Here we go again! We’re deep into the shit gets real phase of Bachie — hometowns are next week!
That’s primo real feelings territory! And yet we’re somehow still in first date territory, because somehow this show has been going for five minutes and nine hundred years all at once.
It’s strange, the flow of time in the Bachie-verse. For the contestants, it’s very slow and very fast simultaneously. A couple of months is no time at all in which to fall in love with someone, but given the fact that you spend a lot of that time cooped up in a mansion with no internet and no forms of entertainment except your boyfriend’s nine hundred other girlfriends, it must also drag on endlessly.
And the experience this season has been the same for the audience. A Bachie season can go by in the blink of an eye, and yet this one has been dragging on foreeeeeeevvvvvvveeeeeeeeerrrrrrr.
Despite the fact that the time constraints are so pressing, the show doesn’t tend to refer to them a lot, probably because the more you mention them, the more ridiculous the possibility of a lasting relationship resulting from this ‘process’ (which people are repeatedly told to ‘trust in’) seems. But the question of time has come up a few times in this season, mostly because of one person: Cass.
Cass, as we all remember, knew and dated Nick (with an ambiguous amount of seriousness) before the show. There’s a history there, and a relationship, and we’re told over and over again that Cass is light years ahead of the other ladies in terms of the intensity of her feelings. Just last week, in fact, on that super unromantic interrogation date, the FBI guy was like, ‘Badge, my man, that lady is straight up obsessed with you’.
The fact that Cass is so far ahead in her feelings for Nick is an obvious result of time spent, which would seem to belie the show’s claim that you totally can fall hard for someone in two months (in which you — if you get to the final two — spend mayyyyyyyybe forty hours with them alone in total). And all of this begs the question: when, exactly, does the show want the other ladies to catch up? When in the grand Bachie schema of things are all the contestants supposed to be on a level playing field in terms of emotions felt? Is Cass always going to be this far ahead, and if so, and if she doesn’t win, what does that say about the strength of the emotions felt by the winning contestant at the end?
These are the things that I think about.
The reason that I started thinking about them is because finally, tonight, after eleven episodes, Cass gets her first single date — something that made me wonder whether they left it so long and pushed it so late because they were trying to keep her away from the Badge so that the other ladies could catch up.
…but more likely they left it because they were trying to give her the stalker edit, and they thought she’d get eliminated by now. Single dates are for contestants that the Bachie is taking seriously.
Which makes it all the more frustrating that they gave her this stalkery edit, tbh. If only they’d given her the chicklit edit like I wanted them to. It would have worked so much better.
(Psst, Bachie, how many times do I need to say call me before you CALL ME.)
Anyway! Cass! A single date! She has one! Nick picks her up on a school bus which disturbingly says ‘hot rod’ on the side, which I am super not okay with! What is it, a school bus from porn?
…if that is the truth, please no one tell me. I don’t want to know.
Nick takes Cass to Wet ‘n’ Wild, aka the Ghost of Wonderland. If you’ve ever been to any incarnation of this theme park, you’ll know it’s in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Sydney, which is pretty creepy. Add to the creepiness the fact that the park is abandoned for the day, and you have something which feels more murdery than romantic.
The first activity they undergo is some kind of high octane ziplining about nine million feet in the air. One thing I liked about this was that Nick was clearly as incredibly terrified as Cass was: normally they focus on the man as protector and the woman as protectee, no matter which one of them is the Bachie.
Or I THOUGHT I LIKED IT, BUT I DIDN’T, BECAUSE IT WAS ALL A FAKEOUT GAHHHHHHHH.
So Nick’s job is to pull some kind of ripcord thing that will start their zipline, but his fails (‘fails’). This means Cass has to pull hers.
Malfunction? No. It’s been arranged that way all along. Because we all know nothing is a romantic as a trick and a test and a mind game all wrapped up into one. Ladies love that shit.
Uggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh I hate it so much you guys.
Also, during this, Cass utters the phrase ‘if we die, at least we die together’, which … nope. Nope nope nope. Do not want.
Anyway, after that whole shenanigan, they go on a bunch of waterslides, and they’ve put Cass in the tiniest bikini known to humankind for objectification purposes, and Nick utters the phrase, ‘oooh, it’s a bit chilly on the willy’ which made me throw up a little bit.
Things get a little bit better when they get to the Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, because it opens with a long, lingering shot of their cheeseboard, which is truly a thing of beauty.
Their chat is a little less inspiring, unfortunately. Cass does the conversational equivalent of sliding a note onto Nick’s desk that says ‘do you like me? Y/N’, and Nick prevaricates for a while mumbling Cockney rhyming slang before circling ‘Y’ and sliding it back to her, then giving her a rose and snogging her face off.
Of more interest is his admission in here that he finds it hard to show affection in this environment, because he is juggling so many women. I really wish this had been a narrative thread they’d lent into. This could have been an interesting way of adding depth and personality to the Bachelor. Normally, they cast a relatively cardboard cutout handsome man, but by casting the Honey Badger (who is, by his own admission, ‘not the most handsome rooster’) they obviously wanted something more. And yet here is this interesting narrative and character conflict that they’re doing nothing with.
Failing storytelling 101, guys. Come on now.
You know what else they’re failing? Romance 101. Because you know what is not romantic? ANYTHING THAT SEEMS LIKE A MOTHERFUCKING CORPORATE TEAM-BUILDING EXERCISE.
That’s essentially what the group date is: an HR-mandated teambuilding session with all eight remaining ladies and Nick, hosted by a ‘transformational coach’ (vomit). And I hate everything about it. Everything. EVERYTHING.
All the ladies are asked to write down their emotional baggage on nametags and attach these to absurdly heavy backpacks. Then, wearing these backpacks, they and Nick participate in an obstacle course through rivers and mud and possible cow shit, while the transformational coach screams things like ‘JUMPING INTO A RIVER IS JUST LIKE JUMPING INTO A RELATIONSHIP!’ at them.
You know what’s a) super romantic and b) makes a lot of symbolic sense? Being on a date where you’re nominally overcoming your emotional baggage — baggage like ‘lack of trust in partner’ — with your boyfriend and his seven other girlfriends.
I hate it. HATE IT.
So, anyway, half of them nearly drown, they all get covered in mud, it’s just the most unpleasant experience I could possibly think of, and even though as a professional author I’m supposed to have both a powerful imagination and a strong command of words, I can neither imagine nor express how furious it would make me if I had ever been asked to go on anything even vaguely resembling this date.
There’s one bit that’s vaguely intriguing where Nick helps all the ladies over one of those, like, steeplechase hurdles in the middle of a river, and yet won’t ask for help himself, which drew the criticism of the transformational coach. But then Brittney and Cass help him over, and it’s not actually that big of a thing.
And you know what? It’s almost a bit annoying, because it overshadows what I think is a more interesting narrative. The thing that Nick wrote down on his emotional baggage tag was ‘expressing emotion’ but when the transformational coach asks him to talk about how doing this obstacle course helped him overcome it (UGGGGGHHHHHHHH), he says, ‘ah, I realised a bit of a bigger issue, which is that I’m not that comfortable accepting help. I wouldn’t think to ask for it. Especially from a woman, for, ah, physical stuff.’
I’m super here for Nick exploring and unpacking the baggage of hegemonic masculinity, but that emotional expression thing! I just talked about it before! Tell me more about that! That could have been a whole plot point there, and you just skated on by, Bachie!
Nick gets to pick one lady with whom to spend some extra time, and he picks Dasha — presumably as a way of reminding us that she still exists, because I’m fairly sure I haven’t seen her since her single date weeks ago. And even though the cheeseboard is superlative, and the whole thing begins with a hilarious double entendre where Dasha says that she enjoyed getting wet and dirty with Nick today, the conversation falls flat as hell.
These are the things I noticed during their conversation:
1) Mmmmm, cheeseboard.
2) Who does Nick pronounce the word ‘cool’ like? I know it reminds me of someone.
3) Are they going to touch that cheeseboard, or…?
4) Why did Dasha just lift Nick’s hair off his ear? Is she checking to see if he’s listening? But she’s not talking?
5) Why are there lit candles on top of the logs for the fire? What if you want to put a log in the fire? There are already tiny fires on top of the logs for the fire? Why?
6) Kath. It’s Kath from Kath and Kim. That’s who he pronounces ‘cool’ like.
So yeah, riveting stuff.
Dasha seems like she’s in danger of going at the rose ceremony (which we skip straight to — no cocktail party tonight, it seems), but she is not the casualty. Instead, tonight we farewell Jamie-Lee, last of the intruders, which is incredibly unsurprising after that hella awkward samurai date she and Nick went on last week.
Tomorrow’s elimination looks more dramatic. We’re promised tears and a rose flung away and abandoned, so stay tuned…
…for it probably to be way less interesting than that, as it often is. But we can live in hope.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.