Following one of the most controversial seasons of the reality show last year, Married At First Sight returned to screens this week with its milestone tenth season. The new iteration of the Channel Nine dating series is said to be the most dramatic yet, with the brides and grooms set to tackle a number of complex issues that will affect themselves, their relationships and the group dynamic.
Tara McWilliams - who served as MAFS' executive producer for six years before stepping into the role of director of content at Endemol Shine Australia last year - tells Yahoo Lifestyle that while the show hasn’t made too many changes to its formula, there are plenty of major differences between seasons nine and ten.
“Last year, there’s no denying, was focused on a rivalry between two brides and the impact that had on their own relationships and the greater group and how the country responded to that,” she says. “We talked about OnlyFans and we talked about the glass smashing and Olivia [Frazer] and Domenica [Calarco] had so many storylines within their rivalry.
“This year the focus is back on the relationships and the dynamics and the issues within relationships as opposed to two people coming head to head. So, therefore, you're seeing multiple different kinds of themes and storylines that present themselves that are controversial. You're constantly being surprised and shocked.”
Tara went on to say that while last year’s season centred on the brides and “the grooms were kind of going along for the ride”, this year sees much more balance among the cast.
“We're seeing more grooms being the focus and their behaviour under the spotlight and how they respond to relationships,” she continues. “Because as a female making this show, I've been quite shocked by some of the behaviours of some of the grooms and the way they speak and the honesty that they impart with their brides.
“I’ve taken real issue as someone watching on, so I'm going to be very interested to see how the country responds to that.”
'A real talking point'
Speaking about the major themes this year, Tara reveals this season will dive into the topic of honesty - how it is delivered and how it can be used as an excuse.
“Saying ‘my truth’ is the most overused terminology, I’m sick of it,” she says. “I think for many people it’s a ‘get out of jail free’ card and we see a lot of that on MAFS this season.”
Relationship expert John Aiken adds that a big topic of conversation will be about when honesty becomes offensive or “just plain cruel”.
“Also, another topic is the role of sex in a relationship and who tends to initiate it and how much sex is appropriate in a relationship for one person versus the next,” he details. “I think that's going to be a real talking point.”
Married At First Sight airs Sunday to Thursday on Channel 9 and 9Now
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