RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S6 E01

2 Bach 2 Furious

You’ve had a week to miss me, pals. A whole week! But the Bachie content train rolls on, and where Bachie goes, so goes my nation. Welcome back to yet another set of Australian Bachieverse recaps.

This time, we’re recapping the sixth season of The Bachelorette Australia, AKA 2 Bach 2 Furious, featuring not one but two leads. Our stars this time around are Elly Miles, who finished fifth on Dr Space Bachie’s season of The Bachelor last year, and her sister Becky, a newcomer to the franchise.

The double Bachelorette thing is being marketed as extremely new! never before seen! groundbreaking! Indeed, in the Australian franchise it is: we’ve never had two Bachelorettes before.

An aside: I should note that there’s something a little bit iffy as marketing something as ‘groundbreaking’ when it features two white blonde women, given the Bachelorettes for 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 were all white blonde women (the sole non-blonde being white brunette woman Georgia Love in 2016).

However, that’s not the claim I want to dive into our first pre-recap nerdle of the season. Rather, let’s talk about the fact that this is… maybe not that groundbreaking? Because this is one of three double Bachelorette seasons to air in 2020.

Specifically, this is the second of three double Bachelorette seasons to air in 2020. I wrote a little about the first of these, season one of The Bachelorette New Zealand, when Elly and Becky’s casting was announced earlier this year. This season began with a sole lead (Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster), and then they added a second (Lily McManus, runner-up of The Bachelor New Zealand season 3) several weeks in, at which point Lesina announced that she’d actually been vetting some of the lads for Lily rather than seeking to date them herself.

It was an odd move, to say the least, and I’m not sure it was terribly productive. It certainly wasn’t productive for Lesina, who didn’t end up with anyone; but if we think about it from an audience perspective, asking viewers to suddenly get on board with a second lead a few weeks in is a bit of a stretch, even if it’s a lead they’re already familiar with, like they were with Lily.

The upcoming sixteenth season of The Bachelorette US also reportedly features a staggered Bachelorette entrance, but for a much more interesting and scandalous reason. This season hasn’t aired yet, but word on the street is that the first Bachelorette, Clare Crawley, falls so hard for one of her contestants that they have to wrap up her storyline early. However, they still have a whole heap of dudes around and some TV to make, so they throw a new Bachelorette into the mix: Tayshia Adams.

This is obviously a different situation to what happened in New Zealand, as there’s no overlap between the two Bachelorettes – Tayshia steps in when Clare leaves, unlike Lesina and Lily drawing on the same pool of men. And both are different again from what we have in Australia, where we start with two women right from the beginning: importantly, two women with a pre-established strong relationship, in that they’re sisters.

To put a button on this: despite the fact that there are three double Bachelorette seasons this year, they all have very different mechanics, and nothing about the American or Kiwi versions can tell us a lot about how the Australian one is actually going to work. As I wrote when the season was announced, the closest analogue for 2 Bach 2 Furious might actually be VH1’s 2008-09 celebreality show Real Chance of Love, featuring brothers nicknamed ‘Real’ and ‘Chance’ as their heroes.

…however, as anyone who’s ever watched any of VH1’s celebreality shows (the reality TV universe that gave us Flavor of Love and Rock of Love) can tell you, the tone is verrrrrrrrrrry different to the Bachieverse. While we’re not exactly breaking new ground here with our double Bachelorettes, we still are, to an extent, in uncharted territory.

So let’s see how this is all going to work. To the recap!

We always begin by meeting our Bachies, so: let’s meet them! The way they’ve set up Elly and Becky is as down-to-earth country girls, salt of the earth types. And they’re sisters!

The end.

Like, that’s all the characterisation we get of them. Crikey! They’re sisters!

Let us hope that over the next six (?) weeks that they manage to get a little deeper beneath the surface than this.

Most of this first episode is a dramatis personae, so let’s explore who will be competing for the dual hearts of our Bachies. I would like to note that with just about every intro there’s a bit of OMG! THERE’S TWO OF YOU! HOW AM I TO PROCESS THIS INFORMATION?, so just add that on top of all the descriptions.

Also, I think every single contestant got some screentime! I’ve tried to get all of them, so the dramatis personae might be a little longer than normal.

Sam: Sam enters carrying a basket which is tied to some balloons. This apparently symbolises that he is a lawyer and loves travel. I’m as confused as you are.

Frazer: doesn’t say much beyond that he wants to find love, but he gets big wifey music and Elly says ‘hello, Christmas’ when she sees him, so keep your eye on him.

AB: dances up the driveway in a way that suggests he was assuming they would put music under him, but they do not, so it feels very awkward.

Andrew: ginger. Zoe-Clare would be thrilled.

Trent: enters in a Phantom of the Opera mask.

Pascal: seems to be wearing the dress uniform of the Australian cricket team? Don’t know why.

Agostino: magician?

Pete: Pete is nothing.

Nick: also nothing.

James: ‘there’s two of you?’ They’re really not getting much detail out of this montage.

Adrian: wearing steampunk goggles for some reason?

Jake: came dressed as Cupid, which everyone thinks is stupid, but is honestly one of the stronger bits I’ve seen on the red carpet in the franchise. I mean, at least there’s some romantic relevance, you know?

Harry: cue the wifey music! Harry has a previous reality TV history (he was on House Rules, which is on a different network, so obviously they don’t mention it). He was on it with his ex, so look for a lot of second chance discourse around him.

Shannon: enters with a haka. I didn’t know that you could do a wifey haka, but Shannon is definitely bringing some wifey vibes in with him.

Saj: I like Saj! He seems sweet. He brings in a carpet and gets both women to lie down so they can all look at the stars, and he tells a story about why this is meaningful to him.

Damian: brings flowers, wears a jacket that looks like it’s made out of embossed white leather.

Rudy: wears a sash that says MR ITALY, so… guess where he’s from.

Adam: I feel like he’s been on this show before? He looks so familiar. Also a geologist. Did they cast him because his brand of science is terrestrial rather than intergalactic, or is that too sophisticated a thought process?

Samuel: enters making goose noises, so you can guess what kind of edit he’s going to get.

Joe: uh-oh! we have some controversy! Joe and Elly already know each other! They have dated before! Also he wears a flanno.

So: twenty men, two women. And there’s some extra stakes tonight. All twenty men are competing for the ‘country rose’ (ugh). The winner of this rose is the one that both sisters like the best, in an extremely obvious attempt to engender competition and conflict between the two of them.

Elly and Becky hand out this rose straight away, instead of going through the whole ‘can I steal you for a second?’ set of shenanigans. The rose goes to House Rules Harry.

But there are more implications! They’re not going to send him on a date where the power dynamics are wholly reversed (ie. one of him, two of them). Instead, Harry has the power to choose which of the men will come on the double date with him.

It’s a genuinely interesting mechanic. It’s clearly designed to provoke a bit of drama in the men: they’ve now got to get some face time with Harry as well as the sisters. I quite like it, to be honest. It’s like when they had Irena and Bella meet Locky’s mother together in the finale of The Bachelor: a small change which has the potential to be productive.

The rest of the first night is, as always, made up of some minor drama that may or may not seed plot points down the track. See, for example:

  • Cupid Jake refuses to suck up to Harry, because he refuses to suck up to anyone. It seems like the beginning of a villain edit to me (which interestingly, no one got straight off the red carpet – I’m not sure we’ve seen that before).
  • All the lads find out that Joe knows Elly. They’re very keen to know if he’s ‘kissed’ her (I suspect the word ‘kissed’ is doing a lot of work there), and some jealousies start brewing.
  • Ginger Andrew does a very serviceable David Attenborough impersonation and locks down the role of narrator right away.
  • Frazer appears to be carved from the Locky mould in that he thinks ‘outside’ is a personality, but Elly is buying what he’s selling.
  • On that subject: Becky is very much buying what haka Shannon is selling.
  • Both Elly and Becky are clearly freezing, moving from man’s jacket to man’s jacket. They’re the fucking Bachelorettes. Let them dress weather-appropriately, FFS.

Among all this, Harry is strategising. He prefers Elly, so he wants to pick someone for the date who prefers Becky, so as not to set himself up for unnecessary competition.

It’s smart strategy, but it also makes it clear that the split is uneven: about 75% of the guys are into Elly, rather than Becky. That must be so little fun for Becky to watch back.

(The age difference between my sister and I is about the same as between Becky and Elly. I can’t even imagine how awkward it would be for the two of us to draw on the same pool of potential suitors, no matter how strong the boundaries we put in place.)

Harry ends up picking Shannon, which makes Becky very happy. Shannon gets a rose, and both men are excused from attending that night’s rose ceremony. Perhaps that is the real prize? Word on the street is that they take forever to shoot.

The mechanics of the rose ceremony are a little different, given the whole two Bachelorette thing. The sisters trade off roses – Becky gives one, then Elly gives one. Given the men do not seem to be split evenly between the sisters, this suggests that Paradise’s dreaded friendship roses could rear their heads at some point. Keep your eye on that.

But it’s early now, so it’s hard to say who our casualties belong to. We say farewell to Nick and Samuel, neither of whom made much of an impression (beyond the latter’s animal noises, anyway).

There’s a third casualty, though – a willing one! When Becky offers AB a rose, he declines, saying it’s better that he admits he isn’t vibing either sister now than later down the track. It’s played for minimum drama, which is a very uncharacteristic choice for the show, but I like it a lot, to be honest. It’s always good to remember that ‘will you accept this rose?’ is a question, and the contestants have agency.

Here’s hoping that AB exercising his agency will get him a shot at Paradise.

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

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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