Like A Woman Possessed
Love & Other Bruises
The Crying Game
In Too Deep
Marriage is hard. My own marriage lasted 4 months whilst by contrast, my Grandparents were married over 50 years. The dedicated commitment to one person, sharing everything you have with another is a very special bond and walking down that aisle is something many women dream of. Extreme Engagement sees two Australians, PJ and Tim, traveling the globe for a year to find out whether they should really get married or not after Tim proposes to her. Despite some questionable commentary toward the customs of various indigenous tribes, Extreme Engagement eventually grows on you, with the final episode rounding things out with a beautifully written and satisfying ending.
Split across 8 episodes, this non-scripted reality show sees PJ Madam and Tim Noonan leaving the city for a year and heading out to the great unknown to experience marriage customs the world over. With narration from both Tim and PJ, Extreme Engagement mixes handheld cameras with face to face interviews in the moment to capture all the emotion, frustration and drama along the way. While a nice idea in theory, at times PJ’s retorts toward customs – including eye rolls and lackadaisical remarks toward tribal customs – could easily be construed as disrespectful. I have no doubt there will be some people put off by the way this is portrayed but it’s also worth noting that people say a lot of things under extreme stress that they later do regret.
Tonally though, the series does reasonably well to keep things lighthearted with the overall idea of “will they/won’t they” injecting just the right amount of drama to keep you watching through to the end. This ultimately forms the core ideal of the show, with many of the arguments, disagreements and heartfelt moments stemming from this big question mark. As mentioned before, this really comes to a head in the final episode where Tim and PJ make their mind up about marriage, given everything they’ve learnt, and engage in a beautiful ritual, one way or the other at the end.
Extreme Engagement is ultimately a show that you’ll either love or hate. The shaky cameras and close-up interviews give the series a rustic reality-TV feel while the random bites of commentary toward the various tribes’ customs could easily offend a lot of people too. Having said that though, Extreme Engagement does enough to make for an enjoyable watch, flaws and all. It’s not the best show out there but it does enough to make it worth checking out if you can get past the rocky start in the first episode.
Verdict - 5.5/10