Extreme Engagement takes you around the world with Australian couple Tim and PJ. Getting engaged to your one and only should be a stressless and enjoyable day for all, that is if you’re fiancée doesn’t disappear for two years straight after, travelling the world without you. For adrenaline junky Tim, and high maintenance PJ, they’ve lived without one another for so long; they are unsure if they should still get married. What better way to test the reliability of a relationship, than to travel to eight indigenous tribes of the world, undertaking all their marital rituals.
The first of the eight episodes start in the hustle of city life as we learn the personalities of PJ and Tim, then eventually starting the adventures off in Cameroon. Both Tim and PJ come across as nervous and almost insulting to the cultural difference between them and the tribes they are visiting. Now, this may be down to it being their first experience, although this attitude stayed throughout the episodes, it did die down slightly. During this episode, PJ must take part in a ritual where a spirit must possess her to make her the perfect wife. From the start, you can see that this is very much something Tim wanted to do, and PJ has been dragged along for the show. Tim seemed to get much enjoyment out of the suffering PJ went through, only putting down the camera and pulling his weight later on.
The first episode feels very scripted and unnatural, the commentary was read as if it was a commercial, and the camera work was most likely not the work of only Tim. The majority of the camera work is rough and handheld, and twinned with close up interviews; you can see how they wanted to capture the raw feel of a documentary.
The second episode is in Indonesia, where the men fight with sticks and swords to show off their bravery for their potential wives. This episode felt rawer than the previous one, to an almost believable level that it wasn’t scripted. The commentary was still questionable.
The next six episodes follow the same patterns and structure as the previous one. The couple travel to Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Nigeria, China, Brazil, and finish the season off in Yanaba. Each episode has its marital ritual, from fertilisation to hallucinating at a sacred tree, along with arguments, realisations, and makeups.
As the series progresses, Tim and PJ become quite likeable; each of them slowly become better people and a lot more understanding of one another. They learn from their faults and open up some home truths that were needed to be faced before marriage.
The show as a whole has some entertaining aspects, regardless of the rocky start. The characters become likeable, and it’s interesting to learn how others celebrate love and marriage across the world. If you can get past the quite obvious scripting, and think of it as more of a drama than a documentary, then as a series it’s ok to watch. Will there be a second season? We think it’s unlikely.
Like A Woman Possessed
Love & Other Bruises
The Crying Game
In Too Deep