It's been a marathon first week of Married At First Sight Australia with four nights of feature-length episodes - and we're only just getting started.
After a whirlwind premiere that introduced us to this year's brides and grooms, the following three episodes escorted us to the weddings of five more couples, taking place in actual fairytale castles, hilltops with sea views, intimate oceanside spots... and what appeared to be one muddy central Melbourne park, judging by the rugged-up dog walkers.
Right now it's all sunshine and rainbows as the couples enter varying stages of matrimonial bliss. We haven't devolved yet into the inevitable glass-shattering dinner parties we all want to see.
Let's recap the weddings this week.
Lucinda and Timothy
Kicking off the nuptials in episode two was weathered and slightly heartbroken soul, 'the Tin-Man Timothy', named so because he keeps his emotions locked away inside (and yes, he is our second Tim for the season, just to make my job particularly difficult).
Timothy has suffered through much loss in his life. He was also dumped by his ex-partner when she found someone she preferred. These are the kind of things that will have absolutely no long-term ill-effects that preferably would be worked out in weekly therapy, I'm sure. A reality TV show should be just the ticket.
Just so we're clear, Tin-Man Timothy is not Tim the Tool-Man Taylor, the fatherly character who got up to DIY-related hijinks in the hit '90s sitcom Home Improvement.
Now we've got that sussed, someone needs to give the Tin Man some oil. Who better than my personal pick from the first ep: the ocean dancing, herbal-remedy swilling, manifesto-writing Bryon Bay local Lucinda Light.
Lucinda does not have the same hesitations as Timothy when it comes to romance.
"I just want to burst out in song when I think about love," she raves.
Here she is writing out poetry in a leather-bound sketchbook with a quill, natch. A friend who is well-versed in such matters has informed me that poetry is "in" for 2024, so we love this for her.
Lucinda and Timothy's wedding day dawned dark and stormy with some ominous clouds rolling in. The show must have been on a very tight deadline - someone in production obviously took a punt to go through with the wedding despite the weather, which was... certainly a decision.
Despite a spiritual ceremony during the vows to 'cleanse away negativity', forces somewhere appear to have been angered, because a wild storm struck and sent everyone scrambling.
There was talk of one pregnant woman going into spontaneous labour. It was chaos. Or in Lucinda's words: "A blast of elemental energy."
God love her.
Even in her vows, Lucinda tells her steadfast emotionless Aussie bloke that she's there "to nurture and to dazzle" in their marriage. I've had similar conversations in women's bathrooms at 2am so I really get it. If nothing else, Lucinda is going to have us all expanding our vocabularies in 2024. That is growth, thanks.
Tori and Jack
Our next wedding was between these two self confessed "alpha control freaks" - so abso no red flags there. We really got Jack's vibe via the many sweaty shots of him in various gym contortions, nipple ring gleaming in the moonlight - er, I mean gym fluorescents.
Big dog Jack is looking for someone to provide for, so they've paired him up with Tori, a woman who has been raised by a kick-ass single mother "never to depend on a male". Perfect.
Tori is the one you'll remember from episode one saying she's "not a girly girl". Here she is picking out tiaras for her wedding day. She also reiterates she's got her eyes on the prize - that fairy tale European SUV again. Has she gotten confused with The Block? There's no People's Choice car prize to drive away in here, babes.
It's all tick, tick, tick in the appearance boxes with respective good teeth, nice eyes and so on. So it seems to be an A-type match made in heaven. But it's Tori's bridesmaid and BFF Lea - a certified Real One - who spots something amiss.
Is it the fact that all Jack's close 'friends and family' are gym clients that he benefits financially from? Is it that he needs a partner who goes to the gym and expressed disappointment Tori didn't ask "which gym" he was a PT at?
"There's something about him I can feel it in my f**kin' bones," Lea tells her friend in a quiet moment. "It could be something like a misogynistic thing?"
Misogynistic? This guy? You jest.
To be honest, the biggest deal-breaker should have been the cropped jean and sneaker with no socks combo he rocked post-wedding. Also the fact there is apparently no sexual chemistry between him and his new wife.
"We're not sexually compatible at all," he says boldly on their honeymoon.
Luckily that's something he can keep secret - until of course, the infamous annual Relationship Deal Breaker box comes out, which forces couples to confess their levels of attraction to each other. In this, he didn't hold back.
"I wasn't going, god damn, I want to get this girl into bed," Jack says to Tori's face.
Leave it there man, we beg you.
"I didn't even want to sleep with you," he adds, just in case she hasn't gotten it.
We promise. She gets it.
Natalie and Collins
In a first for MAFS internationally, they paired Natalie up with this delightful Japanese Spitz puppy. We wish them all the best!
No, no, the experiment hasn't reached those realms... yet.
Natalie you'll remember from the hens do as the one who felt she wasn't tanned enough for love.
This video game and cosplay fan needs someone who can match her sweet, nerdy energy. Enter quiz master and "closet nerd" Collins, who admits he's never had a proper relationship. So his first one will be... marriage. Can't see any issues arising there.
To be honest, I had an initial fantastic vibe from these two sweethearts. It might have been their mutual penchant for quoting Disney.
As Natalie reminds us many, many times, she's not a typical girl. She is, in fact, a geek! But she also is a fortune teller.
"I've been really looking forward to this day. I hope I don't fall down the aisle," she says.
But sadly she does fall on her walk to the altar - not once, but thrice. But we don't blame the woman.
For some reason they had her wandering kilometres through a muddy Melbourne park in heels en route to her nuptials. Of course she fell over. She was basically participating in a half marathon, there should have been a drinks station or something along the way.
Luckily she was literally CARRIED to her ceremony by producers which would A) be mortifying and B) probably cause me to fall in love with a producer TBH.
The energy match became apparent when Collins literally jumped for joy upon finding out they supported the same AFL team during the vows. But things took a slight downturn during the reception when Natalie kept doing comedic bits.
I love a good bit of physical comedy as the next gal, but as Collins put it, "this is a lot". Rein the miming back a bit Nat, there's a good girl.
It was all so much that Collins had a post ceremony freakout over "two such high energy forces meeting"; but I think it was probably from catching the ick, to be honest, just from the sheer volume of impressions.
Collins insisted on separate bedrooms for the wedding night. But there was only the one bed in their romantic honeymoon suite, so maybe Nat will get royally - oh, nope, Collins has built a pillow wall. No confusion there then.
Jayden and Eden
The kickboxer with the heart of gold! A tale as old as time.
Despite being able to roundhouse kick people in the face, this guy is a softie ready for "back tickles and snuggles". Who better to bring out that than Disney princess-lookalike Eden, who sports locks as golden as her golden retriever?
It feels here that the match was made based on their shared history of trust issues and cheating partners but hey, relationships have been built on less. We also learn that Jayden is the brother of Mitch from MAFS Australia season nine.
If you were getting an ice cream or something during that part, don't worry, you would have been informed by the many, many flashbacks and cutaway shots of Mitch's reaction during vows. We get he drew viewers, but we really didn't need every reaction of the brother to the vows, thanks.
I'd much rather have had eyes on Jayden the whole time because my God, that boy is in LOVE, love. He had me giggling and kickin' my feet.
Jayden was like a giddy schoolboy as he promised himself to his drop-dead gorgeous bride. But at the reception things took a dip as he panicked that she judged him for his kickboxing career.
Did she seem like she was judging him? No. Did anyone express words to that effect? Absolutely not.
Maybe take something for that anxiety, Jayden.
But honestly, worries aside, these two are the best match I've seen so far. I'm pulling for them.
Ellie and Ben
Our final couple of the week were Certified Normies, Ellie and Ben. Ellie has been stung in the past by a love rat ex-fiancé who walked out on her three months before her wedding, so she's ready to go all in this time around. However, she is happily a package deal with her hilarious bitchy cousin, Jordan.
Ellie nervously revealed that Jordan "has a great BS radar, always sees it how it is [and] is always very vocal and says it straight," which are all describers I've always heard about life's worst people.
"It's going to be good having me, because there I can spot any bullshit from a mile away," he tells the camera. Again, qualities every bride wants from those closest to her on the happiest day of her life.
As Ellie maniacally laughed her way down the aisle, Jordan appeared less than impressed with her new husband: travel-tour-guide-come-podcast-host Ben, who insists in his vows that he's in the experiment for "genuine reasons".
The unwelcome news Ben has a podcast seemed to rock Jordan, who ended up interrogating him over dinner. Whose heart hasn't dropped upon hearing a man has a podcast, though?
Ben used the tried-and-true method of "keep stuffing your mouth with food" to avoid pretty valid questions over whether he came on the internationally broadcast TV show to pimp his poddy and travel-themed Instagram page.
During a quiet chat, the bomb was dropped that Ben has in fact applied for this show not once, but twice, but three times. Oh and he's applied for other TV shows as well. He was meant to be on The Bachelors? Cool, cool, cool, cool.
In his speech, he once again brought up his tour guide company and, you guessed it, his podcast. But again, he insists, he's here for legit, totally genuine reasons.
Jordan, I have to admit, that BS meter I scoffed at? I think it might be bang on, babes.
Curiosity peaked, I looked up this man's podcast. I mean, we all want to take a holiday this year don't we? It might be nice to get some travel tips on the hot spots to head to in 2024.
Ahh, Euro-summer with the Taliban.
I think I'll stick to Queenstown.
Full episodes of the current season of MAFS AU are streaming on ThreeNow and airing on Three at 7pm Sunday-Wednesday.