Everybody, at some point in their life, has wondered what if….?
What if you were given the chance to try again with a former partner and fix the mistakes you made as a couple? Would it give your a whole different path, and would it be better than the one you’ve ultimately taken?
That’s the simple premise of Back with the Ex the latest in a long line of dating / relationship shows bombarding our screens.
But there’s no time machine here. Instead producers have convinced former partners of 4 Caucasian couples to parade themselves before cameras to see if they can rekindle the flame.
3 of the couples are young, while 1 is middle-aged. They vary in estrangement from 3 to 28 years. One of the aspects of this show that will probably hit you straight off is that the narrator is Jo Van Es -better known as the voice of Gogglebox. I kept waiting for a wry comment to undermine what was on screen. Sadly, it never came….
The first couple is 26 year old builder Jeremy who is hoping to reignite things with Meg after a 4 year break. They met at 17 and had an on / off relationship over 7 years until he broke things off to go travelling. Meg, who waited a year for him to return, admits, “I was angry at Jeremy for ages. My biggest fear would be that he would hurt me.” But she agrees to meet him for a drink in Cronulla and the cameras capture her having second thoughts despite Jeremy arriving with flowers.
57 year old Peter hasn’t seen Diane in nearly 28 years, after their long-distance relationship ended at 2 years. Now, 7 years after his divorce he wants a second shot at romance, and property-flipper Diane has flown from the US to do just that. Tellingly, Peter reckons not a day goes by where he hasn’t thought about her -including during his previous marriage. Yikes.
36 year old IT Manager Erik was a workaholic when he was with Lauren, now 34, during their 6 year relationship. That ended 6 years ago, amid frequent break-ups, with his work consuming him. Lauren now desires marriage and children. Erik will have to change a lot for this to work.
Lastly 20 year old beauty therapist Katy says 24 year old Cam was her first sweetheart. After a 3 year break she wants another shot, but Cam admits to being confused about why she is trying again. Despite his misgivings, he is one of several participants who have agreed to let cameras follow them on new dates.
Couples each meet for a drink, before having a dinner date which ends with a night’s accommodation at a 5 star hotel. Booked into separate rooms, it’s up to couples where they sleep (each is filmed separately, this is not Married at First Sight). But the rooms are adorned with rose petals, champagne and 2 flutes and a warm spa, while the partner is literally across the corridor. Talk about a loaded gun.
Cameras will follow couples across a 3 week period which will include destinations in Paris, New York etc, no doubt for a final “will they / won’t they” stay together (Seven reckons some will, some won’t). Whilst this all begins from a fairly harmless starting point, as a distant cousin to First Dates, I’m dubious enough to think it will disintegrate into tears and exploitation for our couch amusement. Still, nobody is twisting their arm to participate.
I just wasn’t really engaged enough to stick around and find out. If only Gogglebox was still on air to tell me how it all ends.
Back with the Ex airs 9pm Wednesday on Seven.