Like two strangers meeting at the altar, Seven Sharp and MAFS AU have more in common than you might think.
In late February, Married at First Sight: Australia was the second most watched television show by New Zealanders aged 25-54. The reality juggernaut found itself nestled between One News and Seven Sharp in the weekly ratings, giving us the most delicious TV sandwich we’ve seen in a while, but it made me think. How could two shows as different as Seven Sharp and MAFS attract such a similar number of viewers? The more I pondered, the more it made sense. Seven Sharp and MAFS are neck and neck in the ratings because… they are actually the same show.
I expect you’re protesting louder than a groom who got caught slagging his new wife off to his mates via an unfortunately-timed butt dial. Seven Sharp is an important news show, you cry, and MAFS is a burning skip bin of toxic behaviour. Seven Sharp deals with important topics, while MAFS features men who leave their wives because they don’t like the ocean. How can someone compare current affairs to salacious affairs? In the words of dodgy groom Harrison, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.
But I have assessed the evidence before me with the steely determination of a sexologist introducing a bunch of horny brides to the power of a three minute cuddle. Like every episode of MAFS, this argument makes little sense, and yet I hope it will be just as compelling. Seven Sharp and MAFS are an unlikely union of two strangers destined to morph into one being, and the similarities are breathtaking. Let’s open the honesty box, break down those walls and find out what the heck is going on.
Both shows feature serious experts sitting on a couch
Seven Sharp has Hilary Barry and Jeremy Wells, and MAFS has John Aiken, Mel Schilling and Alessandra Rampolla. They claim to have different areas of expertise, but those differences melt away as soon as these oracles rest their sagacious buttocks on the couch. Whether it’s news or nookie, the experts are the trusted voices of authority, and they’re not afraid to ask the hard questions. “Evelyn, are you attracted to Rupert?” Alessandra questions. “Should adults be cuddling a soft toy?” Jeremy asks on Seven Sharp. See? Exactly the same.
The shows appear to be filmed in the same high-rise apartment building
Truly love at first sight for Seven Sharp’s new set, and please marry me, all those chunky knit throws splayed across every surface on MAFS. The unspoken relationship in both these shows is the love affair between bare shelving and ornamental trinkets, and I cannot get enough. Cover me in sunshine, cover me in knick-knacks, as we look forward to watching Seven Sharp broadcast live from Harrison and Bronte’s marital bed in the coming weeks.
They both deal with the big issues of the day
Both Seven Sharp and MAFS are obsessed with breaking news. That’s mostly because it’s Seven Sharp’s job, but also because the people on MAFS have nothing else to do than sit around gossiping about anal vibrators. On the same night that MAFS featured a dinner party where guests chewed over the many flavours of Rupert’s butt dial, Seven Sharp gave us a story about unlikely taste combinations. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Exhibit B, your honour: Claire and Adam’s cheating scandal was headline news on MAFS last week, and the couples dissected every detail of that gripping story with the same diligence that Seven Sharp gave to a story about scammers ripping people off. See? The world is full of dirty cheaters. You can’t trust anyone, and nobody knows that better than Hilz Baz and a scorned bride who prefers her pet goat to her husband.
They love filling out forms
This week Hilary filled out Jeremy’s census form for him, while over on MAFS, the couples filled out their census of the heart by answering one question: stay or leave? Still awaiting confirmation from Statistics NZ that Hilary covered Jeremy’s census with love hearts and then doodled “STAY” in swirly calligraphy.
Both shows are awash with emotions
Seven Sharp and MAFS know exactly how to pull on our heartstrings, and you’re either crying over Meow Meow the cat’s unexpected journey or bawling over Melissa and Josh building Thor’s hammer out of Lego. Last week I had an unexpected journey of my own, one minute happily sobbing over this 95 year old jogger and then ugly crying over Tayla making Hugo sleep on a window sill. All the feels.
They both go on retreats and argue
Next week the MAFS couples take a trip to the Australian countryside, where the fresh air will do terrible things to their relationships. The same drama happened on Seven Sharp last week, when Hilary and Jeremy took to Queenstown to play some golf. Jeremy got mad, Hilary told him to shush, and suddenly it was Claire and Jesse’s honeymoon all over again. Do Jeremy and Hilary need to talk it out in a spicy commitment ceremony under the intense gaze of John Aiken? I think we all know the answer to that.
Seven Sharp screens Monday-Friday on TVNZ 1 at 7pm and streams on TVNZ+. Married at First Sight: Australia screens Sunday-Wednesday on Three and streams on ThreeNow.
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