Hi Josh’s Married at First Sight recap videos more fun than the original

And what MAFS reveals about the status of virginity

Comedian Josh Hawkins reckons it would be great if reality show Married at First Sight involved real psychologists who gave the contestants helpful advice on how to get out of toxic relationships.

“It would be good to watch them have an actual session with someone that shows them how they get into these situations,” says Hawkins, who under his comedy moniker Hi Josh is producing comedy videos for Yahoo Lifestyle Australia which riff on the popular reality show.

Nine Network’s Married at First Sight follows four Australian couples as they meet for the first time at their wedding, then get to know each other on their honeymoon and as they set up home.

To create the recap videos, Hawkins watches the show without sound and tries to piece together what he thinks the contestants might be saying, dubbing their dialogue in his own voice with hilarious results. His first ‘Between the Lines’ episode has drawn 1.7 million views already on Facebook.

“I think everyone needs help.” – Josh Hawkins

Hawkins took a few minutes out of working on the second of 11 planned videos (which will be aired tonight) to tell Eternity of his wife’s idea for an “unreality show” involving real psychological sessions.

“I think everyone needs help [with relationships] and watching someone who might portray similar aspects of life as yourself, that could be a really cool teaching moment,” says Hawkins, with more seriousness than you might expect.

Hawkins, who recently married singer Catherine Vasilakis, says MAFS reflects the reality that “we’ve all been there at some point to some extent in our lives and now we’re glad that we’re not in that place that some people are still in.”

“I got married recently and until then I was a virgin.” – Josh Hawkins

He feels some kinship with contestant Matt Bennett, who had to “confess” to his on-air bride, Lauren, that he was still a virgin at age 29. Now, having slept with Lauren, he is being called the ex-virgin.

“I felt he’s a real sensitive guy and, like, I got married recently and until then I was a virgin,” says Hawkins, who is a Christian.

MAFS shows how virginity is really on the nose in our society, comments Sydney missiologist Michael Frost in a blog post this week.

“Let’s face it, virginity is definitely out these days.” – Michael Frost

“There’s a 29-year-old virgin on Married at First Sight and everyone finds it kinda cringeworthy! So what about the church’s teaching on sexual abstinence? Is that all just old fashioned nonsense now? Should we praise virginity or just bury it?” he writes.

“Let’s face it, virginity is definitely out these days. In fact, I was left wondering how many 20-something-year-old virgins were at home watching MAFS, mortified, their head in their hands, feeling Matt’s national humiliation deeply.”

He goes on to point out that there’s even a backlash against the purity movement which arose in conservative churches in the early 1990s, and was promoted by organisations such as Focus on the Family and True Love Waits.

“We’ve come a long way from the 8th Century treatise St Aldhelm sent his female relatives in their east London nunnery, In praise of virginity. There seems to be no praise for it at all these days.”

“The church needs to foster a gracious, welcoming posture.” – Michael Frost

He then presents some thoughts on the concept of chastity, pointing out that virginity is entirely conceptual and that framing having sex as a “loss” is unhelpful.

While he declares celibacy to be an honourable choice that should be celebrated by church ministers, he says shaming people is always damaging. “Rather than viewing male virgins as pitiable, and female non-virgins as fallen, the church needs to foster a gracious, welcoming posture that accepts people for the choices they’ve made and attends to them as they seek to become the people God wants them to be from now on.”

He goes on to say when young people experiment with sex, they don’t need judgment and condemnation but a safe community in which they can process their feelings and gain insight into the kind of adults they want to grow into.

“As Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, now says, ‘I now realise how there’s heartache and there’s pain no matter what pathway you choose in life. There’s no path you can choose that can protect you from that,'” he writes.

“But there should be a community of grace that can love you unconditionally through all that heartache and pain.”