With all the toxic sludge that oozed from last year's Australian and New Zealand versions of Married at First Sight, I figured I'd divorce the whole franchise in 2020.
Yet when the show popped up again over the weekend, I thought it rude to not at least check in on Australia's television event of the year, especially when it's about to dominate our own screens four nights of the week.
Here's what happened during that one last fling for old time's sake on Sunday night.
1 minute in:
They might have faced heavy criticism over last year's series, but MAFS Australia has obviously decided that if the ratings ain't broke, why fix anything?
The show's opening scenes reveal we're in for more of their signature emotional manipulation in 2020. We have the familiar quivering voices of lovelorn singles, hoping for love or at least a few Instagram teeth-whitening endorsement deals out of the experience.
Previews hint at more screaming matches during those infamous MAFS dinner parties. And there's the continued insistence that this whole "experiment" is based on science. Although the science in this case looks to be getting brides and grooms to sniff dirty laundry in a lab somewhere.
6 minutes in:
The hens and bucks nights are underway and Kiwi bride Cathy is the first to arrive. She makes a beeline for the hors d'oeuvres. She then adds, "I like pies. I'm eating a pie." A woman after my own heart.
Over at the bucks night, a man named Michael says, "We've all been with a good-looking girl and thought 'Oh, turn that thing on silent.'" But it wouldn't be MAFS without at least one chauvinistic prat.
Meanwhile, bride Tash reveals to the hens that she's gay. The news of MAFS Australia's first gay wedding is most welcome, of course. Because in an equal society, lesbians should be free to make the same terrible life decisions as everybody else.
29 minutes in:
We prepare for the wedding of photographer Poppy to FIFO worker Luke. We learn Poppy's ex ran off with a co-worker weeks after she gave birth to their twin sons. We also get to meet those adorable boys, C**k and Block. (Her words, not mine.)
34 minutes in:
It's time to meet Josh, ahead of his wedding to pie-loving Cathy. He makes a joke about a co-worker stealing his meat pie. This is a match made in heaven. Because there have been MAFS pairings made on far less than a shared fondness for pies.
47 minutes in:
Poppy is spinning out. She's panicking about leaving her twins behind so as to marry a stranger. And she has a pimple taking over her entire lower face. But she gulps down some bridal bourbon and proceeds to marry Luke, potentially the world's nicest man.
1 hour, 4 minutes in:
Cathy and Josh are about to be wed. As Cathy walks down the aisle, Josh is rendered full ocker. "Oh, strewth. Holy dooley. You absolute bloody ripper," he says. I think he's pleased?
1 hour, 13 minutes in:
Luke is delivering a masterclass in patience as his bride sobs that she wants to go home. But he feels like the writing is on the wall. "This is a train wreck," admits Luke. You said it, mate.
1 hour, 23 minutes in:
Josh and Cathy are both "crushing hard". This is despite producers doing their best to drum up some kind of drama that they don't, in fact, like each other.
Finally, the two new couples ride off into the sunset to spend their wedding night with a stranger and a film crew, while we get ready for the next batch of newlyweds.
The series will likely follow the same formula it always has. There will be the couples who hate each other on sight, those who quickly burn out after a promising start, and maybe one or two who genuinely like each other.
There will no doubt be gossip, shouting and dramatic exits ahoy. But, oddly, that all feels like a dull proposition. Because we've seen it all before. And boredom mixed with unease at the manipulation of emotionally vulnerable people isn't my idea of a good time.
So farewell, MAFS class of 2020. May some of you actually find love. And may the rest of you at least escape with your mental health intact and get to enjoy one or two tooth-whitening procedures out of the whole sorry exercise.