11 April 2021
Bryce Ruthven. You can’t live with him. Melissa can’t live without him.
Bryce and Melissa have dominated this season of Married at First Sight since almost day one, or to be specific, since the show’s annual cheating scandal involving Coco and Cameron fizzled out with an uncharacteristic lack of blow ups and deception (for MAFS that is, not for normal couples/ human interactions).
The drama began when Bryce decided to come for Sam (husband of the aforementioned Coco) “like a train in the night” or whatever idiotic expression he used, at the group’s second dinner party. (An aside; does anyone remember the early seasons of MAFS where they didn’t have dinner parties? I certainly don’t, because I would never have watched something so wholesome).
Back to Bryce- in the words of the man himself, the origin of his (one sided at this point) feud with Sam was Sam telling Bryce that he “looked nervous” the first time they met. I’ve resented people for reasons just as petty, but I’d never confess to it out loud. That’s just embarrassing, Bryce. Bryce elaborated, spouting some bullshit about being offended by Sam’s disrespect towards women. Bryce playing the bra-burning feminist card to justify any conflict he had with anyone, over anything, would become a theme throughout the season, with a later slight variation to apparent protectiveness over his wife Melissa, as opposed to women in general (he’s a total wife guy).
Besides, it’s unfair to accuse Sam of having a problem with women. All he said was that he needs a woman with big boobs. And insulted Coco’s body. And her personality. And ranked her the least attractive castmate to her face.
The feud culminated with Bryce throwing a glass of water at Sam. Water! Peak MAFS saw Martha pour a glass of Cab Sav over Cyrell’s HEAD before the two were forcibly separated by producers. And therein lies the crux of the problem.
Bryce is total dickwad. But he’s just not cut out for reality tv. He flew too close to the sun when he should have settled for being a breakfast radio douche bro (yes, apparently it’s a thing). And now he’s paying the price as Australia tears him to shreds. I can’t remember this level of vitriol being directed at a single tv personality, and that’s a category that includes Kyle Sandilands.
Here are some of the headlines that pop up when you google “Bryce Ruthven.”
Mamamia: “MAFS could be investigated after complaints about Bryce.”
Pedestrian TV: “One of the many girls MAFS dick Bryce cheated on just obliterated him on a podcast.”
The Daily Mail: “Married at First Sight’s Bryce Ruthven is labelled a ‘narcissist’ and a ‘fool’ by ex- colleagues.” (To be fair, a pretty balanced take for The Daily Mail.)
The Bahrat Express News: “MAFS’s Tracey Jewell slams groom Bryce Ruthven from hospital.”
That last one must really sting. Being slammed by someone from hospital is a new low.
The significance of this story is that Tracey claims to know what it’s like to be Melissa, as she was also paired up with a dirty dog back on season 5. With all due respect, I’m going to have to stop Tracey there.
This is nothing like the Tracey and Dean drama of 2018. Sure, Dean’s affair with Davina (another of the show’s MVPs) hurt Tracey. But at least Dean recognised that there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about exploring an attraction to someone who isn’t your partner. And the right way is on camera.
Bryce has taken the coward’s way out and conducted his affair(s) in the real world, away from viewers’ prying eyes. Sure, he hasn’t hidden them very well- he reportedly took time off filming to take his secret girlfriend to the football, reasoning that secret dalliances are best held in a crowd of thousands- but it’s not what we signed up for.
Secondly, and I say this with the utmost respect, Melissa is no Tracey. There’s a difference between proactive and reactive people. A proactive person responds to cheating allegations with anger. She throws her partner out and makes him squirm (by which I mean perform a rap for her), before magnificently dumping him and his neck beard at the final vows.
A reactive person does not confront, does not question, does not punish. Upon hearing cheating allegations, a reactive person breaks down in tears. The camera lingers in these moments, squeezing every last drop of emotion out of producers’ masterful setup. It’s hard to watch. Partly because it feels cold and voyeuristic to intrude on a woman’s very real distress. But mostly because it’s boring.
Bryce isn’t the train wreck across the bar you can’t look away from. He’s the dickhead hanger on who’s at every group event and is painful to be around.
Viewers deserve someone they can love to hate. Someone with charisma, someone with memorable catchphrases, someone who doesn’t hesitate to do catty pieces to camera. At the very least, we deserve a wine throw or two.
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