Married By Mom and Dad‘s controversial approach to marriage certainly has people talking! While the hit TLC show has given many viewers hope for finding love in an unconventional way, others are appalled by the premise.
In it’s premiere season, Married By Mom and Dad has introduced us to Mitch Sargent, John Coultrip, Marivic Fabiar, and Christina Rollyson… four singles looking for a spouse. They have enlisted the help of their parents, who will ultimately choose who their sons and daughters will marry.
Aaron Fishman, Executive Producer at Thinkfactory Media, shared the method behind the madness of Married By Mom and Dad in an exclusive interview with The Knot. His take on the process gives viewers an interesting insider look at how the show manifested and what he sees for the future.
“We realized the concept of conventional dating does not exist anymore,” Fishman explains about the idea for the show. “Online dating, dating apps, swiping left and right, and so on. What if we went back, way back, to the oldest known way to find a spouse and modernized it?”
“Married By Mom and Dad is a modern day, voluntary, arranged, marriage,” the executive producer continues. “It is something we feel was just wild enough to actually work. Who knows you better than your parents?”
We were curious as to whether or not it was difficult to find participants for the show. “In short – yes,” Fishman admits. “The search was exhausting. Finding single people who really were looking to try this for the right reasons was difficult. We did not want anyone who was just looking to be on TV,” he continues. “We really wanted to find people who genuinely wanted to get married and believed their parents could make that happen. You really have to be a big romantic to do this. From both the parents’ and kids’ perspective.”
So what did the process entail? We asked Fishman for the scoop. “It is a very intense process,” he acknowledges. “[It] starts with finding the main single and their parents. Once we had several finalists, they were vetted thoroughly, and we worked hand-in-hand with TLC to determine who could potentially be featured on the series.”
How did the process continue once Mitch, John, Marivic, and Christina were eventually chosen? “The behemoth part of finding suitors began,” Fishman tells The Knot. “We sat down with each set of parents and main singles separately and asked them to create, on paper, their desired spouse. In many ways it turned into a list of positive and negative attributes, and of course, absolute deal breakers” he says. “We (the parents and us) used this list as our guide to help find the right partner. Working hand-in-hand, we weeded out the absolute no’s and the parents did the rest.”
Finally, the moms and dads would make their final picks. “They sifted through countless candidates until they had their top choices,” Fishman explains. “Once we reached this point, we put the parents’ top suitor picks through a final round of interviews and vetting to determine who would move forward with filming. After that, we simply followed the parents’ lead.”
We couldn’t wait to ask what would happen if the participants ultimately chose to not move forward with the wedding. “That is a great question. As we all know, life throws us many curve balls,” the executive producer acknowledges. “You will have to continue watching to see if people strike out or hit a grand slam.”
With no idea how the show would be received initially, Fishman admits to it being a stressful process. “It is always nerve-wracking when launching a new show,” he tells us. “You never know how people are truly going to react. We might think we have lightening in a bottle, and in the end it was just a bottle.” Thankfully that does not appear to be the case with Married By Mom and Dad.
“We love this show and all the amazing families participating in this massive leap of faith,” Fishman shares. “We are elated that people are finding it as amazing as we do. The audience is continuing to build each episode, and we love that we are starting to become part of the zeitgeist.”
Along with the TLC show’s success have come a few surprises. “Since the show started airing, I have been surprised by how many parents on social media and in-person have asked me if they can put their kids on the show!” Fishman tells us. We’re hoping this revelation will lead to many more Married By Mom and Dad seasons!
As for the premiere season’s participants, there seem to be no regrets. “There were some heart wrenching moments [on the show], and that made me very uncomfortable at times,” Christina Rollyson told The Knot in an exclusive interview. “However, coming from the perspective of faith, I know that both the good and bad circumstances happen for a reason.”
We’re crossing our fingers as we wait to find out if this season’s singles find love through the Married By Mom and Dad process.
Don’t miss Married By Mom and Dad, airing Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on TLC.