Traditionally, the first episode of The Bachelor is the one in which we get to know all the participants. An origin story, if you will. Except, of course, we only get to know four or five of the participants, the rest being just brief glimpses of psychosis, to be fleshed out in their full horror later on. Also, the term “traditionally” is bearing a great weight in the above sentence, as there are no actual “traditions” in The Bachelor, only regrettable habits. So let’s just say, the first episode of The Bachelor is the one where you see a bunch of very damaged people wander past the camera.
Of course, the Bachelor himself is a man we all know. Don’t we? Some of us do, anyway. Nick Cummins is a former international rugby player who has parlayed his interest in wearing underpants and talking like a Picture magazine editor into a vast ill-defined entertainment empire. He’s looking for a woman who doesn’t mind his rough and ready ways or grainy VHS porn looks and is willing to commit to a long-term publicity campaign.
We begin, of course, with The Artist Formerly Known As Andrew G, wandering about a candle factory telling lies about romance. Then it’s into some highlights of Cummins’s rugby career. “Some call me the honey badger,” he says, explaining that this is because he will bite any living creature with barely any provocation. Then we have to see some flash-forwards to things that haven’t happened yet, like a Christopher Nolan film or something. Get the fuck on with it, right?
In fact, this whole “here’s what is going to happen” bit really goes on for a long time. They may just be recapping the whole series before it starts. Apparently there’s going to be emotions.
Seriously, can we get on with it? The audience is salivating for some transparently fake feelings.
OK, here we go. Nick meets TAFKAAG, both of them wearing what can only be described as “suits”. “Do you have any idea what’s coming your way?” TAFKAAG asks. “No idea,” says Nick, even though there have been multiple seasons of this show and everyone knows exactly what’s coming his way by now. Nick does some Aussie speak and TAFKAAG fake laughs and the two chaps bond like nobody’s business. And we wish it was nobody’s business.
The first bachelorette arrives. She’s Shannon, she’s 25 and she lives in Melbourne. She is a “car care consultant”, which I guess means she runs a car wash? She also paints, and you’re not going to believe this but she is ready t find love. She has made a solemn vow to “be herself”, i.e. wearing expensive dresses, rollerskating in little shorts, etc.
“You scrub up all right,” Nick says to Shannon, and Shannon laughs coquettishly because she’s on TV and she would get kicked out if she told him to stop being a prick. He takes her for a walk around the garden, just to waste everyone’s time. “I like a man who has a good sense of humour,” says Shannon, bafflingly believing this to be related in some way to tonight’s experience. She also says, “I’m a bit of a weirdo”, afraid that she hasn’t been dull and predictable enough so far.
The second bachelorette — Jesus Christ we’re only up to two — is Brooke. She is 23 and has turned up carrying a rugby ball and an Aussie rules ball. This isn’t because she knows who the Bachelor is — HEAVENS NO! It’s just that she likes sport, and when you like sport and you’re going to meet a man, obviously you show up carrying footballs. Nick tells Brooke that he is a rugby player, and Brooke is utterly gobsmacked. “He absolutely loves sport. That’s what I was so scared about,” she says. That’s what she was so scared about. She was scared -SCARED — that he might not love sport. If she’d turned up and he’d hated sport she would have just died.
Only twenty minutes in. I mean…we’ve got MONTHS of this to go. Jesus.
Anyway, next bachelorette is Brittany, but you can call her Britt. She thinks she’s funny, and she’s from Port Macquarie. Nick is also from Port Macquarie. Can you believe that? It’s one of those amazing yet tedious coincidences. Nick and Britt engage in a short and unbelievably dull conversation about travel, and then she pisses off.
Next is Cayla, who is an “energy healer”, so she’s leading the Dickhead Stakes so far. “My psychic prediction is legit right,” she says as she approached Nick: she had a mysterious premonition that this year’s Bachelor would look like he’s wearing a wig. Cayla gives Nick a big lump of rock and Nick hasn’t got the first clue what’s going on.
Next is Cat, who is a fashion designer from Bali and thinks an awful lot of herself. Which is good because it’s great to have confidence, but on the other hand you’re a contestant on The Bachelor, so you deserve much lower self esteem.
Next is Tenille, who has brought a basket full of plates, which she and Nick smash because of Greek culture apparently. Next is…I missed that one. And the next one. There are a few in a row that we see only for a second because they’re not worth seeing for longer.
Next three women show up at once, which is against the rules. One of them is Cass, who knows Nick already — OH NO DRAMA. Before we get to Cass, we have to endure Sophie, who has no interesting backstory at all, but does have a small box with two remote controls in it. What a card!
Cass, meanwhile, is having a kind of fit in the car, because she’s Nick’s friend and says “there’s feelings there”, which makes one wonder why, if she had feelings for her friend Nick, did she decide to swan off to canoodle with a stranger on TV. HUH? HUH CASS? HUH? Hussy.
Cass walks up to Nick and Nick bursts out laughing. Cass bursts out laughing. Neither of them can stop laughing. It’s a pretty funny situation, but after listening to them laugh for what seems like about half an hour, it feels not very funny at all. They already know each other, so Cass pisses off pretty quickly.
Next is Emily, who has already had to endure Cass blithering on in the car, and who now gets three seconds on screen before we move on to several other equally forgettable women. One of them is called Ursula. Another one is called Juliana. They’re all wearing dresses. They have no other distinguishing features.
Suddenly the music goes all squishy and one thing becomes clear: we’re about to meet a sexy Russian. The music goes from squishy to Twin Peaks soundtrack as Nick meets Dasha, who definitely wishes to harness him and ride him like an ox. Dasha greets him as she greets all men, by wrapping her legs around his neck and doing vertical stomach crunches on him. “Holy strewth,” says Nick, which is weird.
Next is Vanessa Sunshine. That’s what she claims to be called: “Vanessa Sunshine”. When she sees Nick, she says she is “not thrilled”, because he has a moustache. She’s pretty picky for a woman called Vanessa Sunshine. She straightens Nick’s bowtie for him, just in case introducing herself as Vanessa Sunshine wasn’t annoying enough. He asks her where she’s from and she refuses to tell him. “When it comes to dating, you’ve gotta leave them wanting more,” says Vanessa Sunshine, who believes the key to a man’s heart is not talking to him.
Vanessa Sunshine enters the mansion and busies herself telling all the other bachelorettes that her name is Vanessa Sunshine. Some of them still think she might be a decent person, though, so she gets on with interrupting them, dominating the conversation and ignoring what everyone else says. “This is The Bachelor, not making girlfriends,” she says, and she’s right: Making Girlfriends usually airs earlier in the year.
The bachelorettes chat among themselves. I can remember three or four of their names. One of them is very impressed that there are fairy lights everywhere, so that’s the one who grew up in a coal mine I guess.
Cass is worried because she has a crush on Nick, and “now there are twenty other girls”. The presence of other women has apparently come as a huge shock to her. Wait till she finds out about the dates, it’ll devastate her.
I think the fairy lights woman is Britt, the one who found it mind-bogglingly eerie that Nick is from Port Macquarie.
TAFKAAG shows up and all the bachelorettes squeal like they’re twelve-year-olds and he’s someone much much more impressive than Osher Gunsberg. “I have seen people here fall madly in love,” TAFKAAG tells the women, weeping on the inside as he lies for money. He explains what roses mean on The Bachelor as if they don’t already know. He then introduces a “worldwide Bachelor first” — sincerity.
No, just joking. Actually it’s the key to the Bachelor Pad, the house Nick is staying in. “Tonight Nick will give this key to one of you,” he says, producing a chorus of yelps. The woman who gets the key gets to visit the Bachelor Pad at one time of her choosing. This is a prime opportunity to look through Nick’s private belongings and possibly steal his identity.
Now Nick arrives, and everyone applauds even though they’ve already met him. “His curly hair is doing it for me,” says a woman. I don’t know which one, but it’s obviously one of the stranger ones.
“When I see Nick, I definitely get butterflies and my hands start shaking. That’s what happens when I like someone,” says Cass, tragically not noticing the early symptoms of the nerve disorder that will lay waste to all her dreams in a matter of months.
Nick and the bachelorettes drink a toast to the concept of fake love. Alexandra grabs her chance and immediately leads Nick off into the bushes for a serious talk. Who is Alexandra, you may ask. I have no idea. I don’t think anyone knows. I don’t think she’s actually a contestant on the show.
Suddenly a subplot appears out of nowhere, as Cat spots Sophie. “I know who she is because an ex-boyfriend showed me a picture of her,” she says, which means…what? He dated her? He was hunting her because she skipped bail? There was a feature on her in National Geographic?
After the ad break we learn that it’s actually that Sophie is seeing Cat’s ex-boyfriend. This is massively significant in some way. “I hope Sophie’s here for the right reasons,” says Cat, but she has a strong suspicion that Sophie is not trying to get a drivetime radio presenting role at all.
Meanwhile all the women are trying to drag Nick off and paw at him in private. “I’m busier than a one-armed builder in Baghdad,” says Nick, cryptically. There is a near-zero chance that this man does not call his penis a “tockley”.
Cat heads for Sophie, planning to confront her over…whatever it is that’s supposed to be worth confronting her over. But before she can land a few slaps on the ol’ Sophster, Nick spirits Sophie away to play with remote control speedboats. Funny old world.
We get a fun little interlude with Cayla the insane idiot energy healer wanker, amusing the whole party with her dumb stupid wanker ways.
Meanwhile Nick and Sophie drive their speedboats around the pool and swap witty anal sex jokes. “That little boat race was different to the boat race I’m used to,” Nick confides to us, significantly yet meaninglessly. He and Sophie keep talking for a very long time. Way too long. Sophie lets slip her deepest secret: she is ready to find love.
The other woman are inside, drinking heavily and waiting for Cat and Sophie to kick off. Cat reveals that Sophie’s been seeing her ex. Cat declares herself gobsmacked. “Why would she bring that up?” she asks the camera. It’s pretty obvious really, Sophie. Sophie claims she had a few dates with him a while back and that’s all. Cat seems dubious, and also drunk. “I do not condone humiliation,” says Brittany, but it’s only the first night: she’ll learn. Cat is sure Sophie is lying, but doesn’t care because she thinks Nick is going to soon realise that Sophie is a basic bitch with nothing to offer. But if Nick wasn’t into basic bitches with nothing to offer, he’d hardly have gone on this show now would he?
Cass is following Nick around like a sad and slightly deranged puppy. One bachelorette finds this very amusing: the same one who found Cat’s story about Sophie very amusing. This bachelorette seems to be on the show just to provide running commentary on events. I wonder what her name is.
Nick is having a heart-to-heart with Nick about all the love she has to give and the relationships she wants but doesn’t need. They are quickly realising that they share something special: a painfully awful sense of humour.
At this point the screen goes blank for a few seconds. I don’t know if this is a technical fault or Nick and Brooke are banging on the couch and we’re not allowed to see it. Anyway when we’re back Cass is still mooning about after Nick and the Ray Warren of the mansion is still exploding with laughter as she gives the play-by-play.
Cass finally gets some alone time with Nick, and tells him that months ago she wrote in her diary that all she wanted was Honey Badger cock, and now all her dreams have come true. Nick smiles gently while trying to blink a distress call to the camera crew. Cass tries to kiss Nick, but it doesn’t quite work out because Nick is afraid of having his tongue eaten. “Hope Nick doesn’t have any pet bunnies at home,” chortles the female Bruce McAvaney. Seriously, what’s she doing there?
Cat gives Nick some home-made jewellery because she is cheap. Kayla is hoping to get Nick’s attention, “so he can remember who I am”. Good luck Kayla, because I sure as hell don’t. Isn’t it a bad idea to cast a woman called Kayla and a woman called Cayla? You’re just asking for trouble.
At this point, Kayla — not Cayla — jumps in the pool to get Nick’s attention. Then the screen goes blank again. Then Kayla gets out of the pool, having ruined her dress and achieved nothing.
Back to the couch, where the women discuss who will be getting the Bachelor Pad key. Some say Dasha. Some say Brooke. One says Cass, but haha, no. Seriously, after watching this episode no man will ever give Cass the key to his house. Restaurants won’t be willing to give her metal cutlery.
It’s time for Nick to award the possibly-important prize of the key. “I definitely want the Bachelor Pad key,” says Vanessa Sunshine, adding, “Nobody wants to second-best, and I’m definitely not second-best.” This, I can say, is not in dispute.
In the end Nick gives the key to Brooke because it’s pretty obvious he’s already in love with her, despite the fact Cat went to all the trouble of making him a pair of shitty cheap cufflinks. Nick tells Brooke he feels a really special connection with her, and he wants to explore that further by allowing her to visit him on one occasion in the future, while periodically sticking his tongue down a couple of dozen other women’s throats.
The commentator thinks Cayla might be going home tonight, because she’s a freaking loon and “I don’t know if I see her in Nick’s future”. But does she see herself in Nick’s future, given that she has seemingly spent the entire night in a separate room watching the live feed on a monitor and calling the action without actually meeting Nick at any point?
Put another way: who the fuck are you, lady?
It’s rose ceremony time. Three women are leaving the mansion tonight. Vanessa Sunshine is confident she’s not going to be one of them. Not surprising: you have to have an enormous amount of confidence to call yourself Vanessa Sunshine in public.
Brittany gets a rose, because she seems nice.
Dasha gets a rose, because her thighs are like iron.
Kayla gets a rose, because she’s all wet.
Rhiannon gets a rose, because why not?
Cat gets a rose, because she’s a messy bitch who loves drama.
Shannon gets a rose, because we’d almost forgotten her.
The commentating lady gets a rose, because otherwise we’d have no one to tell us what’s going on.
Tenille gets a rose, because she has no particularly offensive odours.
Sophie gets a rose, just to piss off Cat.
Alexandra gets a rose, in a case of mistaken identity.
Steph gets a rose. Steph?????
Cass gets a rose, because they’ve already cut the promos.
Cass hugs Nick for an uncomfortably long time before being prised off, and then…
Renee gets a rose, despite having not been on the show.
Emily gets a rose for no particular reason.
Ashley gets a rose I guess.
“Blair” (?) gets a rose.
Juliana gets a rose apparently.
Cayla gets a rose because Nick wants more crystals.
Someone or other gets a rose.
Vanessa Sunshine gets a rose, but is really pissed off that it took so long, and that Nick didn’t use her full name.
And so, three women go home, but we’ll never know who they were, because we don’t see Nick say goodbye to them, and they are wiped from history forthwith, as we cut straight from Vanessa Sunshine’s angry acceptance to “tomorrow on The Bachelor”.
Anyway, tomorrow on The Bachelor, a boat or something.
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