RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S5 E12

RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S5 E12
The Bachelor Australia Season 5
Background photo via Canva

Someone is going to – GASP – transgress the rules. This is about the worst thing you can do in Bachie, so be prepared for DRAAAAAAAAMAAAAAAA.

But first, we must start off with our single date. Tonight’s recipient is Florence, which I personally am psyched about, because she is hilarious. She is probably my #2 ladylove on this show after Tara, and considering I love Tara a LOT, this is saying something.

Matty and Florence start out their date with a helicopter ride. I was worried at first that the helicopter ride was going to be the date and the whole of the date, because Bachie has an awkward history of confusing epic transpo with an actual date (especially in Richie’s season last year). But thankfully they have some smarter people producing for them this year, because the helicopter is just a means to an end, which means I have something more to say about this date than hey, heights are romantic because adrenaline and symbolism.

In my TV best friend Georgia Love’s season of Bachie last year, we had a Dirty Dancing date. This is a Ghost date (AKA the #2 Patrick Swayze movie). Matty and Florence are doing pottery together. Matty, apparently, has pottery cred and made pottery when he was a kid, but Florence has no pottery cred, and so makes, um…

There’s no way to euphemise this. She makes a peen. She makes a peen that is obviously a peen that Matty knows it is a peen, and the show – which is incredibly prudish – has to acknowledge that she has made a peen.

I love Florence. God, I love Florence.

Matty tries to help her fix the peen by pulling the Unchained Melody manoeuvre and sitting behind her and pottery-ing her up, but there is not much that can save the peen. Once a peen, always a peen, I guess.

(And also, if your romantic reference point is Ghost, I feel like you’re in a bit of trouble. The whole premise of Ghost [ Amz | iT ] is that Swayze is a ghost, and that the relationship is necessarily doomed. This is why Dirty Dancing [ Amz | iT ] is the #1 Swayze romantic movie and Ghost is 10000000% #2.)

They head to the Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. This couch is literally facing backward on the edge of a cliff, and I feel like I don’t need to explain why this is a bad omen. They talk about their feeeeeeeeeeelings and say exactly the kind of thing you would expect people to say at this stage of Bachie, so I’m not going to recap it, because I believe in you, and believe you can fill in the blanks yourself. Of more note is the fact that Florence describes her shiny new peen vase as ‘really soothing’ and…

…yeah, I would write more, but I’m too busy laughing forever. If Tara isn’t next season’s Bachelorette, can it be Florence? Please?

Oh, and she gets a rose, and a left-head-tilted snog.

Next up, it’s an active-wear-clad group date. The premise behind this date is ‘face your fears!’, but it is solidly not my fave. What this date is premised on is the idea that because these ladies are single, they have not only missed the opportunity to fall in love, but that there is something wrong with them for being single. It’s pathologized their singledom: they’re not single because they just haven’t met the right dude yet, they’re single, and it’s their fault.

I am sure it is very surprising to all of you that I have a lot of problems with this idea. Jean Claude Kauffman, writing about single life, writes that, ‘That is the big difference between men and women, for whom being single is at once a private matter and something public that concerns society as a whole’ (2008, xx). The single man is not pathologized, but the single woman? oh! how she is pathologized, and her singledom is not only her own problem, but a societal problem. There is something wrong with that she needs to fix, and until she does, she will never be able to perform as she should, by finding a dude and building a family.

There is so much that I hate hate HATE about the fact that in this date, the ladies are made to write their fears on balsa wood and then punch through said board while Matty holds it. It just speaks so much to this pernicious idea that the single lady is somehow broken, somehow wrong, and that there is something in her that she needs to heal or that she needs to fix.

Keep an eye on Sophie Monk’s season of The Bachelorette. I bet nothing like this will happen to the men on it, mark my words. Because the single man is eligible, and the single woman is sad.

(This is why they don’t call ‘The Bachelorette’ ‘The Spinster’, by the way. That word is imbued with so much cultural baggage of desperation and sadness that they had to explicitly draw on and feminise the male discourse of desirability to create the show.)

…also, we get that apart from all this grossness, we get that the fact the ladies have to punch their way through a board has a penetrative aspect, right? Like, we all see that?

Anyway, Matty has to randomly pick a winner of this punching date. I’m not sure what metric he’s using, but he picks Tara, so he therefore picks correctly.

Sidebar: I did not know this until my mother told me. but Tara is legit Australian romance reality TV royalty. Her mother is Debbie Newsome, who was one of the hosts of Perfect Match (watch a brilliant sample episode here) in the 1980s (that show with Dexter the robot). This makes her claim to be a) next year’s Bachelorette, and b) my destined best friend that much stronger.

Also, if/when Tara gets to hometowns, I insist – nay, I demand – that the robot be there. #DEXTER2018

During their date, Tara pulls the same manoeuvre that Laura did last night, in that she makes a confession of serious like to Matty. We can read this as a narrative sign that Tara is going allllll the wayyyyy to the final few: she’s signalled her entry into major feelingsville, and so taken the next step in her romantic relationship with Matty.

Finally: the cocktail party. Now we’re well into shit-gets-real territory, cocktail parties are less dramatic, because the villains are gone and there’s no one there really to stir shit up. But there’s still drama: it’s just changed form.

Tonight’s drama comes from Elora. She pulls Matty aside and – GASP – propositions him, BUT in a very Bachie Aus way: that is, she’s like, ‘lol, we should totally kiss right now’.

‘OMG ELORA I AM NOT DOING THAT HOW COULD YOU EVER THINK I WOULD DO THAT,’ Matty responds.

This is so, so SO nationally distinctive. This prohibition about macking on at group dates just straight up doesn’t exist at all in the United States: quite often, the Bachie is gleefully getting their mack on at the cocktail party with a contestant on the very first night, let alone being aghast at the prospect twelve episodes deep. Even in other Bachie franchises, like Bachie New Zealand, pashing someone at the cocktail party is not exactly smiled upon, but it’s not a mighty sin.

But here? Elora suggesting to Matty that they kiss at the cocktail party is treated as OMG SUCH A TRANSGRESSION – like, she might as well just pin a big scarlet A to her dress right now. He gasps. The other ladies gasp. And she gets the last rose at the rose ceremony, so we can assume the narrative gasps as well.

She does not, however, get eliminated. Tonight’s victim is Lisa, who has been in the bottom two for the last two episodes, and this time is third time unlucky. I originally thought she was going right to the final two, but even Drs Love are wrong sometimes – and it speaks strongly to the fact that Matty (and Bachie as a whole) isn’t all about first impressions.

(Laura is still winning though. Like, that is totally still happening.)

The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.

Tagged .

Jodi is a literary historian currently working as a lecturer at the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on the history of love, sex, women, and popular culture, so reading romance novels is technically work for her. Shed a tear for Jodi. Jodi is also an author, and her debut YA paranormal novel Valentine is due out in February 2017. One time, she was invited on a special private tour of the set of The Bold and the Beautiful, and it was the single best hour of her life.

What do you think?