Here comes the documentary
"Don't show the guy that way," says Oryan, a participant in the new show, "Israeli Wedding," of her future husband, Moran.
"He is an active partner, not a silent one, active!" she notes with the dramatic flair typical of someone who wants to be an actress or a singer.
But in the course of her short and fiery speech, "the guy," the almost undercover partner, sits behind her, his face completely hidden, a mere shadow of the speaker. It is no wonder the show's creator, Naftaly Gliksberg, refers to the couple as "Moryan."
"Israeli Wedding," which airs on Yes Docu tomorrow, is reminiscent of many British and American series that follow couples in the course of their wedding preparations.
"Bridezilla" is perhaps the best known among these shows. It is another type of reality series, which is more docu-reality than documentary. This show is not like "Wife Swap," or "Supernanny"; there is no intervention for entertainment purposes.
These kinds of series raise questions concerning television ethics. In the British and American shows, viewers peer into the lives of people at an incredibly tense moment, and derive pleasure from the sense that they are better than them.
The docu-reality, about weddings is especially problematic, because it concludes with a happy ending and thereby sanctifies the institution. Secondly, it portrays the woman, the very princess for whom this is "the happiest day of her life" as a Godzilla-like monster.
But the Israeli version is different. The camera picks up not only the groom concealed by his domineering fiance, but also the ugliness flickering behind all the exaggerated attempts to decorate and be decorated.
The train of the bride's elegant white dress sweeps the dirty floors; the wedding planner who leaves the grotesque banquet hall she decorated in a Provencale style, gets into her luxury car and drives along the dingy streets of Tel Aviv, speckled with window shutters, water boilers and antenna.
In "Israeli Wedding," Oryan does an off-key rendition of a song she prepared for the occasion. "Her Hollywood image was shattered," says Gliksberg. "The crack underneath the glory is revealed."
In general, he explains, he wanted "the impartial observer to see the gap between the fantasy and the reality."
The same viewers see and hear, for example, the odd interaction between another couple - Neta and Shai. They have been dating since high school, and he was injured in a car accident and is in a wheelchair.
Neta wants him to walk to the chuppah (with the help of lots of assistants and a physiotherapist). He is not enthusiastic about the idea.
"For Neta, it is more important that I stand under the chuppah than it is for me," he says to the camera. He says he thinks she wants this so "there will be a picture of us standing together."
She explains her side: "He practiced walking, but it's a lot more fun for him to sit." Yes, a lot of fun.
Daniel and Emily, a couple from Herzliya, are really extreme. It is infuriating the way Daniel, a colorful character, "a character from a Fellini film," according to Gliksberg, emotionally abuses his poor fiance.
There are also older couples who marry just not to be alone. He says: "the truth is she wanted me, but I didn't fall in love with her," and she says: "I didn't want any contact or relationship with him." Not exactly a match made for Hollywood.
The person trying herhardest to maintain the fairy tale charm is wedding planner, Irit Rahamim, who provides some comic relief on the show.
"I think that basically all the hopes and dreams of a woman's life gain force at the end, that is, on this very day," she says.
But Gliksberg thinks this is an evening, "in which the bride is drugged and sold to the groom."
"It's a chauvinistic game," he says, in an analysis that also gives very little credit to the woman.
"The bride becomes addicted to an illusion. She is practically led like sheep to the slaughter, and she doesn't understand this. It is a purchase agreement to acquire the bride," he says.
Gliksberg, 48, who this year is also working on documentaries about the fashion world and the human side of the airport, used to be ultra-Orthodox and was once married to an ultra-Orthodox woman.
"The subject of relationships fascinates me; I don't understand it. It's a kind of magic that I haven't comprehended," he says.
He cannot tolerate shows like "Bridezilla," because they mock people.
"I can't stand that they give you a feeling of superiority," he says. "In this series, I try to build empathy through the show. I believe there is compassion."
As mentioned, the show differs from its foreign counterparts. It is very Israeli. It is almost a sharp manifesto against the institution of marriage.
Of the six diverse couples on the show, from places as diverse as Sderot, Nazareth and Jaffa, there are no matches made in heaven; there is not a single romantic moment in the entire series.
"The show exposes the salesmen of the culture of romance, people's need for a wedding and tries to dismantle the mechanism of relationships," says Gliksberg. You could say it succeeds in doing so.
Because the participants are not actors, and they enjoy a lot of exposure, the show is likely to seriously influence the rest of their lives. Gliksberg hopes to meet once again with these couples in another seven years. So far, he will have to meet with at least one couple separately. Four months after the show documented their wedding, the couple split up.