So called reality TV is anything but real; it is nothing more than contrived entertainment. The Dr Phil show is an outstanding example, its website bearing this disclaimer:

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Even though the controversies presented on reality TV are obviously confected, the gullible consider them real.

Hello, my name is Clementine Ford and I am obsessed with Married At First Sight. 

I’m aware of the delicious irony at play here. Back in December, I wrote a column about the grotesque nature of this show and Channel Nine’s decision to promote a contestant whose gender politics (and conversational skills, it turns out) had been pulled straight out of the 1950s.

The main lesson learned?

Men are trash

Before you send me an email from your special clemanteenfordisafatpig@gmail.com account, calm down. Obviously I know that not all men are trash. Just most of them. In fact, the only men in the whole of Australia who aren’t obviously trash are Telv, John and Patrick (and Henry from My Kitchen Rules, #marrymehenry).

I know from the majority of my straight girlfriends that the pickings are Skinny As out there. When you’re in your twenties, you’re like, “Oh he’s gotta enjoy reading books and trying new food, and he has to vote Greens and get on well with his mum and it’d be great if he enjoyed going on hikes but it’s not essential as long as he’s into some kind of physical activity!”

When you get to your thirties, you are literally so demoralised by the number of adult men you’ve slept with who have newspapers for curtains and use a towel as a bottom sheet that your only requirements for a mate are that he showers sometimes.

Clemmie’s analysis of a totally contrived situation continues:

Pay attention to the Red Flags

If you’ve been foraging in the bin with the rest of us, you’ll know that Dean (who’s married to Tracey) and Davina (who’s married to Ryan) have been coordinating the start of an “affair”. It’s sordid and sleazy and gross and it makes me wonder again what pretty people talk about when they go on dates with each other. So far, Davina and Dean have just talked together about how hot the other one is and how the chemistry between them is “unbelievable”.

And now for the male manipulation of of a helpless female:

They both demonstrate a remarkably seamless skill with gaslighting too, and they make a great study of people who are textbook abusers. Davina’s emotionally cruel to Ryan, and her manipulation of Tracey is next level. Feigning an intimate friendship while scheming to steal a significant other is diabolical.

But Dean exhibits so many red flags, it’s as if a toddler’s been let loose on a craft table. His gaslighting of Tracey includes telling her their disconnect is essentially her fault because she doesn’t understand that people from Sydney have a more lax view of monogamy. It continued with him very cleverly making her feel like she was obliged to defend his good character to other cast members mere moments after he returned from a secret meeting with Davina in which he declared one of Tracey’s problems to be that her looks “aren’t all that good”.

So here we have queer feminist Ford passing judgement on a contrived heterosexual relationship featured on a sensationalist TV program. It’s an opportunity for Ford to showcase her man-hate:

No female has encouraged and manipulated a horny male, ever, not Ford anyway.

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