TV show has five couples, endless dramaSave
By James Weir
In shocking scenes that rival Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer, The Last Resort premiered on Three on Tuesday night with explosive admissions of paternity results, cheating and break ups over Facebook.
In the premiere, we meet five couples "at break point". It seems it's more common these days for couples to be "on the brink of separation" rather than being, you know, happy.
Basically these couples will all spend a month at a luxury retreat in the South Pacific working through their issues and at the end they decide whether they want to stay or leave their relationship.
And it's all watched over by relationship experts Sandy Rae and Michael Myerscough.
"I'm a relationship psychologist with over 30 years experience," Sandy Rae tells us. But there's something far more impressive about Sandy Rae that she's failed to mention in her introduction. You may recognise her as the innocent bystander from that now-infamous wardrobe emergency that lead to Nine newsreader Amber Sherlock berating fellow reporter Julie Snook in gloriously leaked footage. Sandy used her psychological skills to try and put out the fire by offering to get a jacket herself. And she'll now use those same skills on these troubled couples.
When it comes to these couples, they're at rock bottom. Some have cheated. Others have lied about paternity results. All of them are a mess.
The voice-over lady doesn't even try to gloss over the turmoil.
"These five couples are in crisis. They have everything to lose," she says without hope.
And with that, we meet the bunch of sad sacks. They gather at nightfall in the grounds of the resort and excitement builds in my stomach that Jeff Probst is about to appear holding a bamboo torch to vote someone off.
What becomes clear very quickly is each couple seems to be severely unaware of their own problems but unusually quick to judge the issues of everyone else in the group. It makes for some beautiful tension.
We meet Sharday and Josh, separated parents with a two-year-old daughter.
What we immediately learn about Sharday is girlfriend knows how to bury the lead.
She craps on for 10 minutes about their relationship, vaguely skirting around the problems and issues.
"I found out I was pregnant a week after we separated. I did some pretty nasty things to push Josh away. He didn't come back after I told him I was pregnant so I went through my pregnancy on my own. Which was really tough and delivered a little one on my own," she tells us, and we all start to sympathise with her while giving Josh major stink eye.
She then points out a very important piece of information that would've been helpful to know earlier: "I told him the baby wasn't his."
Turns out the baby actually is Josh's and he found out five months after it was born when he demanded a DNA test.
The other couples react like the studio audience of Maury Povich.
We then meet Sarah and Keelan who are high school sweethearts. Sarah begins to detail all the troubles of her relationship but all I can focus on is Keelan's eyebrow ring.
I should note, Sarah and Keelan are obviously here because they've got major issues. But as we move on and hear everyone else talk about their crappy relationships, Sarah keeps making judgmental facial expressions at even the smallest revelation.
When we meet Lucy and Carl, we watch a video package of their life and the biggest problem in their marriage is paraphrased in a succinct subtitle under their names.
Lucy says things started to change in her marriage after they had kids and she didn't feel like having sex much. So Carl, a personal trainer, decided to have a "bit of a fling" with one of his clients. Lucy corrects him: "An affair."
Everyone's already shocked. And then Carl goes and makes it worse.
"The fact that it upsets Lucy makes me upset. But I've never really felt guilty about it," he admits bluntly. "Back in my head when it happened Lucy and I were over - we hadn't had sex for six months and I didn't want to be with Lucy anymore. It was all just too hard."
This is difficult enough to hear. And later, Lucy chucks some more details out there.
"He personal trains from home. And she came in. She talked to me every time she trained," she shares, holding back tears.
Again, the studio audience goes berserk.
Next up, Lisa and Dan tell us they're both previously married and share a blended family.
Like the other couples, they try to skim over the messiness of their situation, but it soon comes out that when Lisa had a one-night stand with Dan after her previous marriage ended, he was actually still with his wife. She found out a week after they hooked up.
Later on, Dan decides to reveal another big detail.
"This is where it gets even worse," he scoffs, as if he's telling an overseas travel story that was a nightmare at the time but with hindsight can be laughed at.
"So my ex was pregnant - she was about six months pregnant," he admits.
Once they did get together, the romance wore off over the years and Dan decided to go on a soul-searching mission to New Zealand where apparently there were no phones.
"I made the decision to split up with Lisa," Dan shares with the group.
"Via Facebook messenger," Lisa interjects, clearly not bitter about it.
When it comes to Jodi and Stu, we hear that Stu sustained a serious head injury a while back and while he's now fully recovered, the whole experience has taken a toll on their marriage.
Jodi says they've only had sex three times in the past 18 months. She brings sex up a lot but continually refers to it as "getting in the saddle".
It's at this point relationship coach Michael Myerscough hits us with a fun fact about "horniness".
"The first thing I would do is figure out who is angry with who because angry people are not horny people," he informs us, as I go online to get this phrase turned into a bumper sicker for my Honda.
Following the group therapy, all the couples retire to their villas where they find hundreds of rose petals scattered in the shape of big love hearts on their beds. Clearly the hotel staff are just trolling them.
The romantic foresight of the hotel maids fails to evoke the slightest hint of emotion from any of our couples. Instead, it just embellishes the already present feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy.
Jodi would love to have sex with Stu - making it the fourth time in 18 months - but he's already pulled the bedspread back and dozed off, causing the petals to scatter out of their heart formation in the process.
"Of course I'm horny - it's been a year," Jodi whispers to us, shovelling the remaining rose petals left on the bed into the small hotel trash can.
It's the first night of what will be a long, torturous month. Will our five couples come out the other side, happier and willing to stay together? Or will their relationships meet the same fate as Jodi's rose petals and sex life and be flicked off into the trash can? Only time will tell.