We are all of us in the gutter, and none of us are looking at the stars
We’re back again, friends! We are yet to be rid of this turbulent show, and so: onwards we must press. It’s another four episode slog this week, so gird your loins.
(Obvious joke: I doubt the good folk of Paradise are girding their loins. Ahem.)
Before we get down to brass tacks, though, I want to talk a little about one of the big stories in the Bachieverse this week: the news that Jamie Doran is suing Warner Bros and Channel Ten, presumably over his representation in the show.
I don’t have much to say about whether or not Jamie has a case here. Without knowing about the extent to which he has been edited, it’s very difficult to say. I do suspect that he’s chosen to begin legal proceedings at least in part because of the success former House Rules contestant Nicole Prince had when she won in a similar case against Channel 7. Her argument essentially revolved around reputational damage and psychological trauma: she was portrayed as a bully on the show, which hurt her chances of gaining employment afterwards because of how people viewed her, and also caused her distress.
Is Jamie’s case just one in a floodgate of cases that will come now that Nicole Prince has won hers? Hard to say. What I’m interested in, however, is how proceedings like these tease apart the schism that lies at the heart of reality television: that gap between ‘reality’ and ‘television’.
Essentially, the promise of reality television is that what you see before you is a rendition of reality: real people, embroiled in real relationships, interacting with other real people. It transposes narrative (which we’re familiar with from other forms of televisual media – drama, comedy, etc) onto the real world. However, we’re also aware (or we should be!) that what’s presented to us is not necessarily ‘real’ per se, but has been edited and shaped by forces external to the participants. They might be real people, but does that necessarily mean that the version of them that has been presented as real?
I am not a lawyer, so this is purely speculative, but what seems to me to be at the heart of the lawsuit is the notion that Jamie is not as he has been represented. Therefore, to win the lawsuit, he functionally has to prove that ‘Jamie’ the character as presented by the show is different from Jamie the person, and his association with that character has been deleterious to him outside the show – thus teasing apart that gap between reality and representation.
In the introduction to an edited collection called How Real Is Reality TV?, David S Escoffery wrote that,
[T]he complicated relationship between representation and truth… is central to any study of reality television. In the case of a reality show, we are given a representation (a TV program created for entertainment purposes) which purports to present ‘the truth’ (the unscripted, real activities of real people). Understanding how audiences and producers negotiate the tricky middle ground between representation and truth in reality TV gives us insight into many issues important to society – political, economic, and personal (2006, 2).
As Escoffery also notes, this philosophical struggle between representation and truth dates back at least to Plato. Jamie’s case obviously isn’t going to resolve this struggle, but it’s necessarily going to explore this space – and I’m going to be fascinated to see how it’s litigated.
…if Jamie ever files the paperwork, anyway. Apparently he hasn’t done that yet.
Anyway! To the beach!
If you cast your mind back to last episode, we finished off with Cass gazumping Pagliacci Brittney and giving Jackson the pie man her rose. Left with not a lot of choices, Brittney sighed and gave her rose to Scot, who is definitely a person who is there that we know things about. I’m almost positive.
We pick up straight away tonight. Brittney’s in tears because she’s feeling bad about ditching Jamie, but as she says as she sculls a champers and pulls herself together: ‘I’m not doing the friend thing any more.’
Somewhere back in Australia, Toolie Jake punched the air and cheered.
This means that Brittney is still focused on Jackson the pie man, and they have a nice chat. ‘Hey babe, can we talk?’ Cass asks her.
‘No,’ Brittney says, and walks away.
And word on the street is that Brittney and Jackson kissed not one but two times. Get it, Pagliacci.
Cass does deliver a not-pology to Brittney the next day, but it’s pretty clear neither one of them finds the interaction satisfying. Brittney doesn’t think the apology is sincere, and Cass is clearly irritated when she hears about the pie/Pagliacci pash situation.
‘I mean, it’s Brittney,’ she says to the camera. ‘What the fuck? Gross.’
I want to note here that the show frequently takes excerpts from contestants out of context and applies them to different situations, so take this all with a grain of salt, but… if this was in context it’s a pretty fucking awful thing to say about another person.
Oh, and then the next day: Cass gets a date card, and who does she take? Jackson! ‘I love stepping on people’s toes!’ she declares as they walk away.
They go snorkelling (always a great date when you have something in your mouth and can’t speak, another win for the date planning department) before sitting down to drink and chat. The date isn’t really anything but it is notable for Jackson offering Cass a sip from his glass, and her asking, ‘you don’t have cold sores from Brittney, do you?’
So, um, yep. That was said.
Elsewhere, the Ladz are all having a chat about Being Boyz in Paradise (ugh). ‘Yeah, Keira’s pretty full on,’ Alex remarks. ‘If someone else walked into Paradise, I’m not closed off to other options, you know?’
Keely (Matt’s season): Keely left the mansion the first night of Dr Space Bachie’s season. I have zero recollection of who she is, but… enter Instagram, because everyone else knows her.
Predictably, Keely makes a beeline to Alex. ‘I’d like to get to know you better,’ she tells him, and he beams.
‘Who even is she?’ Keira loudly proclaims. ‘Keisha? Kerry? Kevin? Kenneth?’
I know Keira means this in a Mariah Carey sort of way, but the audience definitely has no idea who Keely is, so this turns out being useful for explanation. Also, the fact that everyone there clearly knows who Keely is is very clear testament to the fact that most of the work of this show happens in the DMs.
Alex tries to break up with Keira, but he gets scared halfway through the conversation, and then just… runs away, which is both frustrating and quite relatable. Keira certainly doesn’t get the point re him breaking up with her, because it’s not until later and an agonising conversation where she’s like, ‘you’re so funny!’ and he remains stonily silent that the message gets through.
And, look, it might be the edit, but Keira’s not wrong to be confused. One of the pleasures of the main franchise is that you know where you stand: either the Bach is into you or you don’t have a rose and you’re gone. The ambiguity that exists in Paradise is both much more realistic and much more exasperating.
Then: it’s time for another of the cursed definitely-not-MAFS dinner parties. It’s an open theme this time: anyone can submit an anonymous question about anything they like. ‘I sure hope none of them are about me and my bird! or my ex-bird!’ Ciarran tells the camera.
Fucking lol, dude.
There are several different segments of drama that come out of this, so I’ll try and cover them off in order.
Jackson and Cass? or Brittney? There’s a lot of questions about where Jackson’s romantic intentions lie, especially after he and Cass get back from their date holding hands. ‘Look, this morning I was leaning towards Brittney, but after our date today I’m leaning towards Cass,’ the pie man says, after a few attempts to hedge. ‘If I had to give out a rose tonight, I’d give it to Cass.’
Can someone just give Brittney one! nice! thing?!
Alex and Keira? or Keely? Jackson looks like a master of directness compared to Alex. ‘I, uh, really like Keira,’ Alex says. ‘I wish she would change some things, but, uh, yeah, I like her.’
‘But, uh, yeah, if I had to take someone on a date right now, it’d be Keely,’ he stammers.
Keira storms away from the table.
This is intended by the show to be very dramatic and to show that Keira is overreacting, but honestly, it’s hard to blame her. No wonder Alex is silent most of the time: when he tries to say words he somehow ends up saying even less than he does when he says nothing.
Ciarran and… like, basically everyone, I don’t have time to list this out: This starts off very sweetly. There’s a question for Renee which asks whether her feelings for BMX Matt are real or whether she just wants revenge on Ciarran.
‘They’re very real,’ she says. ‘I like you a lot, Matt.’
‘I like you too,’ he replies. ‘You’ve been through so much shit, but I’m glad we’re here together now.’
‘Hey Kiki, are your feelings for Ciarran real?’ someone asks her. ‘And how would you feel about being with someone who cheated?’
‘I know all about Ciarran’s past, but my feelings for him now are very real,’ Kiki says.
‘OMG,’ Alisha whispers to Renee. ‘Kiki has no idea Ciarran slept with Jess.’
And then… I don’t know exactly how point A leads to point B here, but there’s a whole series of events that eventually lead to security being called.
Let’s try and do a bit of a flowchart.
Kiki is annoyed that Alisha was whispering while she was talking
Alisha apologises but says she wants all the women to be fully informed
Kiki walks away
Alisha laughs nervously
‘WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING?’ demands Ciarran
‘Mate, back off,’ Glenn says
‘grrrrrrr’ says Ciarran
This feeds into a secondary flowchart.
BMX Matt is annoyed at Timm for insinuating that he and Renee are doing something wrong
‘Babe, just leave it,’ says Renee
‘Nope,’ says BMX Matt, and goes off to yell at Timm
Timm yells at BMX Matt for being into his mate’s ex and tells him he has no friends
BMX Matt yells back that he does so have friends
Ciarran and BMX Matt are somehow screaming in each other’s faces and security has to separate them?
I don’t know, guys. Everything was happening so much and so many men were shouting and I couldn’t follow their weird leaps of patriarchal logic on account of my knowing that women are people and all, so my main takeaway was that all through this, Glenn was there trying to de-escalate the situation, and it must feel so bad to be Angie Kent right now looking at the toxic waste plant of a group of bros and knowing you sent Glenn home before all of them.
Then we have one final flowchart.
Kiki calms Ciarran down
They go off to their cabin
‘Is there anything I need to know?’ Kiki asks him.
‘Oh, I fucked Jess,’ Ciarran says.
And: scene. See you back here in the bin again tomorrow, pals, rolling around in the garbage.
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.