Pop CultureJune 25, 2024

Married at First Sight NZ Power Rankings: We found love in a hopeless place


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

I remember walking out of Tenet and spending about as long as the duration of the film watching my partner patiently shuffle around salt and pepper shakers, trying to explain the chronology. I remember feeling bamboozled, hoodwinked, swindled by time. This week, all those same feelings of betrayal and confusion came rushing back.

What do you mean MAFSNZ is over?! Mike’s only just broken in his pleather jeggings?! John Aiken has only just finished stretching his eyebrows?! The Moccona heeft so much meer mmm to go?! 

Where MAFSAU yawns feature-length episodes over what feels like six months, MAFSNZ preferred the “spray and walk away” approach. No intimacy week, no couples retreat, no feedback week, just a bunch of resentful strangers forced to bring their most hated person on earth home to meet their families in the name of… science. As this season doesn’t seem to have cared much for tradition, neither do I. Without further ado, here is my power ranking of the snacks provided during hometown visits across the motu.

5. Threatening glass apples (Christchurch)

4. Enormous bowl of peanuts (Christchurch)

3. Yummy spread of bikkies (New Plymouth)

2. Plate o’ pastries (Auckland)

1. Al fresco KFC (Hamilton)

Glad I got that out my system. Onto the human being rankings. 

5) Maddie and Nathaniel

I’ll have what Maddie’s guinea pig was having after watching these two reunite on the couch. She came in ultra hot, saying she felt like she was mothering him because he wasn’t good at reading his emails and forgot to forward on a chain letter to seven friends by midnight, which means she is now haunted by a girl playing a flute at the end of her bed. He sat there with his eyes shut, hoping his camo pants would cause him to disappear into the couch. Sleep well sweet prince.

Maddie, alone on the couch

4) CJ and Jesse

It was revealed after the pair left the experiment that Jesse was secretly an “author” (sent very long texts) and CJ was secretly a stand up comedian (pulled a toothbrush out of her bra and said “something to remember me by”). Going to miss this Colgate Sunday night feature. 

3) Kara and Michael

I would watch an eight part crime series that’s just Detective Al grilling Michael over his motives while trying to get him to bite into a glass apple. Visiting Kara’s hometown of Christchurch, the former Apprentice contestant told his TV father-in-law that his TV wife “complains a little bit” and “can create a context of negativity”. Kara also revealed that Mike diagnosed her eczema as the result of unresolved trauma. PS I once had a facialist tell me my acne was the result of having “too many secrets”… Mike, that you? 

The pair then travelled to Auckland to meet Mike’s sister Bianca, she of the luxurious fresh pastries, before hitting the local MMA gym (Moccona, Magnums, Arguing) to hash it out. Mike said he enjoyed “having a wife to do some grappling with” and Kara apologised after they squished each other for not trying to get to know him better (blame it on the trauma eczema girl). “I am one of the most authentic and open and truthful people that anyone will ever meet” said Mike, authentically. 

In a move that shocked precisely nobody, the pair parted ways at final vows. “I can’t say I imagined fur coats, jeggings and sparkly sunnies,” said Kara, whereas Mike pined to return to “the land of positive people”. But when they were reunited on the couch, he seemed less positive than ever before. He got furious at Sam for telling Kara about what happened on boys night, calling it “gossip” and “schoolyard bullshit” before dropping this pearl of wisdom.

“It’s like being in a big wave,” he said of the experiment. “It’s going to move you somehow.”

Okay sorry Jesse, you’re going to need to handover that Shakespearean collar because there’s a new wordsmith in town. Meanwhile, Kara was more focussed on yelling “SAYONARA” and welcoming a big wave of men into her DMs. Sending love and light and professional breathwork to all. 

2) Stephanie and Piripi

It’s like they always say: when the going gets tough, head to Hamilton and swish around an enormous vat of barley mash with your television husband. Alas, it wasn’t enough to brew up feelings of romance for Steph, who still saw Piri more as a dog friend. “I need someone confident and willing to take the dog lead,” she said. With the enormous three year age gap (28 in dog years) to also consider, things were not looking good when they headed into final vows. 

While Steph acknowledged their initial similarities and that they had a laugh on the honeymoon, she revealed that she got the ick after discovering that Piripi had applied to be on F Boy Island prior to Married at First Sight NZ. “This is a very different concept,” she would later explain during the reunion. “You come out of that with a girlfriend, this is a marriage.” Girl, so confusing sometimes, your wedding ring is literally a KFC onion ring! 

Meanwhile, Piripi was on his own journey of self discovery. “Spending time apart made me realise love isn’t supposed to be like that, I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t consider me their equal,” he mused. “But I’ll be here as your first husband, and your friend.” Steph debuted a folklore-at-grammys look at the reunion, but it was Piripi who revealed himself to be the true tortured poet. “I was just so focussed on improving myself, let’s sharpen this knife, but then I ended up cutting myself doing that,” he said.

Ok, hand over the collar Mike. 

At the end of the day, they’ve come out of this friends and that’s more than many on this season can say. F Boy Island? More like Friend Boy Island. 

1) Samantha and James

They found love in a hoooopeless plaaace, they found looove in a hoooope-less place. After visiting the Heathcote Cricket Club and being dazzled by the biggest bowl of nuts ever committed to the silver screen, Samantha was still faced with one large, South Island-shaped hurdle. “Christchurch is lovely,” she began. “But…” But what?! We’ve got our own Monopoly board AND a Holey Moley franchise Sam, what more could you possibly want? 

“For custody reasons I absolutely cannot move,” said Samantha. James gave her a sparkly diamond bracelet to try and keep them connected across islands, but I’d say it was about 1070.3 km too short. The distance was becoming an elephant in the room, a fly in the ointment, a haunted robot lurking under the stairs. Can they make it work? 

Of course they can. Not only did they commit to the relationship outside the experiment, but they both dropped L-bombs during final vows. Hark now hear the Angels (and Bretts) sing, glory to the newborn MAFS king and queen. “I love you and I can’t wait to build a life with the girl of my dreams,” said James. “I love you,” Samantha whispered into his neck. John Aiken wiped the growing beads of sweat off his brow. The experiment is flawless, science has won again, love conquers all.

MAFSNZ is available to stream on ThreeNow.

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