Last year the reality TV gods sent me Married At First Sight. Six people looking for love let experts find them The One and they don’t meet until their wedding day. Then we watch them for weeks going through the newly married couple trials and tribulations wondering if they have the chops to make a marriage work after the cameras leave or get divorced.
That’s sorta kinda, not exactly what the youngest Valente brother, Matteo, proposes to his two older brothers, Nicolai and Lucca, for his newest film project. Nick, who has been with his girlfriend for years is weeks from their wedding day. Luke, who is single, will ask 100 strangers to marry him and if a woman is crazy enough to say yes, he’ll marry her in two weeks. Who will fare better, the marriage that has been years in the making or two complete strangers?
Needless to say, I LOVED the premise of Again For The First Time. Like Matt, I rooted for Luke and Lissette the whole time. I enjoyed their progression as they went from suspicious strangers, wondering what the other person’s motives were, to ultimately falling deeply in love. There were points where I’d think to myself, “well why don’t they…” then I’d be reminded that Lissette and Luke were total strangers getting to know one another. I found both Lissette and Luke likable and relatable characters. At points, the story does drag on a wee bit but it was believable for how/where this relationship started. The awkwardness and trepidation made sense to me, especially for two people who had some baggage from past relationships already.
Coming from a large family myself (I also have four sisters), the dynamic between Lissette, her sisters and their parents was written spot on. How Lissette’s family reacts to her quick marriage news, then how they rally to get her together for her wedding day…
When we find out how the book’s title relates to Luke and Lissette, I fell even more in love. Another example of how family plays into this story.
My only gripe with AFTFT, honestly, was how Luke’s backstory is handled. The hints that started early on and the omissions surrounding Luke’s ex-girlfriend just went on too long for me. For the most part, I really liked Luke, so that took him down a few notches. Once Luke knew Lissette was The One, why not just come out with it all? Particularly, when there was more than one opportunity to do so. Instead we get back and forth between and Luke and his ex-grlfriend as they find closure with their past. It almost became love triangle-esque for me.
Last, although minor, I would have liked more around the making of the actual documentary. The fact that Matt is filming the two couples’ interactions seemed to get lost as the story concentrates on the conflicts between Lissette and Luke. Overall, AFTFT is a solid, well- written story with fully drawn MCs and supporting cast. Another series I’ll be stalking…ahem, following for more in the future.