Season 2 of Married at First Sight premiered last night, after its hourlong matchmaking special, and as I predicted I’d be, I’m hooked.
We met the experts and the subjects in the matchmaking special, and we see them all again in the premiere episode. The premiere episode, especially toward the beginning, is filled with interactions between the subjects and the love/sex experts, but I won’t go too heavy into that. I covered who’s who, as far as the experts go, in yesterday’s blog, so let’s take a look at the new couples!
Ryan De Nino & Jessica Castro
Ryan D., age 29, business owner:
I find Ryan adorable. He’s kind of soft-spoken, and just strikes me as a kind person. Ryan is a neatnik who says he’s had no problem meeting and dating women (which doesn’t shock me – he’s cute!) but he hasn’t yet found the one for him. Ryan draws a lot of his inspiration for a relationship from his grandparents, who in life were best friends. The way they interacted with each other is how he knows what a good marriage is meant to be like.
Jessica, age 30, receptionist
I also find Jessica adorable. (Sorry to describe these 2 adults like puppies.) She is sweet and endearing. She has her life pretty much together, and says that love is the one thing that’s missing. She envies what those around her who are coupled-off have. She says, “If I get matched, I’m going to walk down that aisle and be 100% open to loving that person who’s waiting for me.” Once she finds out that she’s getting married, Jessica is so very excited (this really shows through when she’s buying her wedding dress.) Like Ryan, she is close to her family and can model her relationship on long, successful family relationships.
Some reasons for their match: The two are in similar places in their careers, are both family-oriented, and religiously open-minded. They both are very ready to commit.
Ryan Ranellone & Jaclyn Methuen
Ryan R., age 28, real estate agent
Ryan lives with his mom and is helping raise his niece (and says that sometimes, he acts as her uncle, sometimes like a big brother, sometimes like a father), as both of her parents passed away (at different times, from different causes). Ryan is looking for someone that is willing to be as invested and willing to commit as he is. He says, “Not having that special person, it’s like a missing piece.” I’m struck throughout the entire premiere at just how family-oriented Ryan actually is. It’s refreshing.
Jaclyn, 30, sales rep for a popular vodka brand
Jaclyn is very outgoing and assertive (quite a bit more than Ryan, which might make them a good balance for each other). She is bubbly and has a big personality, is comfortable with herself, and loves her job and her life. She really wants to believe—and DOES believe—that great love exists. She knows what she can bring to the table in a relationship. She says, “Fear and regret terrifies me more than marrying a stranger.”
Some reasons for their match: They’re like yin and yang: she’s much more outgoing and assertive, but that’s what Ryan wants and it’ll be good for him. Plus, she is a nurturer and will be blown away by the nurturing he has done for his niece.
Sean Varricchio & Davina Kullar
Sean, 35, ER/trauma nurse
Sean says that dating isn’t exact, and falling in love isn’t exact, and wants to take this risk. He’s lonely and he wants a family. Sean is very close with his own family, especially his parents, who are worried about this experiment. He was terribly bullied as a kid, and has had to go through a whole process of rebuilding himself. He says he’s taken his walls down over the past few years.
Davina, 34, biopharmaceutical sales rep
Out of everyone on the show, Davina is my personal favorite, perhaps because she seems so intelligent and is so even-keeled despite all she has been through. Like Sean, she was bullied; her bullying stemmed from being of a different race in a small Pennsylvania town. Davina had a lot to emotionally deal with as a child, and says she won’t let the past interfere with her chance of happiness. “For the first time in my life,” Davina says, “over the past few years I’ve been at that place in my life where love is truly the only thing that’s missing.”
Correction: The original blog posting made reference to a conversation about Davina’s parents, which was not not in the final broadcast. Thus, references to that relationship have been removed.
Some reasons for their match: They have both overcome so much emotionally and physically; this will build their bond and intimacy. They were both late bloomers in regard to sex and sexuality, so they’re a good match in this way. Davina wants to marry a white man (which Sean is); Sean will prove to be a good listener for Davina.
Rather than recap the entire 2 hours of the show, here are some highlights. Feel free to add anything you noted, that I missed, in the comments below! (Do my job for me! Yeah, that’s the spirit.)
Early on in the show, each subject tells his or her family about the upcoming wedding, and, while there’s shock across the board (of course), I’m struck by how different each family’s reaction is. For example, Ryan R.’s mom and niece are ecstatic, and Jessica’s family is by-and-large pretty thrilled. (The interaction between her and her stepfather is quite touching.) On the other hand, Sean’s parents are truly horrified, but keep in mind they are pretty protective of him after finding out about the bullying he endured growing up. Plus, it doesn’t sit well with them that Sean’s only way out of this situation is divorce. Davina’s sister and mom aren’t in the show. We do meet Davina’s best friend Chris, and his mom, who act as family to Davina, and are quite supportive.
Once the families are notified, it’s time to start planning the wedding. We see the couples go to pick out wedding dresses and tuxedos, and watch and listen to them interact with their families. Jessica talks about how she can’t wait to meet her groom’s (Ryan D.) family. Ryan R. discusses how he’s okay with his days of bachelorhood slipping away, because he feels that great love is part of happiness, and he is putting his whole foot forward. He’s confident he’ll like his new bride (Jaclyn) but is worried about whether she’ll like him. Davina says she’s satisfied with the scientific side of this matching, and says that her emotional side won’t kick in until she walks down the aisle and meets her groom. She also says that trust has been a relationship in many of her relationships but she thinks this process will actually force her to trust.
After the dress and tux fittings, we see snippets from the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Of course, the subject of sex comes up, as does the subject of the first kiss. Imagine your first kiss with someone being your wedding kiss! Some of the subjects have doubts that they’ll even kiss during the wedding. Jaclyn says that she’s worried about not being attracted to her groom, and points out that as long as the first kiss is good, there is sexual chemistry.
And then comes the big day. As they head to the wedding venues and get dressed and ready for the day, we watch each person interact with his or her family and friends. Ryan D. wishes his grandparents were alive and could make it to the wedding. It’s a sweet, sentimental moment. Davina’s nerves start to show through. But she points out that she loves herself and that’s why she’s ready for a relationship with someone else. (Side note: This is awesome. I love her attitude.) Whereas Davina is nervous, Jaclyn seems very at-ease, and points out again how committed she is to this social experiment.
All of the couples give each other gifts and cards before meeting. Ryan D., for example, gets a pair of socks to wear in case he gets cold feet, and says that’s how he knows his bride (Jessica) has a sense of humor. Davina gets a very touching card from Sean with a whole write-up about unlocking his heart, and then opens a box to find a lovely necklace with a tiny key. (This is the part of the show where I started bawling, only I was still at work when I was watching this, so it was mildly embarrassing. Thanks a lot, A&E. Thanks a lot, Sean & Davina!)
The couples prep to walk down the aisle, and stuff starts getting real. The waterworks come on (especially when Jessica hugs her dad – their relationship is so sweet), and one can almost feel how much emotion is in the room as the grooms stand in front of their old and new families waiting for their brides. Sean’s greeting to his old and new families together in the same room is quite heartlifting and sweet, and the other two (the Ryans) both walk in to lots of clapping from their families–a good sign, for sure.
Everyone is just all over the place, emotionally. There’s anticipation, excitement, paralyzing fear. For those of you who have been married, remember those feelings? Now try to imagine how much those feelings are intensified by not knowing whom you’re marrying, and having cameras pointed your way. The thing that strikes me the most is watching it hit everyone just how real this whole situation really is.
And then, here comes the bride. Well, in Ryan R.’s case, at least. We don’t see Ryan D. and Jessica, nor do we see Sean and Davina, walk down the aisle, in this episode. (Gotta have a reason to watch episode 2, right?) Remember back when I pointed out that Ryan said he was pretty sure he’d like his bride, but was worried she wouldn’t like him? Remember when I said that Jaclyn was worried about not being attracted to her groom? Apparently Ryan’s reaction upon seeing her is that he’s, in his own words, a “happy camper.” Her words: “Oh sh*t.”
Jaclyn is not attracted to him (or his accent) and doesn’t feel like this is the man that is supposed to be her husband. This is not good, and this is the point in the show where it really hits me that oh yeah, maybe this won’t work out as well as I thought, but then, what would a show be without conflict and tension, right? I have been on a couple of dates with men who were not at all unattractive (quite the opposite, in fact) but I was not attracted to them. I suspect the same has happened in reverse, where my dates just weren’t attracted to me. That’s fine, because those were coffee, or dinner, or whatever. But imagine if it were marriage. IMAGINE THAT! You walk down the aisle toward the man you’re supposed to marry, to fall in love with (and presumably you’re supposed to sleep with this man), yet you feel no sparks whatsoever, and your initial reaction is, “Oh sh*t!” The sinking feeling that must come along with that! Well, I guess we’ll find out in episode 2 if Jaclyn’s feelings toward Ryan stick, or if the other couples feel any chemistry themselves. I can’t wait to see what happens!