Despite having pretty high expectations going into Newlyweds: The First Year, I wasn't disappointed by last night's series premiere. Bravo is essentially trying to do to marriage what MTV did with teen pregnancy via Teen Mom: show viewers what "actually" goes down once the initial afterglow fades away and reality sinks in -- a concept that isn't entirely original, but still generally unexplored in the low-budget TV landscape.
Unfortunately, so far, all we got to see in the pilot were the emotional days leading up to and including the wedding, which means that it'll take another few episodes for Newlyweds to prove just how "real" it gets. That's not to say meeting these four couples wasn't entertaining; the storytelling is tight and features a decent amount of what feels like genuine moments (with of course, some horribly staged "waking up" segments that at least manage to get a point of intimacy across), the people are compelling and the diversity is enough so that the pilot never felt particularly dull or repetitive, even though the duos were all experiencing the same universal awkwardness that goes along with committing to a monogamous relationship and joining families. Of course, what they all also share is that no less than one of the partners has a desperate thirst for drama and attention, but then, you'd have to be that type of person if you're allowing cameras to follow you for an entire year in arguably the most crucial time in your marriage.
On that note, let's get to the people we're stuck with for the next eight episodes (at least in this season), in order of vileness:
Kim and Alaska
While they are by far the most heinous people on this show, thanks to the revealing detail that Kim booted her best friends and sister out of her bridal party because they failed to lose (enough?) weight to meet the contingent conditions of her ideal-looking wedding, it's undeniable that Kim and Alaska have chemistry. I'm also not a huge fan of the whole "woman submitting to her man" thing, nor am I convinced that Kim is in love with the concept either.
Kathryn and John
Did you know that everyone in their lives thinks that Kathryn and John are moving too fast? I'm not sure if you missed the 200 times they each mentioned that. Ew, and John has a pool table in his living room!
Tina and Tarz
Tina is obviously the most attention-starved person on this show, and so it definitely makes sense that she'd do something so predictably ill-fated as scheduling her wedding day to be on the three-year anniversary of her own mother's death. I loathe the reoccurring storyline that we're going to see about her immediately wanting to start a family while Tarz doesn't even want to have sex with her. At least the cultural stuff and the friction with Tina's father poses to be somewhat interesting.
Jeff and Blair
It's not a surprise that Bravo treats the gay couple on Newlyweds with the most dignity (or is it that the casting department decided to choose two tolerable human beings for the token gay couple spot?), but in all honesty, Jeff and Blair's story is very sweet, and their internal problems seem less trivial and self-imposed than the other couples' drama. They've also got a genuine connection, and as a bonus, I always get a kick out of finding out a reality star used to be in a boy band that was just huge in Europe and Asia. It's the little things, really.
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