With love-rats Dean and Davina, Married at First Sight ditches 'science' for soap
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With love-rats Dean and Davina, Married at First Sight ditches 'science' for soap

Any pretence at being a social experiment has disappeared in the latest season of Married at First Sight. But what a drama it has become.

It's hard to recall that it was ever so, but in the beginning Married at First Sight took that "scientific experiment" bunkum at least half seriously. There seemed a slim chance that the lovelorn might actually meet a soul mate within the artificial construct of marriage to a stranger.

Now though, forget it. It's pure soap opera – and as the last 20 minutes or so of Tuesday night's episode proved, a pretty superior one at that.

As Dean prepared for his long-teased, on-the-sly meeting with Davina, instawife Tracey was catching up with Gabrielle (she of alopecia and Nasser fame) for a drink and chinwag. The back and forth between these two scenes was nothing short of masterful.

"I feel respected," said self-proclaimed goddess Tracey, who only days before was complaining about being disrespected by a guy who could bonk her in the morning and bail on her in the evening.

"We're having good chats," she said. "I'm trying to keep open, I'm trying not to shut down, because now that he's open he deserves that from me."

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Meanwhile Dean was telling the camera he hadn't told his wife about the imminent meeting with the bikini model because "it's my business, I don't have to tell her anything really". Oh yes, he's open, all right – open like the jaws of a white pointer at dinner time.

"I think Dean's moved forward because he's really opened up," Tracey said.

Cut to Dean back in their apartment, working on his hair, trying to perfect that Hitler Youth look he does so well.

He's really starting to open up: Tracey tells Gab how much things are improving.

He's really starting to open up: Tracey tells Gab how much things are improving.

Photo: Nine

"And now I think he's willing to really give this a go."

Cut to Dean spraying cologne – on the outside of his shirt.

"I'm beginning to see a side of Dean I didn't see before."

Cut to Dean leaving the apartment.

"Because I can see he's trying hard, he deserves me to be 100 per cent committed to that."

Cut to Dean approaching the bar where Davina awaits.

They meet, they flirt. They don't so much beat around the bush as sprint around it.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Dean gets spruced up, but not for his 'wife'.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Dean gets spruced up, but not for his 'wife'.

Photo: Nine

Davina: "I know what I want, so…"

Dean: "I know what I want."

Sheesh, get a room you two. Oh, wait. You're "married" to other people. Then get a grip, you two. And a sound recordist and a camera operator as well because we know where this is headed and we don't want to miss any of it, no matter how grubby it makes us feel.

Back to Tracey and Gab, who appear to be inhabiting a parallel universe. "He is an honest, genuine person," says Tracey. "He is generous."

Cut to Dean practically dry-humping Davina's leg.

Davina and Dean steam up the screen.

Davina and Dean steam up the screen.

Photo: Nine

"And he is thoughtful."

Cut to Davina practically licking Dean's face.

"He got me flowers, he went and got me coffee," Tracey says. "He remembered what coffee I like."

"Oh my God," says Gab. "I've got goose-bumps."

And I've got nausea.

Back in the bar of bastardry, Davina and Dean each try to absolve themselves of sin by first blessing those who are about to be sinned against.

"I love Tracey," Davina says, utterly unconvincingly. "Don't get me wrong, I love Tracey."

"I love Ryan," says Dean.

You can't ask for more than that: Tracey reckons Dean is 'an honest, genuine person'.

You can't ask for more than that: Tracey reckons Dean is 'an honest, genuine person'.

Photo: Nine

"I'm not here to try and cut her grass," says Davina, who has a Jim's Mowing franchise on the side. "But at the end of the day I'm attracted to you. I want to get to know you more."

"You kind of excite me a little bit," Dean drools. "I'm very interested in exploring what we have going on."

"Yeah," says Davina, before throwing a curve ball that Dean surely did not see coming. "I love you."

She laughs nervously; he stares like a man who just heard the saucepan lid coming down hard on his pet rabbit. Bunny. Boiler.

"Oh my God, I wanna kiss you so bad," she says, taking his mind off the crazy by focusing it again on his nether regions. "Oh God, what happens now?"

Oh God, what are we gonna do?

Oh God, what are we gonna do?

Photo: Nine

"Look, we haven't done anything wrong," says Dean, slipping into his favourite mode – I'm the man, I'll tell you what to do. "You've been real, I've been real. How about we don't…"

"Let's get married," says Davina.

It's a second curve ball. Poor little Flossy is a goner.

Dean looks stunned. Wait, let's get back to sex. That he can handle. "Let's make out a little bit," he says.

"How about we don't tell anyone else about this until at least after the next commitment ceremony," he suggests, mind back on strategy. "This meeting is secret."

It really is appalling. It's funny, too, until you realise there are real people involved. But then, they've opted in to this utterly unreal scenario and at least some of them surely have ulterior motives, so how much sympathy do they deserve? Well, at least some of them deserve a little bit, I think.

Grin and bare it: Telv cooks dinner for Sarah.

Grin and bare it: Telv cooks dinner for Sarah.

Photo: Nine

MAFS being expert at the endless tease, other dramas, other comedies, other intrigues play out before we get to all this. A bare-arsed Telv cooks dinner to make up for the fact he hadn't deleted the dating apps from his phone before marrying Sarah. Troy the vain hangs upside down in a rock-climbing centre while Ashley the judgmental taunts his inadequacy (a change at least from taunting his vanity). Nasser gets Gab to do the housework in a leopard-print dress as part of Yes week (in which one partner gets to give all the orders and the other has to obey; yes, a full B&D episode is surely on the way).

On the sadder side of the fence, Sean continues to give Jo the full sulk and she continues to look for the silver lining in this grey cloud of a man's demeanour. And Matt throws in the towel entirely, leaving Alycia to carry her fairytale fixation towards the next poor fool, but in the process proving that while he has some big issues (anger chiefly) self-delusion is not among them.

Matt wasn't ready to take the next step with Alycia.

Matt wasn't ready to take the next step with Alycia.

Photo: Nine

But really, we all know what we're here for, right? This sleazy bit of two-timing that has us all excited and appalled in equal measure.

The MAFS producers know the best kind of sexual tension on telly is the unresolved kind, but at some point there must be an ending – and it's unlikely to be happy.

"It's so funny," Tracey tells Dean as he puts dinner in front of her at the end of a hard day of love-rattery. "It's like you've done a 180."

The newly honest and open Dean.

The newly honest and open Dean.

Photo: Nine

"I've tried to open up, be a bit more honest with you about that stuff," he tells her, entirely dishonestly.

"I can't ask for more than that," she tells the camera.

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Nor can we, Tracey. Nor can we.

Facebook: karlquinnjournalist Podcast: The Clappers Twitter: @karlkwin

Karl Quinn

Karl has been a journalist at Fairfax Media since 1999, in a variety of writing and editing roles. Karl writes about popular culture with a particular focus on film and television.

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