Dr Jodes no longer cares about anything else on this show, except possibly Vanessa Sunshine.
And we’re back! Bachelor in Paradise looks like it runs for about a million nights a week, so be prepared to hear from me more than you could ever possibly want to.
If you missed last night/couldn’t be bothered to read my recap (and, like, read my recap, come on), the drama is this:
- Brooke told us that the Honey Badger always planned to dump everyone at the end of his season.
- Shannon and actual nightmare Paddy inexplicably went on a date, and it explicably fizzled.
- Ex-Bachelor Richie entered Paradise — DUN DUN DUN.
Richie is obviously teasing some drama over his breakup with his winner Alex Nation. He tells us that the details are ‘gory’ and ‘grubby’ — which, quelle surprise, my dude, you literally rolled around in a bath of chocolate with this woman, you’re probably still finding it under your fingernails.
But Alex (not yet present) is not the only ex Richie has to deal with — it turns out when you have a stint as the Bachie, you rack up a lot of breakups. Rachael was on Richie’s season, and made it to the final four. ‘Oh my goodness, we have unfinished business!’ she declares.
‘You, um, changed your hair,’ he says.
…suffice it to say that as far as Richie’s concerned, the business is finished.
Rachael has other opinions, though. When Cat from Bali asks her whether she’d go there with Richie again, she says ‘yes’ in a heartbeat, and declares that he’s ‘her Bachelor’ (implication being that he’s no one else’s).
I know I said yesterday that I have a soft spot for Rachael, but if she escapes from the clutches of weird kid American Jared and uninterested Canadian Thomas just to fall for her trash ex-boyfriend all over again, I’ll be so irritated.
She’s not the only one interested in Richie, though. Cat from Bali has her eye on him too, and it leads to the most wonderfully passive-aggressive compliment war I’ve ever seen, which takes place over the top of Richie’s head. I’m only paraphrasing slightly:
RACHAEL: OMG, babe, you look so good.
CAT FROM BALI: OMG, thank you.
RACHAEL: No, like, seriously so good.
CAT FROM BALI: That’s nice.
RACHAEL: Like SO good.
CAT FROM BALI: Thanks babe.
In short: they fucking haaaaaaate each other.
But lo! What light from yonder window breaks! It is a queen! Add to our dramatis personae:
Vanessa Sunshine (Nick’s season): She notoriously hated the Honey Badger, who she immediately tells Osher, upon arriving in Paradise, was a ‘shit Bachelor’. She is a national treasure and if she started a cult, I would seriously consider joining.
Osher tries some pseudo-science on her. ‘You get a date card!’ he tells her. ‘But did you know pheromones play a huge role in attraction? Go and smell all these shirts and tell us which one you like the best – you’ll go on a date with them.’
Vanessa Sunshine is horrified by this. I love it, and I love her.
Grudgingly, she picks a shirt. This immediately tells us that any and all scientific studies about pheromones are bullshit, because it’s trash boy Nathan’s.
Vanessa Sunshine clearly doesn’t hold much store by pheromones either. ‘I don’t want a party boy, and I don’t know who you are,’ she tells Nathan tersely, when he comes up to her on the beach. Then she forces him to give her a massage and criticises his shaved chest stubble in a date she describes as ‘shit’ and which she gives 2.5/10. We stan a queen, my friends.
Back on the beach, Richie is chatting with Cat from Bali, describing literally everything under the sun as ‘random’ (I’m fairly sure he’s getting his material from Ja’mie from Summer Heights High at this stage), when we get another entry into Instagram model Schoolies:
Alex (Richie’s season): the winner of Richie’s season — ‘though is winner the word we’d use?’ she asks. This tells you about all you need to know: they were a thing, they broke up, and it was very public and very messy.
Predictably, Richie promptly shits himself.
Alex and Richie studiously avoid each other for long enough for Brooke to form a crush on her (which YES PLEASE I am extremely here for this, break open the heteronormative paradigm of the Bachieverse), but there is no avoiding the confrontation in the end. We all know how this works, and we’ve all seen Unreal, and we know there’s no way the producers wouldn’t force them to have an epic on-camera fight.
‘YOU’VE GOT TO STAY COMPOSED!’ Richie says to himself as they walk away to have their ‘chat’, his eyes nearly falling out of his head with terror.
We see this chat unedited and unexpurgated (allegedly), because someone in the Australian Bachie office saw that gruesome unedited Arie Luyendyk Jr/Becca Kufrin breakup in the US and did their best to engender that here. But even though this scene goes forever, there’s not that much that happens. To paraphrase:
ALEX: So, I stopped calling you.
RICHIE: No, I stopped calling you.
ALEX: Why couldn’t you come and visit me more?
RICHIE: I was working! And I did, kind of!
ALEX: This is frustrating!
RICHIE: Yes it is!
RICHIE: Also I can’t believe you did *that thing* to me!
ALEX: Um, how are you blaming me for *that thing*! You left me alone!
ALEX: …I’m glad we had this chat.
RICHIE: …I want you to be happy, I guess.
In short, it’s a confusing mess that you need a whole intertextual web of New Ideamagazines to understand, could have been edited down to something that made a lot more sense, and ends with a pretty basic ‘yeah, I guess we’re cool now’.
And also, their advertisement of it as the longest unedited scene in reality TV history is clearly a lie. That Arie/Becca breakup went for about nine hundred years. Part of me is still watching it.
It is a testament to the fact that most of the men in Paradise are absolute nightmares that Richie, despite all his history, is in hot demand. Quite apart from the Alex stuff, he’s being chased by Cat from Bali, and by Cass, and by Rachael, who’s still determined that they have unfinished business. ‘So, am I someone that you’ve closed the book on?’ Rachael asks.
I’m not by any means a Richie fan, but I did feel for him as he struggled to find the words to say ‘I’m sorry, Rachael, but it’s not going to happen.’
There’s more compelling developments happening elsewhere, forever. Sound the alarm, because Alex and Brooke, the two bisexual women in Paradise, who have already admitted being interested in each other, have Gone For A Chat™.
Brooke has previously been spending time with American Man Alex, who looks after them nervously. ‘I haven’t been worried about any other man in Paradise,’ he says, ‘but Alex Nation is no man.’
Somewhere, Miranda Otto is pulling her helmet off and stabbing an evil ghost in the face.
‘I need to get this off my chest,’ Brooke tells Australian Lady Alex. ‘You’re pretty cute.’
‘So are you,’ Alex replies.
And with that, I no longer care about anything else on this show, except possibly Vanessa Sunshine.
Something I definitely don’t care about is this new entry into Paradise:
Connor (Becca’s season):eminently forgettable man from the most recent season of the US Bachelorette. I remember his existence, which is more than I can say for American Man Alex, but that’s it.
Connor and Shannon seem pretty into each other, but whatever, I don’t care. What I do care about is Vanessa Sunshine getting back to the beach after her unsuccessful date with Nathan. She tells us that she’s hoping for some better options back there, but she looks around, and… ‘obviously, I’m not thrilled,’ she says to the camera, which is the single most sensible thing I have ever heard someone in the Bachelor franchise say.
Something which is NOT very sensible is Alisha telling us that she is, for some reason, ‘bloody hot for Paddy’. I cannot understand this at all, in any way, because it is very clear that he is an absolute nightmare boy, but before you know it, the two of them are snogging.
Paddy has been involved in both of the snogs of Paradise so far. Do with that horrible piece of information what you will.
If we left them all on this beach, perhaps they’d all be drinking cocktails and snogging Paddy forever, but Bachie, of course, has more structure than this. It’s time for a rose ceremony: and because there are seven men and nine women, the men have the power.
Rachael has determined that she wants Richie’s rose. This doesn’t seem like a great decision on her part, but she does such a masterful job scaring off Nathan, who’s been chasing after her, that I can’t impugn her intelligence. ‘So when do you want marriage and kids?’ she asks him pointedly, and he basically runs screaming into the night.
It’s still too early to talk about proper Paradise romances — Paddy and Alisha are really the only one that’s even semi-established — but there are, to use Bachie parlance, some connections. Connor gives his rose to Shannon; American Man Alex gives his to Brooke; and James gives his to Australian Lady Alex.
And then things start to get interesting. Up next is Richie, and there are three ladies certain they’ll get his rose: Rachael, Cass, and Cat from Bali.
Richie takes so fucking long to give out his rose that Osher has to remind him to do it, but eventually, he gives it to Cass.
Rachael and Cat from Bali are both full full full of horror. ‘It’s absolutely humiliating standing on a pedestal waiting for a guy to pick you,’ Cat from Bali fumes, which she probably should have thought about before she went on The Bachelor, a show predicated on the notion that you will stand on a pedestal and wait for a guy to pick you.
Cat fumes through the next rose (Nathan gives his, surprisingly, to conga line Brittney), but then, she cuts and runs. ‘OMG SHE’S RUN OUT OF PARADISE!’ someone exclaims.
Apparently this is a cliffhanger, but unfortunately those rely on you caring, and the storytelling needs to be a bit better than lacklustre for them to work.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.