The Newest UK Reality Show Marries Participants As Soon As They Meet

by
Indrani Sengupta
Because who knows you better than 18 months worth of scientific profiling? Certainly not you yourself. That would be ridiculous.

Channel 4’s new reality showMarried At First Sight, has a simple premise: science is better than you are at determining your perfect partner. A team of “expert” psychologists, anthropologists, and a lone vicar assess whether the participants are marriageable matches, and if so, they’re hitched. Couples are offered the option of divorce after six weeks in case, you know, letting people who don’t know you personally make one of the most crucial personal decisions of your life is a bad idea.

This isn’t the first show of its kind to air worldwide. A US version of the show has culminated in two marriages that are still going two years down the line. Jamie Otis, a member of one of these successful marriages, admits that she'd believed she’d made “the worst decision of my life” on the day of the wedding.

Jamie, we’re as shocked as you are.

Others have fared more predictably—i.e. not so great. Monet Bell and Vaughn Copeland, another American couple, spent the six weeks arguing over Bell’s wish to immediately start a family. Because getting married at first sight wasn’t speedy enough?

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Response to the shows have been largely negative. A petition calling for the end of the Australian version of the show termed it “morally unsound.” UK’s Marriage Foundation claimed that the show undermined the very idea of commitment, though it seems they’re protesting the divorce option more than the early hitching.

 “Having the option of a six-week exit route is hardly a whole-hearted unambiguous endorsement of lifetime commitment.”

Honestly, MF, the divorce option seems to us the only practical part of this whole venture.

Granted, UK participant Emma Rathbone says she underwent an “18-month matching process involving DNA tests, personality tests and attractiveness tests.” But we’re not sure why those 18 months couldn’t have been instead devoted to actual dating.

Maybe love needn't be as complicated as we’re making it? 

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Banner image credit: flickr @ saulalbert

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