AMITABH SRIVASTAVA | 1 AUGUST, 2017
FYi the American TV channel is finding a huge response especially from Indian housewives and even teenage girls, who are bored stiff with the shouting brigades on our own desi channels.
Some of the ideas of the producers of FYi such as their obsession for smaller homes may appear bizarre but what is really arousing a lot of viewership are their programmes on the theme of reviving the love life of their participants through reality shows when the politicians of the world seem obsessed with war mongering and killings.
One program called 'Seven Year Switch' even suggests swapping spouses for a short interval to find out if the married couple will opt for another partner, given a chance or it would refresh their married life.
In one such experiment four couples were asked to spend some time with another partner to see whether they are able to find those qualities in the new partner which their own spouse lacked. At the end of the show one couple actually went for divorce .
After a couple from Altanta Neal and Leah Carney participated in what they call “switch therapy” for two weeks — each living with another partner of a married couple Aleshia and Houston Osemwengie realised at the end of the show that they had to end their 8 year old marriage.
And Leah clearly blamed the show for this. “It has not been anything but hurtful actually … to my marriage, which it was supposedly helping the marriage in some way. I don’t see how,” she said in the episode. “It has not been beneficial, it has not been helpful.”
But the organisers assert that the other three couples went home happily after the show because they realised that they were too much in love to be distracted by artificial shortcomings.
In fact one couple Aleshia and Houston revealed that they got pregnant a month after returning from the switch and are expecting a baby girl.
Yet another 'daring' reality show aired at 11 pm for obvious reasons is called 'Kiss Bang Love' asking its unmarried participants to decide on their life partners by the way they kiss.
The show blindfolds the participants and each participant is kissed by ten people whom they cannot see, to begin with. After this first screening five contestants are chosen out of which the couples are asked to choose who they could consider marriage material after a brief courtship.
This show is actually a new version of an earlier program called 'Married at first sight' where stranger couples with eyes wide open , were asked to kiss each other and given sufficient time to decide whether they would like to carry forward the experiment to courtship and finally deciding whether it was worth living together for ever.
But by far the best of these LOVEly shows is a show called 'Finding my first Love' hosted by a journalist and a blogger called Cherry Healy.
Healy says her mission is to look for individuals who have not been able to forget their first crush and even after years of separation in some cases 13 years, they long to feel that special hug, or that touch or that amazing kiss that they have not been able to get over with.
What appears most unreal for Indian audiences is that these individuals are not only strong-willed but also seem sufficiently endowed with time and money to be able to chase their lost love across cities and nations.
But such materialism apart it is a unique show where a grown up , much mature partner is willing to take a plunge into a time-machine to take her or him into their past for that feel of the first love.
Some participants even said that when they were together they had not been able to convey their feelings in so many words but were wiling to take that risk now.
And surprise of surprises, despite the wide network of social sites like Facebook and Twitter most of the lost partners in the search did not have a presence on these sites. Either they had deliberately taken themselves away to hide their identities or simply were not bothered about these sites.
Most of the times Cherry has to be dependant on private detectives (she calls one my hacker) and other sources to track down the man or woman whom their madly in love partner is trying to chase.
Looking at this chase for love, aired every week on Mondays it sometimes looks like a story written by Enid Blyton where small clues, changed addresses, switching jobs, unhelpful friends or 'just missed by a whisker' kind of situations turn it into a thriller par excellence. The chase across cities and countries sometimes takes two to three weeks to actually get in touch, starting from zero.
But these physical hardships are nothing compared to the nerve-wrecking emotional trauma throughout the chase as the person chasing the elusive lover does not even know whether he/she is in a relationship or married.
The episodes aired on the show so far have had a 50/50 happy ending in the traditional sense where they have decided to re-live life from where it all began. In others they realised that the dream they were chasing was only a mirage because the other person had moved on.
But in both cases it has been a therapeutic exercise.
'We've had some amazing outcomes - some amazingly happy endings,' Cherry says in an interview on Daily Mail Online, adding: 'Some are like a fairy tale - and some are not so much.
What is important is the search and "Cherry '100per cent' encourages others to look for the person who they can't stop thinking about".
'What have you got to lose?' she says on the show. 'If they don't want to be found, you won't be able to find them.'
She reveals that many of the participants of her show may not be physically living together due to their personal circumstances but they had stayed in touch because they realise how strongly the other partner must have felt to chase them after so many years. That it adds to their own self esteem is of course a plus plus factor.
A mother of two children, Cherry said that making this series had changed her own perception about friends and now she valued them more than ever before.