Wow. Can it be only a year since we last drank in the rich, heady flavours of The Bachelor? And can it be only a year from now that episode one of Season Seven will finally end?
Yes, Season Seven. This old grey mare of a show has somehow staggered into a seventh year. I’m as surprised as you are. Still, it will surely be exciting to see a whole new man we know nothing about pretend to have feelings for several dozen women we also know nothing about.
The new Bachelor is Matt, which is a good name for a Bachelor, because over 70% of contestants on both The Bachelor and Bachelorette are named Matt. Matt is an astrophysicist who says he’s been fascinated by space since he was a kid, so it’s only natural that when he grew up he would want to engage in televised polyamory.
After some slow-motion footage of Matt running along a beach, displaying his chiselled body and ability to terrify seagulls, it’s time to get on with the business at hand: meeting the bachelorettes. This process, which traditionally drags on long enough to warp the human perception of time itself, is a great opportunity for Matt to size up the contenders, get a sense of their personalities, and decide which one has the best tits.
Matt arrives at the Bachelor mansion to discover that the Christmas lights have still not been taken down. Here he meets our old friend The Artist Formerly Known As Andrew G. TAFKAAG begins by describing Matt as “tall, dark and handsome”, suggesting he’s wearing some kind of distorting contact lenses, because Matt is not dark at all, and let’s be honest he’s only very slightly handsome. TAFKAAG asks Matt whether it’s important that the woman he chooses be into science. Matt replies that it’d be great if she was into science, but as long as she can hook her ankles behind her ears he will maintain an open mind.
The first Bachelorette car arrives. Out steps…wait…can it be…yes…it’s a woman!
The first Bachelorette is Helena, who is a Health and Wellness Coach and therefore is in desperate need of a place to stay. Matt compliments her on her dress and forces her to perform for him as if she were some kind of trained monkey. “What are you looking for here?” asks Matt, not able to think of a question that makes sense. Helena replies that she is looking for someone she can spend the rest of her life with. So, mission accomplished: Matt is definitely, technically, someone she can spend the rest of her life with.
Helena is from Mauritius and speaks French. Matt tells her he loves her accent. Her accent isn’t French, though: it’s more what might be called “Australian but kind of bitchy”.
The next Bachelorette is Chelsie, who is a chemical engineer but talks like she only learned how this morning. She has a present for Matt. “Tell me about this red box,” says Matt, the filthy bastard. Inside the red box is a temporary tattoo, which has scientifically been proven to be the least impressive gift it is possible to give someone. The tattoo depicts the molecular structure of oxytocin, the “love molecule”. It’s very romantic and nerdy and the pair bonds over their shared love of science and high-pitched gibbering. Matt puts the temporary tattoo on over his heart, symbolising his brief and ephemeral attraction to Chelsie.
Abbie is a property analyst from Queensland who arrives to incidental music that strongly suggests she is a cat burglar. Matt compliments her on her dress, raising suspicions that his earlier compliments of Helena’s dress may have been a ruse. When Matt tells her he’s an astrophysicist, Abbie says, “I’m a Gemini”, and it’s hard to determine whether she’s making a joke or just genuinely stupid. Of course, it could be both.
The next Bachelorette is Kristin, who is a China researcher. I don’t know what that means: does she research the country or the crockery? “Fun fact,” she chirrups, “my friends call me China Girl!” This is an egregious abuse of the term “fun fact”, and Kristin quickly takes an early lead in the Most Annoying Bachelorette sweep. Like Chelsie, Kristin also has a box. Inside a fortune cookie, the culinary equivalent of a temporary tattoo. Kristin is incredibly pleased with herself for being bilingual, but it seems that she spent so much energy learning Chinese that she neglected to learn anything else including how to talk to someone without making them want to stab themselves in the face.
Next comes Rihanna, who loves Lego. Matt also loves Lego. Rihanna gives Matt a Lego rose. She seems fun, and/or a literal child, but she is too uninteresting to spend much time on, and we quickly skip on to Jessie.
Jessie makes an obscene suggestion and we cut to the next woman: a Pilates instructor whose name I didn’t hear but who forces Matt to do pelvic thrusts right there in the garden like some kind of pervert. We are well into the “rapid stream of woman we don’t care much about” part of the first episode, and after the Pilates instructor we get a woman with enormous feathers on her head. This is Mary. She makes Matt dance and all in all seems to be very much the kind of person who goes around making other people dance. Her stay on screen is mercifully brief.
Next is a blonde who puts her fingers to her lips and then sticks one up her nose and then acts out the Andrew Lincoln sign scene from Love, Actually. Her name is Hannah and she’s very excited that Matt got the reference, as if there is anyone on earth anywhere who wouldn’t have. Hannah is quickly marked down as “the one who tries too hard”.
The next Bachelorette is Nichole. Nichole shows up on a motorbike because she just has to be DIFFERENT, you know? She promises that she will take us on a “wild ride”, and then shows us some footage of her skateboarding, much as a nine-year-old would. Apparently Nichole often has random men following her around with cameras. Or to put it another way, Nichole often makes up complete bullshit.
Matt asks Nichole what she’s looking for at the mansion. Nichole says she would like a guy, so she passes the first test: she understands the premise of the show. “I don’t care about the other girls,” Nichole tells us, as if any of the girls on this show has ever cared about the others.
The show has been going for half an hour, or in Bachelor Time, eight weeks.
The next Bachelorette is Vakoo, who says “My name’s Vakoo” a few dozen times before doing a weird little walk up to Matt. She’s a model, so walking in a weird way is her special skill I guess. She makes Matt do a weird walk too. That’s the best she could come up with. It’s no pelvic thrust, Vakoo. She watches Matt do his catwalk turn and says “I’m pregnant” and Matt is feeling distinctly odd. “Once you go black, you never go back,” Vakoo tells him, something that, as a scientist, Matt knows is not empirically supported.
The next Bachelorette is Emma. Emma introduces herself by saying, “I’ve been thinking about my wedding since I was a little girl” in order to make sure we know that she plans to kill and eat Matt. “Everything is resting on this moment for me,” she adds, staring terrifyingly into the camera as if visualising a ritual sacrifice. She immediately tells Matt that she wants to get married, and Matt makes a mental note to put as much distance between himself and Emma as he can as quickly as possible.
Next is Keely, who seems much more laidback but also so forgettable that all we hear is her name before moving on to Tash, who gets literally one second on screen before we move on to Sophie, and then to Georgina, who is interesting enough for us to at least learn that she’s from England. But then it’s quickly on to Cassandra, who puts a ring on Matt’s finger and laughs psychotically at him.
Next is Segan. Sigan? Seganne? She teaches Matt to say “will you accept this rose?” in Persian, but then it turns out she was actually teaching him to ask her to marry him. She has already proven herself to be a vicious and unrepentant liar, and she should be immediately disqualified.
It’s time for a proper meeting that isn’t edited out, and this is Ellie. She’s a nurse and has clearly been earmarked by producers as “the one everyone likes”. She smiles a lot and drags Matt out to a campfire in the garden, where they toast marshmallows and discuss Ellie’s upbringing on a farm. At some point during this series Ellie and Matt are definitely going to go on a date wearing rubber boots. She says she’s from Parkes. Matt enthuses about the Parkes radio telescope.
Ellie and Matt have bonded instantly and it’s a shame to think that in a few short weeks she’s going to be surprisingly rejected in favour of someone much less likeable and cause people to send a lot of angry tweets.
Following several blissful days with Ellie, Matt must now meet Rachael, who has not only not moved her facial muscles in three years, but is also wearing a wedding dress. The obvious question, when a woman turns up wearing a wedding dress, is “why are you wearing a wedding dress?” And in Rachael’s case, the answer is “Because I am completely fucking mental”.
Matt tells Rachael that he’s an astrophysicist, causing her head to bob disturbingly around for a few seconds as she processes the shock revelation that words can have more than two syllables. Rachael has come with her best friend Tonya. Matt speaks briefly to Tonya, while Rachael watches from a distance and swears to murder her next time she sees her.
Rachael enters the mansion, where all the other Bachelorettes are stunned to find that one of their fellow contestants has shown up dressed as the murderous demon from the hit movie Annabelle Comes Home. Is Rachael there to kill them, or just to steal all the house’s prescription medication? Only time will tell.
Rachael tells the other women that she doesn’t think Matt is all that and a bag of potato chips. Emma laughs a little too loudly as she declares that he is the most perfect and beautiful creature she has ever seen and that she never before realised how wondrous God’s creation can be. “I just want to spend more time with Matt,” she goes on, wondering what colour her bridesmaids should wear.
All of a sudden, TAFKAAG appears in the mansion to deliver a very important message before retiring to his underground lair. He tells them that Matt is looking for one special person he can spend the rest of his life with, and that this means that most of them are not special. TAFKAAG explains that winning The Bachelor is easier if you spend time with the Bachelor, and they nod and murmur to indicate they’ve grasped this.
TAFKAAG now reveals the Golden Ticket, a special card which will be given to one lucky woman, and which will entitle her to go to Melbourne with Matt and receive a lifetime supply of chocolate. Matt will award the Golden Ticket at tonight’s cocktail party. “I definitely want the Golden Ticket,” says Emma, the words “if I don’t get it I will tear a bitch’s face off with my teeth” hanging unspoken but understood in the air.
It is now time for Matt to show up and make a little speech about how dating twenty women at once is a normal way to live your life. He asks Emma to come away for a quick chat, making the mistake that many men have made before: being alone with Emma.
“I think Emma’s a bit clingy,” says Rachael, and credit where it’s due: the woman may have lips that look like engorged leeches, but she’s spot on about Emma. She’s clingy enough to keep salad fresh for days.
Matt sits down with Emma to discuss the place settings for the reception. They are rudely interrupted by Mary, who is sick of talking to women and who can blame her. “Would it be OK if I steal Matt for a second?” she asks, causing Emma to tensely finger the kitchen knife she has stowed in her underpants.
There’s still more than half an hour of this to go if you can believe it.
Emma sits down with the other women to describe the multiple orgasms that Matt caused her to have just by crossing his ankles. Meanwhile Matt speaks with Mary until he is interrupted by…someone else, I dunno, one of the other ones. And then she’s interrupted by Georgina, who is interrupted by Vakoo, who walks away without sitting down but slips a mickey into Georgina’s drink.
Matt takes charge and asks for a private word with Segan presuming that’s how it’s spelt. He asks her what the Persian phrase she taught him actually means. She tells him it means he proposed marriage, and they have a big jolly laugh about her clever joke and the fact both of them were born without a sense of humour. Things then get deadly serious as Segan tells Matt she wants to be able to tell him how she feels, but doesn’t actually tell him how she feels, which…I mean, this seems like an ideal opportunity, you know?
Back inside Vakoo describes how she thinks Matt is like a chocolate cake: multiple layers, rich, sweet, stale after being left out for a few days. The rest of the woman talk about how Matt is an astrophysicist and how none of them really know what that is. Of all the woman who don’t know what that is though, Rachael doesn’t know what that is even more than the others, and when asked directly by a producer if she understands what Matt’s job is, she gazes into the distance and eventually falls asleep.
Matt goes off for a chat with Helena, who explains that she came to Australia when she was eight and went to a special school for pretentious children. The conversation is interrupted by Hannah, who apologises for interrupting but then doesn’t provide any reason for the interruption.
Hannah sits down and prevents Helena from talking to Matt by reciting a baffling monologue about the linguistic creativity of JRR Tolkien while both Matt and Helena look at the night sky and long for death. Hannah has apparently decided that the best way to win a man’s heart is to make it impossible for him to conduct a conversation with anyone else by bringing up fantasy authors for no discernible reason. It’s a bold strategy, but who knows, it could work: for all we know Matt is a lunatic.
As the night ploughs ever onward and the audience becomes progressively drunker, the women take it in turns to be rude to each other as they try to spend time with Matt. Elly voices her disapproval of this rudeness. “I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” she says, confirming her status as The Good One.
Vakoo beckons Matt into the yard, declaring she “needs to get to that chocolate cake.” Gross. “I decide to get my carpet out,” she says, and she knows exactly what she said there, I promise you. She demonstrates how to walk on a catwalk. All the other women cheer and whoop as if walking is some kind of freakish aerobatic skill. “I think she thinks she’s a model of some kind,” says Nichole, who is The Bad One.
Rachael watches Vakoo’s display with cool detachment. “Some girls will do anything to get some camera time,” she says, as she sits wearing the wedding dress that she turned up for a reality TV show wearing.
Nichole drags Matt away to badger him and convince him that she is the most unpleasant woman he has ever met. She is confident of receiving the Golden Ticket, because her parents gave her far too much positive reinforcement as a child.
In the mansion, Kristin talks with the others about China, the only subject she is capable of talking about. She tells them all that she has been to China and she loves China and China is full of wonderful things and they all have to go to China because China is the best. Rachael suspects she is being paid by the Chinese Tourist Board. I suspect she’s never been to China, but recently read a book about it.
Matt sits down for a chat with Elly, who is currently his favourite and will remain so right up till the point when it seems impossible that he’ll reject her. Elly tells Matt that she considers herself very lucky to be a nurse, as she enjoys the sight of human beings in pain. She declares that she’ll give anything a red-hot crack at least once. Matt realises he’s found a perfect partner for his upcoming nationwide crime spree.
Emma watches Elly and Matt like Michael Myers watches Jamie Lee Curtis. The fact that Matt is talking to another woman is making her nervous. She didn’t realise when she applied that there would be other women on the show.
Anticipation is at fever pitch as the women wonder who will receive the Golden Ticket. Emma hopes she gets the Golden Ticket, seeing as how she is Matt’s fiancee and all, but the fact that none of the others have given up and gone home yet is getting her down. She becomes even more downcast when Matt asks if he can talk privately with Chelsie: admittedly a weird thing for any man to want to do.
“I love chatting with Chelsie,” says Matt, but provides no convincing evidence for this claim. He opens his shirt to show Chelsie that he is still wearing his fake tattoo and prove that he possesses at least one nipple. Emma decides that Chelsie is her main competition and loads her blowgun.
Chelsie returns to the group and admits that she has seen Matt’s nipple and it is everything that the legends foretold. The other women chuckle darkly, already planning the campaign of psychological torture that will break Chelsie’s spirit for good.
Matt picks up the Golden Ticket and seeks out the Chosen One. And playing the role of Charlie Bucket tonight will be…
Oh, it’s SOGAND. Her name is Sogand.
Oh, right, the Golden Ticket. Yeah. He gives the Golden Ticket to Elly. Obviously: she is clearly the best woman there in every way and as soon as he met her Matt knew she was the one he wanted to lead on and then dump abruptly. This means Elly will get to visit with Matt in Melbourne at some point, which will be exciting for her as she’s from the country and has never seen paved roads before.
Matt also gives her a rose, which is lucky because if he gave her the Golden Ticket and then sent her home it’d all seem a bit pointless.
All the other women are disappointed apart from Rachael who had all her feelings surgically removed at the age of twelve. The rest of them are shattered, realising that the Golden Ticket is a huge advantage for Elly, especially considering that she already had the advantage of being a better person than them. Emma is particularly frustrated and has already got the water boiling on the stove.
It’s time for a rose ceremony, which means only one thing: TAFKAAG gets some fresh air. “One of the fundamental forces that drives Matt is,” he begins, and everyone crosses their fingers that he’s about to say, “REVENGE”. But he just blathers stuff about love etc.
Two women will go home tonight, which will be nice for them because they can wear trackie daks again. Matt comes in and begins slinging flora.
He gives a rose to Chelsie because she has read a book.
He gives a rose to Sogand because he admires deceit.
He gives a rose to Vakoo because he’s gone black and can therefore not go back.
He gives a rose to Georgina because her accent makes her good comic relief.
He gives a rose to Hannah because he wants to be reminded which one she is.
He gives a rose to Mary because he hasn’t understood a word she’s said all night.
He gives a rose to Kristin because he likes the racist music that plays every time anyone mentions Kristin.
He gives a rose to Abbie because her hair is the most 80s of anyone.
He gives a rose to Helena as a reward for good posture.
He gives a rose to Emma because nobody wants to get off the crazy train at the first stop.
He gives a rose to Nichole because he wants a ride on a motorbike.
He gives a rose to Jessie because her mum says she’s cool.
He gives a rose to Isabelle because, uh…who the hell is Isabelle?
He gives a rose to Tash, the evil god of chaos from CS Lewis’s Narnia series.
He gives a rose to Rihanna, or possibly Brianna? I dunno.
He gives a rose to Cassandra, the little weird one, because that’s his fetish.
One rose left, and it goes to…
Rachael. DUH. You think they’re going to set up someone this nuts and bitchy and botoxed and then send her home? She’s going to be around a while making sure everyone’s worst flaws are thoroughly noted.
This means that Keely and Sophie are going home, and it’s sad to see them go after we’ve spent so much time not knowing they’re there.
We fade out on Emma reading the short story she’s written about Matt, leaving us with just one question still to be answered: what was up with that one shot of a llama that popped up halfway through there? Are we going to see the llama again? Let’s hope so!
Tune in tomorrow, when a bunch of new girls show up far too early in the series.