Pop CultureJune 18, 2024

Married at First Sight NZ Power Rankings: A snake in shark’s clothing


Alex Casey power ranks the fourth week of Married at First Sight NZ. 

Jo put it best when the MAFSNZ participants plodded into the commitment ceremony this week, eyes rubbed raw from crying, teeth laden in fur thanks to a strict diet of “the two Ms” (Magnums and Moccona) combined with growing anxieties around toothbrush use. “Looks like a funeral”, she mused, eyeing up the brides dressed head to toe in black. “Feels that way”, replied Kara. 

As we nibble on asparagus rolls and mourn the slow death rattle of yet another reality romance franchise, here’s another crazy thought: this was the second and FINAL commitment ceremony of the season?! It’s like the old nursery rhyme says: first comes marriage, then comes hatred, then comes John Aiken in a baby carriage telling us another couple has left the experiment. 

But before we get to the grim times, let us focus on the good times. We were informed that it was partner swap week by way of the contestants receiving Love Island texts. I was delighted to see that the experts schedule their texts for 9.17am just like me, trying to seem chill and spontaneous on Slack even though I scheduled said message at 11.25pm the night before. 

Also, didn’t most of the swapped couples seem more compatible than the real couples?! I hadn’t seen poor Piripi crack a smile until he had to do that photoshoot with Kara, or Michael get his beloved chance to “go deep” until he was slurping down potato and gravy with Steph. Almost as if the show was trying to engineer some… Funny Business. Let’s see how everyone fared. 


Raise your toothbrushes to the sky for these two, the source of the single most confounding conflict ever committed to the small screen: #toothbrushgate. At first, it seemed like partner swap week might do them some good. CJ delighted in the raunchy instructions to “dip the ladyfingers in the coffee just to get them wet” on her date with James and Jesse tried not to cry as he held a paint brush (quite similar to a toothbrush) on his date with Samantha. 

“I wonder if I should even keep going with this, I might just fuck it up even more,” said Jesse of his terrifying painting. “Sounds like your relationship,” said Sam. 

Alas, the rot had set in deeper than the post sweet treat cavities left in Jesse’s unbrushed chompers. “I’m a grown ass woman I don’t want to be talking about a toothbrush all the f**** time,” CJ said, when last week’s toothbrush tension reared its bristly head once more. How do you think I feel CJ?! One wild and precious life, and yet here I am again, hunched over my laptop writing for the second week in a row about a toothbrush all the f**** time?!

‘I think I like this little life’

John and Jo were wheeled in for an emergency meeting like a substitute teacher rolling in a TV for an unruly class, but it wasn’t enough. CJ smirked and rolled her eyes, and Jesse found it very hard to sit there without staunchly representing his country on his T-shirt. “They need to get some wins on the board,” observed Jo, before Jesse swapped his nationalist pride for this intriguing new word on his T-shirt. Aotearoa… Pursuit… What is he trying to tell us? 

As it turns out, the only Aotearoa pursuit happening here is going to be the entire female population chasing Jesse straight to jail him for his wretched comments on the way CJ looked without makeup. “After much consideration, CJ has left the experiment,” the experts told the table at the dinner party. At least Jesse got to finish pursuing his risotto before he got turfed out on his arse. Final word goes to CJ: “I’m not tolerating a boy treating me like shit.” Amen.

666. Kara and Michael

If you thought last week was high in Michael uncomfortability, might I introduce you to Michael wearing a studded pleather blue “shark” suit, or perhaps Michael wearing pleather leggings and a spandex Paisley shirt? Or perhaps Michael telling the grooms that he is not sexually attracted to Kara ON CAMERA, and then denying the statement as “emphatically false” with “not an ounce of truth” when confronted about it??? No wonder he appears to be growing snake scales. 

Prior to that, Michael tried his best to stop being so relentlessly positive this week. “I couldn’t even get out of bed when my alarm went off this morning,” he told Kara, as if that revealed new complex depths of the human experience, and was not just what each and every one of us go through every damn day. They then had a huge fight while Kara adorned a stunning plate of pancakes with berries, angrily shoving them in her mouth while he stormed out of the room. 

The only reason I can possibly fathom why these two wrote “stay” is because they continue to be the best fed couple on the show. Mike got his beard sloshing around yet another large potato and gravy, Kara’s pancakes of pain were truly restaurant quality, and she juggled an endless supply of avocados. Cost of living whomst? I’d almost be tempted to pitch a Kara and Mike Eat Well for Less style cooking show, but the only suitable title for it has already been taken (Hell’s Kitchen). 

111. Steph and Piripi

Hello yes, I need an ambulance because Piripi has broken my heart. First there was the return of the “extra sausage” joke from last week during the raunchy photoshoot, then there was him cooking a romantic meal for Steph (sans extra sausage) and asking cute pre-prepared “intellectual” questions such as “do you believe in miracles?” “I love that these questions are stimulating these conversations, because it shows that he is a smart cookie,” said Steph. 

Little does she know, that smart cookie just cut a rose stem with the world’s bluntest kitchen knife.

Interestingly, Steph did not divulge the full extent of her raunchy yoga session with Michael. Probably for the best, because I’m not quite sure how you find language for this sort of thing that doesn’t breach the Broadcasting Standards Authority guidelines for good taste and decency:

Even though Piripi pulled out all the stops (supermarket pavlova), Steph still wasn’t feeling the spark. “We can co-exist and he is a great companion,” she said. “But so is a Labrador.” Ouch. Things got even more painful on the couch when Steph said she feels like she is “mothering” him and Piripi said he feels like he’s being treated “like a dog” by his wife. “You’ve got so much potential,” Steph had said earlier to Piripi, balancing a single Schmacko on his nose. 

He wrote stay, she wrote leave. Good thing they both believe in miracles because they are going to need one to get through hometowns. Final bit of advice for Piripi comes from Kara: “if you’re going to be a dog, be a wolf.” Not sure what it means but I think we can all agree: yes.

2. Samantha and James

The only hurdle in this picture perfect marriage is the fact that James lives in Christchurch, a place Samantha cannot even speak aloud without dry-retching. But are we sure that James is not just bound to Christchurch because of visa stuff, but because he is also secretly a Holey Moley franchise owner? I have never in my life heard one person gush as much about Holey Moley, with James revealing it’s where he takes all his dates. Sam loved hearing that!

Can’t have been that upsetting to her though, because we found out this week that the pair have consummated their marriage. Holey moley, one and all.

1. Angel and Brett

God, how good was it to see these two rays of sunshine back on our screens?!“Life is awesome, I couldn’t be more in love with Brett,” grinned Angel. “If you love her, man you’ll move the Earth,” Brett beamed. Maybe love isn’t dead after all. See you next week for hometowns. 

Married at First Sight NZ airs Sun-Tuesdays 7pm on Three, and here on ThreeNow.

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