We’re back for another round of the Bach! We’re deep enough into the show now that they’ve decided they need a shake-up: it’s intruder time!
…or maybe they decided the show was so dull they needed to do something to keep us interested until the inevitable end, where Brooke or Brittany or whoever rides off into the sunset with the Honey Badger. Let’s be real: Nick’s haircut and his use and abuse of the English language has reeeeeeally not been enough to carry this season so far.
First up — not a single date, for once! It’s a group date, and it’s a group date with a twist: three intruders will also be attending. This is much to the chagrin of the original ladies, who immediately decide that the three intruders have NO CHANCE, NO CHANCE AT ALL, DO YOU HEAR? while conveniently forgetting that the last winner of an Australian Bach show was an intruder.
(Not that Sophie had many princes to choose from. A moment of silence for the trash casting on her season.)
But let’s meet our new intruders and add them to our dramatis personae:
Deanna: an ex-athlete. Nick is immediately enthused, saying he feels like she could ‘get amongst it’.
Jamie-Lee: she might have a personality, but what she definitely does have is a jumpsuit. The other ladies immediately — and glumly — decide that it is ‘banging’.
Brittney: oh dear, Brittney. Brittney is the kind of person who says things like, ‘oh, I was just in Japan! Konnichi wa!’ It’s … a lot.
Let us also note that Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins might be the first sitting Bachelor to ever meet contestants for the first time while wearing cargo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, which is, I feel I do not need to assure you, not the most classically romantic sartorial choice possible.
The intruders get thrown into the deep end immediately, wherein ‘the deep end’ is some weird hybrid netball/nonsense game (like, it’s four-a-side netball on workout balls with rabbit ears attached to them), because GUYS GUYS DID YOU KNOW THE HONEY BADGER WAS A PROFESSIONAL SPORTER ONE MORE TIME IN CASE YOU FORGOT HE DOES SPORTS. Nick describes the sport as ‘moon-banging quidditch’ which I’m positive is a phrase never yet before uttered in the history of time.
It starts off as relatively innocent — well, ‘innocent,’ because Osher’s quietly losing his shit over how suggestive the rabbit ears on the workout balls look — but soon the ladies abandon the workout balls and just start, like, full-on tackling each other. Nick, that master of words, uses the following phrase to describe what’s happening: ‘chitty chitty bang bang, there goes your ribs, and that’ll wake you up in the morning, hoo roo’.
Yes, that is verbatim. No, I have no idea what it means. I can shed no light. Sorry fam.
Obviously, because moon-banging quidditch is a contact sport, someone — Jamie-Lee the intruder — gets injured. Nick ends up having to carry her away and the rest of the ladies are not pleased. ‘I wish I’d thought to twist my ankle so he could sweep me off my feet,’ one grumbles.
Afterwards, they have a little cocktail party where the ladies who were not on the group date get to meet the intruders (and promptly declare them ‘lame’, which seems pointed, considering what just happened to Jamie-Lee). The most notable thing to happen is that the new Brittney makes Nick dance with her — what she calls ‘drop it like it’s hot’ dancing — and it’s honestly the most upsetting thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I did not need to see the Honey Badger shake his arse like that. No thank you.
Next up: it’s a single date! The recipient is Tenille. Now, last week I made a big claim and said that I thought I knew all the names of the ladies. But I was wrong, because I have never seen Tenille before in my whole damn life.
But apparently she’s been here this entire time, and Nick knows who she is. ‘You know when you’re at a party, and someone’s passing a packet of Tim-Tams around, and the packaging is only half-off so you don’t know how many are left?’ he says. ‘And then the packet gets round to you, and you don’t know if any are still in there, so you take the packaging off and there’s one left, and you’re the last one, and you’re like: yes? That’s nothing to do with what it was like when I saw Tenille, but she looked nice.’
What I got out of that was that Nick knows more about Tim-Tams than he knows about Tenille, but he knows her name and that she is a person who exists in the universe, which is more than I did.
They go on a date to an orchard where they pull some honey out of beehives, because we all know that there’s nothing in the world sexier or more romantic than bee-keeping outfits. Hawt.
When they’re done, Nick offers Tenille some of the honeycomb, but he doesn’t tell her you’re supposed to suck it, and she just bites a whole hunk of it off. This means that she ends up with a giant slab of wax in her mouth, which she valiantly tries to swallow, but does not succeed.
Ah, The Bachelor, that notoriously romantic show, where people make some of the most difficult decisions of their life. Who am I going to spend the rest of my life with? Can I bring myself to swallow this inedible hunk of wax? Will I embarrass myself in front of the Bachelor if I spit it out? Will I die if I don’t?
#romance, you guys.
Despite the fact that Tenille says she doesn’t kiss on the first date, she and Nick have a bit of a snog on their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation after he gives her a rose. I wonder if she’d have kissed him if she’d heard that shit he said about the Tim-Tams?
Then, at the cocktail party, Tenille makes a fatal error. Previously, she’d told the ladies that she was not into kissing on the first date. Kissing Nick on the first date was not the error, but telling the other ladies was, because once the Mean Girls™ get a hold of this information, they donot let go.
‘So babe, you were telling us all about how wrong and gross and disgusting it was when people kiss on the first date, but now you’re telling us you and Nick had the dirtiest pash ever?’ Romy says, with the sweetest possible expression on her face.
‘Not that, but –‘ Tenille replies.
‘Babe, you are so aggressive in the way you’re talking to me,’ Romy declares.
(I don’t like to talk shit about other women, but … damn, Romy.)
Tenille has had it, and so she rips her mike off, flings it at a producer, and flees into the night, more producers and camera in hot pursuit.
Let’s talk about this image of the woman running away for a second. Broadly speaking, we have two images of the woman running away in Western cultural consciousness: the woman running away from danger, and the runaway bride. What we have here is, I think, a combination of both.
One of the spaces in which we see the woman running away from danger most commonly is the Gothic. One of my favourite Twitter accounts, @PulpLibrarian, regularly features what they call ‘women with great hair fleeing Gothic houses’ covers of pulp Gothics from the mid-twentieth century. (These covers are amazing — they’re not lying about the great hair — and you should all look at them.) Gothic houses in these novels are regularly threatening places where the woman is trapped, often with a menacing man: Joanna Russ’s famous 1973 article on the modern Gothic is called ‘Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me and I Think It’s My Husband’ for just this reason.
In this flight from Bach mansion, we see something of a repurposing of this trope — Tenille is a Gothic heroine, fleeing a space where she is trapped with a man. However, it isn’t Nick who’s the monster in the house, the one who’s trying to kill her: it’s Romy. The Gothic trope has been repurposed with a feminine monster — the man isn’t really that involved in the narrative at all, except, I suppose, as catalyst.
Then we have the figure of the runaway bride. I note that Channel Ten has cunningly followed up this episode with a screening of the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere rom-com Runaway Bride, so, like, well done, team, good job.
The runaway bride is a very twentieth century image. One of the most famous images of her comes from the 1934 Frank Capra pre-Code film It Happened One Night, where heroine Ellie (Claudette Colbert) runs away from the villainous Westley (Jameson Thomas) at the altar in order to be with the poor but (extremely) handsome Peter (Clark Gable). Elizabeth Kendall argues, with specific reference to this film, that,
[t]he runaway bride is one of the most joyous, kinetic, and rebellious images produced by mass culture in the Depression. What she signifies is the end of the extravagant, wasteful, snobbish life of the upper classes of the twenties. In rushing away from her wedding, she is unclassing herself to join… in a new kind of unit held together by something besides class (2002, 49).
Now, this might not immediately seems like it has anything to do with The Bachelor — we’re not in the Depression, for one — but the associations remain. There’s something joyful about a runaway bride: she’s fleeing the thing she’s told she wants for the things that she does want. The ladies are hammered over the head with the fact that they must ‘want’ the Bachelor and are confined in this space while they date him, so there’s something quite delightful about seeing one of them just straight up flee and refuse to obey the rules.
However, it’d be more joyful if Tenille was fleeing because she’d decided that she didn’t want Nick and she was done with this whole thing. She’s certainly not joyful at all — we, as an audience, might feel joy at the rule-breaking (which mirrors the unclassing process of the Capra version), but that’s as far as it goes. Nick isn’t a bad Gothic husband, or a wealthy suitor who must be thrown over so the heroine can attain true love. Instead, the villainous figure here is the Other Woman in the form of Romy.
It’s also worth noting that Tenille is told over and over again by her producer that the bush into which she flees is dark and dangerous. There is some serious fairytale shit happening when you have a glossy, glittery palace surrounded by deep, dark, dangerous woods: think of how many princesses flee into the woods in fairy tales. This positions Romy not just as Other Woman but as wicked queen — so if you didn’t already twig that she was one of the primo villains this season, I’m sure you’re on board now.
But wicked queens do not defeat fairytale princesses in stories, and The Bachelor is a story, so the producers convince Tenille to return to the house. She already has a rose, but she fumes when Romy gets one too. Look for this plotline to continue simmering and smouldering tomorrow night.
To the consternation of many of the ladies, all three intruders get roses at the rose ceremony. Tonight’s victims are Rhiannon (who you might remember from last episode’s mega-awkies hot air balloon date with the aggressively non-existent chemistry) and Ashlea (who?). One of the original ladies declares this a ‘sick joke’ while Nick is right there in earshot, which is … an interesting choice.
…though to be fair, if one of my pals had been eliminated over someone that greeted the Bach by saying ‘oh, I was just in Japan! Konnichi wa!’, I’d be pretty pissed too.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.