"Married at First Sight" premiered on FYI-TV last night. The 90-minute series was received by some, but there has already been controversy surrounding the new and different reality show. According to Nielsen Research, the program averaged 270,000 total viewers. The number includes 149,000 adults 18-49 viewers and 123,000 adults 25-54 viewers. Even though people watched it out of curiosity, it doesn't mean everyone approved of it.
The show based on the hit Danish format, “Married at First Sight” is a provocative extreme social experiment following six singles who want a life-long partnership. So they agreed to getting legally married the moment they first meet at the altar. Potential cast members filled out lengthy personality profiles, and the four experts went on field visits to conduct psychological assessments, sexology sessions and spiritual counseling to narrow 625 possible matches down to three couples.
There is no dating period at all. In fact, the single doesn't know the name of the person chosen to be his or her mate. Therefore, they have no way of finding out anything about the other. They have only been told by four experts that they have been matched. After the marriage ceremony at the altar, cameras follow the couple for weeks, including the honeymoon.
The four experts are a sexologist, psychologist, sociologist and spiritual adviser who used "scientific matchmaking" to pair the couples with what they called their prefect mate. The marriages are legal and binding. However, the couples have six weeks to decide whether to stay together or to divorce.
Even though the show premiered on Tuesday, all the marriages were performed on the same March weekend at a Manhattan hotel. And those who wish to divorce can decide after four weeks and have the divorce financed by the show within six months.
While the concept might seem outrageous, the show's spiritual adviser had a different take. Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, told The Huffington Post that this is not to promote arranged marriages. Instead, the show is trying to get people to think in a different way on how they are choosing potential partners.
Some people have suggested that the show is making a mockery of marriage. "Good Morning America" spoke to show expert Dr. Logan Levkoff who explained that "Married at First Sight" is a social experiment that really seeks to determine if social science can play a role in matchmaking. .
The show has come under fire for requiring singles to marry at first sight. FYI's chief creative officer Jay Hunt has defended the channel's controversial new series. Hunt dismissed suggestions that the show was undermining the concept of marriage. He said the show is completely the opposite. He shared that it's a very successful Danish format, which has now been sold to 15 different countries. Therefore, he concludes that it's a celebration of marriage.
On last night's show all six of the singles were nervous, scared and sweating bullets as they waited to meet their mate for the first time at the altar. It was evident that Jamie was not attracted to her match. Her partner said, "I do," but the show went off the air as she said, "I'm thinking I just made the worst decision of my life. I'm sorry."
According to the New York Post, viewers will find out what happens with the three couples during the next nine episodes. They will see who got married and how the marriage is going or who wants to divorce.
Do you think "Married at First Sight" is a mockery of marriage or a celebration of marriage?