Yes, inadvisable as it would seem, The Bachelor has this year decided to extend to a second episode, which will apparently be just as unnecessarily long as the first. Instead of making this show 100 minutes twice a week, why not consider making every episode 60 seconds long, and airing it 200 times a week? Just a thought.
Anyway, here we go. Tonight: a helicopter.
The bachelorettes sit around discussing each other. Cat didn’t expect Kayla to get a rose. Or maybe she didn’t expect Cayla to get a rose. Hard to say.
Here comes TAFKAAG, entering the mansion and breaking down in tears as he admits that he feels his role on the show is redundant and has robbed him f his manhood. He also has an envelope, which is opened by the doyenne of Bachelor commentary, Ms Richie Benaud. Within is the names of the woman who gets to go on the first date with Nick. It’s Shannon. Some other woman says she doesn’t see Shannon as being Nick’s type, and she’s surprised Nick chose her, but she’s not worried at all because Shannon just is not Nick’s type. Or in other words, he chose Shannon and not her, and she’s shit-scared.
Shannon meets Nick in a field. Nick is holding a rugby ball, which was his last serious girlfriend. A helicopter appears and scoops them up. Shannon is to be treated to the most romantic of experiences: talking to the person sitting next to you through a headset. “She’s as nervous as a bag of cats at a greyhound meet,” says Nick, offering a cash prize to the first viewer to correctly guess what this means.
The chopper flies over the mansion, leading the bachelorettes to chat about how Shannon reckons she doesn’t kiss on the first date and how dumb that is and how nobody knows who the commentator lady is or how she got there.
The door of the chopper opens, and Nick becomes concerned that Shannon may not want to jump out of a moving aircraft. Luckily — because Nick could never love a woman who had any regard for her own safety, Shannon grabs onto him and they dangle themselves down into the ocean, where they must live for the next eight weeks.
On the beach, Nick and Shannon have a romantic barbecue, or what would be a romantic barbecue if it wasn’t taking place on the least romantic television show ever made. Nick cooks salmon, while Shannon heroically resists telling him that she hates salmon, until the point when she tells him that she hates salmon. This causes Nick to tell her a story about how he once had a traumatic experience with coffee, while repeating various pieces of rhyming slang communicated to him through an earpiece by his rhyming slang consultants in a nearby van. “That is such a good story!” Shannon shrieks at him, knowing that only through blatantly fake enthusiasm can a man’s heart be won.
Back at the mansion, Steph runs out with an envelope, which contains the bombshell news that one of the bachelorettes is called Steph. It also has the names of the women who will be accompanying Nick on the first group date. “I would’ve preferred a single date,” says Vanessa Sunshine, causing all the other women to go silent and stare at her as if she’d just said that her name is Vanessa Sunshine. “I thought that was sassy AF,” says Cat, already auditioning for a job with Mamamia. Meanwhile, Cayla is unhappy that she will be sharing the group date with the “three snakes”, Cat, Alicia and Romy, but to be fair they might not be thrilled to be sharing it with a batshit twig of witch hazel like Cayla. Cayla claims that going on a group date with Cat is something she finds as desirable as shooting herself in the head, but she’ll probably be too gutless to try a direct comparison.
Meanwhile Nick and Shannon are sitting on the beach talking dully about relationships. There is nothing remotely memorable about this conversation.
Shannon is obsessing over the question of whether to kiss Nick or not. Unfortunately she put far less thought into deciding whether to spend the entire day fake-laughing at him. “I want to abide by my morals,” she says, although I only figured out that’s what she said by context: it sounded like she said, “I want to abide by my moles”. But it turns out it’s got nothing to do with morals: she doesn’t want to kiss Nick because “you’ve got to leave him wanting more”. I don’t know whether Shannon has ever met a man before, but trust me, if you kiss him, he’s going to want more.
Shannon arrives back at the mansion and, as is customary, everyone pretends they don’t hate her and each other. “Are you a little bit in love with him?” asks Bachelorette Dennis Cometti, but Shannon is mainly intent on telling everyone how much she didn’t kiss him.
The day of the group date dawns, and it’s time for a photo shoot, continuing The Bachelor’s rich tradition of thinking that a photo shoot in some way constitutes a date. The theme of the photo shoot is “passion”: the picture will be themed according to the things Nick is passionate about. So presumably they’ll mostly be photos of beer and utes.
Actually, the first photo is of Nick being a rock star and several bachelorettes being his bandmates and/or groupies, so a sort of metaphorical depiction of what this show literally is. Cass spends the entire shoot trying to affix herself to Nick, hoping that glitter glue is insoluble. This enrages Romy, who thwarts Cass’s scheme to get Nick to issue a restraining order by barging into the shots and leaning on Nick’s back, knowing that back-to-back contact is the sexiest thing of all.
The next photo is on the theme of “helping others”, a passion Nick indulges through his public service announcements educating the less fortunate about comfortable underpants. This photo features Nick dressed as a fireman, holding Brooke in his arms while they stare into each others’ eyes with a look that eloquently says, “Isn’t it awesome how pissed off Vanessa Sunshine is, standing next to us watching us eyefuck each other while sucking a lemon?”
Vanessa Sunshine is dressed as a fireman too, and in an extremely reckless decision, the director has allowed her to hold an axe. Letting Vanessa Sunshine have a weapon is a bad idea even when she’s not in close proximity to two people she clearly wants to murder. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Meanwhile Commentary Lady stands there commentating on it all. It’s getting damn creepy.
For the next photoshoot, the commentator and Cat are dressed as schoolgirls, while Cayla is dressed as the cold heartless headmistress from Anne of Green Gables II. This is an appropriate costume for her to wear while she gazes resentfully at Cat, who’s rubbing herself all over Nick like she’s marking her territory, which would be a slap in the face to Cayla even if she weren’t already handicapped by having to dress as a seventy-year-old.
Sophie is chosen for the photo shoot where Nick does yoga while a madman tries to eat a sitar on the soundtrack. She finds the very concept of yoga amusing and ludicrous, and Nick is only pretending to know what he’s doing, so in a cultural sense the whole exercise is quite insulting.
Romy is very happy that Sophie had an awkward shoot and satisfied in general that according to her own assessment, every single other bachelorette is not Nick’s type.
The photo shoot is over, and on a wild, impulsive, producer-orchestrated whim, Nick shows up at the mansion in a limo to kidnap Romy. He is eager to get to know Romy better. Aleksandra is dubious, as Romy seems to her to be nasty and phony. But to be fair to Romy, Aleksandra only thinks that because it’s accurate.
Nick takes Romy to his uncle’s pizza restaurant, but sadly does not leave her there. They will be making their own pizzas, because women generally enjoy dates more when they have to cook. Together Nick and Romy throw dough and sauce around and it’s all just adorable, a moment spoiled only by Channel Ten’s music budget being insufficient to licence “Accidentally In Love”. “I’ve always wanted to make pizza from scratch,” says Romy, but she didn’t: the flour was already milled, the tomatoes had already been made into sauce.
Nick and Romy have a stupid conversation about feelings in which Romy explains that she doesn’t care about looks, only about the hosting job on a travel show. Romy then latches on to Nick’s neck and sucks on it for several minutes while depositing her eggs beneath his skin, while Nick pulls comical faces. Her sudden vampirism is quickly explained: “I’m not here to make friends,” she says. Ah.
Back at the mansion, the nightly group binge drinking session is in full session. Everyone is discussing Romy. “I’m not a fan of Romy,” says Vanessa Sunshine, “I think she’s a mean girl.” I like Vanessa Sunshine a bit more now. Romy and Nick get back and Romy slobbers all over him like a St Bernard for the spectators’ benefit. This makes the commentator laugh uncontrollably, but then so does everything: she has yet to say anything on this show without simultaneously guffawing like she’s on nitrous.
Romy immediately starts boasting about the volume of fluids she left all over Nick, which makes Cass start loading her gun, and makes Shannon cry. Shannon, who has suddenly realised that being a contestant on The Bachelor means you have to be a contestant on The Bachelor, runs off to sob while Cat and Romy sit on the couch and laugh about how stupid it is when girls have feelings.
While Romy continues to tell the story of how she fed off Nick to sustain her undead existence, thus re-enacting Casablanca, most of the other women discuss what a fuckstick Romy is, and Tenille tries to have an actual conversation with Nick, an outrage Romy quickly nips in the bud. She takes Nick away and all the others are disgusted by her, apart from her besties Cat and Commentator, who see in Romy a kindred spirit, inasmuch as she is horrible. While the women watch, Romy once again clamps on lamprey-style and tries to eat Nick’s head.
Rose time. Shannon already has one, and so, regrettably, does Romy The Human Spitball. Who is set to have all hopes of not dying alone shattered? TAFKAAG emerges from his dank cellar to inform them that two more losers are pissing off tonight.
Rhiannon gets a rose because one of these days Nick is determined to learn who she is.
Tenille gets a rose because at some point they should finish that conversation.
Brittany gets a rose mainly for her height.
Aleksandra gets a rose as consolation for my misspelling her name last night.
Cat gets a rose because she’s contracted.
Bill Lawry gets a rose because someone needs to do the play-by-play.
Brooke gets a rose because he actually likes her.
Kayla gets a rose because he thinks she’s Cayla.
Emily gets a rose because she won the raffle.
Dasha gets a rose thanks to the KGB.
Vanessa Sunshine gets a rose as punishment for hubris.
Cass gets a rose because the show needs its slice of crazy.
Ashley gets a rose because…I dunno, some kind of PR stunt I guess.
Steph gets a rose just for being Steph.
Someone else gets a rose, and so does some other lady.
Sophie gets a rose for purposes of dramatic tension.
Cayla gets a rose because her aura is purple.
This means that two women called Juliana and Renee have to leave, the network not having enough spare cash to pay them for speaking roles. And so we are left to forever wonder, “who were those bland-looking women?”
Tune in next week, when the bachelorettes are forced to replace the entire Wallabies squad for the Bledisloe Cup.
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