Netflix, Why?

Nkateko and Khanya. Photo: Instagram/@netflixsa

I have A joke: how many delusional people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Truthfully, I can’t answer that and we’ll never know, because they are all busy applying to embarrass themselves on a Netflix reality show.

What am I talking about?

Well, I just recently binged the first ever South African edition of the reality show titled ‘The Ultimatum’.

I have seen the international and queer versions of this show before, but this one may have been the most egregious version to air, ever.

The show’s premise is bizarre, so bare with me as I unpack the absolute trainwreck that I witnessed and could not look away from.

It starts with six couples coming together because they cannot agree on the direction and pace of their relationships.

One half of each pair is someone who feels ready to take the leap and get married, while the other half is hesitant about making that commitment.

By appearing on the show, they have essentially been offered an ultimatum: marry me or move on.

The timeframe the hesitant partner has to decide if they are ready to get married is seven weeks, during which time they all separate from their original partners and proceed to speed date each other to see if they make any new romantic connections with someone else.

Yes, you read correctly, couples go on television to see their long-term partners date and flirt with other people, right in front of them.

At the end of the first week, the six couples will be reshuffled and new pairings are created.

For the next three weeks, they will then enter a ‘trial marriage’ in an effort to see if the grass is really greener elsewhere.

After that, everyone sits down and airs their dirty laundry to everyone else.

They speak about new connections forming, the kisses they shared and the things they learnt from living as husband and wife with a complete stranger.

Then everyone returns to their original partner, the person they came into the show with, for a second ‘trial marriage’, also three weeks long.

Naturally, the chaos of swapping partners causes friction and tension in the group and, as viewers, we are there to see it all, popcorn in hand.

By the very end of the experiment, the person who was issued the ultimatum must tell their significant other whether or not they are ready to walk down the aisle or walk away from each other.

This show has always been unhinged and further proof of my theory that Netflix and reality television production in general, is a trauma farm.

They try their best to put people in the most distressing situations possible and then shove a camera in their faces to capture the fall out. Even though I know this, I can never look away.

The craziest part is that the hosts are so insistent on gaslighting us viewers into thinking they are genuinely trying to help people, when to me it seems like they purposely went out of their way to cast the worst people possible.

Apart from Courtney and Aiden, no one on that show should have made it past the round of psychological evaluations.

One pair decided to have sex with each other multiple times within days of separating from their original partners, while another pair fell ‘in love’ with each other, even sending romantic gifts after their trial ended.

One couple broke up and left the experiment and another should absolutely not be together, because one has anger issues and the other is a grade-A gaslighter.

None of these people seem to actually be ready to get married.

I usually think people are faking it for the cameras, but this might have been the most genuine cast, as everyone was perfectly fine with displaying how terrible they are.

It made for good television, but it was probably more effective in discouraging the masses from ever seeking love.

Without giving too much away – I want you to go see it for yourself – I’ll say this, Khanya needs therapy, Ruth is a Disney villain, Nolla made my blood boil and all of them need to take a dip in some holy water.

I’m appalled, but I can’t wait for the next season.

  • Anne Hambuda is a poet, writer and social commentator. Follow her online or email her for more.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News