The first eight episodes of The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On just dropped on Netflix and people are already completely obsessed. From the creators of the hit series Love Is Blind, The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On sees six long-term couples on the brink of engagement put their relationships in the hands of celeb couple, Nick and vanessa Lachey.
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The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On is Netflix’s wildest reality series yet, with more than a few moments that warrant an audible gasp. The series forces the couples to take a hard look at their relationships in an unconventional way before deciding if they are ready for marriage, but is it worth watching?
Six couples are putting their relationship to the ultimate test: lauren (26) and Nathan (30), Rae (24) and Zay (25), Alexis (25) and Hunter (28), april (25) and Jack (28), Madelyn (24) and Colby (25), and Shanique (24) and Randall (26). All of these seemingly happy couples have been together for around two years and are at the point where one of them is ready to get engaged, and the other is not… enter Nick and Vanessa Lachey and their bonkers ultimatum experiment. As Vanessa explains, the show gives couples the « once in a lifetime opportunity » to experience two visions of married life, one with their current partner and one with a complete stranger.
The couples split up from the get-go and spend the first week dating amongst themselves, working out who they would like to enter the second stage of the process with. At an incredibly awkward dinner party at the end of the week, that is filled with moments so cringe-worthy that they physically hurt to watch, the contestant that dragged their partner onto the show chooses who they would like to enter into a trial marriage with over the next three weeks. During the three-week trial marriage, the newly formed couples live together, go on dates, meet each other’s families and spend a lot of time discussing their potential futures.
Once the trial marriage ends, the original couples reunite and spend three weeks together in a « trial marriage » of their own, before making one of three choices; marrying their partner, running off with their « trial » partner, or leaving alone. Essentially the show does give the couples a « once in a lifetime opportunity, » and that is the opportunity to cheat on their partner consequence-free to decide if there is something better out there before committing.
‘The Best Parts’
The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On is pretty much an extreme mashup of all the great reality dating shows that came before it. The show is what would happen if you crossed Temptation Island with the Australian program, The Seven Year Switch, and added in a bit of Are You The One? There is never a dull moment, from the second we meet the six couples and learn of their commitment issues and insecurities, you just know that it is going to get messy fast. The situation is designed to create copious amounts of drama, with people switching partners and then having drinks with them to discuss how much they like their partner, how attracted they are to them, and how much they wish their own partner was more like them. Let’s be honest: that would be hard for anyone to hear, let alone people who are already on the fence about their relationship.
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It is fascinating to see people who have been in long-term relationships suddenly thrust back into the dating scene, having to live with people they hardly know and navigating a relationship with someone new. As a viewer, it is an interesting experience. On one hand, you are hoping that the original couples make it to the end unscathed. On the other hand, you often find yourself rooting for the new pairings. It really takes « guilty pleasure » viewing to a whole new level.
The Worst Parts
In the first episode, Nick Lachey admits that « psychologists agree that an ultimatum is not a good way to get somebody else to do what you want » which is probably why there are none on the show. The fact that there are no psychologists or professional counselors in the series does it a great disservice, not only for its credibility but also for the mental well-being of its cast. A number of the participants are in serious need of therapy and all of the couples could do with some guidance and relationship tools that they haven’t learned from their fellow cast members. The participants generally rely on the advice they receive from their « trial » partners who often have a hidden agenda as they too have developed feelings them themselves.
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Just like in love is blindNick and Vanessa take The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On so seriously that they lack the awareness to realize that it is a totally outrageous idea. At times the show feels like you are watching a bad dream, all of these people go into the show so confident that their partner will choose to marry them at the end, that they do not even consider that they might fall in love with someone else in the process. When this happens the regret they experience is palpable. It is also quite peculiar and almost uncomfortable that the participants put so much emphasis on this one relationship working out and the sense of urgency they attach to marriage given that they are so young, with most of them being in their early to mid-twenties.
Is It Worth Watching?
When it comes to the crunch, the answer to this question is yes. If you like reality dating shows then you are going to love The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On. Just the conversations that you will have with your reality-loving friends alone will make binging it totally worthwhile.
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