The promos for Married At First Sight already had women searching for their pitchforks, so upon seeing controversial groom Dean put forward his male supremacist views to a #MeToo generation via TV cameras, it came as a shock that anyone else could be more offensive.
But then we hadn’t yet met his best mate Liam.
So while Dean layed the ground work for women’s heckles to be raised, with sexist commentary about the role of a man and a woman, Liam not only backed it up but went one step further. But more on that later.
Dean (centre) prepares to get married with best friend Liam (far right) by his side on Married At First Sight. Photo: Nine
The 39-year-old “stubborn alpha male” from Sydney (as the experts politely deemed him) was looking for love because his recently deceased mother wanted him to have children (“I’m trying to sort you out mum”).
“My perfect wife would be tall, beautiful, brunette, definitely like a slim girl and loving your makeup and your nice shoes. That’s what women are all about and that’s what us men are attracted to,” Dean eagerly boasts.
“In a relationship I feel like I need to be the leader ‘cos I’m the man. I’ve got no problem being the man; I like to be in charge of what we do in our life.
“Men have lost a little bit of their masculinity in , a lot of guys are afraid to be men now and they are just getting whipped by their women.”
Cutaways of apes beating their bare chests could easily have been inserted here. MAFS settles for slightly ominous music.
So what woman could MAFS’ experts honestly match Dean with without running the risk of being accused of entrapping a woman in a misogynistic relationship?
Or is the better question why Dean should even have been selected out of the 5000 applicants?
It turns out 34-year-old Perth marketing consultant, Tracey, also has very “traditional gender values”.
“I’m an old fashioned girl when it comes to dating,” she tells viewers. “I like to look after my man, like he’s the man. I’m totally happy to take a step back.”
She has an eight-year-old daughter, Grace, to another man but when the relationship failed she got botox and a breast enhancement (And Dean “will be really attracted to her” confirms one of the female experts).
“I still believe in my happily ever after,” says Tracey. And we hope she gets it, but have serious doubts about Dean.
Yet psychology expert John Aiken likes the look of this pairing, despite Tracey admitting that her adoption as a baby means she fears rejection (and possibly makes her vulnerable to overbearing men).
“I am who I am, so she has to take it or leave it,” Dean asserts.
Cut to their marriage and Tracey and Dean quickly size each other up in the looks department.
“Oh my god, he’s a giant,” exclaims Tracey from the limousine.
“She’s got a good body, tall but not too tall and just really good rig and just beautiful; big eyes, big lips, good smile; she’s gorgeous,” Dean told viewers as she came down the aisle.
Tracey also approved. “That spark was there for sure, 100 per cent.”
“I can’t remember anything right now,” Tracey told Dean at the altar. “I remember your name but, Dean. God I’m flirting already.”
But before viewers could get swept up in any possible romance, Dean reasserts his male chauvinism.
“I’m not going to lie, I kept looking down to her chestal (sic) area and yeah, that’s just another bonus really,” he confides to the cameras. “I couldn’t help it, I’m a man and it’s just natural.”
So vows exchanged and a fair number of kisses, it was then the turn of Dean’s high school mate to steal the douchebag lime light.
The self- professed shallow player, decided that after learning Tracey had a daughter that he needed to intervene.
“I’m texting him right now to tell him to run,” Liam told a fellow mate of Dean. “The child thing is like, it’s a massive deal, I think it’s a problem for him.”
As the cameras circled, and the happy couple try gradually to get to know one another, Tracey gets suddenly alerted to the fact that she needs to fast track her news or risk having Liam sabotage her to Dean.
Pulling Dean aside she tells him: “I’d rather you hear it from me .. I would rather put it all out there, so I have a daughter.”
“Oh my God wow,” Dean replies, while telling viewers “I wasn’t really expecting that.”
“It has definitely thrown me a little bit. I’ve had a lot of big news tonight but that is a bit of a shock,” he added for the cameras. “As for dynamic it has definitely freaked me out a little bit.”
But it doesn’t stop him from returning to the hotel suite with his new bride.
And with promises of “confronting challenges … we’ve never seen before in this experiment” from the love experts, this season surely will fire up plenty more controversy.
Sarah and Telv
Meanwhile viewers are given a romantic reprieve in the other pairing of 38-year-old Sarah, who is a beauty specialist in Victoria but whose Greek family hail from Perth, and Telv, a mechanical FIFO worker who lives in Perth but originally hails from Melbourne.
“I’m a very proud Aboriginal man, growing up as a kid was definitely hard; we didn’t have a lot, a little bit poor and definitely get bullied a little bit… I don’t want [my kids] to go through the same shit that I went through, that’s why I work so hard so they can have everything that I didn’t. I may be a blokey, bloke – typical tradie, rough as guts – but I’m here to find love and I can’t wait to see if I do.”
Sarah desperately wants to become a mother (and Telv promises during their reception that he can deliver on that) after a failed engagement left her traumatised.
“I ended up pregnant with twins and he abandoned me,” she tearily tells the cameras. “We had a home and a life together, it was a very hard time going through. I ended up having a double miscarriage with twins, and if I’m honest I’m really petrified of someone doing that [again].”
But her protective brothers Ben (“I am against it, I don’t think this is the best life choice for you at the moment after everything you’ve been through in the past”) and Adam (“we both think you’re crazy but we do love you, we are there for you and we will be there for you … But if someone hurts our family, we’re wogs, we will go after them”) look set to upend this marriage.
Reading between the cultural lines and awkward pauses, enhanced by the cameras, there seems to be a clear bias against Telv.
“I’m going to break this off,” says Ben at the reception. “How the hell are we going to know if he’s good enough for her or not?” he adds speaking to his brother outside.
Adam agrees: “She doesn’t need any more of this bad shit in her life.”
But Sarah is taken with her groom (as is one of her male friends) and the brothers back down – even giving their tick of approval.
Telv too is more than happy with his bride.
“Wow the experts have absolutely nailed it… she’s gorgeous; she’s quite curvy and she has an incredible smile too. So yeah’s she’s ticking boxes for like days, so it’s perfect.”
While the couple settle in for a slow and steady approach to the marriage, it looks like sex will be on the cards for other couples as the season progresses and one scandal that “rocks the experiment to its core.”