Bros go on quests, Osher alters rose maths, and Ali pashes. She has a brand to keep up.
We’re made it to the halfway point! Only six more episodes to go until we find out who Ali’s One True Love is (again).
If you’re like, ‘wow, I’m sure the Honey Badgelor’s season went way longer than this!’ you are correct. It’s not just that that season dragged on and on and on (AND ON AND ON): it had four more episodes than the seasons typically afforded to Bachelorettes. The reasons for that are rooted in pretty basic sexism (ie the notion that audiences will prefer a male hero to a female one), but it also implies that men are four extra episodes worth of indecisive, which is … interesting.
…and perhaps also apt, considering how that Honey Badger season went.
But on with tonight’s recap.
After the Thunderdome date of last night, we’ve returned to regularly scheduled date programming. Tonight’s single date goes to Taite (who, as we must remember, was supposed to have one a couple of episodes ago, but got gazumped by swarm-of-bees-in-a-human-suit Bill).
And you know what? The vast majority of men on this season are trash, but Taite seems quite nice. Not very interesting, perhaps, but nice. Ali could do a lot worse, given the awful bros in her house currently.
I’m often very critical of the way Bachie designs its dates, but I love this one. ‘We’re going to be doing a treasure hunt designed by Osher!’ Ali tells Taite.
A word to anyone who might like to date me: if you can get Osher to design a treasure hunt, I would be extremely into that as a date idea.
(It has to be designed by Osher, though. That’s a dealbreaker.)
All the things they find on the date are things for their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation — wine, chocolate, etc — and are marked by little hearts (instead of the traditional X). It doesn’t seem to be very hard, as far as treasure hunts go, but Ali and Taite don’t care: they get their mack on basically straight away anyway.
I like this date not just because it seems like it might actually be reasonably fun in real life (unlike a lot of other terrible Bachie dates), but because it also makes some symbolic sense. This is a quest, and there’s a long tradition of quest narratives and romance narratives intersecting.
However, this isn’t just any old quest narrative: this is a revision. A lot of older romantic quest narratives were the quest of a hero for a heroine — think here of the prince setting out to rescue the princess from a dragon. As Leslie W Rabine notes, ‘[t]he traditional romantic questnarrative, […] puts at its centre the development of a single, individual hero, and […] rests on strongly end-oriented, rationally ordered, monolinearchains of cause and effect’ (1985, 3). But what we have here is the lovers cooperating and undertaking the quest together — developing together, as a unit.
I’ve talked before about Francesca Cancian’s notion that modern love has become entangled with a notion of self-development: that being in love also makes us better people. Lynne Pearce expresses this as an equation – if the lovers are x and y, then x + y → x’ + y’ (2007, 1). That is, love transforms us into new (better, hopefully) versions of ourselves. If a quest is tied to self-development, but the lovers are doing the quest together, then it becomes a symbol of them growing together, in that way so typical of modern love.
…anyway, in short, I liked this date. Well done, Team Bachie.
The couch conversations haven’t been terribly interesting so far in this season, mostly because Ali goes in for the pash so much earlier than all the other Bachies, but the conversation that Ali and Taite have is also very sweet. ‘It just feels normal with you,’ Ali tells Taite, starry-eyed.
‘Time stops when I look at you,’ Taite tells Ali, which is very melodramatic, but … eh, it was cute.
And then, after she gave him a rose, they pashed. Of course they pashed. Ali has a brand to keep up.
Next up: group date o’clock! This is another one of those instances where the word ‘date’ is an enormous misnomer, because this isn’t a date at all. Ali’s brought her cousin and her best friend, and they spend the day at a garden party interrogating the bros.
Mostly, it goes the way you would expect. Charlie is like, ‘yeah, I like Ali a lot, and I want to protect her, SO HERE ARE ALL MY FEELINGS ABOUT BILL.’ Bill smiles and says meaningless phrases and does his best to stop the bees flying out of his mouth. Taite is very sweet, toxic masculinity Paddy is annoying, and most of the other bros are quite forgettable.
There are only two points of interest:
- The beautiful but silent Todd is actually capable of forming sentences. Bring me my fainting couch.
- Very surprisingly, the most toxic of all the bros is the hitherto relatively inoffensive Robert.
They teased on the ads that Ali’s pals would find one of the bros to be ‘too intense’, and I thought for sure it was Charlie, because … well, let me gesture broadly at everything that has happened so far. But no, here, it’s Robert.
‘Is there anyone in the house that worries you, or that isn’t a good match for Ali?’ her friends ask.
‘IT IS NOT MY JOB TO TELL YOU WHICH BROS ARE TOXIC,’ Robert proclaims. ‘ALI MUST STEP ON THOSE LANDMINES HERSELF.’
If that wasn’t bad enough, he then sticks his foot in it even further. ‘I HAVE A QUESTION,’ he goes on. ‘HAS ALI LEARNED FROM HER PAST MISTAKES? I NEED A STRONG WOMAN.’
If women could throw men into the bin with simply the power of their minds, Ali’s friends would have teleported Robert under several tonnes of landfill.
Ali is horrified to learn from her pals that Robert is mansplaining trash, and so confronts him about it at the cocktail party. ‘So, um, my mates were not too keen on you,’ she tells him.
‘I MERELY ASKED THEM WHETHER YOU WERE AT A STAGE IN YOUR LIFE AND YOUR EDUCATION WHEREIN YOU COULD START A MATURE RELATIONSHIP WITH ME,’ Robert announces, and launches into, as Ali puts it, ‘a lecture on self-development’.
…clearly Robert ascribes to that old model of questing, where the lovers quest individually, and not the one where they quest together.
Speaking of men who are trash, the Charlie vs Bill wars continue apace. ‘Charlie, can you please stop talking smack about me every time you get the chance?’ Bill asks. ‘Everyone’s sick of your opinions.’
‘They’re not my opinions, they’re the truth!’ Charlie says. ‘You just tell Ali what she wants to hear!’
‘Yeah, because I agree with her!’
‘Then why is it all the stuff she told me she wanted on our first date, where you weren’t?’
‘How would I hear it if I wasn’t there?’
For the record, Bill does seem wayyyyyyyy too smooth … and yet somehow he comes out looking better in this argument. It says a lot about how frighteningly intense and Jarrod-like Charlie is when I end up on the side of the man who I am convinced is a swarm of bees in a human suit.
Rose ceremonies in the Australian franchise aren’t usually hugely dramatic, but this one certainly has its moments. After handing out a few roses, Ali takes Danny (the one who forced that awkward non-consensual kiss on her last week) outside and gives him his marching orders. ‘I just don’t think it’ll work between us,’ she tells him.
‘Understood,’ he replies. Considering how bad Danny is at reading social cues, I was a bit worried he was going to attack her with his face again, but thankfully he kept his lips to himself.
And then Osher did something UNPRECEDENTED. ‘Ali still has a decision to make,’ he tells the bros. ‘I’m removing one rose.’
UM EXCUSE ME OSHER I DID NOT REALISE THE ROSE MATHS COULD BE ALTERED HALFWAY THROUGH THE PROCESS.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.
Ahem. So of course Robert is left until the very end, but Ali does eventually give him a rose. The other casualty of tonight is Pete, whose one defining feature — ie the only thing I remember about him — was being a real estate agent.
After tonight, I think I might be Team Taite, but the ads for next week look like a new contender might be arising. My actual favourite among the contestants is Silent Todd, because he is a) pretty, and b) knows when to shut his mouth. It looks like he gets some serious time next week, and Ali is into it.
Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that him doing risky things like ‘opening his mouth’ and ‘saying things’ won’t ruin him.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.