All this time watching shows like The Bachelor and Married at First Sight, hoping to find the great New Zealand romance story – turns out we were looking in the wrong place. We should have been watching Prime's salt of the Earth fishing show ITM Hook Me Up instead.
How the show works is basically that people go on the ITM Hook Me Up Facebook page and pester host Matt Watson to take them fishing. They'll write a big sob story, "I've never caught a marlin before" or something like that, and Matt will go, "All right then, let's get you a big marlin, yeeha!" It's so good.
On this week's episode a woman called Stephanie wrote in with a dilemma straight out of the romantic comedy handbook. I mean, Nora Ephron couldn't have written it better if she tried: Stephanie's partner of nine-and-a-half years, Carl, had years ago joked that he couldn't marry her until he caught a 20lb snapper. He still hadn't caught one, so they still weren't married.
"Please Matt," she begged. "Can you hook him up so I can put a ring on this finger."
At first I thought: this Carl bloke's an idiot. Just ask her to marry you anyway, you absolute goon. But who among us hasn't found themselves in a similar predicament, making a stupid promise for a laugh then feeling obliged to follow it through to the point that it becomes a giant albatross around your neck.
Did Carl even want to marry Stephanie? Any doubts disappeared along with the first really big snapper he hooked. The look on the poor guy's face when it got away – it was obvious this was about so much more than just catching a huge fish.
The symbolism couldn't have been clearer. Fishing as a metaphor for romance. We all hear "there's plenty more fish in the sea", but what we're really looking for, according to Matt, is that elusive 20-pounder.
"For every 20-pounder there's literally hundreds and hundreds of others," he explained in a stirring soliloquy right when it appeared Carl might never catch his dream fish, might never get married. "Even if you get in front of one you've still get to get to the point where it takes the bait."
For the first time in the history of ITM Hook Me Up, Matt took off his polarised sunglasses. "If it takes the bait you've then got to hook it," he continued. "And if you hook it, you've got to get it into the boat and make sure it's not 19.9lbs."
Never mind that this was probably his own wedding speech, recycled. In the moment it was perfect, inspiring, the first of two big turning points. The other was when a pod of dolphins came up to the boat, and Matt said, "I don't know if you believe in omens or not." Shortly after that, Carl caught a 20.02lb snapper.
This was it, the classic New Zealand romance story. An epic tale of love, fishing and banter. On the beach, in the rain, with one of our best celebrity fishermen lurking just out of shot, she said yes.
• ITM Hook Me Up! Prime, 7.30pm Wednesdays