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Netflix’s Marriage or Mortgage Is Deranged—But I Can’t Stop Watching

Millennials and their avocado toast have a new enemy: the Netflix series Marriage or Mortgage, which premieres today, March 10.

The reality show’s concept is pretty straightforward: Young-ish couples have scraped together just enough savings to afford either their dream wedding or a house downpayment. But what to choose? That’s where wedding planner Sarah Miller and real estate agent Nichole Holmes come in. They spend each episode planning hypothetical weddings and showing homes to the couple in question. At the end, the couple chooses: marriage or mortgage? 

If that sounds depressing and deranged, that’s because it is. The show is essentially a peppy, Hunger Games-esque competition for a couple’s life savings. Miller and Holmes—enthusiastic and determined, with nearly identical auburn hair—pull out all the stops to win. In one episode, Holmes plays on a woman’s grief from losing her dad to sell some random kitchen. Buy this house, please! I put your late father’s London broil recipe on the center island so you’d make an offer!

Later, in what feels like a weird form of retaliation, Miller sneakily puts that same father’s name on a handkerchief for the bride. She then brags about this to Holmes, who painfully smiles and quips, “That is very sweet of you. Look at you!” She’s losing, damn it! The couple’s $25,000 nest egg is slipping out of her well-manicured hands! 

 Sarah Miller and Nichole Holmes—the respective wedding planner and real estate agent in Marriage or Mortgage—eagerly competing for a naive couple’s life savings. 

Courtesy of NETFLIX

That, in a nutshell, sums up Holmes and Miller’s energy throughout this whacky show. They’re presented as friends who work together, but I have questions. For one, I’ve never heard of a real estate-slash-wedding planning office. Also, you can cut the passive-aggressive energy with a knife. “The builder is willing to give you an appliance allowance of $12,000,” Holmes says to an about-to-be-broke couple as Miller shakes her head in fury. (That means they might choose mortgage.) “She would love to throw in the veil for free,” Miller tells a bride as Holmes closes her eyes, horrified. (That means they might choose marriage.

The best part of every episode is the very end, when the couple actually picks their poison. “We choose house,” one couple says, to which Miller, The Loser, replies, “That’s a great decision.” What you actually hear, though, is “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” (FWIW, the internet’s consensus on the right choice is loud and clear: house. Always house!) 

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