We’re pretty nosy, aren’t we? Everyone loves a fly on the wall scenario (personally, I have a strange fascination with what happens in the aftermath of a declined public marriage proposal, don’t @ me) but our unwavering fascination with other people’s lives tends to revolve around one of two things; their money and their relationships.
Zooming right in on relationships is BBC Three’s Eating With My Ex, a new 30-minute episode series that has evolved out of their bitesize clips of former couples reuniting for a very awkward, revealing meal together. Consider it the inverse of Channel 4’s First Dates, a cross between the awkwardness of Take Me Out’s post-match holidays to the Isle of Fernando’s and the retrospective intimacy of our very own Questions With An Ex feature.
In each instalment we’re introduced to a few ex-couples and given a quick bit of insight into why things didn’t work out. Niall and Chloe (both 21 years old) stopped talking after she slept with one of his mates. Steph (25) and Scearcia (28) struggled with spending too much time together. And then there’s Jason (27), whose rap persona (he’s also known as Sharpey Major) wasn’t always appealing to his former girlfriend, Jodie (26).
First comes the cringe-worthy meeting at the dinner table. Uncomfortable small talk ensues and the reacquainted couple goes through the painful notion of asking "What you been up to?" and remarking on how busy it is, or isn't, in their chosen restaurant (Turtle Bay fans, keep an eye out for some familiar décor). If that’s enough to make you squirm uncomfortably in your seat, brace yourself for the first course.
Written on the rim of each person’s plate is a question to ask their former love. The likes of "Were we good together?" and "Were you too posh for me?" accompany the entrees, and those gulps of wine, understandably, get a little bit bigger. Skip to the mains and we have Niall forced to ask Chloe what made her cheat, Jodie asking Jason whether or not they were really 'in love' and Scearcia enquiring about the quality of her and Steph's sex life. It gets deliciously tense and increasingly awkward. There's bickering, new tea is spilled, and truths are driven home for better and for worse. I know what you're thinking; Eating With My Ex sounds like everything you think you'd hypothetically want to go through for the sake of getting closure (or back together) with a past conquest, but have avoided because it's a) terrifying and b) far more enjoyable to watch someone else do that for you. I agree.
It all builds up to the moment the wait staff pop the bill on the table. I imagine producers somehow manage to intercept the receipt and print the final, damning question across the top, just above the price of those large, necessary, glasses of chardonnay. "Could we get back together?" "Shall we see each other again?" "Was this stressful dinner worth it?" (That last one is mine.) All I'll say is you'll be surprised how quickly you make that call on behalf of our fateful pairs. And if you can't wait to dive into the full episodes, here's a clip of what you're in for when they land on BBC iPlayer. Meet Joey and Rianna...
Eating With My Ex starts on BBC Three on 22nd January