RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S3 E07

RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S3 E07
The Bachelorette Australia Season 3
Background photo via Canva

It’s Bachie-with-Jodi time again! We’ve passed the midpoint of the season – and there’s still not a single soul in the mix that is even remotely worthy of national treasure Sophie Monk.

If I had to pick one of this group for her, I’d have to say James. He seems lovely, and like he likes her a lot, but I just want so much for Sophie, and while he’s lovely I don’t know if he’s enough. I know the unbackable bookies’ favourite is Stu the multimillionaire publican, but … ugh. Could they really not get a better bunch of dudes for Sophie? And how are they going to find next year’s Bachie in this crew?

NB: I would absolutely be here for an ending to this season where Sophie runs away with a hot 24yo magician who is potentially a centuries-old vampire (ILU Apollo), but I’ve decided so firmly and definitely that he belongs with Tara that I cannot countenance that at this present moment.

But I digress. You’re here for the recap, not to hear me whinge about how they need to throw out this batch of men and start again. (Although it really does point to the fact that for a love story to work effectively, you need to have an investment in both protagonists.)

Tonight’s single date recipient is odds-on bookies’ fave Stu. Stu apparently asked Sophie out on his boat (because he’s the kind of middle-aged dude who has a boat) a year ago, but she didn’t realise he was asking her on a date and stood him up. In order to make reparations, she’s asked him out on a replacement boat date.

This would be great and fine, except that The Bachelorette films in winter, and it looks absolutely freezing on Sydney Harbour. But at least our most precious national treasure is being honoured in the way she deserves this time, ie with a superyacht. No more water taxis for Sophie Monk, thank you very much.

I can see, on paper, why Stu is the bookies’ favourite. And this date is fine, honestly. Once the weather clears up, they hit golf balls off the yacht towards heart-shaped targets, and do the thing where you come around behind the other person to show them how to do a golf swing (ie the only romantic trope that has anything to do with golf), and they laugh, and they make a lot of innuendoes about swings being ‘too big’ or ‘too small’ that sound like peen gags. And it’s fine.

But it’s not more than fine. Sophie wagers a kiss: she tells Stu that if he makes a particular shot, then he can kiss her. He misses it, but she doesn’t find an excuse to just kiss him anyway. She high-fives him. High-fives him.

…suffice to say that their chemistry is not exactly leaping off the screen.

That lack of chemistry continues to the Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, where Stu makes a speech about how ‘some people’ are going to ‘brutalise’ him for going on The Bachelorette to pursue Sophie, but he’s ‘deadset there for [her]’. The underlying emotion makes sense – look at all I am risking for your love! I would do anything for love, including that! – but the way he expresses it feels … vague. We tend to value artlessness, honesty, and authenticity in romantic communication, but the vague way Stu talks makes it sound like he’s trying to hide something.

Sophie rolls with it, though, because she gives him a rose, and they kiss. Or they try to kiss, anyway – Stu keeps talking when they’re halfway through, which Sophie finds exasperating.

If Stu does end up winning, this will be a perfect symbol for me of how Australian Bachie values conversation over physical passion. But in the moment? god, it looks awkward and annoying.

Anyway, in case I haven’t made it clear, I am really not feeling Stu. He, like all other men, is not worthy of the glory that is Sophie Monk.

Next, it’s time for the group date, and I’d like to set the scene for you.

Picture this: it’s late at night behind the scenes at Bachie HQ. Everyone’s been through a lot, and they’re tired, because it’s been a long few months. They’ve put together all of Matty J’s season, and now they’re doing the same for Sophie, and they’ve backed themselves into a corner with their poor dude casting. ‘What do we do?’ they wonder to themselves, and they decide that the best thing to do is drink.

So they drink. They drink and drink and drink. They get to that stage of drunk where every emotion is heightened, where sad things are tragic, where happy things are gleeful, and where mildly funny things are hilarious.

‘You know what would be better than “the one”?’ someone slurs. ‘“The onesie”, amirite?’

And they laugh and laugh and laugh, probably until someone vomits.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this portrayal of how this date came about, but surely, surely I can’t be too far off the mark. Because that’s the whole underlying premise here. It’s a date where Sophie and her man-harem all hang out together wearing onesies so she can find ‘the onesie’ for her. That’s how far out of ideas they have run.

Call me, Bachie. Call me. I can help you.

Okay, okay, maybe I’m being a bit unfair, because there is a legit romantic discourse underpinning this. A lot of our cultural ideals of romance – ones that Bachie plays into big time – involve formalwear. Think of Cinderella going to the ball. Think of brave knights winning fair ladies. Think of the most obvious and pervasive example: weddings. This is why the cocktail party is such a prominent Bachie ritual – it’s mirroring a lot of fairytale ideas about ballgowns.

But there’s also a competing image which is the reverse of this. The true lover is the one you can be comfortable in front of: track pants, ugg boots, no makeup. It’s something you see a lot in 90s/00s chicklit and romcoms, for instance: think of Mark Darcy loving Bridget Jones just the way she is. The lover in formalwear is mysterious, glamorous, alluring, but the lover in trackie-dacks and a reindeer jumper is the one who’s in for the long haul.

And this works particularly well discursively when we consider that Sophie is, for many of these men, that glamorous, mysterious figure. She’s a celebrity, whose native territory is the red carpet. The onesie date thus becomes a sort of peeling-the-layers-back date, as well as a test of compatibility: are you the kind of man that can get comfortable, and thus be comfortable with Sophie?

(One suspects that Ryan, eliminated last week, would have been particularly terrible on this date. Am a little sad he got eliminated before Sophie forced him into a giraffe outfit.)

So yeah, this date – if you can call inviting ten dudes around to your house and bullying them into wearing onesies a date – does work better than some of the other dates this season (cough the creepy primary school date cough), but it’s based on such a goddamn stupid pun that I literally can’t even.

And predictably, once again, this date becomes all about our resident Kathy-Bates-from-Misery, Jarrod. His Sophie obsession has reached the stage where he’s making competitive guacamole, which is somehow proof of how! much! more! mature! he is than everyone. And maybe this would have been a mildly entertaining minor plot point, until the real issue raises its head: PotplantGate has returned.

A quick primer on this very deeply serious issue: a few episodes ago, Jarrod forced Sophie to WRECK HER MANICURE and plant seeds with him at a cocktail party. Her plant is starting to sprout, but his isn’t, and he suspects sabotage. Specifically, he suspects that Blake has been pissing in his potplant. And even though this is very, very, very stupid, it is VRY SRS DRAMA for old mate Jarrod.

Sophie has put together a game (well, a ‘game’) where the dudes can write anonymous questions, which she then pulls out of a bowl and reads aloud. Most of them are to be expected – eg ‘who is the most into Sophie?’ (Jarrod), ‘who is the biggest threat?’ (also Jarrod, in that if he doesn’t win he’ll probably murder everyone) – but then some troll throws in the question ‘who sabotaged Jarrod’s potplant?’

Jarrod is convinced it’s Blake, and spends some time very ineloquently shouting at him while getting so red in the face he’s practically purple. Blake just laughs and denies it, and … look, he is clearly a douchebag, and it’s pretty evident that he’s the one that did it, but Jarrod is the one that comes off looking worse here, because he just cares so much about something so silly. And when you can come off looking second best to an obvious dickhead wearing an elephant onesie with a super phallic trunk (making him into a literal dickhead), you’re doing something wrong.

Then Sophie starts bringing out artefacts from the dudes’ childhoods, and Jarrod bursts into tears and gets all emotional about his childhood blankie, and has to be taken aside and calmed down … god, even if he wasn’t verging on Misery territory, I feel like he’d just be exhausting to be around all the time. He has SO MANY feelings.

So let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk instead about how sweet it is when cinnamon roll James, wearing a dinosaur onesie, sees his childhood stuffed bunny and tears up momentarily. And then fellow cinnamon roll Apollo, also wearing a dinosaur onesie, sees HIS childhood stuffed bunny, and he tries to make their childhood stuffed bunnies into friends and it’s just the purest thing in the world.

Also, I’ve noticed that Apollo wears a ring that looks eerily similar to the daylight rings that the vampire Salvatore brothers wear in The Vampire Diaries. So just in case you were wondering whether the Apollo-is-a-vampire theory lives: it has gone beyond living and is currently undead.

Anyway, Sophie gets a chance to spend some alone time with one of the dudes, and even though she has two cinnamon rolls with stuffed bunnies RIGHT THERE, she chooses Mackane.

And alas, poor Mack. We knew he was doomed from the very first night, when he sang ‘YOOOOOOOUUUUUUU AAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNDDDDDD MEEEEEEEEEEE’ at Sophie for like fourteen hours without taking a breath. But he’s such a nervous fanboy in this alone time that he basically shoots himself in the foot. He keeps repeating that Sophie has all the ‘qualities’ he looks for in a partner, and when she asks him what these qualities are, he’s just like, ‘YOU HAVE THEM, AND THEY’RE IMPORTANT!’ over and over and over. ‘I felt like he’d won backstage passes for a meet and greet, not like we were on a date,’ Sophie says.

I’m not sure if Mack was just nervous or if he really is that vague about why he likes Sophie, but it doesn’t serve him well: he is eliminated at the rose ceremony. Also eliminated is Luke, which I thought was a bit surprising… but then I remembered his penchant for very ugly hats, and then I wasn’t so surprised any more.

Also, during the rose ceremony, Jarrod said he would ‘die for a rose’, so, um, yeah. This is getting a bit concerning.

They got to wear suits for the rose ceremony, and I feel like the Bachie crew really missed a trick there. If you’re really going to commit to the ‘will Sophie find the onesie?’ pun, then you need to ride that train all the way into the station.

The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.

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Jodi is a Lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. Her research focuses on the history of love, sex, women, and popular culture, so reading romance novels is technically work for her. Shed a tear for Jodi. Jodi is also an author, and her series about smart girls and murder fairies is published by Penguin Teen Australia. One time, the first book, Valentine, was featured on Neighbours, and she nearly fainted with joy.

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