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Sharyn Casey (centre) hosts My Mum, Your Dad NZ (Photo: Three)
Sharyn Casey (centre) hosts My Mum, Your Dad NZ (Photo: Three)

Pop CultureApril 21, 2024

Five reasons why you should watch new reality series My Mum, Your Dad NZ

Sharyn Casey (centre) hosts My Mum, Your Dad NZ (Photo: Three)
Sharyn Casey (centre) hosts My Mum, Your Dad NZ (Photo: Three)

Three’s new dating show breaks all the reality rules, writes Tara Ward.

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If you think dating shows are only for the young, think again. From The Bachelor, to Too Hot to Handle, to Love Is Blind, there’s no shortage of dating shows on our televisions, but Three’s new reality series takes this well-known format and flips it on it’s head. My Mum, Your Dad NZ follows eight middle-aged single parents who have been nominated by their adult children for a second chance at love – think Love Island, but for the oldies.

These brave singles move into a house together to see if romantic sparks fly – but like any good reality series, there’s a twist. The parents don’t know that their children will be secretly watching their romantic quest from the comfort of a special “bunker”, and that they’ll be the ones ultimately playing matchmaker. After all, who knows a parent better than their child? Well, we’re about to find out.

Whether you’re a reality TV fan or you just like watching New Zealanders being awkward on the telly, here’s five reasons why you should watch My Mum, Your Dad NZ.

Stand down John Aiken, there’s some new romantic experts in town  

Parents are used to being in charge of their kids, but My Mum, Your Dad NZ gleefully breaks that rule. This show gives the kids all the power and, after watching countless hours of footage of their parents flirting with each other, they get to pull the romantic strings. Like expert John from Married at First Sight, they’re also not afraid to dish out advice about where these singles are going wrong in the dating world. “She’s a bit of an egg, but she deserves someone to treat her the way she deserves to be treated,” Connor says of his mum Jacks, while Emma instructs dad Nic not to “bring up Star Wars, unless they ask”. Words to live by, indeed.

Chris (left) and Charlie star in My Mum, Your Dad NZ (Photo: Supplied)

Yes, it’s awkward… 

Can you imagine watching your parents pash on TV? Or squirming while your dad debates whether farting on the first date is OK, or cringing when your parent asks his date the never-sexy question “are you still active? Do you still do stuff?” Chuck in the general reluctance of New Zealanders to make small talk with strangers, and the awk-o-meter in episode one hits the retreat roof.

…but it’s also full of vulnerable moments

Thankfully, that embarrassment is balanced by some surprising moments of honesty and vulnerability. Having asked Jacks if she still “does stuff”, Sean pulls the date back from the brink of hell by opening up and revealing that he hasn’t been intimate with anyone in 10 years. He mentions he’s scared to get hurt and wishes he had someone to talk to at the end of the day, giving us an unexpected insight into the realities of being a middle-aged single parent.

But the realest moment of all comes at the end of episode one, when it’s revealed that Flavio, one of the fathers in the show, died not long after filming wrapped last year. (A Warner Bros. spokesperson said the decision to air the show was made with the “full and ongoing support of Flavio’s son Enzo, who also features in the series, his family, and the entire cast.”) It’s a poignant reminder that, even in the silliest of high concept dating shows, these are still real people and real lives.

This isn’t just a dating show

My Mum, Your Dad NZ is about a second chance at love, but it’s also a series about the unique bond between parents and children. It’s heartwarming to see the parents speak so fondly about their kids – especially when the oldies don’t know their kids will be watching – and it’s wholesome to see the kids want their best for their parents. There’s also something special about watching these offspring discover the oldies in a whole new light, seeing them not just as parents but as individuals looking for love and companionship – even if they do drop “a whizzpop” on the first date.

It reminds us that it’s not just young people who are deserving of love

Much like the most recent series of Married at First Australia, a dating show becomes more interesting when it involves people who have lived full and interesting lives. The middle-aged participants arrive at the retreat with maturity and years of lived experience, and they know exactly what they want. ”When you get to my age, and you’ve gone through a period of self-growth, you really do see what you won’t tolerate,” 49-year-old Juanita tells us.

Ultimately, watching My Mum, Your Dad NZ feels like going on a first date. It’s awkward and funny and has moments of brutal honesty. But by the end, it’s full of promise – whizzpop and all.

My Mum, Your Dad NZ screens on Sunday April 21 at 7.30pm on Three and streams on ThreeNow. 

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