COMMENT:

Once upon a time, the upcoming Married at First Sight NZ premiere would have been cause for great celebration for this reality TV junkie.

Watching 12 singles walk down the aisle to meet their husband or wife and fall either instantly, madly in love or paste on a brave smile as they silently wonder what they hell they've just done? Sign. Me. Up.

But much has changed in the two years since MAFS first arrived on our shores – so much so, that without a single frame of this latest season having even aired yet, I can quite confidently say there's good reason to cancel it.

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And let's not just stop at MAFS NZ, either. If Australia's poisonous season earlier this year is anything to go by, it's probably time to pack away the entire franchise and preserve what little dignity we have left.

For a start, are we really going to keep up the pretence that MAFS is an experiment that uses any kind of actual science to match people up with a compatible spouse?

Let's not forget, this is a show made for our entertainment, first and foremost. And I used to be quite OK with that. I mean, surely in 2019 anybody who signs up for a series like MAFS knows they're likely going to be manipulated into situations purely to get a desired reaction out of them, right?

But this year, the franchise has strayed into harmful territory.

For a start, the Australian cast executed a near perfect example of how to gaslight your significant other in their most recent season. And it wasn't just a couple of smarmy grooms who were busy making their partners question their own perception of reality - even one of the so-called "experts" got in on the action during those infamous couch sessions.

Now, New Zealand is trumping that debacle by inadvertently signing up a MAFS groom who's been charged with domestic violence in the US.

The potential implications of that are quite horrifying, especially after the groom's former partner shared more details about the allegations. Candace Casady told the Herald Chris Mansfield "almost killed me a couple of times (through) strangling" before he was arrested in May 2009.

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Those allegations must have chilled the makers of MAFS NZ to the bone when they read them, given they had just "married" this man off to a complete stranger.

Since Casady's interview with the Herald, Three wisely announced they were cutting the storyline of Mansfield and his on-screen "wife", Aimee Collins, from the show. But while some poor editor is probably working around the clock to achieve such a massive editing feat, we need to ask the question: Is there really any point in carrying on with this farce?

With the exception of New Zealand's first season, the marriages on MAFS are not legal. As the Herald reported last night, one of this year's brides is still actually married – and to Sensing Murder "psychic" Kelvin Cruickshank, no less (which might just be the most New Zealand thing to ever happen).

Rosemary Cruickshank will feature in MAFS despite still being married to Kelvin Cruickshank. Photos / Instagram, File
Rosemary Cruickshank will feature in MAFS despite still being married to Kelvin Cruickshank. Photos / Instagram, File

Frankly, Sensing Murder is more grounded in reality than Married at First Sight these days, which means the show is becoming just a manipulated exercise in entertaining the masses, potentially at the expense of the wellbeing of actual people.

As we head into this Sunday's premiere, there will easily be some overworked editors wishing they'd never heard of MAFS. Heck, after the last couple of weeks of scandal, there must be some network execs who wished they'd never heard of MAFS, too.

So, perhaps those editors could do us all a favour and leave the whole show on the cutting room floor.