If they’re making Osher actually sign their fantasy suite cards… what’s next?
One more step on our four-episode death march, friends! As long as there are drunk singletons doing schoolies and flinging roses at each other on a beach, I’ll be here to write about it.
Before we get into tonight’s antics, I want to nerdle a little about something that came up last night. The drunk singletons of Bach in Paz are not, it seems, created equal. There seems to be a bit of a Bachie hierarchy going on.
We’ve seen this manifest in a few ways. We had the way in which everyone looked at Jake and immediately marginalised him as a toolie because he’s from so many seasons ago (his original Bachelorette season was 2016 and he featured in Paradise in 2018). We had the cleanskins coming in and everyone being extremely confused about their lack of rose-receiving pedigree. And then we had Keira coming in last night (interestingly, like Jake, also from a 2016 original season and the 2018 Paradise cast) and people falling over her because she was Bachie royalty.
In his 2004 book Celebrity, Chris Rojek outlines three different kinds of celebrity (17-18):
- Ascribed celebrity: This is usually inherited rather than earned – think the Royal Family here, or the children of famous actors.
- Achieved celebrity: This is celebrity that has been earned in competition. Sportspeople are the classic example: Roger Federer and Serena Williams, for example, are famous in the first instance because they’re extremely good at tennis.
- Attributed celebrity: This is, in Rojek’s words, ‘largely the result of the concentrated representation of an individual as noteworthy or exceptional by cultural intermediaries’ (18). That is, celebrity has been attributed to them, and so they are famous.
Contestants in the Bachieverse clearly belong to the third category. They’re different kinds of celebrities to ex-Bachies like Sophie Monk and the Honey Badger, who fit broadly into the achieved celebrity category – Sophie because of her music career and the Badge because of his rugby. Before they were in the franchise, the contestants weren’t famous, and now they’re famous because they’re in the franchise.
This explains why everyone seemed to be a bit confused about the entry of the cleanskins, who didn’t have any celebrity status before entering Paradise (and honestly still might not – I don’t think I could point them out in a lineup). There was an assumption that everyone was on the same level playing field of attributed celebrity, which the entry of the cleanskins violated. However, this doesn’t necessarily describe the other levels of Bachie celebrity hierarchy we’ve seen displayed.
Rojek goes on to describe what he calls a ‘celetoid’: a term for ‘any form of compressed, concentrated, attributed celebrity’ (20). They operate in much the same way as attributed celebrities, but while the latter tend to be famous for a long period, celetoids are famous only for a little while: they ‘command media attention one day, and are forgotten the next’ (21).
Reality TV contestants are, for the most part, celetoids. We become very invested in them for five minutes, and then we basically forget about them. We might remember them again when they pop up in somewhere like Paradise, but we’re all very aware that these aren’t really going to be celebrities for the long haul. We can see that happening quite clearly in Paradise at the moment within the cast. If you were in a 2018 or 2019 season of the main franchise? Everyone’s like, ‘oh yep, I know you.’ But when Jake walked in – a 2016 alum – everyone was like ‘…who?’ The window on his celebrity is closing: while he might maintain a degree of instagram notoriety, he is clearly a celetoid. He’s aged out of the franchise – he’s a toolie now.
This brings us to Keira, who has basically the same trajectory as Jake: 2016 season, big 2018 Paradise romance. However, she hasn’t been positioned as a toolie, and it’s very clear everyone knows who she is. This is, I contend, because she’s established herself as such a strong archetype – a villainous one, which we clearly saw her leaning into last night with Alisha – that she’s managed to transcend the typical reality TV fate of celetoidhood. She’s an active character, always driving the plot. She is, in effect, achieving things – and I think by borrowing from that other category of celebrity, she’s managed to establish some longevity for herself beyond the usual lifespan of the celetoid.
…actually, it’s also worth noting that she’s positioned as ‘Queen Keira’, which is drawing on some characteristics of ascribed celebrity. Perhaps she’s going for celebrity bingo.
Anyway! Enough about this. To the recap!
We ended last night with the entry of another resident of Paradise. Kiki is nominally from Richie’s season, but realistically is here because she’s another one of the people Ciarran has dated – possibly as recently as three days before filming for Paradise started.
Kiki enters with a date card. She does her best to pretend that she’s never met Ciarran before and has a chat to all the lads, but even if we’re in the dark on what’s happened in the DMs, no one on Paradise Island is. Before long, the pretence is dropped, and Kiki has whisked Ciarran away on a date.
Ciarran’s current Paradise girlfriend Jess looks wistfully after them. ‘I think Ciarran really does have feelings for me…?’ she says, but as hard as she tries to sound assertive, there’s definitely a question mark there.
And with good reason: ‘if this date goes well, Jess knows I’ll be kicking things off with Kiki,’ Ciarran says breezily.
Honestly. Ciarran has come across as a real villain in this season, but I have to be impressed by his time management skills. How does he manage to juggle and schedule all these flings he’s been having? He must have a hell of a bujo.
Ciarran and Kiki take a dinghy (a really little one – the Bachie boat budget is clearly not what it once was) across to an island. ‘You’ve been shipwrecked!’ Ciarran reads from a note. ‘If you choose, you can spend your night here in this shelter. Osher xoxo.’
- Once again, we have format-borrowing, although I confess I didn’t think Survivor would be the franchise they’d borrow from.
- THEY’RE MAKING OSHER SIGN FANTASY SUITE NOTES LIKE CHRIS HARRISON.
To elaborate somewhat: every year, the franchise has got a little less coy about the fact that Bachelor in Paradise fucks. In the US, the fuck dates are typically referred to as ‘fantasy suites’, where the couple are given the option to stay separately ‘or as a couple in the fantasy suite’ in notes signed by host Chris Harrison. We saw a few of these notes last year, but I’m fairly sure they’ve never made Osher sign them before.
It seems like a little thing, but slippery slope, pals. Slippery slope.
All of this is more interesting than what happens on the date, which is that they have ‘banter’ (Ciarran’s words, not mine), and then they cover themselves in blankets in the Survivor shack and the camera pans pointedly to the campfire.
Back at the beach, we have some different drama in one of Paradise’s more established couples: Timm and Britt. We know that something’s up because Timm does something thoughtful and considerate – he takes Britt away on a private date. ‘Um… I’ve got something to tell you, hey,’ he says. ‘I’ve got to leave Paradise.’
‘What?’ Britt says sharply, visions of the Honey Badger swirling through her mind.
‘Yeah, I’m the best man in my mate’s wedding,’ Timm says blithely, apparently not at all realising what a Bachie trigger this must have been for Britt. ‘I’ll be back, though. But I’ll miss a rose ceremony, so Britt, will you accept this rose?’
She does, they pash, the sun sets, romance romance, etc. I’m mostly just interested how far up the Bachie pyramid of celebrity hierarchy you have to ascend before you’re allowed a furlough.
Elsewhere, Keira has realised she very effectively scared off Conor Cleanskin by laying into Alisha at the dinner last night, so she’s set her sights on a new target: Alex, and she is being verrrrrry clear about her pursuit of him.
Hold this fact in your mind while I tell you the story of Jess. She pretty much knows that it’s over with Ciarran even before he gets back from his overnight date with Kiki. When he actually does get back, she has to pretty much force him to talk to her, and he dumps her very… what is the polite way to say this?
Efficiently. Let’s go with efficiently. It’s quick, and it makes her compare him to a serial killer. Efficiently.
There is a silver lining here, which is that Renee and Jess, who had apparently been ex-friends, become re-friends by bonding over how they’ve both been fucked over by Ciarran. ‘If he talks to the boys before he talks to you when he gets back, that’ll speak volumes,’ Renee says. Sure enough, Ciarran talks to the boys, and she’s vindicated. I would like to register my official membership in Team Renee, who seems like a very good egg.
There is also another silver lining. Osher has presented date cards to Conor Cleanskin and Jess, to take partners of their choosing on a double date. Conor chooses a delighted Mary, and Jess, now officially Ciarran-free, invites Alex, who swiftly accepts.
Remember that fact I asked you to hold in your mind? Keira is pisssssssssssssed.
Jess and Alex’s date seems to go relatively well, but it ends with him being like, ‘to be honest, it’s fifty/fifty between you and Keira: we’ll see who gets my rose,’ which… ouch. Imagine hearing something like that. IMAGINE.
Of more interest, surprisingly, given that one half of the pair has no discernible personality, is the Conor/Mary date. ‘I have something I should tell you, because I’m really interested in you,’ Mary tells Conor. ‘I’m looking for something serious, so I want you to know that I have a kid. How do you feel about that?’
‘I feel fine about that,’ Conor says. ‘NBD, TBH.’
I guess Mary will have to have personality enough for both of them. I feel like she could manage that.
The prelude to the rose ceremony contains the usual rose scramble. The most notable part of it is Keira and Jess making their respective cases for Alex’s rose, although there is a very strange B-plot where Jamie pulls Helena aside (who has previously made it clear she’s not interested in him at all) and monologues at her at length.
But really the thing I noticed most about this is what they’re drinking. WHY! ARE! THEY! ALL! DRINKING! RED! WINE! IN! THE! TROPICS?!
I will not rest until this question is answered. I mean it.
At the rose ceremony, all the couples you’d expect are re-solidified. Conor Cleanskin gives his rose to Mary, Glenn gives to Alisha, Ciarran gives his to Kiki. Some couples which seem a bit more in the friendship rose territory, but are nonetheless couples by virtue of mutual rose exchange, are also re-stated: Niranga and Cass, that other cleanskin whose name I can’t remember and I feel like he has a nickname but I can’t remember that either and Renee, and Jamie and Brittney, despite Jamie casting some longing looks at Helena.
That leaves just one contested rose: Alex’s. They really ramp up the tension – seriously, I know it was probably mostly editing, but he pauses for, like, two entire minutes – before he announces he’s giving his rose to Keira.
This leaves Jess to storm out of Paradise. ‘I’m so angry,’ she says. ‘Kiki better watch out – Ciarran’ll only stay with her until something better comes along.’
The drama in this saga overshadows another quite surprising exit: farewell Helena, island therapist. You were too calm and well-adjusted – and thus Paradise just did not ultimately seem to be for you. I’m glad you no longer have to listen to Jamie’s manologues.
Sneaky end-of-recap reminder: not only do I write about rose ceremonies, but I’ve written a book with a rose on the cover! If you like my writing (which, if you made it to the end of this monstrously long recap, I assume you do), don’t forget to check out my YA Valentine series, and you can always check in on me at my website: jodimcalister.com.au
The show airs on Channel 10. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.