Season nine of Married At First Sight has well and truly kicked off, with viewers enjoying the familiarities of chaotic dinner parties and explosive blow-ups between participants, but there’s one major difference on the show this year.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle about the new season, experts Mel Schilling, Alessandra Rampolla and John Aiken opened up about the impact that Covid and the Omicron outbreak had during the filming process.
“Sadly our couples weren’t allowed to have all their family and friends there at the weddings,” Mel detailed. “And last year you saw that they didn't do home visits, we did the presentations in the cinemas instead.
“So we had to be a little bit creative about the way that we created all these challenges for our couples because there were restrictions in place.”
While it was reported in December last year that production had been 'thrown into chaos' after Alessandra tested positive for Covid, the sexologist asserts that her diagnosis did not have any major effect on the show’s schedule.
“It impacted one day of my filming that I do direct-to-camera little things, and we just pushed that back a few days, but it did not impact anybody else,” she explained.
“And I was already cured by the time the original date came about, we just didn't know if I would be feeling better on time. But it actually had no impact on the filming schedule.”
‘Problematic group dynamic’
The trio of MAFS experts previously revealed to Yahoo Lifestyle that there is a stark contrast between season nine and past editions of the experiment due to the nature of this year’s participants.
“I think we’ve got a more problematic group dynamic that raises its ugly head and becomes very, very significant throughout the series,” John said. “So you’ve really got to hold on tight for this because the group has a lot to say this series.”
“It's interesting how different the issues and the dynamics are simply getting a different group of people in there,” Alessandra added. “The group dynamics are fire.”
Mel also stressed the importance of respect and respectful communication within the experience, which is one of the highest principles for the brides and grooms.
“When we see examples of that not working, it's so critical that we can address that straight away,” she shared.
“Because when those sorts of behaviours are not nipped in the bud they can become habits, so it's great that we have this opportunity to actually step in, to call it out, to tease it out a little bit so that the participants have an opportunity to understand what they're doing and maybe why they're doing it, but also to put them on a new track”.
Married At First Sight continues Sunday at 7pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.
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