Claire scored another comedian, 58-year-old Dom, a former policeman whose nickname in the force was Mr Fluffy. Claire just wanted someone taller than her and possibly less fluffy. Never mind.
Drama? Not really. Thank goodness for Claire’s daughter, who spent most of the episode not wanting a bar of this: “I’m over it. I’m done. I’m over it …” Enter Mr Fluffy, to charm her into submission. “I’d like him to be taller but he’ll grow on me,” mused Claire. Indeed, the couple were last seen in fluffy hotel bathrobes, snogging gamely for the camera.
The mercifully shorter Monday episode saw two more couples confessing to family about this marriage-market madness. “What aisle?” quavered Angel’s dad. “Not the supermarket,” said Angel. She seemed happy with signmaker Brett, and it was mutual. ”I can’t wait to absorb her energy!” beamed Brett.
But then, oh dear. As the experts matched flight attendant Vicky with builder Andrew, was I the only one yelling “No! No!” at the television? Andrew is a “rough diamond” with a pet pig. He confessed enigmatically that two of his former girlfriends had become strippers. Vicky loves Disney. At least she’s unlikely to become a stripper.
Her wedding vows came in the form of a poem, never a good sign: “I’ve walked this Earth on these two feet, uncertain, unknowing of who I’d meet …” It all went very awkward, very fast. Andrew ended up consigned to the couch, leading to such unromantic headlines as, “Bride Vicky refuses to sleep with husband Andrew”. It was all a bit tragic.
On the plus side, this social experiment tries to be a little inclusive, experimenting on a gay couple and a couple over 50. But at two-and-a-half hours a week, plus ironic online recaps, the series eats up as much time as some actual marriages. Like the couples, the show has hooked me in, but not necessarily for the long haul. Divorce may be looming.
MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT NZ, Three, Sunday, 7pm and Monday, 7.30 pm.
This article was first published in the October 14, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.