Richie is the new Bingley, Faith is not the new Bond girl, everyone hopes to be Cinderella, and one lady emerges with the Black Stripes of Villainy.
It’s time for another instalment of Bachie with Jodi! We’ve largely got over the expository opening episodes, and we’re really finding our feet in the single date/group date/cocktail party/rose ceremony whirligig that is this show. And so let’s dive right into it: who will our nation’s beloved sunflower prince Richie take on a single date this week?
The answer is, as always, communicated by date card, which is delivered by Osher, and the recipient of the date is Faith. They didn’t actually need the date card to work this out, to be honest — they could have just looked at who the producers had sat next to Keira (who, predictably, was deeply miffed that she did not get the single date herself).
For some reason, they make Osher deliver a monologue about how the evolution of digital technology has ruined love letters, and how Richie is OMG SO SPECIAL for inviting them on dates via three scrawled words on a piece of cardboard. This idea that the love letter is a lost art and that it has been RUINED, I SAY, RUINED by technology generally comes from people who have never dug around in archives and read love letters: eg wartime letters including acronyms like HOBART (Hope Our Bodies Are Rubbing Together) or INDIA (Intercourse Needed Day I Arrive).* At the risk of sounding a little contradictory, I wouldn’t romanticise the good ol’ days of love letters too much.
* My PhD supervisor Hsu-Ming Teo has a fascinating article about Australian love letter practices, from which I learned this: ‘Love Writes: Gender and Romantic Love in Australian Love Letters 1860-1960’, Australian Feminist Studies 20.48 (2005): pp.343-361.
… in short, Bachie, if you need some monologues about the history of love and romance that have a bit of historical nuance to them, you know who to call. (Because I’m sure historical nuance is EXACTLY what they’re after on Bachie.)
The date card has a James Bond nuance — it’s about being shaken and stirred — but Faith doesn’t get it. She still doesn’t get that it’s a Bond thing when Richie picks her up in a speedboat while dressed in a tuxedo. Perhaps this is because Richie, despite his obvious physical qualifications to be Bond, does not have any of the other qualifications: I can totes imagine him getting all awkward and stumbling over his words while he asks the bad guys to crikey! not kill him, please! and then panicking and throwing his gun at them instead of firing it.
No, if you want a literary analogue to Richie, you need look no further than the works of Jane Austen, because he is ABSOLUTELY our nation’s Mr Bingley.
Anyway! Faith never really seems to make the Bond connection: she gets that it’s about martinis when there’s a literal bartender making them in front of her, but she doesn’t make the cultural leap. That’s okay, though, because the Bond aspect of the date kind of … disappears?
It’s weirdly incoherent, actually. One minute it’s all high-octane transpo and tuxedos and martinis, and then they’re suddenly playing basketball in the pool. Did something go horribly wrong in the setup of this date? Did they have to make a quick save? Or did they just not think it all the way through?
So Richie and Faith play pool basketball, he’s competitive, she’s competitive, he likes that she’s competitive, she nearly drowns him … just regular normal everyday date stuff. ‘She dominated,’ Richie tells the camera with obvious relish, and suddenly, around the nation, a million fantasies were born.
(OMG, Mr Bingley the submissive. I would read th– NO, JODI, STOP.)
And then they kiss. Actually — because we must remember that this is a major semantic difference on Bachie — they pash. The camera cuts away mid-snog, which makes me pretty suspicious that, once again, Richie has announced ‘NICE KISS’ the second they are done.
Next up: the group date! Our villainess Keira is once again on this date, and she is capital-N capital-H Not Happy about it. She is a hard lady to please: and on Bachie, this is tantamount to hamartia, the tragic, fatal flaw.
The date is at Curzon Hall. As the ladies walk in, they wonder aloud what their group date activity will be, and one of them loudly suggests ‘GETTING MARRIED!’ which is … interesting, I guess.
It is not, however, an enormous polyamorous wedding: it’s a ballroom dancing date. I’m assuming this obvious Cinderella homage has been foisted on Richie as punishment for not getting the Cinderella bit that Janey the Disney Princess pulled on the first night when he chased after her and tried to give her back her shoe. However, watching Richie waltz does mesh quite well with that modern Aussie bloke Bingley thing he has going on, so there’s that.
Richie has to waltz with all the ladies, and then pick the one with whom he felt the best ‘connection’. (Connection is another one of those Bachie buzzwords — like ‘chemistry’, ‘journey’, ‘here for the right reasons’, ‘opening up’ — that has become a classic example of semantic satiation: it’s so overused it functionally means nothing.) He chooses Keira. Definitely of his own volition. Not because the producers made him or anything. Oh no, they just HAPPENED to have this princess gown with convenient black villain stripes through it lying around! Whichever girl won was going to have to wear it!
Because Keira won the ballroom dancing date, she gets some extra time — in said ballgown — to waltz in private with Richie. It’s quite a beautiful little tableau, but it’s one which causes much cocktail party drama, because Keira, before leaving for this mini-date, made a comment to the other ladies which has caused them to interpret her as OMG UNGRATEFUL.
That word ‘ungrateful’. My goodness. A dude is dating twenty women at once and you’re supposed to be grateful for the crumbs of time he spends with you. There is some weird shit that has to go on before your brain gets to that place.
Keira gets a rose on this little mini-date, but that rose is swiftly overshadowed. When Keira gets home, Eliza the awkward songstress is like, ‘hey, so it was awks how you said that thing, and it made us feel like you weren’t grateful for your time with Richie!’
Keira’s response is, predictably, incendiary: ‘I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO OFFENDED IN MY WHOLE LIFE,’ she declares.
And then she gives Eliza the cut direct at the cocktail party like she’s in a Regency romance novel. Keira’s dislike of other women means that she’s never going to achieve the Iconic Bachie Heroine status of someone like Laurina, but my goodness she is entertaining television.
They really have to work hard to generate the drama at this particular cocktail party. There’s the Keira/Eliza stuff, and then they manufacture something out of nothing with Alex and the Special White Rose of Specialness. She wants to use it! But everyone has made her feel bad about using it! She wants Richie to come to her! But he doesn’t, and now she’s worried he’ll forget her! And now there’s no more time! Cue single tear rolling down her cheek.
Of course Alex doesn’t go home: you might as well send her straight to the final four now. We’re still in the stage where the two people who got eliminated — I want to say their names are Sophie and Marja? — are virtually unrecognisable to the audience. But it highlights, I think, the clever narrative decision the producers made by giving the white rose this power this season. It’s guaranteed to generate conflict in even the dullest cocktail party: the blurrier you can make the ethics of romantic pursuit and attachment in Bachie, the more dramz there will be.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.