It’s only been two episodes, but this is by far the thirstiest season ever. Plus: we have a book tie-ins with Mills and Boon!
We’ve met our cast of characters (aka our loaf of white bread made sentient), and now it’s time for the real work of the Bach to begin. It’s time to go on some dates.
A reminder, if you’re a Bachie newbie: there is a set structure to a regular Bachie episode. Almost always they will include: a) a single date, b) a group date, c) a cocktail party, and d) a rose ceremony. Occasionally the order gets mixed up a bit, but that’s your basic structure.
Tonight we begin with a single date. Getting the first single date is typically a very big deal in the Bachieverse — it’s a big tell as to who the Bach is into — so it should come as no surprise that tonight’s recipient is Charlie.
When his name is read off the card, all the men look immediately at Bill — who, as we must remember, was awarded the wild rose last night, and so has the power to steal someone’s single date. ‘Nah, I’m not going to steal it,’ he tells Charlie.
Later, to the camera, he confesses that he just ‘doesn’t see Charlie as a threat’. Oh, Bill, you sweet fool.
Also, I would like it noted for the record that during this whole interaction, Charlie is wearing a very snuggly grey cardigan, about which I had many complex feelings.
There are two things you need to know about this date. First, it’s held at the Sofitel Wentworth, which is the same place the Romance Writers of Australia conference was held this year. If only it had been held at the same time — I’m sure there would have been numerous excellent ways the members could have somehow been involved.
Second, this single date is a classic high places date. Bachie loves sending its contestants on dates that involve either being in or being flung off high places. This is for a couple of reasons.
- Scientific. If you go through that kind of adrenaline-fuelled experience together, the theory is that it’ll bond you.
- Symbolic. We ‘fall in love’, take ‘leaps of faith’ — the language of love is filled with high places.
The Bachie high places date is such a staple that it’s kind of tired, but at least one person behind the scenes at Bachie is being a bit creative. Ali and Charlie aren’t getting flung off a high place — instead, they’re being suspended high in the air between the two parts of the Sofitel on a Twister mat, presumably with the intention that they’ll play Twister.
It’s been a long time since I’ve said this, but that’s not a bad date idea, Bachie! Why not combine your classic adrenaline-filled high places date with the most sexual party game known to mankind?
Sadly, we don’t get to see what mid-air Twister looks like, because Ali loses her shit very quickly. ‘Oh my god,’ she moans to Charlie. ‘I can’t do this.’
‘Just look around at the city,’ he urges her. ‘Look at me. You can do this.’
It’s very sweet and heartwarming, but then he adds ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ which, like … mate. Don’t ask that when you’re suspended a hundred metres off the ground.
Ali’s into it, though. As soon as they get back to safety — still basically straddling each other on this Twister mat — she kisses his face off.
‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘I just really wanted to kiss you.’
‘Don’t apologise,’ Charlie says, and kisses her face off in return.
Like … seriously. The level of snogging. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much tongue in the first week of the Australian franchise.
(I’d also like to add, that if you take the rampant snogging out of it, this is almost an exact mirror of how Sophie and Jarrod’s first date went down in the same episode last year. Look for Charlie to start turning bright red as he tries to work out who pissed in his potplant any day now.)
The snogging doesn’t stop when they get to their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. ‘You said all the right things up there, but you also did all the right things,’ Ali tells Charlie. ‘I’ve been with a lot of people who said the right things, but not a lot that could back it up.’
Ostensibly, she’s talking about the whole mid-air Twister thing and how he did the right things to support her there, but I’m fairly sure she’s also talking about pashing. Bow chicka wow wow.
It’s interesting, because a lot of the romance in the Australian franchise has traditionally revolved around conversation, while the physical aspects have been de-emphasised (at least compared to the American version, where there is a diegetic boning stage). Ali’s last love was an American Bachie contestant, and it seems like she’s a Bachelorette much more in the American mode than we’ve seen in Australia so far.
It’s not bad (at all), but it is a significant shift. I’ll be very intrigued to see how this plays out over the course of the season.
After yet more snogging, and after Ali’s given Charlie a rose, they both confess independently to camera that they could see themselves falling in love with each other. Charlie goes back to the house and tells the other dudes the same thing, which leads to a few raised eyebrows, because how can you fall in love so soon? (I wonder if they’d say that to our-eyes-met-across-a-crowded-room Ali’s face?)
Ali is having a different kind of trouble dealing with her level of thirst. ‘What if they’re all this perfect?’ she asks. ‘What if I fall in love with all of them?’
Girl, I just don’t think that is going to be a problem. No one is falling in love with toxic masculinity Paddy.
That said, Ali’s thirst is not confined to Charlie, because the following group date is MEGA thirsty.
The first group date for every season is a photo shoot of some kind. There have been shoots for Women’s Weekly and for newspapers, but tonight we return to the very best iteration of the Bachie photo shoot: the Mills & Boon cover. (The last time Bachie did this was in Georgia Love’s season, and it was awesome.)
The theme for these covers is New York. If I was doing my job as Dr Love here properly, I’d launch into a big long explanation of why New York is considered romantic, but the answer is pretty simple: romantic comedies and rom-com-esque TV shows (eg Sex and the City). The New York cityscape has figured so often in these kinds of media that it’s become a kind of character in and of itself. ‘I <3 New York’ is a cliché for a reason — there’s a part of us that imagines that New York <3s us back too.
Also, these covers are seasonal — winter, spring, summer, autumn. There are different reasons each of these seasons has been romanticised in its own right, but when put together: the passage of time with a lover is imagined to be so much better than time alone. Think here of phrases like ‘growing old with each other’ and even the ‘ever after’ part of ‘happily ever after’: they’re tied to a lot of our notions of love as an explicitly temporal concern.
First up is summer, which is a sort of fashion week thing. Ali, dressed in a jumpsuit and a mystifyingly enormous headdress, is playing the model, alongside two of the other dudes in very skimpy undies, and Jules in double denim as the photographer. Jules gets confused and thinks he is the actual photographer and starts directing the shoot, and … honestly, I felt a bit bad for him, because he thought the whole date went awesomely, and it did not. He ended up getting left off the final cover entirely, which … ouch.
Next up is spring, because fuck chronology. The theme here is spring break, but, like, an expensive spring break. Or maybe leaving for spring break? In any case, Robert plays Ali’s handsome boyf, wearing a waistcoat and not much else, while Paddy gets stuck playing the bellhop, ridiculous hat and all. ‘This is a stitch up,’ he says glumly.
To whoever was behind that particular casting decision: the highest of fives.
Shoot three is autumn. It’s ostensibly a high-end Halloween party, but really looks more like Ali and Co have dropped into Sleep No More. She’s in a mask, some of her boys are playing ominous men in suits, and she’s fascinated with the exposed pecs of Todd, who is wearing no shirt and feather epaulets, because of very important reasons.
‘THESE ARE ALL THE MEALS I HAVE EATEN IN MY LIFE,’ Farmer Dan declares, trying to get her attention.
‘Mmm-hmmm,’ Ali says, continuing to stare at Todd’s bare chest.
The thirst is real.
And the thirst is not quenched yet. The final photo shoot is a one on one, as Ali and Taite do a winter wonderland Central Park thing. She’s wearing a gigantic fluffy coat, he has to get all up in it in order to sexily almost kiss her … it’s intense, and Ali is PARCHED.
‘…well, this isn’t good,’ some of the dudes say gloomily, looking on and drinking beers.
But … was it Taite who most piqued Ali’s thirst in this whole photo shoot adventure? Perhaps not! It’s not him she pulls aside to snog at the cocktail party. It’s not Todd, or even Charlie (although he does lowkey lay one on her when they get some time alone, to the chagrin of the other bros). It’s Robert.
She’s not subtle about it, either. She takes him by the hand, leads him away, and is like, ‘I’ve been wanting to do this all day,’ and just lays one on him.
This is so, so different to what we’ve seen previously in the Australian Bachelor franchise. Think back to Matty’s season, when he practically fainted in horror when Elora suggested they make out at the cocktail party. Kissing at the cocktail party — or anywhere that isn’t a single date — in the Australian franchise is just not done.
And yet here Ali is, doing whatever the fuck she wants and rewriting the rules. I’m into it. Get it, girl.
(Side note: I tweeted about this, and Osher immediately tweeted back to say that Ali took Robert well outside the eyeline of anyone else — something they don’t always bother to do in, say, the American franchise. But still, this is a big shift from what we normally see in Australian Bachie. It’s only been two episodes, but this is by far the thirstiest season ever.)
We only lose one contestant at the rose ceremony — Cheyne, who has apparently been here this whole time. But what we do get is a promo for next week, where it looks like Ali lays into Nathan for talking shit about her — which, like, I’m supremely into.
…if only it weren’t for that uncomfortable transphobic moment last night, I might be willing to call myself an Ali fan.
PS If you want to buy any of the Mills & Boon books with Ali and her boys on them, they’re on sale from Friday, October 12.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.