It’s night 3 of this Paradise marathon, and I don’t know about you, but I’m flagging fast. I devoted so much energy to hating Daniel that I’m exhausted.
At least he’s gone. Not that this island is exactly fuckboy-free, but … he was a special level of terrible.
This time around, the men have the roses, so let us all be grateful that we did not get to see what fuckeries Daniel would have wrought with such power. As someone who has watched both his seasons of US Paradise, I can tell you that those fuckeries would have been intense.
Let us not be grateful, however, for the fuckeries that the other terrible dudes on this island have yet to wreak. Stay on your guard, fam.
We start tonight by:
- Setting up that Laurina is largely uninterested in socialising in Paradise, preferring to read and nap on her own. This is a) relatable af, and b) foreshadowing for the end of the episode, where this will pay off in a big way.
- Welcoming someone new to our dramatis personae.
Elora (Matty’s season): If you read my recaps last year, you’ll remember Elora. She entered twirling fire, was extremely aggressive in challenges, and kept pretending that she had chemistry with Matty even though whenever they weren’t making out they just sort of stared at each other awkwardly. She was marketed a lot as ‘exotic’, which was … um, problematic. To say the least.
Also she has amazing hair.
Elora enters Paradise to find a whole bunch of couples already established. She has a chat to Luke, only to find he is ‘hanging out’ with Lisa (something which made me add ‘hanging out’ to the list of Bachie phrases I want to interrogate a whole lot more). She has a chat to Jake, only to find that he is committed to Megan.
And then she has a chat to Megan, and we all lean forward eagerly — including Megan, who is absolutely loving the prospect of being asked out by Elora.
Is this it? Is this the moment where the mandatory heterosexuality of the Bachie franchise is going to be ruptured? At the same time as fuckboy Jake getting his comeuppance? Are we, after all this time, finally allowed to have nice things?
No. We are not.
‘Do you mind if I ask Jake on a date?’ Elora asks Megan.
Oh, and if you want something else to sigh about, a whole bunch of the dudes — namely Jarrod — basically jizz themselves at the thought of two of the ladies dating each other. Ugggghhhhhh.
(Brief sidebar on the subject of Jarrod: Michael describes him at the beginning of this episode as ‘jazz fingers’. His reasons for doing so — and whether or not he meant ‘jazz hands’ — are opaque.)
Elora does ask Jake on a date, but he turns her down on account of being attached to Megan, presumably not knowing that if Elora had asked Megan, she would have abandoned him so fast he wouldn’t have even seen the dust cloud.
The person Elora does end up taking is Michael, and I am genuinely shocked. Not because she’s taken him on a date, but because — GASP — Michael is wearing a shirt correctly.
Excuse me. I just need to wipe a tear away. They grow up so fast.
That said, don’t go getting too high an opinion of Michael’s intelligence. He and Elora go glassblowing for their date, which he describes as a ‘sensual’ and ‘kinky’ activity. I don’t want to go around yucking people’s yums, but considering glassblowing involves heating material to over a thousand degrees celsius, I’m not sure it’s, ahem, the sexiest activity out there. But, you know. YMMV.
It can’t be that sexy, though, because even though Elora and Michael are perfectly civil during the wine-and-cheese portion of their date — which includes a couch! someone really has loosened their grip on the purse strings! — both agree that there’s not really too much of a connection there. Michael must find someone else to appreciate his platitudes, which include a line he delivered very earnestly about Daniel last night that I can’t believe I forgot to put in the recap: ‘you can build a body in the gym, but you can’t build a heart’.
Back at the beach, Leah has basically given up on Michael, and is looking around for where her next rose will come from. And there’s really only one place she can set her sights, the one dude about whom no one gives one single shit: American Jared.
‘I feel like we connect,’ she says to him.
‘Um, yeah,’ he says.
Then they both stare at the ground.
I cannot adequately communicate how funny I find this. In both his seasons of US Paradise, Jared has been THE guy. He’s the one that all the ladies want. As I wrote last night, his dominant connection has been with Ashley I, but he’s been at the epicentre of numerous love polygons. But in Australia, people barely remember he’s there, and I can’t articulate why exactly, but it’s just side-splittingly hilarious to me.
Next — another new entrant! Welcome to the dramatis personae:
Simone (Matty’s season): Simone is most notable for having a strong Northern accent, never getting a date with Matty, being terrified of skydiving, and getting bullied by Leah. That hatchet is clearly buried, though, because Leah is the first person she hugs on her entry to Paradise.
The person most excited she’s entered Paradise, though, is Jarrod. It seems that he has a type, and it’s ‘women who look like Sophie Monk’. He’s bouncing up and down with glee and making creepy Jarrod overtures, while Keira seethes across the pool, getting progressively drunker and drunker.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, Grant takes it upon himself to have a chat to Jarrod. This is obviously for a given value of ‘takes it upon himself’ — I think we can safely assume that there were some producers involved in this at some point — but Grant is such a pure distilled version of Bachie lingo that I’m fairly sure all you need to do is whisper a few starter words in his ear and he’ll fill in the rest of the mad lib himself.
‘I don’t think Keira is here for the right reasons,’ he tells Jarrod. ‘She’s very wishy-washy, and she doesn’t know what she wants.’
The irony of a man who went on Bachelor in Paradise and got engaged for five minutes calling someone else wishy-washy and accusing them of not knowing what they want is not lost on me.
Keira is not terribly pleased by this turn of events, and so she confronts Grant. ‘Did you tell Jarrod I don’t know what I want?’
‘Yes,’ he replies.
‘Be careful what you say,’ she says. ‘I have a drink in my hand.’
Grant — veteran of US Paradise, where I don’t think an hour ever goes by without someone throwing a drink on someone — has the good grace not to laugh in her face.
Keira storms off into the night, and everyone stares after her in consternation. ‘Sometimes she’s laughing, sometimes she’s crying…’ American Jared says, clearly having flashbacks to his star-crossed love Ashley I.
But there’s one person who is entirely unconcerned, and it’s — of course — Jarrod. ‘I thought it was cute and adorable, her having a little tanty,’ he proclaims.
Okay. Um. Let’s talk about this.
Yes, Keira is being a little bit ridiculous (and is also clearly a little bit shitfaced).
But do not — DO NOT — ever describe an angry woman as ‘cute’, ‘adorable’, or ‘having a little tanty’. Do not ever fucking dare to invalidate a woman’s anger that way. ‘You’re cute when you’re angry’ is one of the most infuriating clichés in the heteronormative lexicon. It has such deeply encoded power dynamics, and … gaaaaaahhhhhh.
Simone, for whatever reason, did not get a date card when she walked in, but that does not mean that there are no date cards around. Megan comes bounding in with one, and the date is for … drumroll … Laurina.
And — oh my god, you guys. Laurina’s reaction to this is the single most real thing I have ever seen on reality TV.
So, for context, it’s night-time when this date card is delivered. It comes with the caveat that the date starts in ten minutes. Laurina is halfway through a facial.
‘No, I don’t want to go,’ she says. ‘I’d rather go to bed.’
Everyone on the show is SO SHOCKED that she would say this. And look, I guess that’s fair enough — it is, as Uncle Sam points out, a dating show, not a sleeping show. But the fact that she’s like, Um, no thank you, I don’t want to go out tonight, I’d rather go to bed early and have a good night’s sleep?
Bow down, bitches. Bow down.
Laurina demands to see a producer, and the episode ends with her tearily telling them that she doesn’t want to go on this date, especially because she’s not romantically attracted to any of the Paradise dudes (also extremely real, as they are all terrible shitheads).
And all I can do is marvel, because for the second time, she’s throwing herself up against the structures of this show and refusing to bend for them. The first and most famous time was the dirty street pie incident, where she entirely correctly pointed out that everyone else was being sent on luxury-style dates while she was sent on a bowling-and-a-pie date after they’d clearly told her to dress for the former. It’s extremely rare for someone to call out the manipulative storytelling techniques of this franchise like that: and here she is, going and doing it again.
Can you imagine what a season of The Bachelorette starring Laurina would be like? Because given her refusal to accept the show’s format, I can’t, and that’s EXACTLY why it should happen.
Tomorrow: Keira and Jarrod break up and make up and break up and make up and break up and make up and we pray for it all to be over because apparently Apollo is turning up on Sunday.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.