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OPINION: The rise and long, long fall of reality TV

As Aussies campaign to ban Channel 9's new show Married at First Sight, Jo Thornely dreams up the other ridiculous TV viewing we hope will never happen.

Whenever a new product becomes available, I often imagine executives huddled in a boardroom, workshopping the idea for it.
"Selfies are too close. How about a stick that moves your phone several centimetres further away from your face?”
“Genius, Karl! But what will we call it?”
I imagine almost exactly the same thing for new reality TV shows.
"The Bachelor takes too long. What, they decide to get married after a few months? Why don’t we marry them off as soon as they see each other?"
“Genius, Karl! But what will we call it?”
Which brings us to Nine’s upcoming offering,Married At First Sight, in which single men and women are matched with each other with the help of psychologists (and a ‘neuropsychotherapist’, who I assume specialises in syllables).
They then meet.
At the altar.
On their wedding day.
"Statistics show that arranged marriages tend to last longer," says the neuropsychotherapist, perhaps overlooking just a smidge the likelihood that many cultures that smile on arranged marriages are not always the cultures that are totally okey-dokey with the idea of divorce.
Statistical interpretation notwithstanding, I for one applaud this leap towards efficiency in reality TV programming.
Reality TV is so much more entertaining when its main players are involved in awkward, embarrassing or uncomfortable situations, and sucking them quickly into their matrimonial garb and squirting them out at the altar ticks all those boxes in an admirably time-saving manner.
They call it a “social experiment”, when they should just call it what it is: “awkward for our entertainment”.
As such, I’ve come up with a few more ideas for shows that fast-track the uncomfortable:
Weight Loss Wedding
A first in cardio connubials, contestants who want to shed a few kilos trade the aisle for a treadmill.
The couple that makes it through the ceremony, vows, signing of the register and reception speeches on the highest treadmill setting wins a six week honeymoon in the Maldives.
Australia’s Next Top ‘Before’ Model
There’s a massive market for ‘before’ models in a huge variety of industries, and this reality show takes a peek behind the casting curtain at aspiring mediocre-looking people with fixable visual imperfections who will remain in the running to be Australia’s most temporarily okay-looking model?
The Block Glasshouse Up Late
Attractive young couples renovate an entirely transparent apartment block that they’re eating, sleeping and showering in at the same time.
The Everything Show
House Rules, My Kitchen Rules, Celebrity Apprentice, The Voice and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here combine to find out who in Australia can most melodically vomit up a commercially viable tarte tatin into a toilet they built themselves.
Let’s just wait for the entertainment (and royalties) to come rolling in.
Jo Thornely is an author and prolific blogger who enjoys pointing out the hilarious in all situations.

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