The official season opener wastes little time getting down to business. After a brief overview of the “experiment” and its stakes (you know, this is a legally binding marriage, the only way out of it is divorce, yadda yadda…), viewers are introduced to the matched couples dropping the news on friends and family that they’re getting hitched in 2 weeks.
Independent, established Amber is ready for this, we’re told. She likes her job but is tired of dating the “Dallas douche” and wants to find someone solid. When she video chats with her mom and sister to tell them she’s been matched, they seem happy for her.
Dave, her intended, is a “perfect” fit for Amber. He’s got a great job, great friends, great home, and likes his routine. He says he eats the same breakfast most days, plays golf and basketball often, cooks healthy meals, watches an hour of television, and then goes to be--………
What? Oh sorry. I fell asleep there just listening to that routine. Anyway, Dave is looking for someone to come home to at the end of the day, maybe cook dinner for, pop open wine, and have a couple shows they watch together. I’m not sure it bodes well for the excitement of newlyweddedness that Dave has basically described Year 13 of a marriage, but whatever. Dave shares his happy news with his close-knit group of friends. The camera cuts to couple Dabney and Kelly, the male of whom indicates he hopes Amber will fit in with their group. I’m desperate for them to cut back to this dude alone so I have a sense of whether he’s Dabney or Kelly.
Next up is Bobby. I already can’t stand Bobby. It’s visceral. He seems like he paints himself as this Southern gentleman who wants to be devoted to his wife like his dad is to Bobby’s mom, but I feel like there’s a sinister side to him. Some controlling mean streak or something. Maybe it’s the hunting (he hunts anything that flies—how’s that for symbolism?) or maybe it’s the emptiness behind his eyes, or maybe it’s how much he looks like Jared Kuschner, but this dude scares me. I hope to see another side of Bobby moving forward.
Danielle was selected for Bobby. (Poor Danielle.) She talks about how she was born and raised by a “liberal” family in Seattle, but she moved to Dallas because she didn’t feel like she wasn’t supposed to stay in Seattle and loved the Southern value system. When she calls her parents to tell them she’s engaged, we have a sneaking suspicion they aren't quite so "liberal" as she described and that the value system may not have been the South's only draw. After both of her parents sigh deeply and say a couple unhelpful things, her mom hits her with this: “You moved down there to have your own life. So…” So...YIKES. But then the editors cut to Bobby telling his family and it’s the opposite reaction. His mom cries and says she hopes Bobby can bring in a wife who will also be a daughter to them. I hope for Danielle that’s the case. It looks like she needs it.
Tristan (or, Jay-T, as I may call him because of his resemblance to Jay-Z) is done with casual dating. Now he wants something permanent. God’s been answering prayers for a while now, he says, so he wants to find the one. As long as she puts God first, and then everything else falls into line, then Amen.
Well, ask and ye shall receive, dude, because Mia is the answer to that prayer. She’s BIG into God. Church on Sundays-, Bible study on Tuesdays-, G-O-D wall hanging next to her Keurig- big into God. She wants “a man who will lead me closer to Christ.”
Dr. Pepper thinks they’ll love being “Godly people together.”
Tristan’s pals are okay with this concept because his enthusiasm is contagious. Mia’s family, though, is not feeling it. They think this is a big mistake.
Cut to commercial. Upon returning, the couples are shopping for bridal attire and there's no additional coverage of Mia's disapproving family.
Nothing really earth-shattering here. Some highlights:
· Dave’s friend (not Dabney/Kelly- a different dude) has some major pit wetness.
· Mia’s mom has come around. Also, Mia’s dress looks like a fancy doily.
· Bobby is a momma’s boy; Mom is struggling a bit over a new woman coming in. Uh oh.
· The peanut-gallery question “what do you think your future husband will think of you in this dress?” is such a stupid throwaway question. It needs to not be asked.
· I’m disgusted by the number of times I’ve heard phrases involving women cast as a princess/queen/damsel in distress and men as the prince/king/knight in shining armor. Maybe these unrealistic expectations are part of the reason divorce rates are so high. Hmm?
Now it’s time to ring shop. The show is sticking with the new-last-season concept of meeting up with the other brides/grooms for camaraderie. I think this is a good choice.
Bobby is waxing poetic about the symbolism of the eternal circle of a ring. He’s won over Jay-T with that drivel. Sorry, Bobby. It’s gonna take more than that to change *my* mind.
The singles go out for drinks together after ring shopping. The women discuss how they’re gonna handle the kiss-at-the-altar business. The men discuss the wedding night. (I feel like someone needs to talk to the editors of this show about the stereotypes and tropes they’re perpetuating.)
Speaking of… time for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
One of T’s pals wants to know what happens if his wife turns out to be sex-crazed. In contrast, Mia’s sister wants to know what if they don’t get along, what if he’s a cheater, what if he’s broke?
Bobby is riding a mechanical bull, and wants his wife to know that he can get loose but is still committed. Danielle, when asked if she’s planning to consummate her marriage, notes that it’s not wrong to do it if you’re married.
Dave has a low-key but fun night with his closest friends. He hopes Amber is having as good a time as he is. Amber is drunk on tequila, and she’s talking in that slow yet slurred way we talk when we’re trying to sound like we aren’t waste-o but are only fooling ourselves in the process. Then she pukes in a bucket in the limo.
After another commercial break it's WEDDING DAY!!!
Dave notes that he’ll be getting married to a stranger that he doesn’t know at all. Which is sorta the exact definition of a stranger, so he’s being redundo.
Amber, I’m noticing, is talking a lot about babies and starting a family. She just said she can’t wait to meet the man she’s going to have babies with. (She’s kind of oddly epitomizing the obnoxious thing Bobby said about older women in the Matchmaking Special.)
Danielle’s mom showed up. Now Danielle can enjoy herself.
Time for the men to come out and take their places at the altar.
Danielle’s friends remark that they’ll be such a cute couple.
Amber's friend Ashley seems like she might have a crush on Dave.
Tristan is a hugger. Mia’s sister is sweating bullets.
The editors show all the women freaking out in the back as though a wedding isn’t about to happen. Like, dude, they do this same schtick every season. So save it. We know they’re coming. But still, let’s go to commercial so we can draw out the non-suspense.
Back from commercial and Mia is still freaking out, but she prays and gets right with herself. Down the aisle she comes and Tristan is “relieved.” They call each other “beautiful.” Then the officiant reads off stuff the friends and family said about their person. Mia and Tristan are pumped to discover God ranks #1 for each of them, and that the Cowboys are their official team. (Booooooooooooooo!) When it’s time to kiss the bride, Mia gives T her cheek. Ouch. T’s uncle doesn’t like that. Mia’s mom and sister both look like they’re about to vom.
Out of the church and alone together, Mia feels they’ll make cute babies. (You know, if she ever lets him near her.) Mia drops her champagne glass so Tristan gives her his. Then he charms her with a gem his friends asked him: “what if she’s a biscuit off 350?” (He has to explain to her that it's a reference to a 349 pound woman who’s one biscuit away from being 350 pounds.) Um. Yeah. That'll win her over.
Back to Amber and Dave. First impression: Dave thinks she’s beautiful with big eyes, and looks nervous. Amber says she’s not sure he’s someone she’d usually “see” (notice) but he’s attractive. Dave’s pals are all “there’s definitely an attraction! Wooooohooooo!”
I’m a bit concerned Amber might be like the flight attendant a couple seasons back, who was never fully committed to the process and it tanked hard and fast. On the other hand, in the time it took me to type that sentence, she may have come around. They kissed on the lips. Once alone, the couple discovers they live pretty close together and even go to the same gym! But, uh oh, Amber is concerned because she’s dated some “Dallas douches” from there and she would be embarrassed for Dave to know she had dated that type of guy.
Last up, Bobby and Danielle. Bobby’s mom dashes up to tell him to be sure to tell Danielle she looks beautiful when she arrives. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Aw man. That’s a red flag any way you slice it. If he *needs* her to tell him that, then yikes. But that she feels the need to direct his interactions with his bride-to-be is also, well, she could be a mother-in-law problem.
Bobby thinks she’s gorgeous. He’s “on-board” with her figure. Mom is shooting dagger eyes at her. The ceremony ends with a real kiss. He just said he can’t wait to explore her. LOL. I know what he meant, but it doesn’t make the phrasing less funny.
After the ceremony it’s photo time. Which means kissing shots. Danielle/Bobby and Amber/Dave cooperate. Mia, though, is still not game for kissing. She’s all about the cheek and forehead. Tristan is being respectful about it. Mia tells the camera she doesn’t know what kind of Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Mono, or strep throat Tristan has.
Look, I’m a germaphobe myself, so I can appreciate the concern here in theory. But come on! I feel sort of safe in saying that the show tests contestants for the first two and, doubtless, a gamut of other STDs. Isn’t that reality matchmaking show 101? The show referenced blood tests in the matchmaking special. So I feel like Mia is making excuses here. Which is her prerogative, but don’t act like it’s because you think he’s diseased. Just own that you aren’t comfortable with it and move along.
Speaking of which, Mia is so clearly uncomfortable at the reception that it’s making me feel uncomfortable watching her.
Oh guess what? Bobby’s dad just announced during toasts that Bobby isn’t a momma’s boy. He’s a daddy’s boy. Hmm…I think he’s both.
The couples are talking to the friends and families of their new spouses. Things are going well overall. Except for poor Tristan.
Wowza. Mia’s sister is being a major bitch to him. He’s trying to be jovial and she’s having none of it. She’s being sarcastic and rolling her eyes, and she threatened to come find him if he hurt Mia. That’s nice and all, but maybe tone it back for the first meeting and give the dude a shot.
Oof! Things go from bad to worse for T as Mia’s dad corners him and tells him he hopes nothing happens between T and Mia tonight because in his culture “we don’t go to bed with anyone unless we get to know them very well.”
Now it’s the point of the show where the couples finally retire to their rooms and the big “will they or won’t they?” debate commences. Honestly, I wish we didn’t get to know what they do either way because it’s none of our damned business. But the show shines such a spotlight on it and it’s even the episode’s cliffhanger of sorts.
After getting to their suite, Tristan talks a good game to camera saying God is real because He delivered Mia to Tristan. He’s attracted to her and he wants them to do what *they* want to do, and he is firmly in the Pro-Doin’It camp. (Someone needs to tell Tristan he’s not getting any tonight. Oh wait. Mia’s dad already did that.) Potential chance they’ll consummate tonight: 0%
Bobby is tickled pink at his wife, Danielle’s, appearance. When she comes out in yoga pants and a crop top, he looks pretty thrilled. The look on his face indicates there’s a good possibility Bobby has never seen a naked woman. Potential chance they’ll consummate tonight: 65-70% (because Bobby will need to make the first move and I’m not sure he will. Danielle has already indicated she’s up for it but will follow his lead.)
Dave and Amber are making out a lot. They've both flat out said to camera they wanna bang. Potential chance they’ll consummate tonight: 100%
And so ends the first episode.
As a rule, I don’t watch previews for the season ahead. It spoils too much and makes watching weekly feel redundant, so I can’t comment officially on what’s upcoming. I mean, obviously (because the show rarely strays from its formula) they’ll start with a family brunch, then they’ll head off to their honeymoons, then come home and decide where to live, then check in with friends/family about how it’s going, then encounter some strife, then have some double date nights, then have a second honeymoon, then stress about upcoming Decision Day, and then decide if they'll stay married or get a divorce.
Then the show moves to Philadelphia and the whole thing will happen again with new couples. Sounds like heaps of fun. So stay tuned!