet at the alter – with potentially disastrous results. Married at First Sight could have shaved a substantial amount of camera time, but at least I like all of the participants and matches. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I’m on board for these complete strangers to make it.
We begin with the discussion by the experts of the new location: Atlanta and how 20,000 people signed up for this experiment. The last two seasons were held in New York. Does this experiment have a better chance in a different city? Perhaps. Southerners have a love for traditionalism and a slower paced life, so maybe. In the meantime, background checks, endless personality tests and interviews are conducted to rule out people with unrealistic expectations. Men looking for Beyonce and women looking for Mark Zuckerberg are eliminated. Let’s meet the six individuals:
Tres Russell (30) is an attractive Luxury Car Salesman. He’s bi-racial and unfortunately his white mom walked out when he was just three. He has respect for women after being raised by a “team of moms” but has admitted trust and abandonment issues.
Vanessa Nelson (26) is a beautiful Event Planner eager to meet her match. Her parent’s divorced while in high school and consequently her dad fell off the face of the earth. She was raised as Catholic but now considers herself Baptist.
David Norton (31) is a nAccount Executive at a small IT firm. After losing his father as a kid, he became a nurturer, and tends to commit too soon, scaring women away. He is realistic this process will take time.
Ashley Doherty (30) is a full-time Nursing Student working hard to achieve her dreams. She feels behind in life and is ready to take this leap of faith and catch up with others. Bonus: Ashley’s into small flying rodents.
Neil Bowlus (31) is a Laboratory Compliance Specialist in need of a massive beard trim. Grizzly is not a good first impression. He agrees with Dr. Pepper to trim his beard and looks a thousand times better. He’s open to meeting a Jewish girl, but says he’s not going to stop eating bacon. So there.
Samantha Role (30) is a quirky girl Bank Manager like Anne Hathaway in the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada. She’s Jewish and knew she would be on this show because her dying grandmother told her so. She’s looking for someone like her grandfather, but younger.
Clips are shown of the specimens participants sharing the news with family and friends (which give both positive and negative remarks), picking the wedding dress (brought out the tears), getting the tux (triggered the realization), selecting rings (could only choose between three), what to pack for the honeymoon (gulp), and the bachelor and bachelorette parties (some were fun, some were flat).
What’s nice about this year, all the parents and families active in their children’s lives will be at the wedding, unlike the last two seasons where parents wouldn’t show up because they didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t support their kids in this game-show like format.
Two things to mention about the bachelor and bachelorette parties. First, Ashley the event planner walked out of the room when the two shirtless, male strippers arrive. At least take the glass of champagne they offered you, but she didn’t. I’m worried that Ashley takes herself too seriously and may lack skills to take things in stride. And second, the guy she’s getting hitched to, David, is shown guzzeling beer-bongs and whooping it up on the dance floor. Ruh-roh. This may not be a perfect match.
The big day arrives and it is drawn out like a long , hot summer day without lemonade. Endless scenes are shown trying to force the romance on us. Gifts purchased by producers the fiancés’ and handwritten cards are exchanged. David gets bonus points for writing a message of assurance to Ashley’s mom and dad in the card. Family and friends are stressing out the brides and grooms, adding to their anxiety, and he minutes leading up to the wedding are crawling by, inch by inch.
The good news is everyone looks handsome and beautiful in their dresses and tuxes. But the apprehension is showing in ways of perspiration, clenched fists, pacing, and jagged breathing. It’s palpable. The network conducts a countdown to the big moment, interjecting an assault of commercials, making me frustrated as well.
One happy note, during previews for season 3, FYI showed a clip of Ashley saying she wanted to go back, leading us to believe someone would back out, and who could blame them. Her comment was a joke. She doesn’t back out and seems more than ready to met her new husband. But, someone else may back out, and it’s no joke.
When the bridesmaids of Vanessa meet the groomsmen of Tres, they are all relieved the bride and groom are both African-American. You can literally see the sigh of release among everyone. At the ceremony, before the bride enters, Tres introduces himself to his future in-laws, individually shaking everyone’s hand. Poor Vanessa. Like Rapunzel stuck in the tower, she is stuck waiting for her prince in the hot sun, behind a drape of linen, waiting and waiting and waiting for her cue to walk down the aisle with her mom by her side.
Finally! It’s time. Vanessa is rockin’ her rose petal, blush-colored wedding dress. The perfect blend of sexy and sophistication. She immediately thinks Tres is handsome and he immediately thinks she is beautiful. Tres is looking straight at Vanessa, but she’s shy and only focusing on the preacher. She’s scared and nauseous, and manages to repeat her vows, however, when it’s Tres’ turn, he apologizes and says he needs a moment. The groom walks away…and will be continued next week. Grr!
Tell us what you think. Would you ever sign up for a show like this? Do you like the couples involved and think they have a chance? Will you watch this show again?