“Seven Year Switch” is the television show about real people’s dysfunctional relationships. Based on the theory that a couple’s happiness declines after seven years, four couples undergo “switch therapy” where they spend two weeks living with a new partner. Last week, almost one million Australians tuned in to watch episode one of Channel Seven’s new series.
However, television critics Rosie Waterland and Laura Brodnik (from Mamamia) are begging Australians to stop watching the show. In her article, Brodnik explains what she was expecting when she first heard about the show: “I wanted to make fun of the couples and laugh at their problems.” But instead of being entertained by over-the-top ridiculousness, she experienced an unexpected feeling of sadness.
Brodnik wrote that the couples on the show actually have serious relateable issues: Brad and Tallena want to get married, but Brad doesn’t want to spend $10,000 on a wedding, despite recently spending $3,000 on a new television. Brad wants Tallena to be more affectionate, but every time the couple fights, Brad takes Tallena’s engagement ring off her.
Jason and Michelle have hardly any time to spend together. Jason wants Michelle to go back to the person she was when they first met, but Michelle insists that she has changed and is never going to be that person again. Tim and Jackie have a complete lack of romance or affection, with Tim describing Jackie as a “bossy b**ch.” Ryan and Cassie’s relationship has never been the same since the death of their 37-week-old son.
Brodnik says that the reality TV show is unlike any other. “I’m not used to real life staring right back at me through my television screen … I pity the sense of helplessness that leads you to go on a reality TV show to fix your relationship. I genuinely hope that in some way, this terrible show benefits the contestants … Because there has to be some relief from the tragedy that is the ‘Seven Year Switch.’”
The likeliness of that happening though is low. As Waterland points out in her latest podcast, the show forces the desperately sad split couples to share a bed with their new partner. “Are you trying to help them with their relationships,” she hypothetically asks Channel Seven, “Or are you actually hoping that they’ll just bang other people?” This act hardly respects or helps the incredibly vulnerable individuals who view the show as a last resort.
In the podcast, Brodnik gave a message to any Australians watching the show: “You are all bad people. You are rewarding bad behaviour … Everywhere else in the world is having the Golden Age of television. Except us. Hang your heads in shame.”