First comes love, then comes marriage. But not for these couples who tie the knot sight unseen. | Deseret News National
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First comes love, then comes marriage. But not for these couples who tie the knot sight unseen.

First comes love, then comes marriage.

Unless the couple in question are contestants on FYI network's new "Married at First Sight," in which case marriage comes first and the love may or may not come later.

That's because the reality show, which premiered this week, marries complete strangers after they've been matched by a panel of four experts — a sexologist, spiritualist, psychologist and sociologist.

Most Internet critics are underwhelmed by the show's premise.

The Washington Post called the show "horrifying" and summed up the premiere as "your daily dose of reality shows you can't believe exist."

The Daily Beast's Emily Shire said the show struck a hollow note.

"You’d think a show about strangers getting married would be an amusing antithesis to ‘The Bachelor.’ But the couples in ‘Married at First Sight’ feel more like lab rats than humans," Shire wrote. "While a show like 'The Bachelor' manipulates your emotions, at least you feel something."

But couldn't this show be the modern equivalent of arranged marriage? potential viewers may ask. Jezebel's Kara Brown offers an emphatic "Nope."

"(The show's creators) repeatedly claim that this is no different from an arranged marriage. This is absolutely nothing like an arranged marriage," Brown said. "This isn't the strategic coming together of families for the purpose of building wealth and power. There's no real practical reason for these marriages aside from television ratings and advertising revenue. An arranged marriage generally doesn't involve your family choosing someone they found walking down the street. The person would likely have some tie to your family already or be part of the same ethnic group or religion."

Patheos' Hemant Mehta said audiences might grow to like the show if they're willing to cut it slack.

"If you don’t take it all that seriously, and you aren’t thinking about the sociological implications of the experiment... and you aren’t questioning how 'scientific' these matches really are, it’s one of those shows you can have on in the background and pay attention during the few moments when something interesting happens," Mehta wrote. "Just don’t think too hard about it."

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com, Twitter: ChandraMJohnson