The title of ‘Married at First Sight’ is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to the show’s premise. On the Lifetime show, two strangers meet on the altar on their wedding day and camera crews follow the couples through the first few months of their marriage. It makes for quality television as the couples are strangers and have to adjust to married life at the same time. Naturally, you might have questions about whether ‘Married at First Sight’ is real or scripted. We have got you covered in that regard.
Is Married at First Sight Scripted or Real?
There are several spinoffs to ‘Married at First Sight.’ One of them is set in Australia. Several people have pointed out that while the premise of being married is central to the series, it doesn’t hold true in Australia due to existing legalities. The Australian Marriage Act states that couples must notify the courts a month and a day in advance before heading to the altar. Since the marriage isn’t legally valid, there’s no need to file for divorces if couples split up after the show.
Tracey Jewel and Nasser Sultan are former participants who exposed how parts of the show are scripted. Tracey noted that producers play with the emotions of the contestants, making them sit alone for hours and think, so emotions bubble over. Nasser has mentioned much more matter-of-factly that it is all scripted and people get fed lines. During the commitment ceremonies, if someone wants to go, but the producers want them to stay, they take them aside and convince them.
Jonethen, another participant has alleged that couples sometimes have to recreate their fights on camera. If it has an impact on the relationship, then producers want couples to talk about what has happened. However, it makes sense because if couples show up upset, viewers would want to know the context behind their emotional swings. In fact, it is not the only area of the show where producers interfere.
Clark, a fellow alum has spoken about how producers play a hand in setting up the wedding as well. He said to Cosmopolitan, “Obviously there were production people giving you directions on where to sit, where to stand, where to go on the wedding day. We had to repeat our lines – our vows to each other – a couple of times for different camera angles.” However, he’s asserted that “It didn’t ever feel forced, though. I had a great team and camera crew…After the show, I realized that they were doing it for the show. They were just doing their jobs.”
The interference from the production crew extends to issuing directives about what should be said on camera. Clark spoke about how he was urged to divulge the ins and outs of his divorce. He recounted the experience, saying “During the series, there’s an episode where I was in a pub with my best friend, and before filming started I just lost my shit and reeled through everything [that had gone wrong in the relationship], and the cameraman was like, ‘You need to say this on camera’, and I was like, ‘There’s no way in hell I’m saying all of this on camera. One, it’ll make me look like an arsehole, and two, I would never want to put Melissa in a situation where it has an impact on her’.”
Despite the occasional nudging from producers, which is to be expected in a reality series, Clark maintains that process was pretty straight-laced. However, he felt there should be more to the process with the crew and producers ensuring that the marriages actually work. Personal opinions aside, when it comes to the veracity, the Australian version of ‘Married at First Sight’ has faced additional flak. Internet sleuths have discovered that several houses that supposedly belong to the participants are actually Airbnb rental properties.
While there is no script technically, a lot of manipulation goes on behind the scenes. Jono has revealed that the producers got him to say “she isn’t what I ordered” repeatedly, until they liked his delivery. Thus, ‘Married at First Sight’ is like most reality shows. One must take it with a pinch of salt because producers work hard behind the scenes to orchestrate dramatic moments and drive up viewership.
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