Want vs need; similarities vs differences.
Last! Recap! For! 2019!
I like writing these. I genuinely do. But when you consider that along with twelve recaps of The Bachelorette, I have also written sixteen of The Bachelor and thirteen of Bachelor in Paradise – and that if we assume each is 2000 words (many are longer), that adds up to 82,000 words, ie. the length of a novel – you can see why I’m excited to hang up my pen for the year.
Anyway, we made it! Angie made it! Through dangers unknown and hardships unnumbered, Angie’s made it here to her finale, where she has two bros to choose from: so-handsome-you-can’t-look-directly-at-him Carlin and munted philosopher king Timm. She made the wise decision last night to send home Ryan the Dog Man, the dullest man who ever lived, and even though she cried a lot about it and was all ‘oh noes! I made the wrong decision!’, I feel like the Daily Mail would have told us by now if she had in fact gone after him, so: down to two we are.
In my final nerdle of 2019, I want to do some good old-fashioned analysis. Let’s look at how these love stories are constructed. Notably, they have actually constructed love stories around both these men! Sometimes Bachie forgets to do that, so I’m very glad they remembered this time.
Let’s start with Carlin, the man so handsome that looking at him is like staring into the sun.
As I wrote last night, Carlin is imbued with a lot of the qualities that we would typically find in a Bach – ie. someone who’s been cast as a romantic hero. He is obviously very handsome. He doesn’t have a huge personality, which allows his partner to become the focus – we tend to prefer more personality in our Bachelorettes than we do in our Bachelors, so this is an attribute that lends itself well to him being either the winner here or a Bachie himself. And he’s got a spine, in that he’ll stand up to the other bros: he’s not a wet blanket, nor is he a personality vacuum like Ryan.
Carlin is not, as many people have noted, terribly interesting. But in the narrative that has been shaped around him and Angie, we’ve still managed to hit quite a few romance beats (full credit to Pamela Regis here, who has shaped a lot of my thinking on this).
There was that instant spark and connection when he and Angie met, signified by the fact that she gave him that first impression rose, which led to their 24 hour single date. But – oh no! a complication, almost immediately. He revealed that he was still technically married, which placed an obstacle between him and Angie. I’ve written a lot of times about how the romance plot is the story of overcoming obstacles, and this was a notable one.
They moved past this, and then there was a little fallow period where Angie dated other boys, but then they reconnected on their second single date, and all seemed well. Until – oh no! another obstacle! Jamie was all like, ‘um, Carlin wants to be the 2020 Bachelor!’ and Angie was shook. And then not long after, Carlin’s brother was like, ‘um, Carlin loves his acting!’ and Angie was shook again, wondering whether she’d been a fool to believe that this handsome man really was a lovely man who was there to fall in love with her, or just someone there to further his career.
Last night, Angie declared that they she just doesn’t see Carlin as a liar, and they kissed, and all this seems resolved. They have overcome their obstacles, and now the path is clear for them to be together. But this remains the defining question of their romance: how invested is Carlin, really? Is he there for those infamous right reasons?
And there is, of course, one other obstacle: and he is our favourite munted philosopher king, Too Many Ms Timm.
(I assume that the extra M stands for munted. I will not be accepting feedback on this assumption at this time.)
Timm and Angie also had that initial spark, that moment of recognition where like recognises like. He brought her sunflowers, which became a motif throughout their relationship. She believes that sunflowers are a sign from her nan that she’s on the right path, and he’s embodied the sunflower for her, over and over again – quite literally, in that he has one tattooed on his body.
Timm has repeatedly been the one that Angie has turned to when things get tough. When she needs to know if someone is telling the truth – Carlin, for instance – she turns to Timm. When she needs someone to cheer her up, she turns to Timm. Whenever she needs something, Timm is the one she’s turned to, over and above all the other men.
This isn’t to say that they haven’t faced their obstacles, although these have been articulated in a slightly different way than they have in the case of Carlin. Carlin is a textbook romance hero. Timm, however, is not. We don’t see a lot of munted philosopher kings at the heart of romance narratives. This is a new kind of story.
Timm is, as Angie repeatedly said last night, a gamble, in that she’s not 100% sure that he’s ready for a relationship. While he’s assured her that he is, it’s worth noting that while both Carlin and Ryan said ‘I’m falling in love with you’ to Angie, Timm just said ‘I’m falling for you’. In real life, this would probably not be a huge deal, but there’s usually a pretty profound difference between the two in the Bachieverse, so that’s some food for thought.
He acknowledged that he is the biggest gamble, because we’re not used to seeing someone like Timm in a narrative as normie as the love story structured by the Bachie franchise. But he also urged Angie to take the gamble. And given that Timm seems to have things that Angie needs – things that aren’t being delivered on by the more regular kinds of romance heroes, like Carlin (remember when Yvie accused Carlin of only being 2% funny?) – who’s to say that the gamble might not pay off?
What we’re getting, essentially, is a fairly unsubtle binary: although I’ll grant you that the edges have been blurred by the show in a way that they aren’t often, so full credit there. Should Angie goes for what she wants, in Timm (fun! honesty! chemistry!)? Or should she go for what she needs, in Carlin (a stable foundation, and also great arms)?
…or should she ditch them both and run after the sweetest prince of all, our collective boyfriend Ciarran?
Let’s wait no longer. Let us head, for the last time this year, to the recap part of the recap, so we can find out.
Timm meets the parents
‘So, you’re going to meet two people,’ Angie tells her family.
‘I don’t mind who it is, as long as I don’t see a man-bun bobbing down the path,’ her dad says grouchily.
Um, excuse me, Angie’s dad, do you remember who had a man-bun that you actually thought was great? SWEET PRINCE CIARRAN, THAT’S WHO.
Anyway, all this is to say that Angie’s family is a little bit surprised to see Timm wander in. He’s clearly nervous, and cannot manage to do basic things like ‘sitting still’ and ‘not sculling champagne’, and their dubiousness intensifies.
He does all right when he talks to the family members one on one, though. ‘I just really like Angie,’ he tells Angie’s brothers (including Brad, the undercover brother – remember him?). ‘She makes me so happy. It just feels right when I’m with her, you know? She’s like a ray of sunshine.’
By the end, he’s won the family over enough that even Angie’s dad grudgingly admits that Timm could fit in with the family… provided he cut his hair off.
To which I say: HOW DARE YOU, SIR? I’m fairly sure quite a lot of our munted philosopher king’s power is in his hair, in the manner of Samson. Do not rob him off his glorious mane.
Carlin meets the family
‘Oh, Carlin!’ Angie’s mother exclaims, when Angie reveals who her second bro is. ‘He’s lovely!’
It doesn’t stop her accidentally calling him ‘Timm’, though… so there’s that.
The primary worry the family seem to have is that Carlin has zero sense of humour, and he won’t be funny enough for Angie, but given that he does some big lolling at the fact that Angie’s mum called him Timm, and then accepts it with good grace when they make fun of him for using the word ‘journey’, they seem assuaged on that account.
The real question, then, seems to be this: is Carlin over his ex? Is he ready for another relationship?
‘I know you’ve been separated for eighteen months, but… you must have met a lot of girls,’ Angie’s mum says to Carlin.
Carlin pauses, presumably to work out whether she’s asking him if he retreated to a monastery post-divorce, and then shakes his head. ‘Not really, no,’ he says. ‘And I have to tell you: I’m really in love with your daughter.’
Ultimately, the family agrees that while Carlin looks good on paper, they really were impressed with Timm’s level of passion. ‘You’ve got no bad options, honestly,’ Angie’s dad decrees. ‘I’m glad you picked out two grouse blokes.’
As someone with a PhD in romance, I feel I can say this with some authority: never has the word ‘grouse’ been used so many times in a romantic context as it has in this season.
Carlin’s final date
Angie meets Carlin beside a creek. ‘I’ve arranged for us to spend the whole date outside!’ she announces, and then gestures to a pair of kayaks.
- They have clearly run out of money. Remember when we used to get a super-yacht every second episode? By the last episode of the year, they’re scrounging up some kayaks with the coins they found under one of the Couches of Wine and Intimate Conversation.
- Bless Angie for admitting the true motive behind this date – it was engineered for Carlin to take his shirt off.
They kayak along a bit, and smooch. They find a limpid pool under a waterfall (potentially the waterfall that beautiful wood-nymph Todd from last year lives behind?) and smooch. They go to a Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, and Carlin tells Angie he’s falling in love with her, and they smooch.
It’s all very nice, honestly. Carlin has kind eyes and seems like a lovely man. But…
ANGIE, HE TOOK YOU TO THE GYM ON A DATE!
Timm’s final date
We meet Timm again as he peers out the window of a car in the dark near-dawn. ‘I’d hate to be a cow, hey!’ he says. ‘It’d be chilly as!’
…god bless this munted philosopher king, honestly. Can you imagine what a snooze this episode would be if Ryan was here instead of him?
Angie meets him beside a hot air balloon. ‘I thought we’d do what we do best!’ she declares. ‘Being weird and looking at sunrises!’
This whole thing is really adorable, to be honest. Timm spews some more munted philosophy about life as a cow, she cackles, and whenever he tries to say something sincere and romantic, the hot air balloon gas thing goes PHHHHWWWHHHHHWHHHH, and they both start laughing again.
Then they end up at the first sexy pool of the season (they really are low on funds! only one sexy makeout pool? My goodness). After the obligatory make out – very sexy, tbh – they do their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation on a couple of banana lounges. ‘I want to be with you at the end, Angie,’ Timm says. ‘I want to be with you all the time. Every day.’
‘I can’t imagine life with you not around,’ Angie whispers back. ‘It feels like I’ve known you forever.’
I know Angie has some worries about whether Timm is a little bit too bonkers for her, but it doesn’t seem like an accident that they both use the word ‘soulmate’ about the other.
It’s also worth noting that Timm never technically says ‘I love you’. But considering Umberto Eco’s claim that ‘I love you’ is always a quotation, always a citation… I feel pretty confident in saying that Timm’s expressed it in his own way.
Which is: ‘I like her so much. If I don’t end up with her at the end, I’ll be spewing. Fuck.’
The break up
Angie waits for her men in the middle of the forest (which I can’t help but feel has some awkward symbolism – which I could have TOLD YOU ABOUT, Bachie, if you would just fucking call me). ‘I never thought I would be here,’ she says. ‘I’m in love with parts of both of them.’
cough there is a perfect middle ground and he is a sweet prince called Ciarran but too late he is dating the whole internet including me now cough
We all know – despite the fact that they tried to screw with us on Dr Matt the Astro Bach’s season – that the first person to walk up to the Bach is the loser. And that person is…
ANGIE NO. NO NO NO NO sure Carlin is lovely but ANGIE NO.
Timm has never been a standard Bachie contestant, and so his reaction to Angie breaking up with him is far from ordinary. When she tells him that she thinks he’s her soulmate, but… his response is just to hug her. ‘Don’t cry,’ he tells her. ‘You’re too good. Don’t be sad. Be happy. Everything we’ve had is the best. I’m so happy I’ve met you, and if I could pick one guy to be with you, it’d be Carlin.’
Angie just sobs.
And then Timm pulls possibly the biggest flex in all of Bachie history. ‘Here, I got you something,’ he says, digging out the commitment ring he’s brought her. ‘Wear this. It’ll be a little piece of me, okay?’
Remember when Angie accidentally saw Timm’s nuts in the second episode and described them as ‘his little lobster balls’? I think it’s fair to say that he’s got a pair of big brass ones.
‘How are you so all right?’ Angie sobs into his shoulder.
‘I’m gutted,’ Timm tells her. ‘I just don’t want to see you cry.’
Well, fuck, now I’m crying. What a wonderful surprise Timm turned out to be.
The declaration of love
That leaves us, of course, with Carlin.
And look, it’s hard not to be a bit underwhelmed. We’ve had such big characters this season, and Carlin has just kind of… been there, handsome-ing around. But he does seem like a nice man, and this is really very lovely.
‘When I think of a future with you, it looks real, and it looks right,’ Angie tells him. ‘I’ll be honest – you’re usually not my type. You’re put together. I’m not. I’m not perfect. I’m a bit of a mess, honestly.’
‘I’m not perfect either,’ Carlin says.
‘I know,’ she says. ‘But I don’t want the perfect guy. I just want the perfect guy for me. And I think that’s you.’
Carlin beams, and slips his commitment ring onto her finger (she’s taken Timm’s off, I note, which is a shame, because his was nicer). ‘I’m falling in love with you,’ he whispers.
‘I’m falling in love with you too!’ she replies. ‘And – I can’t believe you’re my boyfriend! I never want boyfriends: but I want you.’
I wrote in my nerdle at the beginning that the Timm/Carlin binary was one set up as what Angie wanted versus what she needed. There’s another binary here too, which sits alongside it. Angie describes Timm as her soulmate: they get each other, because they’re alike. Carlin, on the other hand, is her opposite: he has complementary tastes, and so they make each other stronger.
You know all those compatibility tests they make people do on these shows, which rely on them getting the same answer? They’re testing for the former kind of love. The fact that Angie and Carlin are now a thing, though, points to the fact that maybe the other kind of love is good too. Sometimes, you need someone different from you – and sometimes, that difference is what makes it work.
That’s it from me this year, pals! It’s been a pleasure to be your guide through the treacherous waters of Bachie in 2019. I’ll be back in 2020 with more hot takes on the Bachieverse, but if you can’t wait until then, might I suggest, for the final time… checking out my books? Valentine even has a rose on the cover. ;)