Couldn't resist. I love some reality television, especially The Amazing Race. Even so, when last night's first episode of The Bachelor New Zealand aired, I sat down not expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable it was to watch.
I went out for dinner with a group of friends last week and when I asked if any of them would be watching this show, all conversation stopped dead and I swore I could hear crickets. So, for their benefit and for those of my overseas readers, put down your Tolstoys and read my recap, because I know you are all just as shallow as me underneath it all.
We all know the premise, a Man-Mountain with everything going for him is seemingly unable to find the right person through conventional means so opts to go through a selection process of group and individual dates with 21 women in contrived settings on national television, with all of their highs and lows giving us fodder for our water cooler and school cloakroom discussions.
At first appearance, the Bachelor, Arthur Green, seems like a really down-to-earth guy. He hasn't had the perfect life though, we're told. Cue sad music. His parents divorced when he was 8. He's got six sisters, so we know he'll be able to handle himself with a group of women. We're introduced to the contestants as they roll up in pairs to the mansion in their Suzukis. It always amazes me that people want to go on this type of show and be willing to risk potential embarrassment and humiliation to themselves and their families but to me, Matilda seems like she's there to find out if she really does have a connection with the Bachelor. She seems genuine and likeable and my money is on her to go right to the end. If skeptics talk about how scripted these shows are, let me point out the moment when Art trips near the pergola just seconds after advising Matilda to be careful. Their reactions are so endearing and real. This is the moment I realize am possibly too involved in this show.
I can't remember many of the other contestants' names except for the token mean girl. I can't help but think that Chrystal has ulterior motives for being on the show. There's obviously chemistry between her and the Bachelor though, even if she does play the aloof game with him and all of the other girls have identified her as a Threat. Then we have lovely, shy Natalie. She's so tall, she couldn't hide herself away even if she wanted to. She wonders if her shyness will cost her a rose. It doesn't, she's through.
There's also Rosie, who gives the Bachelor a white rose during their introduction. I'm dying under the weight of the symbolism. She worries that he's missed the joke so she repeats herself turning a cheesy moment into an awkward one. The Bachelor was probably relieved her name wasn't Rocket launcher, but this guy is so smooth, he would have one-hand clapped it away before it could be fired into the mansion.
So the Bachelor is clearly not ageist, mumsist, heightist or racist. We know this because he gives Shivani, the girl with a conservative Indian family, a rose too.
Poppy, with the amazing blue eyes and refined British accent, is my outside contender to make the final two, alongside #teammatilda and Kristie with a K. She's a yoga instructor, y'all. Guys like flexibility. She gets a rose. She seems like she'd be fun to hang out with and I would invite her to one of our girly curry nights*.
In the only controversial moment of the night, three girls are sent home after the rose ceremony instead of four after Rosie rules herself out of contention. She waits until nearly all the roses are handed out before making her announcement though. That might have been scripted. I can't tell. In spite of assuring him her decision was not to do with him, it really was to do with him; he's not adventurous enough for this seeker of dangerous hotspots. There's a metaphor in there somewhere. Probably.
Have I made you half-curious to watch tonight's episode? Go on, because even if the burgeoning relationships, anticipated cat fights and inevitable heartbreak don't interest you, our spectacular New Zealand scenery just might.
* Having since watched episode two, curry for Poppy may be a bad idea. I retract my invitation.