“Have you met the love of your life but your family isn’t so sure?,” said the casting notice.
“We are looking for couples that are in diverse, multicultural or progressive relationships that believe that against all odds they are destined for one another.”
Now 5 couples are about to be exposed to a national audience on Seven’s Bride and Prejudice.
The series is an adaptation of the FYI-produced series from the US (be warned, they also originated Seven Year Switch). The Aussie series expands from 3 couples to 5 in its quest to maximise storytelling and conflict, whose relationships all involve a family member who disapproves due to their ethnicity, age or sexuality.
There are three couples introduced in the opening episode.
Marina 32, of Russian descent, met her partner Johnny, 33, of Indian descent in Koh Samui. They have been together for 2 years but Marina’s mother wants her to wed an Australian. She barely talks to Johnny.
Young lovers Brad, 20, and Courtney, 18, met at a party some five years ago. Both live with Courtney’s mother -Brad’s mother is bitterly-opposed to young Courtney and not about to change her views anytime soon. Courtney wants a wedding dress around $10,000 – $15,000 and we hear the couple have been through “rough patches and good patches” but with little detail on what that actually involves. For better or worse, this story will also tick the bogan box for the Seven series.
The third couple are same-sex partners Chris, from Sydney, and his US boyfriend Grant. Both met 3 years ago, did the long-distance thang for a year and have been living together since. But Chris’ Sunshine Coast mother is an active Jehovah’s Witness and his father also opposes homosexuality. The casting people couldn’t have dreamt for a better pair.
That said, Chris and Grant make a heart-warming case for same-sex marriage. They are two charming, intelligent, committed men looking to tie the knot. Easily the most personable of the three duos, these two could give Gav and Waz from The Block a run for their money.
The series sees each couple propose, which is all very lovely, but not especially believable. For starters, we know everyone applied to be on the show. They know there are cameras following them to the
proposal “surprise.” And tell-tale edits indicate these moments were staged and re-staged. You only have to look at the close-ups and wide-shots, to see these were filmed more than once.
Couples also appear to have been probed for remarks that work as storytelling set-up: I want this but… this family member is my biggest problem…. everything is perfect except for…. geddit?
The villains of the piece, only initially seen in the first episode, also do their best work. It’s angry comments, shocked faces, negative views about sexuality and race -get ready for True Love With A Bigot In The Way. Thankfully there are other family members who don’t feel the same way. Balance is important.
While the first episode works its way up to cliffhanger hissy fits and confrontations, subsequent episodes will introduce two more couples: a female same-sex duo and a man with a woman 16 years his senior.
Bride and Prejudice is rather like Seven’s outing with World’s Strictest Parents. There are heroes and villains (oh how Seven loves ’em), filmed in an observational style
The biggest question for me is what’s in this for the participants? Why put yourself through all this if there is no “prize” at the end? Is it TV fame / infamy? Does Seven pay for the wedding? Do they fly family members in from overseas for you? And why would the opposing parent go along with it all, as they clearly do?
I’m not entirely convinced that positives of couples like Chris & Grant outweigh the negatives of angry parents mouthing ignorance and homophobia. Will a wedding where everyone (presumably) is happy together really have made the end justify the means? Maybe for them…. not so sure it will for us.
But I fully expect this to rate its socks off.
Bride and Prejudice premieres 9pm Monday on Seven.