New Mzansi Magic show Before I Do sees host Andile Gaelesiwe assist couples in resolving their issues so that they can move on to the next step in their relationships. Gaelesiwe is a good host and the issues are pertinent, but the show feels too much like others we've seen before, writes Moroetsana Serame.
Before I Do
Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161)
As the name suggests, Before I Do is a reality TV show that assists couples who want to elevate their relationship and take it to the next level – such as moving in together, getting married, having a baby or starting a business – but are faced with complexities that threaten the dream of a future together.
“Love lives contrary to what we’re being sold everyday,” says the show’s charismatic host, Andile Gaelesiwe, who is best known as the anchor of the popular SABC1 docuseries Khumbul’ekhaya.
The kwaito singer/songwriter, sexual rights activist and television presenter is able to effortlessly connect with the couples on the show and has a knack for identifying hidden issues within relationships and bringing them to light without imposing her views on the couples. Instead, she gently probes them through one-on-one conversations that put them at ease and allow them to be open in ways they wouldn’t usually be in front of their significant others. This can trigger emotions and truths within themselves that they’re perhaps not ready to discuss and hear.
However, if you’re going to be taking such big decisions with your partner, it’s best you get an in-depth view into what you’re potentially getting yourself into.
The show is on its sixth episode and all the issues raised so far have been socioeconomic problems faced by many.
We see disputes regarding finances, imbalances in power dynamics, compromising individual goals to enable a partner to chase theirs, cheating, anger, gambling, family feuds, alcohol addiction and domestic abuse.
The show is an opportunity for viewers to see themselves in the couples and reflect on their own lives.
Before I Do also incorporates close friends of either party to comment on how they view things from outside the relationship, which offers an objective perspective.
My only gripe is that it’s very similar to Please Step In and Uthando Noxolo, which was previously presented by Gaelesiwe, and other shows that have dealt with the complexities of relationships.
The show is a redundant addition to an already saturated market with little differentiation.
Unlike Please Step In, Before I Do ends with recommendations of counselling for each of the couples, so we have no insight as to how they actually deal with the problems aired and there is no follow-up as to their progress during and after the counselling sessions.
It feels as though you’re strung along the entire episode only to be left hanging at the end of it all. This also means that if you are going through a similar situation as the featured couple, you are left with more questions than answers and with little to take home and implement in your own relationship.
Perhaps the show will grow on me as time goes on.