How is it that a guy who took Ali to his ex-girlfriend’s for the hometown dinner is not even close to being the worst of the four bros on offer?
We’re so close to the end, you guys! There are only four bros left in Ali’s House of Toxic Masculinity. But tonight, we’re not in her house — she’s visiting all of their houses.
I’ve written about nine hundred times about the significance of the ubiquitous hometown date, so let’s not go over the same ground again. Long story short: romantic love and concepts of family got really entangled in the Western imagination with the rise of notions of companionate love in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and now we basically think that if you fall in love with someone and form a committed relationship with them, that’s tantamount to joining their family. Therefore, if you hate their family, then you’re in a bit of trouble. Cool? Cool.
Let us not tarry, and get right into it.
Colour me surprised that perfect angel Todd’s hometown is not heaven itself — it’s Perth.
…although if I were a perfect angel, maybe I’d pretend to be from Perth, too. It’s so remote that there seems like less chance of someone realising that you are, in fact, a perfect angel sent from heaven to bless us all.
‘I’m a little bit worried about Todd,’ Ali confesses to the camera. ‘He’s the youngest of my boys, so what if our lives are on two different timelines?’
But then she sees him, and he shyly confesses to her that he’s brought her to his favourite babbling brook that he’s never brought any other girl to before, and she pashes him with so much tongue I’m amazed they didn’t have to bump the rating up, so I guess this concern = not so big.
They go for a hike, and Todd shows her a waterfall (which I’m honestly surprised he doesn’t live behind in a glittering cave). ‘Um, by the way, I have some sisters, and they’re protective,’ he tells her. ‘Their opinions are kind of a dealbreaker for me … so…’
This is exactly the reaction I want my brothers to have if/when I bully one of them into going on Bachie, so 10/10, Todd.
And oh no! One of Todd’s sisters is not keen on Ali! ‘I think they’re not a good match,’ she tells the camera. ‘I think Ali’s too old for him, and Todd definitely needs to know someone for a bit longer before he settles down with someone.’
She expresses these concerns to Todd. ‘Our timelines are a bit off, you’re right,’ he agrees. ‘Ali has a one-year plan, and I have a three-year plan. I want to join the police force and get career stability before I start having kids.’
‘Well … that’s a problem then, isn’t it?’ his sister points out.
Our perfect angel (who wants to be a cop? I would not have called that) has no response to that.
The sisters pull Ali aside after dinner to offer her stern warnings about how they will COME AT HER if she dares harm their baby bro in any way. ‘Todd is a serene, quiet boy,’ they tell her. ‘Will you get distracted by other men?’
‘No!’ Ali protests (which, fair enough — how could you get distracted when you had that face to come home to?).
‘Your timelines don’t match up — what are you going to do about it?’
‘I’ll work it out,’ Ali says resolutely. ‘I’m serious about Todd. He always asks me how I am. None of the other bros do, but Todd does.’
…it’s pretty sad that that’s the Bachie standard for ‘perfect angel’, hey.
This mollifies the sisters, and they give Ali the stamp of approval. ‘If you choose Todd, you’ll become one of us,’ they tell her. They don’t mention that she’ll be issued with a halo, a harp, and a pair of wings, but eh … that’s for afterwards, I suppose.
The goodbye between Ali and Todd really is very touching (as well as being intensely pashtacular). ‘You make me so happy,’ Todd says. ‘You’re everything I could ever wish for, Ali.’
‘Todd doesn’t match my three-year plan,’ Ali says to the camera. ‘But … he might be worth it.’
Compared to the other bros, Ali? Um, yeah, I’d say he’s worth it.
Taite is from Ballarat. This is curiously rural for a Bachie contestant, who generally either tend to live in the capital cities or on the Gold Coast.
They open at a pond, where Taite whips out a loaf of bread and suggests they feed the ducks. This would be cute if Todd hadn’t already pulled that babbling brook/waterfall trick — now it just seems pedestrian by comparison, and the pashing is a mere PG as a result.
Ali is still a bit shaken from Taite telling her that ‘hmmm, maybe getting engaged in the next five minutes WOULD be a bit quick’ last night, but he takes her to a restaurant and plies her with wine and pizza and successfully distracts her with news that she has to face another sister. His sister is a lawyer, and Ali blanches. ‘Is she going to interrogate me?’
‘Honestly? Maybe,’ Taite says blithely, reinforcing to me that one of my all-time life goals is to be a hugely difficult Bachie-grilling sibling, as soon as I can work out which of my three brothers I can most easily convince to become a reality TV star.
But the initial grilling comes not from Taite’s sister, but his best friend Phil, who looks like someone who had heard a description of Todd and then not slept until they had made themselves look as much like it as possible, but with twelve times as many biceps. ‘Are you doing this for fame?’ he asks Ali.
‘Do you like Taite?’
‘Of course, yes!’
‘Do you have connections with the other guys?’
Ali mumbles something incoherent under her breath.
Taite’s sister starts in next. ‘This is a sterile, artificial situation,’ she says. ‘But you’ve managed to fall in love on TV like 47 times. What’s up with that?’
‘I, uh, love the idea of love?’ Ali replies.
‘Reality TV is fine, but it’s not my schtick,’ the sister proclaims. ‘It’s not my journey.’
I hope you know, lawyer sister, that you just gave away how much reality TV you watch with one word there. That ‘journey’ was too well-placed to be anything but deliberate.
Despite some pretty intense passive aggression, the sister claims to be won over. I’m fairly sure she’s lying, but Ali and Taite buy it, and do some pretty intense making out on the doorstep. ‘Are you feeling this?’ Ali asks him.
‘I just hope this connection is real,’ he whispers back.
Ali tries to parse this. ‘If I read between the lines, I think he’s saying that he’s into me,’ she tells the camera.
Protip: if you have to code-crack things people say to you to convince yourself that they like you, then it’s probably not going to end that well.
Bill lives in Melbourne, same as me, which means I should probably start looking out for giant human-sized swarms of bees about the place.
‘Guess what, Ali?’ he tells her. ‘I’m going to introduce you to my best friend — my dog!’
I’m torn between finding this cute, and being very unsurprised that no human people want to make friends with a giant human-sized swarm of bees.
They go to the dog park and throw a ball around for Bill’s dog (who, granted, is cute). ‘Yeah, I love this dog park!’ Bill says to her. ‘I met some of my best friends here!’
It is unclear at this stage whether these friends are human or canine.
It is also unclear whether Bill has any human family. ‘So, uh, my parents are overseas, and my brother and my sister are too busy with work to meet you,’ he tells her. ‘So you’re going to meet my best mate, my housemate, and some chick Amy that I met at the dog park. We’re going to her dad’s house. She’s cooking.’
…I know I’ve been joking about Bill being a giant swarm of bees in a human suit for a lot of recaps now, but I think I might actually have been right. Isn’t that exactly the kind of shit you’d expect a giant swarm of bees in a human suit to say?
Bill also seems to have no conception that this is in any way an unusual Bachie hometown situation — which only makes the swarm of bees/human suit theory seem more likely.
And … oooof. This edit is … not kind.
‘Hey, Ali’s the only girl Bill’s seen for six weeks,’ Amy says to Bill’s mates, before Ali and Bill come in. ‘What if he starts hitting on me, hey? Wouldn’t that be so funny?’
You can guess where this is going, right?
‘So Bill, Ali, have you talked about your past relationships?’ Amy says. ‘I mean, Ali’s have been on TV, but what about yours, Bill?’
‘Not so much,’ Bill says, still smiling that rictus smile that appears to be permanently fixed to his face.
‘Would you move to Melbourne to be with him, Ali?’
‘Well, he said he’d move to Adelaide to be with me, so…’
Amy’s eyes just about fall out of her head.
‘You’ve done like eighty-seven other reality TV shows,’ she says. ‘I’d find it hard to welcome someone into our group of friends who is … distrustful.’
‘…so you two have dated, huh?’ Ali says.
‘Yes,’ Amy says.
‘WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!’ Ali tells the camera. ‘On what planet did Bill think it would be a good idea to introduce me to the woman he used to date instead of his family?’
That’s what you get when you get in deep with a swarm of bees in a human suit, I guess.
‘There are two Charlies,’ Ali says. ‘There’s fun Charlie, and there’s intense Charlie. I really hope I get fun Charlie today.’
OMG. GIRL. THAT JEKYLL/HYDE SHIT IS FIFTY THOUSAND RED FLAGS. RUN AWAY.
Also, she meets him on the edge of a cliff in Coogee, which is very picturesque but honestly just seems so dangerous. What if intense Charlie shows up?
He takes her paddleboarding, because just what every woman wants before she meets her boyf’s family is to get her hair full of saltwater. It all seems like fun and games, but…
…there are no two Charlies. There is only one, and he is intense, and he is garbage.
He lures her into a cliff-edge picnic before he unleashes his nonsense on her. ‘So, we were going to go and see my family,’ he tells her, ‘but I’ve decided that we’re not going to do that.’
‘Um, what?’ Ali says.
‘It didn’t feel right,’ Charlie says. ‘You’re dating a bunch of other dudes. I can’t fall in love with you until we’re exclusive, and I’m not introducing you to my family until then.’
‘…you know this isn’t a normal situation, right?’ Ali says. ‘And you knew that going in? Like, you knew how this whole thing works?’
‘I’m not saying I’m eliminating myself,’ Charlie says. ‘But I’m not saying “I love you” until it’s just the two of us. I know how you work. You get caught up in things, and you don’t think, and –’
‘Bro, I know how I feel,’ Ali says. ‘You don’t need to explain it to me.’
‘I’m yours if you want me,’ Charlie says. ‘Go and do what you do best and think about it.’
The eye roll Ali gives the camera is truly spectacular. ‘“Go and think about it?”’ she explodes. ‘Thanks for allowing me, the Bachelorette, to do that. Who does he think he is?’
How is it that a literal swarm of bees pretending to be human who took Ali to his ex-girlfriend’s for the hometown dinner is not even close to being the worst of the four bros on offer?
We’re at the stage of the cocktail party when the bros aren’t allowed to socialise with each other, so they all sit alone in various parts of the mansion and drink morosely.
This includes Ali, who says she doesn’t know who to send home, because she’s torn between two guys.
Cough Ali cough you can send as many people home as you want cough think big cough.
‘I just have so many questions,’ Ali says. ‘Particularly about that ridiculous stunt Charlie pulled.’
She decides to rip the band-aid off and just go and talk to him again. ‘Okay, explain it to me again,’ Ali says. ‘What’s your problem?’
‘There’s no problem, except that we’re not exclusive,’ Charlie says. ‘You’re being unfaithful.’
‘Unfaithful? This is The Bachelorette! You knew how this would work going in!’
‘I don’t have control! You do!’
‘…and you can’t handle that, can you?’ Ali says, realisation dawning on her face.
‘Stop thinking. You’re thinking too much.’
‘Why are you telling me what I’m thinking?’
‘Go away and think about this properly.’
‘Oh my god, Charlie, this is such a cop-out. Are you going to fight for me at all?’
‘I’m not going to beg,’ Charlie says primly.
‘Okay,’ Ali says. ‘Leave. Get out. Bye.’
I’m not going to lie. It’s awesome. I’ve never liked Ali more than in this moment.
And I’m not sure I’ve ever been more scared of a Bachie contestant than of Charlie. We’ve had some real shitheads on this show before — including men accused and convicted of violence — but to see the way that Charlie tried to bend and break Ali to his will on national television was incredibly chilling.
I hope — dearly — that Channel 10 don’t send him to Paradise. This is not the kind of man that anyone should be holding up as a romantic hero.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.