Reality check: 'Married at First Sight' draws a rebuke

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In the “I-could-have-written-this-item-months-ago” department, the American Pastors Network has decried the new show “Married at First Sight” as a mockery of marriage.

“Marriage is not a game show, a contest or something to entertain the masses,” American Pastors Network president Sam Rohrer said. “Trying a partner out for up to six months is hardly a healthy way to choose a marriage mate.”

Well, yeah.

The FYI channel (until recently, Biography) debuted its new offering last week. Here‘‍s the premise: three couples agree to get legally married, sight unseen, and are then studied by a sexologist, psychologist, sociologist and spiritual adviser. The couples can get free divorces if they so desire within six months.

In the series debut, six fairly attractive people in the mid-20s/early 30s demographic are paired after what appears to be a complex matching process. The first surprise is that — aside from getting married to a stranger — they don‘‍t appear to be the kind of vain simpletons who so often populate reality shows such as “The Bachelor.”

One is a delivery room nurse. Another is an EMT who is taking care of his terminally ill mother and, on the side, is a professional wrestler. All seem to be grounded, with friends and family ties. 

Of course, the show’‍s concept is terrible. It does undercut the sanctity of marriage, but its emphasis on relationships has some redeeming value. Quick hookups are a staple of reality programming but that‘‍s not really the emphasis here.

• Syfy’‍s seventh season of ”Face Off‘‍ returns Tuesda, and the local ties are more binding than usual.

Thanks to the Douglas Education Center’‍s Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program, any number of grads and alumni have populated the Los Angeles sets, but this time there is a former instructor as well.

Drew Talbot, who lives in the Mexican War Streets on the North Side, taught at DEC and also attended the program. Others who learned to make monsters in Monessen include contestants Keaghlan Ashley, Barry Mahoney and Cig Neutron. George Troester attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Mahoney is from Massachussetts; the others are from California. Yet another artist, Gwen Crew, lives in Swissvale.

There will be 16 contestants when the show airs next week, but two will be eliminated before the first spotlight challenge.

The theme of this season is “Life and Death,” which is pretty much the underlying theme every year. The show has a strong tie-in to the Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood theme parks (Syfy and Universal are both owned by Comcast). So beginning Sept. 19, original designs from “Face Off” will be featured on some of the creatures walking the streets and mazes during the “Hollywood Halloween Nights.”

• This is the time of summer when NBC‘‍s “America’‍s Got Talent” (new shows Tuesdays and Wednesdays) gets down to judging which 48 acts will advance to the live rounds at New York‘‍s Radio City Music Hall. Given the panel’‍s early enthusiasm for two local acts, it‘‍s likely viewers might see Peters Township “mystifier” Mike Super and young musician Adrian Romoff on next week’‍s program.

Promos for Judgment Week include brief glimpses of Adrian playing “Rhapsody in Blue” on the piano and Mr. Super doing a stunt with Howie Mandel.

Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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