Okay. Confession time. I know I promised you the recaps but last night when I looked at the TV schedule and realised that the first episode of The Bachelor was on for AN HOUR AND A HALF I nearly bailed then and there.
But I thought, no, I’m going to soldier on. I CAN DO THIS.
We open on a solitary figure running lonely along a beach to piano plinky plonks. So this is our first look at New Zealand’s “Bachelor” and… he’s actually not bad looking. Especially if you like buffed, beach-running dudes with designer stubble and dimples. I personally have a soft spot for smiley facial dents so fair play, he’s actually a pretty attractive specimen. Which immediately makes me think “well what the fuck is wrong with him then?” because that’s the kind of question that life has taught me to ask.
Fuck, what if this guy is like the Antipodean Christian Grey? Gah.
Anyway, there’s a montage (gotta have a montage!) and someone is already saying “I’m not really here to make friends”. Classic. If you have your reality show bingo cards to hand please cross out that square.
Wow, host Mike Puru looks kind of leathery. I guess I haven’t paid much attention to him since the nineties and expected him to look the same. Instead he reminds me a bit of Ricardo Montalban on Fantasy Island. Like, I can’t stop looking at his neck. I think a cravat may be in order. Ricardo Montalban could totally rock a cravat. Or can we at least have Mike in a white suit (with buttoned up shirt and black necktie)?
But enough about Mike, who is this bachelor and just how effed up is he?
Arthur runs a health food company. And is sporty. When he serves in tennis his hair gets a slow-mo shot. So that is actually pretty damn sporty. And healthy. Look at all that tanned, wet “health” climbing out of the lap pool. Mmm, heeaaaalth.
He’s independent (no mummy issues) and competitive (so daddy issues instead). He runs his own business that has “your eggspectations” written on a whiteboard in the background. He sports. He puns. He leans over female underlings’ computers without appearing sleazy (mostly). Arthur’s business is called Paleo Clean so I can only assume that a) his website got massive traffic last night and b) they probably don’t make cheesecake and that is BULLSHIT, man.
But he can’t find love, poor boy. DUDE, have you tried cheesecake? Seriously.
And there’s ANOTHER torso shot. I actually laughed out loud at this one because, it’s so “Mills & Boon cover” I can hardly stand it. But in related news, yay for chest hair!
Arthur is looking for “fun”, “intelligent” and “someone I can have adventures with” *cough* Christian Grey *cough* and, awhhh, “have a family with”.
Whoever the DP on this is, they’ve really shot Arthur beautifully. Never has a lonely walk on the beach (with a film crew) had lighting so suitable for picking out every single toned muscle on a man’s body. I doubt any of the Bachelorettes will get such painterly treatment, but that remains to be seen.
Arthur is close with his family and his mother seems formidable. He has six sisters.
“It’s gonna be weird, like, kissing 21 girls” says a small child (possibly a sister?). Yes, that is weird, little girl. And the emperor has no clothes (or at least a bare torso a lot of the time). And right on cue we get more torso. I feel like I’m now more familiar with Arthur’s torso than I am my own. THIS IS WONDERFUL.
And now Mike Montalban reminds us that all this torso is for the ladies. The actual ladies that are contestants on this show, not just the general viewing populace. Thanks for keeping us on track, Mike.
Matilda is putting petals on cakes and wants someone funny “not outrageously funny just a few good jokes here and there”. Oh Matilda, already editing yourself so that pretty much anybody could fit your ideal guy fantasy. We’ve all been there. Being 24 is shitty that way.
“A lot of girls I know don’t really like to eat on a first date…”
Whereas Matilda orders the ribs and “a lot of guys are put off by that”. You know what? If this is what dating is truly like in the 21st century then maybe going on a ridiculous torso-driven reality show to find love is actually the rational choice? Jesus.
Unexpected accordion care of Danielle who is a barrister.
Chrystal is outdoorsy and her hair moves beautifully in a breeze. Apparently Chrystal’s definition of “worldly” is having “a lot of exotic, international boyfriends in the past”. Hmmm. Keeping in the theme of “qualities in a life partner that are not terribly specific”, Chrystal wants someone taller than her.
Rosie is a 30 year old real estate agent and she is not changing how I feel about real estate agents AT ALL. She is selling, selling, selling. And it’s all about location, location, location or in this case travel. International travel. She would like to go out “with a sniper, possibly”. Which seem like a smart move because of how people feel about real estate agents.
Kristie is a “tomboy” because she plays rugby but she has all the usual gooey, soft feminine feels on the inside so that makes it okay.
Arthur arrives at The Mansion and immediately demonstrates to the viewers how diminutive Mike Puru is.
Matilda is the first out of the
blocks car and there’s a whole, cute, awkward blind date chit-chat thing. My guess is this will not be cute for 21 introductions.
Next up is Danielle L who confesses she “doesn’t get nervous that often”, which is probably a fairly good skill for a recidivist criminal to have. Danielle L, it has since been revealed, has a bit of a criminal history which only came to light recently. She is “no longer in the country”.
Alysha (pronounced Uh-lish-a) is a high school english teacher from Invers. She’s looking for “a partner in crime” who she can “Bonnie & Clyde this world with”. I’m guessing Alysha never has to teach history or she’d know about that whole “dying in a hail of bullets” thing.
At 35, Danielle B is the oldest of the contestants and maybe that’s why I like her. She seems a good deal calmer and less jittery than some of the others. She and Arthur have a deep and meaningful conversation about dogs who wear lifejackets. What is this thing I’m watching? *shakes head*
Chrystal is ridiculously self-assured as she meets Arthur because she has a whole “take him or leave him” philosophy. Maybe she really is worldly? Arthur is definitely very impressed. Not much chit-chat is exchanged but Arthur does a really gross “up and down” over Chrystal like she’s the main course and he’s a starving man. Which is ironic because Chrystal, who is clearly less into dimples than I am, may just be here for the vol-au-vents at this point.
Michelle, 23 does a quick boob adjust as she exists the car in a dress that will only let her shimmy and not actually walk. Fortunately this slow approach gives Arthur more time to “admire” her. Urgh. This is awful and awkward and I feel like I’m watching the world’s most icky beauty pageant. Props to Michelle for “accidentally” saying to camera that she’d like to see
Christian Grey Arthur out of his suit. Yeah, you meant in casual clothes. Sure, you did.
Nikki from Invercargill is wearing a short skirt. This isn’t important or a judgement it’s just the most memorable thing about her as we cut away to the next lady-dish pretty quickly.
Shivani is a) short, b) has long hair (to the side seems to be a big trend with these ladies) and c) a chiropractor. Apparently if you’re a chiropractor people ask you to “crack my back” a lot because Arthur has fallen into the “obvious joke” trap. She has the face of a woman who is trying really hard not to roll her eyes.
Next is our gung-ho real estate agent, Rosie. Rosie likes Arthur’s height because she “really wants tall babies”. Speaking as someone who has had a baby, I would recommend keeping the height under 2 feet if you can. Because otherwise that third trimester is going to be a bitch.
I can see why they’ve included so much Rosie on this episode. She is singularly interesting. She gives Arthur a rose of her own which is kind of genius, because that should be reciprocal right? If Arthur isn’t now subconsciously associating Rosie with rose-giving I’d be very surprised. She says it’s “a flower from a flower”. And he totally gets the pun which Rosie says means he’s sharp. Which is a stretch since you pretty much explained your witty floral pun to him, Rosie. If I can speak your language for a moment, R, let’s not turn a “two bedroom plus sunroom” into a “spacious three double bedrooms”. Ya feel me?
And then she explains how much she loves danger and the unexpected. I feel like she rehearsed this little speech and that’s why Arthur can’t get so much as an “wow, that’s interesting” in sideways. Note for future sales spiels, Rosie, pause for positive feedback.
Lord. How many bachelorettes is that now? I feel like a have introduction fatigue. I hope the next one juggles or something.
Poppy arrives and expresses profound relief that it’s not Kim Dotcom at the end of the driveway. She is a British yoga instructor who teaches Arthur how to do tree pose. So that’s nearly juggling. He looks forward to doing “handstands” with her later. So Arthur may look good in a suit but he’s no George Clooney in the suave stakes, yeah?
Brigette from Queenstown comes with beer. Which in combination with the cleavage makes me feel like I’m watching a particularly glamorous Tui’s advert. Brigette has eyebrows which terrify me. This doesn’t mean she’s not a nice person or not worthy of love. It just means that her eyebrows terrify me. She does a really corny, obviously not at all spontaneous “what’s that on your tie, oh look, I’ve just touched your nose” bit that is probably supposed to be flirty but it just a bit awkward. Afterwards Arthur swigs his beer and has the look of a man who is living the motherfucking dream. By this stage he’s been flirted with by *counts* eleven women so I suppose some swagger is to be expected at this point. “Bring on the next tapas lady nibble for my amusement! May she come bearing chips!”
Redhead Lisa arrives and we find out she’s into kickboxing. Also her fear of rejection has meant she’s never had a boyfriend. And she’s 29. So that’s a whoooole lot of fear to suddenly be doing this in front of the TV watching nation. It’s good to be vulnerable but maybe not that vulnerable.
Natalie is tall and struggles to find men to date who are taller than her. Because in our society it’s considered mildly ridiculous for a woman to be in a romantic relationship with someone who is shorter than her unless that man is Rod Stewart. Fortunately for her Arthur is taller than she is, though not by much in heels.
Kristie, the rugby loving tomboy, arrives and they seem really into each other. It’s that whole length of gaze thing that gives it away, and Arthur makes an excuse to touch her hand by admiring the ring she’s wearing. Kristie invites him to “come and grab me and…”, and there’s a just a little bit too much of a pause between that and “…talk with me a bit more” for us not to understand that it wasn’t necessarily talking she was thinking about. Girlfriend is crushing on Arthur big time.
Oh crap, I think I’ve started to enjoy watching this. NOOOOOOOOOO!
Well, I’m sure it will pass.
Back from a cleansing ad break and Fiona gets short shrift. Only a mere second or two of her arrival is shown. So I’m guessing we’re not being primed to care much about her. Could be one of the first to go? But then they do the same with Hayley and Carissa. Perhaps this is more of a pacing thing?
We get to see a bit more of Dani, who has a similar shade of hair as Dame Edna. She confesses to being quite loud and in a piece to camera commits the grievous grammar sin of saying “might of” instead of “might have”. Meanwhile Art tries to get his head around “Dani, Danielle and Danielle”.
Amanda arrives as a sparkling vision in sequins and Arthur asks if she takes an interest in health and fitness. Amanda is slender, like all the women on this show, and says “of course” while looking down at her slender frame which naturally invites to Arthur to agree that she looks very delicious, I mean, “healthy”. And please do give me a twirl, Amanda. Pretend you are a delicious spindle of kebab-shop meat.
I’m sorry, Arthur’s comments on her dress and how well it fits her ‘wink wink’ are giving me creepy uncle feels. Go find a grown up you trust, Amanda. Go as fast as that sheath cut gown will allow you to.
We go with Amanda inside the mansion to see the other ladies drinking champagne and generally agreeing that Arthur is hot stuff.
Meanwhile Arthur is outside doing some made memory master exercises to try and remember everybody’s names. He’s trying to make up a song to remember but it’s not really working.
Dummy! Should have just used Mambo No.5 and subbed in the names.
A little bit of Dani with purple hair
A little bit of Rosie who has no fear
A little bit of Amanda’s sparkly gown
A little bit of Shivani who’s really brown
A little bit of Chrystal’s cool regard
A little bit of Lisa kicking hard
A little bit of Kristie’s ring and hand
A little bit of Poppy’s one foot stand
A little bit of Brigette’s beer is grand
See? Easy when you know how.
Natasha’s next and she likes boys in suits. As a law student this may either be great for her in future or a terrible impediment. She’s a chess player. Arthur is not. But he breaks out his party trick which is clapping with one hand. It is the goofiest thing I’ve seen for quite a while. Always great when a new prospect confesses to being able to do things one-handed, amirite? Clearly Natasha is thinking similar things and there’s an awkward, almost “ooer” moment.
Mike returns and explains to the ladies exactly how this “being pimped out” thing works. There are only 17 roses so that’s four women who aren’t getting past the first date. Then Arthur appears and there’s so much glad-eye in the room it’s kind of uncomfortable. Brigette actually licked her lips. I almost feel sorry for him.
There is much speculation about what’s under the suit. Nobody guesses “eczema” or “tattooed passages from the Bible”. Disappointing, ladies.
There is a lot of staring in Arthur’s direction from everyone. There’s the facade of this being a fun social event but it’s actually an awful, desperate game of “look at me” being played by a throng of women. It’s really kind of creepy.
Kristie gets to have a little one on one time with Arthur in his lakeside umbrella-chandalier nook which prompts a couple of the ladies to invite themselves along thereby interrupting what was about to be a rivetting “cat person vs dog person” conversation.
Poppy makes her play for a bit of quality time but gets interrupted by Brigette who is subsequently interrupted by Alysha. It’s all very musical chairs but without the fun. Or the music. And then it’s Dani and Michelle. At one point people are literally perched on the ends of furniture just to be near him. It’s all rather bizarre. Except it’s not because this is reality TV land.
Shivani gets singled out for some alone time. Cue disappointed faces as the other ladies attempt to answer the question of the ages, so beautifully captured by Moving Pictures in 1982, “What about me?”.
How about a little musical break to act as a mental sorbet?
Shivani, confesses that she’s not really comfortable with public kissing. Shows like this seem to have pretty much the opposite attitude. So that could be interesting (but probably not what the producers of this show are looking for). Shivani’s “pretty lucky that my family have let me do this anyway…”. Shivani is 28 years old. So that’s is pretty fucked, in my opinion. Especially since they don’t seem to have a problem with her being a chiropractor…
I’d love to hear more about this but Fiona rocks up and interrupts them and gets asked to come back later. So now everyone’s all tense about whether or not they should approach or hang back. Everyone speculate’s on Chrystal’s “strategy”. It’s really rather painful and I’m hoping I can slip another 80s pop music video in again soon because this is terrible.
Matilda gets a little private chit chat and in her to camera piece later says “we have a really good connection already”. So cross that one off your card. It’s hard to tell from how it’s edited but it seems likely they’ve chatted from more or less five minutes at this point. Uh huh.
Arthur excuses himself and… farts loudly and resonantly. No, he actually went to get her a rose.
In possibly the best part so far, Arthur suavely advises Matilda to watch her step as they leave his lair… and promptly stumbles like he’s drunk on oestrogen. To her credit Matilda laughs at him. A lot. She doesn’t pretend not to find it funny as hell. And fortunately Arthur is good enough of a guy to laugh at himself too.
Amanda Sparkly Gown gets a private chat next and BOMBSHELL, she is the mother of three year-old twins. Arthur doesn’t seem fazed by this but that’s all we really get to see of their one on one time.
Nikki Short Dress gets one on one time that we don’t hear anything off and then it’s Danielle L who is clearly not going to be progressing that far in this show so I kind of don’t care at all what she says but opening with “guess how old I am” possibly isn’t the best? That’s either setting a horrific trap for someone or fishing for a compliment. I suspect the latter. She’s also a mother of eight and five year old boys.
Her piece to camera on this is priceless “I felt like if I didn’t tell him then, it would seem like I was omitting details”. Like the details of her criminal record that she omitted when applying to be in this TV series. Hmmmm. But Danielle gets a rose.
Rosie gets beckoned away and man, she is ON THIS. But before long Chrystal, with henchwoman Hayley in support, makes her move because there needs to be a villian and apparently the producers have decided it’s Chrystal (if that “music of doom” at her approach is anything to go by) even though she’s only done the exact same thing as five other girls before her. Whatevs.
But if the facial expressions and body language are anything to go by Rosie is being gazumped. Commission on this sale is looking less and less likely. But things are even worse for Lisa who rocks up…and then Arthur leaves. But it’s okay because she gets a bit of time later after another pretty brunette whose name I couldn’t even tell you. It’s all a blur of teeth and hair and lipstick.
Shortly afterwards they gather together inside and Arthur goes off by himself to contemplate/do mental love-match algebra.
And then it’s The Rose Ceremony. Ladies are lined up like a beauty pageant but with a long stemmed red rose given instead of a sash.
CARISSA. That’s the brunette whose name I couldn’t pick. And she’s first up.
Next is Brigette, then Lisa, Shivani, Hayley and Barrister Danielle. This is, of course, intercut with various bachelorettes fretting and worrying and generally being very nervous to amp up the tension of whether or not any of them will be able to have another five minute conversation with someone they don’t know very well.
Amanda gets the next rose.
Then out of nowhere, rogue unit Rosie says “Sorry, can I please interrupt?”
Which is the best possible place to put an ad break. TENSION.
But screw Special K, what’s Rosie up to? She asks Arthur “can I have a minute of your time? Is that okay?” and he says yes, but what else is he going to say?
Rosie confesses that the whole experience “doesn’t feel right” for her. She tells him her decision has absolutely nothing to do with him or the other girls. Uh huh. Arthur acts disappointed. But is he? Rosie trudges off into the night. I’m going to kind of miss her. I can’t help feeling that this was a preemptive strike on her part and that now she gets to leave on her own terms without having been rejected. This happens in real relationships all the time, why not on bizarre courtship competitions like this one?
Sidebar: Poppy has the most amazingly blue eyes. They’re like Dune “spice eyes”. Someone should ask her is she’s “House Atreides”.
Bingo cards ready. Alysha is crying in her piece to camera.
Tall Natalie gets a rose despite barely having conversed with Arthur all night. Next is Natasha, Christie *pause* with a C, Alysha, and Chrystal.
Two roses left and Poppy is doing yogic breathing to maintain her calm but the next one is for her. The last rose goes to Kristie.
Which leave Boob Adjust Michelle, Fiona, and Short Dress Nikki. Rosie having already departed.
Damn, we never got to find out what “operational sales” were from Fiona.
AND THEN EVERYONE DRINKS. Because why wouldn’t you?
Next week: Fun and frolics in the sea, bathroom crying and another evening gown round/rose ceremony.
What did you think of the first episode? Is Arthur your cup of tea? Is Poppy on the spice?