Question: How many of your ex’s are you friends with?
Not friends with benefits, not ‘just about stopped hating one other enough to be Facebook friends’, and not just telling people you’re still friends to take the moral high ground.
Okay, now let’s take it up a gear: How many of your ex’s could you stomach meeting for a face-to-face catch-up? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Slim pickings.
On Channel 5’s reality TV show One Night With My Ex however, the format puts former couples in this exact scenario. A pair of ex-lovers spend the night alone in a camera-rigged apartment and decide whether to get back together, or go their separate ways for good.
To watch, each episode of the series is agonisingly tense. There’s no phone a friend, you probably can’t split the bill 50/50, and asking the audience is basically calling on Twitter trolls to give you some foul-mouthed abuse.
Why anyone would go on this show, I do not know. Unfortunately, they do.
So now, instead of questioning the people who put themselves on these type of shows at free will (like we should be doing) we must instead probe Channel 5 and ask whether it is okay to televise such intense real life trauma.
When you watch relationship drama unfold on reality TV shows such as Made in Chelsea or The Only Way is Essex, you tend to take it with a hearty-sized pinch of salt.
Most Reality TV series create mock scenarios where conversations and arguments are at least anticipated if not nudged along with a few handy scripts. *SPOLER* if you thought TOWIE was a factual documentary on Essex.
One Night With My Ex however, is very different. It is authentically real from the beginning, which makes it an uneasy watch at times. There are no actors. No reality TV celebs. No scripts. No preempted dialog. Just raw, pure emotion between two people as they face a situation that we can all relate too. But this doesn’t mean the show is wrong for airing such material.
The key talking point from the new 2018 series came during the season premiere on January 4th. Couple one, Tom and Amy, got into a heated row where Tom almost uncontrollably released his anger at Amy in a verbal attack. It’s almost as if these things were foreseen by producers.
Next, couple two, Sandy and Jay, ended their appearance on the show as Sandy threw her drink over her cheating ex. While I’m not here to condone the actions of either couple, we can all agree that emotions and personalities change when at the peak of heightened stress.
All of us have been in similar situations, whether it is the receiving or giving end of hot-headed anger, and this means that the show triggers huge emotional responses. But again, this doesn’t mean Channel 5 are wrong for airing such material.
Take Channel 4 series SAS: Who Dares Wins. A show where contestants are put through gruelling mental and physical tasks. During an intense interview situation earlier this month, one contestant was forced into reliving the time his wife was killed. He he was asked to explain every minute detail of the event in a truly heart-wrenching scene. Nobody has a complaint to make here.
In the same series and another contestant was found lying about previous military involvement on his CV. He was hit with a vicious verbal attack from chief instructor Ant Middleton, where every swear word in the book was put to full use. Nobody has a complaint to make here.
The response to scenes like these is often through people exclaiming that ‘contestants new what they were signing up for’. Congratulations. This is my point exactly.
If you have unresolved issues with your ex, don’t go picking up the TV remote and typing in the numbers 005. The emotional stress will do you little good.
And if you have unresolved issues with your ex that you want to sort out through a face-to-face catch-up. Well, don’t go applying to be on a TV show that is designed to provide entertainment to an audience. Simple.