16 Mar 2016

The Bachelor NZ: 'I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way'

11:54 am on 16 March 2016

Natasha Frost weighs in on this week's episodes of The Bachelor NZ.


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Photo: The Bachelor NZ

It’s all gone a bit Star Wars. I’m not drawing comparisons between poor Mike Puru and Jar Jar Binks or suggesting that we rechristen ‘The Mansion’ ‘The Death Star’ - but what is evident is that, even at this very early stage of season two, there’s a Force and a Dark Side. And, most bizarrely, it’s delineated by hair colour.

Tripping merrily through a field, four of the blonde bachelorettes wonder, aloud, whether Jordan prefers blondes or brunettes.

Cut - abruptly - from the twinkling soundtrack and sunshine to slashing knives and heaving strings: Dark Siders Naz and Claudia are running through their hit list. “Kate, Gab, Rebecca, Shari,” says Naz, narrowing her eyes and swishing her long, dark ponytail. She doesn’t throw back her head into a Jafar-like cackle, but you can’t help but feel that it isn’t far off. Maybe next week.

Sure, there are no light sabers but, in Tuesday night’s episode, they do get paintball guns and some serious damage is wrought: note the welts on Jordan’s neck and Erin’s back. In a line that’s almost too easy to take out of context, Kate says: “I really wanna gun down Naz.” It’s getting very #realtalk.

Let’s thunder quickly through the main events of this week’s episodes: Storm - so serene that she transcends all allusions to teacups, eyes and other weather-related puns - goes on a solo date with ‘Bach’; kissing ensues - and a rose! Jordan makes lots of slightly condescending comments about how well ‘the girls’ are coping! Shari goes to the gallery where she sees some green art, but not Art Green! Fleur is still very nice! Sparkly dresses! Butterflies! One-on-one time! Connection! Bork!

But two wars are being waged here - and I’m not sure they have much, if anything, to do with one another - the fight for true love, with man-shaped prize Jordan, and Naz’s ‘strategy’ to get the girls she doesn’t like out of the house.

Claudia He’s very tan, I’m tan Conaglen says that she’s been cooped up in the mansion (sorry, Death Star) for two weeks on end now, broken up only by the appearance of Date Letters without her name on it. However palatial the place might be, it’s fertile ground for disagreements to fester and comments to be taken out of context. And, it seems, the knives are out. (At least in the sound effects.)

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Photo: The Bachelor NZ

But how bad are the baddies? I’m reminded of cartoon vamp Jessica Rabbit, oozing voluptuously through Who Framed Roger Rabbit: “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Is something similar afoot with Naz and the editing process? Novelist Jean Rhys once said that though a novel must have shape, life doesn’t have any. Each 45 minute episode of the Bachelor is as much as three days boiled down to highlights, low-lights, brooding looks, and a hellish feedback loop of the word ‘connection’. I smell an edit.

That edit (or cut and slash) portrays Naz’s great obsession with what she calls ‘the wrong reasons’ to be on the show - whether you’re there ‘for Jordan’, or there for yourself.

But, if it’s the kind of thing you’re into, is there a wrong reason to be on The Bachelor? You get to do as much as 10 weeks of paid daytime drinking throughout the New Zealand summer; you’re practically guaranteed heaps more Instagram followers; you might even get a helicopter ride.

There’s also the risk that you might get seriously, seriously hurt. Think back to Dani’s tears last season, or that quavering look in Storm’s eye when Shari got back from her night out with Jordan in the big city (with gratuitous shots of the Sky Tower). It might not work out after all, right reasons or no.

All I’m trying to say, Naz, if you’re reading this, is that there’s only about a 4% chance of winning the show, so you may have to settle for accepting a sparkly consolation prize. Some might say there are no right reasons to go on the Bachelor - I’d suggest, rather, that all the reasons are equally good. And it does make bloody compelling telly.

Going home: Metz (self-selecting ‘shocker’), ‘Wild Card’ Anna, Lindsey
Pick to win: Rebecca
Single Date: Storm, Shari
In trouble: No apparent sparks flying for back-up brunette baddie Claudia