Bachie-with-Jodi time! I don’t know about you, but I seriously can’t believe we only have two more weeks left of Sophie’s season. While there are a couple of cinnamon rolls in the pack (looking at you, Apollo and James), no one here really seems to be the right man for her, as far as I can tell.
Sigh. I’m just so sad about the casting of this season. An epic heroine like Sophie deserves an epic harem. I guess we’d better all just hold out hope that a) she chooses Apollo, and b) that Apollo really is a vampire, because that’s the closest we’re going to get to epic here.
…but you know what? Maybe we will get epic. Because it’s time for the second single date, and national treasure Sophie Monk is a lady who 1000% knows what she is about, because who does she pick?
And what kind of date with it?
A date where he is COVERED WITH PUPPIES.
I malign the abilities of Team Bachie to plan their dates regularly. Like, beyond regularly. Frequently. But whoever planned this date is a goddamn genius and I would like to shake them by the hand. It is hard to imagine better television than a giant muscly cinnamon roll like Apollo grinning with glee because he’s covered in puppies.
I know I’ve said a thousand times that I’ve got Apollo set aside for Tara in my mind, but could we really imagine a better ending to this season than Sophie Monk riding off into the sunset with a 24yo magical slab of adorable beefcake? Really?
After some time scuffling about with the puppies, they try ‘doga’ – ie. dog yoga. It is just as silly as it sounds, but Apollo is freakishly good at it, in that his dog chills right out and falls asleep, while Sophie’s just kind of gambols about the place. So yes, in case you were wondering I’m adding “preternatural influence over animals” to the Apollo-is-definitely-supernatural dossier I’m compiling in my mind.
I’m also adding ‘My best friend is a girl and we used to go hunting for fairies’ to that dossier, which is an ACTUAL THING that Apollo says to Sophie on their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. It’s part of a discussion they’re having about their career as entertainers and how much they like performing and acting and making believe. There’s also a more serious side – ie. Sophie has dated a bunch of other entertainers and is understandably cautious about dating another one, even if he is a literal ray of sunshine in human form – but Apollo smiles at her, and suddenly that doesn’t seem so serious any more.
Also all of this happens while they’re toasting marshmallows, because they couldn’t make it any MORE adorable. (Apollo likes the pink ones.) (Because of course he does.)
And of course, Apollo gets a rose, and OF COURSE he gets one of the best pashes of the season. GET IT, SOPHIE.
Okay. You have me. I’m converted. I don’t necessarily think Sophie+Apollo will happen, but I want it to happen.
Next – it’s group date time.
Once again, it’s a competitive date. We’ve had a lot of these this season – there was the Manly Man challenge and the creepy primary school date, among others – and while forcing your lovers to compete for your affection through ritualised competition isn’t something we typically do much of in modern dating, it has a long romantic history.
Courtoisie, or ‘courtly love,’ is one of the earliest notions of romance we have in the West. CS Lewis once famously claimed ‘[e]veryone has heard of courtly love, and everyone knows it appears quite suddenly at the end of the eleventh century in Languedoc’ (1936, 1). I talk quite a lot about ritualised love when I talk about Bachie, but it’s hard to get love more ritualised than courtly love. This is the brave-knight-fights-for-fair-lady model of love, where the knight acted as a champion for the lady he adored and wore her favour upon his sleeve.
The figure of the tournament, where all the knights wearing ladies’ favours fight, is probably the most recognisable image we have of courtly love, in that it’s the one reproduced most often in popular culture. A Knight’s Tale is one obvious example, as well as that whole industry that is Medieval Times in the USA, but tournaments like this pop up in places as apparently unromantic as Game of Thrones. A tournament is, of course, something that you can win: and so even though they’re worlds (and worlds and WORLDS apart), this is the kind of history that the competitive group date in Bachie is drawing on.
There are, however, some drawbacks to this. One is that there is very little evidence that courtly love was a practice that people actually engaged in. If they did, it was only the extreme upper echelons of society, but on the whole, it’s much more a literary phenomenon than a historical one. (All those Arthurian romances with tournaments in them? Perfect examples. Arthuriana was MASSIVE in the early medieval period.)
And the second drawback is that the lady courted by the knight, the lady whose favour the knight wore, was unavailable to him, usually because she was married to someone else. The knight’s love was imagined as a kind of divine love, something which made him a better man, not an erotic love, and certainly not one where the relationship would ever be consummated. Again, the Arthurian romances are a good example here. Lancelot’s love for Guinevere is a courtly love as he acts as her champion, and it’s all fine and dandy and Arthur is cool with it, because that’s what courtly love is supposed to look like. But the second that love crosses over into erotic territory and is – gasp! – reciprocated, and – double gasp! – consummated, then disaster ensues, and Camelot collapses.
Basically, if Bachie were really committed to the courtly love bit, the winner wouldn’t be allowed to sit there and talk to Sophie about his feels and he certainly shouldn’t be allowed to kiss her. He should just kneel at her feet and worship her while she gazes into the middle distance.
…I’d be here for that, tbh. I feel like that’s the ending this season deserves.
Anyway! Competitive group dates have their roots in romantic history nearly a thousand years old! Let’s talk about this specific competitive group date happening right now. Some differences from the courtly-love-style tournament are immediately evident, in that medieval tournaments did not tend to involve yachts.
The dudes are divided into two teams: Sam, Jarrod, and Blake on one team, and AJ, Stu, and James on the other. They’re going to race their yachts twice, with Sophie taking one ride with each team. At the end of the date, she’ll pick one dude to spend some extra alone time with.
The metrics for how she will choose this dude are not clear, and so Jarrod says that if it gets to the end of the date and his team wins, he’ll throw the other dudes overboard so she has to pick him. Another day, another murder threat. Just normal Jarrod things.
The teams each win one race each, and so it means that Sophie has all six gents to choose from. She picks Blake, because, while Jarrod was getting redder and redder and running around his yacht and yelling words like TACK and PORT and OVER again and again and again, Blake sidled up to Sophie and gave her a backrub.
…you can imagine how happy Jarrod is about all of this. It’s like PotPlantGate: The Sequel.
(If it were me, I would have picked James. He’s sailed all his life, and he stands there all chill steering his boat, having a friendly conversation with Sophie, and it’s just … nice.)
But anyway, she picks Blake. Their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation is at sunset on a boat as the sun sets over Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it’s very beautiful, but the date itself is a bit awkies.
It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what they talked about, because they didn’t really get anywhere, although Blake did utter the amazing phrase, ‘Every guy needs to be sensitive regardless of whether they’re a bad boy or not, because that’s what girls want’, in which there is so much going on that I can’t even begin to unpack it. But mostly, it was just … nothing. Like, at one point, Blake was all, ‘I feel like I want to kiss you,’ and Sophie was like, ‘you can’t say that,’ and then they kind of stared awkwardly past each other. That encapsulated the entire mood of the date.
Next is not a cocktail party, contrary to the regular ritual structure. It’s finally time for Sophie to pay the piper, and take Sam, he of the confusing manbun, on the second single date he was guaranteed through being the recipient of the double delight rose in the first episode.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a clearer example of a Bachie just straight up going off a contestant than the way that Sophie has gone off Sam. All the comments he made about her boobs on the photo shoot date were the beginning of the end, and it’s been a steady decline ever since.
This date – wherein they do such activities as play giant Connect-Four in a park – is his redemption chance, and does he take it?
Well, he thinks he does. But no. No, he does not.
In fact, Sam utters three phrases which, if you ever hear, should prompt you to run for the fucking hills if you ever hear them from a prospective romantic partner:
1. ‘I don’t try.’ Doesn’t really matter what context this is uttered in (Sam utters it here in the context of his career, which has apparently just fallen into his lap). If it’s something really inconsequential – eg. ‘I don’t really try when it comes to mastering the perfect toast-cooking technique, close enough is good enough’ – that’s mayyyyyyyyyybe okay, but anything with a vague degree of seriousness? RUN. If someone doesn’t try, it almost always means they think they’re entitled to shit, and they are NOT ENTITLED TO YOU.
2. ‘I can teach you.’ Run if they say this, but run seven times faster if they offer to teach you something in a field that you know a lot about. Sam does exactly that here, offering to teach Sophie stuff about music. BITCH SHE WAS IN BARDOT.
3. When asked about people he’s been in relationships with in the past, Sam says he goes for people he thinks ‘would take a lot of work’ so he ‘can show them things’. Oh no no no no no NO NO NO. If someone is dating you as a fixer upper? And wants to show you the world through their eyes? It means they think your eyes aren’t good enough. AND YOUR EYES ARE PLENTY GOOD ENOUGH. THEY ARE BETTER THAN THEIR CREEPY EYES.
He doesn’t get a rose on the date, which is commented on at the cocktail party. He is, however, still feeling smugly confident, and he and Blake have a conversation about how smugly confident they are that they are the best dudes for Sophie.
(While this is going on, Jarrod is gushing to Sophie about how his potplant finally sprouted, if you’re only reading this to follow that particular oh-so-compelling plotline.)
But you know who does not think they are the best dudes for Sophie? SOPHIE.
At the rose ceremony, she gives roses to Stu, James, and Jarrod, and then asks them, along with Apollo (who already has a rose from his single date) to leave the room.
She dismisses AJ pretty quickly – I mean, let’s be real, he said like two words the entire time he was here – before turning her attention to the Brothers Shithead.
‘Sam, do I know the real you?’ she asks.
‘Yes!’ Sam protests.
‘Blake, most of the time I feel like you don’t like me. Do you actually like me?’
‘Yes!’ Blake protests.
And it is Blake’s protest which is apparently slightly more convincing, because he is the one who gets the rose. All the promos for next week show him trying out his ‘new tactic’, which is apparently being nice to the girl you like. I hear no one has EVER thought of that one before.
(I really enjoy how Sophie has pushed back against the ‘treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen’ notion of romance in this season, btw. It’s a pernicious idea, and she’s not here for it, and I am here for her not being here for it.)
Predictably, Sam sulks in the limo ride out of there, and grumbles about how Sophie’s missing out on a great chance to be with him. And he’s not wrong: Sophie is missing out. How will she ever work out how the complicated architecture of his hair works now?
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.