Married at First Sight: The Tragic Endgame of Commercial Media

21/02/2019

If there is one thing I hate more than the commercial news stations, it is the other garbage that they spew out year after year to boost ratings and make absolute bellends ‘famous’. Shows like Master Chef used to have a level of prestige, where the personality was important but second to the cooking ability of the contestants. After the first few seasons, however, it quickly became all about the personalities and drama, with the actual cooking taking passenger seat in a cooking show. Nowadays, these types of shows don’t even bother trying to hold substance and go straight for the ratings fix. No more is this evident than with the absolute depths of media depravity, Married at First Sight.

Full disclosure – I have not watched the show at all outside a few individual clips, and no, I don’t plan on watching anymore. Acquainting my forehead with a brick wall a few times will have the same effect and has the added bonus of actually being a somewhat interesting endeavour. I must also traverse the fine line that is respecting the right of another to watch what they please while also unreservedly judging them for their viewing habits. I was once called elitist (by a guy, no less) for voicing my opinion on The Bachelor a few years ago, a label I’ll wear proudly if it means intellectually adequate. I know some intelligent people who watch these braindead shows and simply cannot fathom why.

But the point of this piece is not to trash talk the people who watch them. The point is that we have finally reached the peak of commercial TV tragedy. The premise is two airheads that have never met before are paired together by ‘experts’ and married immediately. Over the following weeks, forced and painstakingly dramatised interactions take place between the ‘contestants’ while said ‘experts’ provide a shallow commentary of what just happened. And the masses love it.

The ABC’s Media Watch presenter, Paul Barry, however, had a different take on MAFS. As interviews and articles with and about former contestants has shown, the mental health of certain people has been majorly affected, and Nine does little to manage this outside of a clause in their contract stating no negative opinions about the show are to be voiced for two years after release. Only one of the marriages from the previous seasons has apparently worked, obviously debunking the whole ‘expert’ myth on the show. But none of these revelations has caused any particular outrage with the audience of the show, and Nine, in their response to Media Watch’s questioning, has denied any issues and stated they have many support teams available – a claim a find hard to believe, given what has been revealed.

I title this as ‘Endgame’ because surely there can’t be anything worse than this in the commercial sewage pipeline. Summing up a few reasons why:

  • It is an insult to actual expert psychologists and counsellors that those terms are used on the show.
  • While sympathising with someone who willingly signed up to be on the show is difficult, the manufactured drama they are subjected to is just absurd, and Nine should be ashamed of themselves. Devoid of personality or not, those are still people on the show.
  • I can’t help but feel that this is a severe dumbing down of our population, slowly but surely sinking viewers into an ever-deeper pit of low expectations and no intellectual stimulation. I’ve seen people say ‘oh even smart people need to have a break and watching dumbed down stuff relaxes me’ – no, you’re just an idiot.

The government slashed down the ABC’s reach in the Pacific region and has now made a move to shove commercial media out there instead. Despite the fact that this is yet another example of private interests getting preferential treatment over our public broadcaster, it should be considered criminal that we are going to subject these poor people to our gutter TV shows. If Married at First Sight is the golden age of Australian commercial media, then I never want to see another TV channel in my life.

 

Liked this? How about something educational, like a book? Lenin and the Russian Revolution: A Reflection Pt.1

Previous piece: Sanders Doesn’t have to Win, He Needs to Make Waves

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