I am convinced that poor David Norton () was sorely in need of rescuing during the entire six weeks of what I, from my viewer’s perspective, can only describe as a tragic marriage. I don’t care what happens in next two weeks. He has received such shabby treatment in the first four weeks that they should be counted as serving double time in marital hell. This past episode has me wondering how often the “experts” review the footage of the daily interactions of the newlyweds. If they aren’t reviewing the footage on a daily basis, who alerts them when red flags are raised? More importantly, what are their guidelines for intervening in relationships? I realize that it wouldn’t make sense for the experts to be present every day, but unless the editing has us all fooled and David Norton became a monster when the cameras stopped rolling, he deserved better. Had he made such an awful a choice of a partner on his own, it would be easier to watch. His hot mess of a marriage was inflicted on him because he trusted in experts whose matchmaking skills deserve serious questioning. FYI Network () has invested a great deal of money, time, and energy in recasting #MAFS season after season. Is it time for the network to put those resources to use in recasting the experts?
Norton is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t. If he tries to spend time with Ashley, he is forcing her to interact and she is not ready. She needs space. If he leaves her side, even during a party they are hosting at their home, he is abandoning her. The guy was watching the grill and entertaining their guests. Why didn’t Ashley go stand next to him, talk to him, interact with him? Their relationship feels emotionally abusive and it is painful to watch. David’s days are spent trying to make Ashley 100% happy, without being given the slightest idea of what herculean task he would have to perform to make that happen. Last week we learned that Ashley couldn’t think of three things she liked about David, despite his ability to quickly provide a list of what he thought her best qualities were. He forgot to add that it is really neat the way she is able to blink, walk, and talk while barely registering a pulse! (Cheap shot, I know.) She couldn’t find one nice thing to say, in return. She wanted to go and “think about it”. Hell, I spend less than a hour per week with the guy, and as a viewer even I can find three things I like about David (great sense of humor, kind, patient). What sucks most is watching him take full responsibility for Ashley’s unhappiness and unwillingness to get beyond her lack of physical attraction to him.
At this point, I hope it IS true that David has asked another woman out for drinks. He has
been treated as a pariah in his own home for at least a month by the airing of the last episode. Under most circumstances I would stand by the adage that “it takes two”. In terms of making a marriage work? Yes. In terms of working to make sure a marriage falls apart? No. Ashley is doing a great job sabotaging the marriage, all on her own.
At least the other two couples are bringing something good to the table. They almost redeem the experts – if you ignore the rest of the experts serious misjudgments in prior seasons.
Vanessa Nelson () and Tres Russell () are still as cute as buttons and I like watching their struggle even when it gets bone tough. Tres’ concern about abandonment when Vanessa went “home” to spend the night away from him was telling. It was also heartbreaking. How quickly the childhood pain of his mother leaving him came back (or never fully went away and is always sitting at the surface). I think it is fair to say that Vanessa had not yet made the leap of thinking of them as a committed couple since her apartment was “home”, not the space she shared with her husband. So…shouldn’t she should have made room for Tres’ occasional uneasiness? P.S. His distancing comments in response to his friend’s observation that he and Vanessa seemed to be in love were boneheaded… THINK IT, man, don’t talk about your uneasiness in a room full of invited guests. She is your wife, not a live-in hook up.
Samantha Role () and Neil Bowlus () are a sweet surprise for me. She has become softer and is now open to seeing the good in him. I think Neil is amazing, based on what we’ve seen of him so far. He is becoming more assertive in saying what needs to be said. It feels as if Neil is beginning to see Sam as a person, instead of simply as “his wife”. As recently as last week, I wanted poor Neil to run and never look back. Now I am wondering what a loving relationship between these two would look like. I am looking forward to watching their journey unfold. On the shallow end, who didn’t love Neil’s response to seeing Sam work out on the silks? I am sure some of his reaction was sheer awe that Sam, who is typically serious and businesslike, has an artistic side. I also can’t help but believe that if Neil was attracted to Sam before, he was after that day.
David and Ashley leave me hoping this show is cast by actors, while Vanessa and Tres, as well as Samantha and Neil. have me hoping just the opposite.