The Single Wives

Seven's latest dating show adopts self-help tips & girl power, without feeling too exploitative.

Despite the title The Single Wives is nothing like Yummy Mummies or even Seven Year Switch or Married at First Sight -although there are elements that are a little bit Bachelorette.

Seven’s newest relationship show is built around UK “dating coach” Matthew Hussey, author of best-selling self-help book, Get the Guy. Parachuted in to assist 4 single women aged 28-41 who have all previously been married, he assists them with dating tips in camera-centric reality situations.

Three of the women have failed marriages, and one is a widow. All feel quite helpless in making or sustaining new relationships. Sunnie, 30, says divorce was quite unexpected to her Indian-Australian family. Emma, 28, married very young but broke it off after falling out of love. Sheridan, 41, has no problem meeting men but is worried she is turning ‘cougar’ and has trouble developing attachments after her second marriage failed. And Nikki, 32, lost her husband in a motorcycle accident just 4 days before she gave birth to their son.

Host Fifi Box completes this empathetic girls’ club when they meet in the glamorous Sydney house that will be their home for 4 weeks (it just wouldn’t be reality without everybody under the one roof). But they are soon whisked away to a harbourside location (possibly Watson’s Bay?) where they are giddy with excitement over meeting Matthew Hussey.

“This is not about finding your fairytale it’s about creating your fairy tale,” he explains, ahead of 10 speed dates each with a bunch of lively blokes. Hussey and ‘wing-woman’ Box watch on as awkward dates proceed. But rather than highlight for comic effect, Hussey pinpoints communication mistakes, in what should serve as self-help tips for viewers. Some fumble through dates like an interview, others talk too much, or give nothing of themselves. With a few hints from our coach, they can improve their prospects or even change the outcome.

Next up in a “mixer” night of cocktails, an all-in event with the same pool of singles where Hussey challenges them to be open, make approaches and get phone numbers.

“If you can meet everybody then you can meet anybody,” he suggests.

Here the show resembles Bachelorette when multiple men are vying for private time with a single lady, but some will turn it to success.

The tone of the show leans towards highlighting dating do’s / dont’s and there is strength in numbers with the girls all going through the same experience, complemented by Fifi Box who is clearly supportive. But it’s reality TV, are we being set up for hand grenades / catfights / twists to come? Forgive me for being cynical but it’s hardly a genre or a network that has avoided milking the most in the past…

Once again a local show is longer than is necessary and there’s nothing much here that is especially unique in a crowded market.

Still, at first glance this show is pitched with a friendly inclusiveness at its female audience, hoping the girls on the couch will know just how these Single Wives feel.

The Single Wives airs 7:30pm Wednesday on Seven.

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