Romance 101: You can’t have a happy ending when one of the protagonists is actively a monster.
I’m here, I’m still jetlagged out of my mind, and I have a huge amount of opinions about how basically every man in Paradise is a waking nightmare. Let’s see what’s happening on Instagram Models Schoolies Island tonight.
Brief recap: all the nightmare men have decided they are in love with Tenille, and it is very uncomfortable. Also, Bill is a gaslighting trashfire, but we knew that already.
One of the men in love with Tenille is Ivan, who is basically stalking her. ‘Um… I have to go to the toilet,’ Tenille says, running in the other direction when he approaches her.
‘OUR CONNECTION IS SO ROMANTIC,’ Ivan proclaims proudly to the camera.
Jules is also keen on Tenille, despite the fact that he and Alisha are arguably the most established couple in Paradise. ‘There’s this intense electric connection between Tenille and I!’ Jules declares. ‘We both feel it!’
‘…yeah, I think Jules and I should just be friends,’ Tenille tells some of her ladyfriends.
But who would think about asking Tenille what Tenille wants? Jules goes straight to Ivan. ‘So…I want to explore things with Tenille,’ he tells him.
‘I WILL KILL YOU,’ Ivan says.
(Not literally, obviously, but…not far off. Also, Ivan then goes off to dance out his feelings, which would be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen if the mood wasn’t soured by all the toxic masculinity.)
Still not having talked to Tenille, Jules goes to Alisha. ‘In terms of emotionally pursuing you, I’ve decided to…um…not,’ he tells her.
NB: This is one of the less terrible men in Paradise. That’s how much of a nightmare island this is.
‘It’s fine,’ Alisha tells Jules.
Folks: it was not fine.
Then — a new contestant! Meet:
Wes (Ali’s season): he got eliminated almost immediately, but he did have a very luscious head of hair. Also, he was gone so soon it was hard to tell whether he was a monster, so, fingers crossed.
Alisha pounces on Wes almost immediately, which is a clear power move. ‘It’s fine,’ Jules declares, looking after her pensively.
Folks: it was not fine.
And also, when it rains, it pours. We have another new entrant.
Mack (Sophie’s season): best known for embarrassingly singing at Sophie in his stint on The Bachelorette, he also trailed after Ali for a long time in Paradise last year, despite her patent lack of interest. Unfortunately for him, his brand is desperation.
We also have a date card. The recipient is Nathan, another member of the We Heart Tenille Club. He psyches himself up to ask her on the date, but…
‘BE AFRAID TO ASK, MATE,’ Ivan bellows.
So Nathan asks…Shannon? Out of nowhere? Like, not even Zoe, who he’s been hanging out with pretty solidly for a few days? Shannon’s response to the request is ‘yep, whatever’, and she goes and snogs Connor right before she leaves, so this is just a super weird choice.
The date involves them sitting in silence and staring in opposite directions. Oh dear.
Jules is a little — look, I don’t want to say braver, but braver than Nathan — and takes Tenille aside to feed her champagne and chocolates (because she’s a flight attendant, and flight attendants ‘love sweet things’? lol OK). Tenille is pretty pleased, because she thinks he’s being a friend and getting her out of the Ivan splash-zone, but then Jules is like, ‘Are you feeling it with me?’
‘…shit,’ is Tenille’s response.
This poor woman. If I were her, wading through this sea of nightmare men, I would have run screaming for the hills by now.
She lets Jules down easy, and he (to his credit, #lowbar) takes it well, and doesn’t try to convince her to love him or anything.
Not that Ivan cares. His masculinity continues toxic. ‘Tenille’s my girlfriend!’ he yells. ‘She’s my territory to be marked! Jules is touching my stuff!’
I feel like I don’t need to say this, but this is EXTREMELY not okay.
Oh, and when Jules and Tenille return from their not-a-date, Ivan immediately sits her down in full sight of everyone and gives her a lap dance. Like, he literally rubs his dick all over her.
…I’m sure you can imagine my facial expression.
The pre-rose ceremony cocktail party begins with Florence loudly demanding ‘what the fuck is wrong with you?!’ of the men as a whole, which is the most sensible question anyone has asked in this whole show, ever. Then she laughs in Mack’s face when he tries to mack onto her, which just made me love her even more.
Pitch for a better show than this one: Florence and Vanessa Sunshine travel around, solving mysteries and being rude to men. I would tune in every. single. week.
The main narrative thread of this cocktail party is Alisha being very, very clear that she is not giving her rose to Jules, and Jules being sad about the fact that a) he’s definitely going home, and b) that he’s lost Alisha. ‘I really did like her,’ he says pensively. ‘I guess…it’s winning-her-back time!’
I’m torn, because Jules absolutely does deserve to go home. However, while he’s been an absolute shit, unlike Bill and Ivan, he doesn’t seem to be an out-and-out monster.
And look, Bachie franchise, if you’re listening, there’s a lesson here. You’re producing a show predicated on romance. You know when romance doesn’t work? When all the romantic partner options are terrible. There’s a reason that the romance that’s garnered the most audience investment this season is Brooke and Australian lady Alex, and a reason that American man Alex is by far the audience fan favourite among the dudes. YOU CAN’T HAVE A HAPPY ENDING WHEN ONE OF THE PROTAGONISTS IS ACTIVELY A MONSTER.
That’s what you have in Ivan — someone that’s threatened violence and gone around punching walls on multiple occasions. That’s what you have in Bill — a pathological, gaslighting liar. That’s what you have in a bunch of the men here. Your audience shouldn’t have to be going, ‘hmmmm, well, he’s trash, but at least I’m fairly sure he’s not going to hurt any of the women, so he probably deserves to stay’. Do you know what the rates of domestic violence are in this country? (Spoilers: THEY ARE HIGH.) These monsters might give you some conflict, but you are being unbelievably socially irresponsible by inscribing them in a romantic narrative and letting their nonsense continue unchecked.
Also, to be extremely cold about this: it is in the franchise’s best interests to get people invested in the couples, right? Monsters might give you some conflict in the short-term, which can help you build a narrative, but they’re of no use to you in crafting long-term romantic narratives for audiences to be invested in, because no one wants to see them get a happily ever after. Even if you don’t take social responsibility and the health and wellbeing of your other contestants into account (and you should take this into account!), casting monsters is an incredibly silly thing to do from a narrative standpoint, because they can’t deliver you a satisfying ending, and it’s not going to make you money.
TL;DR: STOP CASTING MONSTERS. NO ONE LIKES IT.
Anyway, back to Jules. ‘I just wanted to tell you that Paradise has been the best experience of my life,’ he tells Alisha. ‘And you’ve been a huge part of that.’
‘I really enjoyed what we had,’ Alisha says, tearing up. ‘I know it hasn’t worked out, but I enjoyed the intensity of emotion. But I have to have some self-respect, Jules. I can’t give you my rose.’
Put a pin in that point about ‘intensity of emotion’. I have some unformed thoughts about the appeal of attraction and limerence — as opposed to love — that I need to work out. I’ll return to that sometime when I’ve figured out how to frame them.
Then: it’s rose ceremony time. Osher is wearing a very nice blue suit, and if I were one of the ladies, I’d give a rose to it. I’m more attracted to that suit than I am to any of the nightmare men in Paradise.
But before the ceremony can start, Jules interrupts, and asks for a moment alone with Alisha. ‘I know you have every right to get rid of me, but I still want you,’ he tells her. ‘Sure, there’s a lot of good dudes in there, but you already know the answer to most of them. You don’t know the answer to me.’
I’m torn, and I’m mad about it. Part of me — a big part — wants Alisha to stick to her guns and toss Jules out on his ear. The other part is like ‘um, Jules isn’t even CLOSE to being the worst dude here — there are plenty of others that deserve to leave more’.
What a romantic show this is.
They return to the rose ceremony with Jules resigned and Alisha confused. ‘I really like this guy,’ she tells the camera. ‘But my head is screaming at me: DON’T GIVE HIM THE ROSE.’
I said it last night, and I’ll say it again: don’t give any of the men roses. The ladies should give them to each other, throw out all the men, and spend the rest of Paradise drinking margaritas on the beach.
The roses go as follows:
- Australian lady Alex gives her rose to Bill (remember when she had that plan to SURPRISE! give her rose to someone else? I guess that fell through)
- Caroline gives her rose to American man Alex (they could have fallen in love on American Paradise, but nope! They had to come all the way to Australia)
- Tenille gives her rose to Ivan (GIRL, RUN)
- Cass gives her rose to Richie (yawn)
- Shannon gives her rose to Connor (double yawn)
- Florence gives her rose to Mack (…why?)
- Zoe gives her rose to Nathan (girl, he is not that into you).
Then it’s Alisha’s turn. She looks at Jules. She looks at Wes (has he said a word while he’s here? I legit don’t know).
‘Alisha, please pick up the rose,’ Osher urges her.
‘Jules,’ she says, clearly hating herself while she says it.
And so, on Nightmare Man Island, we farewell Wes, one of the few men who hasn’t been there long enough to reveal whether or not he’s an actual monster.
Of course we fucking do. Sigh.
Speaking of monsters: judging by the preview, they’re sending Damn Daniel, the Canadian fuckboy king, back in tomorrow. I can only assume they’re trying to corral as many terrible men as possible on one island so they can then maroon them there.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.