Mother-and-son Master Matchmakers JoAnn and Steve Ward are back for a whole new type of Tough Love. As always, Steve will be checking in with weekly commentary on each episode via this blog. Below, he talks about the show’s finale/wedding special with his final thoughts on the couples…
The biggest surprise of the episode: Dustin and Courtney’s engagement. What’d you think about it?
I thought, “Good for him!” I was rehearsing the weddings when that went down. Me and my mom were on a golf cart back to our hotel, back to our room getting ready for the next thing that we have to do, and he has this s***-eating grin on his face as he’s walking towards us. We’re like, “What happened?” and he’s like “She said yes.” We were like “Oh, good for you!” We knew he was going to do it, we just weren’t around when it took place. What you see on the TV happened for the first time. It was authentic, it was real.
I would have never predicted that would have happened with all the people. They left the show broken up.
I’m telling you Rich, I walked away from the boot camp telling myself “You couldn’t even write this s***.” You can’t. You can’t write it, it’s too good.
What about Ryan and Axelle? They were apparently reuniting for the first time on camera, but they were awfully civil to each other.
Yeah. I think Ryan was less than pleased with everything, especially after seeing himself on TV.
Is it weird that he came back, in retrospect?
No, we invited everybody back. We wanted everybody to be there. Everybody was a part of the experience. They didn’t come out together; they weren’t on the same flight. It was the end of the boot camp, and we had fun celebrating with everyone.
Give me your overall thoughts on marrying Dennis and Simone. It seemed like a very lovely ceremony. Maybe that was expected, but it was lovely all the same.
It was a privilege and an honor to marry both of them, both couples. They just did an outstanding job. The doves and the confetti and the fireworks…it was really quite a thing to do. And let alone the vacation and the money? I mean, who knew?
Did the actual shooting go down as it was edited? Were the two weddings back-to-back?
Yep, back-to-back, straight up.
That seems like a lot for you.
It was. I also read them a poem. I read each of them a poem that wasn’t aired. I read Dennis and Simone a poem about love, and I read Mario and Christina a poem about marriage. Both poems written by Khalil Gibran from The Prophet. I picked those poems because I felt they were very meaningful to both couples. I took it very seriously.
The way the episode unfolded, I thought we were being set up for a surprise, since Mario and Christina so often talked about their families not coming. In the end, their families really didn’t show up. What did you think of that?
Well, remember the state of these relationships before they left for boot camp. Also don’t forget the fact that TV time and production time are two different worlds. So to go on a show when you’re so dysfunctional, then a few weeks later go, “Come and watch us get married!” They’re like “What? Hold the phone…”
Where are their families with them now? Have they accepted the fact that they’re married?
Yes. They sent a nice wedding gift. That said a lot. When they were asking them to come out and be a part of it, I don’t think any of the episodes had aired yet, so I don’t think they knew what they were in store for. If anything had aired, it was definitely the very beginning, when all their problems were being highlighted. I’m sure they weren’t encouraged by the first few episodes. By the time the decision had been made, they hadn’t seen any of the progress they have been making. I can understand why they’d want to object. But Dennis’ mom was there, she came around, right? Check that out.
Are Dennis and Simone are doing well?
Yeah, from what I understand. I really haven’t talked to them much since the wedding. But from what I’ve heard they’re doing very well.
Dustin and Courtney are still engaged?
Yes they are.
And how about Danielle and Pawel?
I think they’re the couple that will be engaged for 10 years. I don’t think they’re any closer to setting a wedding date, but they’re just as close as they were when the show ended.
So, as the wedding episode suggested, four out of the six original couples are on solid ground.
I think everybody in general was pretty enthusiastic about seeing the show and going home to work on their relationships. What ended up happening was a lot of people ultimately realized what they needed to do to improve their relationship, and I think as a result a lot of people improved from the experience. That’s what was meant to happen. That’s what we were going for. I’m pleased with the results. I remember saying to myself on several occasions, “How are we going to top this? What can we possibly do next time?” and it’s a little tough. What, are people going to expect us to be miracle workers now? If I get another opportunity to do another season of couples, I’m going to focus on people that have had to face significant challenges in life. I wouldn’t mind doing a season of couples who are married and are on the brink of divorce. I mean, people that are already engaged and can’t wait to get to the altar. People who have a lot more at stake.
Do you have any other parting words that you’d like to share?
I don’t know when you’re going to see me again, and I don’t know where, but I assure you I’ll be back. And when I am, you better watch out because I’ll be as tough as I ever was.