30 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Eps 13 and 14: Hometown visits

Open wide and say ahhhh nice houses, we're on to the hometown visits. Art manages to squeeze in a game of tennis with another guy who isn't important enough to introduce to the nation before he heads off to find Dani and - no tongue on greeting each other? Just a hug on Herne Bay beach by way of hello? I did not see that one coming. The prospect of meeting one set of your four girlfriends' parents would crush anyone's libido. Wait. What? Step-mum and step-dad are going to be there too? Two sets of parents and Dani's twin sister. Intense.
The ghetto.
Dani worries that Art will find her father quite 'full on'. Apple. Tree. While the women are busy falling over themselves to welcome Art, Dani's dad and step-dad adopt some typical "You don't impress me" posturing and I am busily scoping the minimalist interior for signs of which set of parents live here. I deduce that it is her father and step-mother's house purely because he seems to know where the bin is when a glass gets broken. The relationship between the four parents seems very convivial. It's not hard to tell who Dani gets her affectionate nature from.

Her dad has a chain smoker voice but a heart of well, I'm not entirely sure. He takes Art out into the garden for a game of dArts. I know. Art spins him a line that he really likes his daughter but Robbo's not really listening because he's thinking about the body he used to have while standing next to Art's impressive set of guns. Meanwhile, Dani presents her real mum with a bracelet courtesy of Michael Hill JewellerTM because apparently this is what you do when you're busily breaking The Bachelor's face and want to demonstrate that you've missed your mother while doing so.

Art is grilled by both sets of parents but in particular by Dani's step-mother, Amanda, who struggles to understand the concept of competing against other women to find love on a television show. Art pretends to look like he cares. She asks who is going to be the one to raise the children. One step at a time, Mandy. He's only interested in the act of making babies with Dani, not actually having the babies. If Dani does not win the final rose, we will know where to point the finger of blame. Amanda is scary.

To ease the post-interrogation stress levels, Art and Dani go shopping in a very suspiciously empty shop before farewelling each other.

With one hometown visit under his belt, Art looks more prepared for what to expect on his next family visit with Matilda. She is also waiting for her boyfriend at the beach. Before they arrive at a holiday home on Waiheke Island where Art will get to meet her father, Ken, and friend Georgie, she coaches him to laugh at her Dad's jokes. Ah, Dad jokes are a real litmus test aren't they? Matilda's parents separated when she was 13 and are no longer on speaking terms so with just two people to meet, this visit should be a cakewalk for Art.
Much idle chitchat, so awks

They walk in the house to meet Ken and Georgie who have flown in from Australia and for once, Art is not the most awkward male in the room. Good old Ken obviously doesn't like awkward silences so launches into some historical babble about a vege shop and I am dying. The boys bond over the BBQ while Matilda and her friend make salad and small talk.

Ken warms into his role and, like Art, seems to be very genuine and articulate. What is happening to me? This episode is making me lose my cynicism. He is very protective of his daughter and they have a private chat where he keeps her feet firmly on the ground by asking her whether she will be okay if she is not the last one standing. No bedazzled piece of jewellery for you, Ken.

Matilda takes Art to visit her old primary school and shows him where she broke her other arm. Mentioning an event that happened over 15 years ago is the only exciting thing to happen on this visit.

Poppy's house is either not up to filming standards, or she rents and her housemates aren't happy for it to appear on the show because Poppy meets Art on a communal farm complete with paleo chooks where she used to do volunteer work. Art meets her best friend, AJ, and her mother, Sarah, who has flown over from Australia. Poppy greets her mother like a 5 year old and then leaves her friend standing there awkwardly waiting for a hug.

Art and Sarah have a chat together and Art cries that he can't have four girlfriends. AJ falls a little bit in love with Art when she hopes Art stumbles on one of her questions to gauge his suitability, but he answers it with aplomb instead. Sarah is charmed by her prospective son-in-law and tells Poppy that he is TPG and I agree but only if it means totally phunking gormless. Disappointingly, it means The Perfect Guy so Poppy gives her mum a bracelet.

Art and Poppy go out for a cocktail and have a little conversation where Poppy confides that she has had her guard up because of the fact she is reminded that there are still six other girls, five other girls, three other girls and by this stage even Art loses patience with the glaring error in her basic maths speech and cuts her short. With Dani lightyears ahead of her in the kissing stakes, Poppy has her work cut out for her and this is her last chance to leave a lasting impression.

By hometown visit number four, Art has got some real swagger going on. Alysha is waiting for him outside the only open shop on Invercargill's main street (probably). It is a stone's throw away from the emergency contraceptive dispensary and Art notes that for later (possibly). They head into a chocolatier to make their own chocolate because aphrodisiac. Things get dirty in the Deep South and Art obligingly licks chocolate off Alysha's neck. Risque. He's still a good boy underneath it all and brings Alysha's mum some flowers to help compensate for the stink stirling silver heart-shaped necklace that Alysha gives her later on.

Alysha's dad really likes Art but real men don't talk about these things so we can only guess that he approves because he gives the sheep a few extra bits of bread. During the family meal, he gives a father of the bride toast and Art looks scared.

After dinner with the family, Art and Alysha have some time to themselves rugged up in the paddock next to the house with a motorbike and some goalposts in the background. At last, a hometown visit I can relate to.

Who has made enough of an impact on Art to remain in the front of his mind as he makes his decision on who will come with him on the upcoming fantasy dates?

Cue panoramic shot of Auckland just to remind the viewer that we are now back in the big smoke. There are some highly staged shots of each of the girls gazing pensively into the distance in their evening gowns for dramatic effect. There are only four girls remaining, each as desirable as the other and we nod empathetically at how extremely difficult it will be for Art to make his decision.

It feels like an age has passed to reach this point. Alysha and Matilda receive roses. Dani and Poppy look like they are going to pass out on the floral carpet. Then, HIGH DRAMA, Art asks to speak to Dani in private. He questions how serious she is about him. What the blind hell?! Has being on this show made him a bit thick? I can't blame him, after six weeks of this mindless television, I feel less capable of functioning in the real world myself. Dani launches into an impassioned speech about how much she wants him that he cannot possibly doubt how MUCH SHE WANTS HIM. And so, after a glorious beginning and showing promise of a real connection with Art, Poppy's journey of love is over.

We are down to the final two episodes. The girlfriends are flown to the Gold Coast for the fantasy dates in which Art hopes each girl will truly be able to reveal the extent of her seriousness about him. Can't. Hardly. Wait.

24 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 12: More tedium. Help me Tom Cruise.

Still all here? Right then, get ready for the tip-off, the Harlot Gobtrotters' starting five are warmed up and ready to play the love game with Art. Mike arrives to check on his relevance levels and it turns out he is actually needed to spare Alysha the split second she'd have otherwise needed to get up off the beanbag to retrieve the date card from him. They play the usual highly annoying game of guessing whether it's going to be a single or group date. Dani, as always, hopes it's her. Despo. This time it's Matilda going on the one-on-one date. She is standing outside a hangar waiting for her man as all good girls do and he turns up in a jeep and looks tired from driving it all that way from Splash Planet.
Matilda has a thing for guys in uniform so she's having palpitations at the sight of him in his khaki overalls and says he looks like Tom Cruise except there's no hot air force guys playing shirtless volleyball in their downtime or sexy supersonic jets anywhere, just a crumbly bi-plane and a hobbyist pilot, which sums up the RNZAF nicely.

They go up in the air in the flying machine, and marvel at the water colour. Truly. We really cannot blame them for the lack of decent conversation when they are both probably packing bricks that the engine could cut out at any minute.
We know Art just loves his gardens so they then drive to the Fountain Gardens in Tauranga where Matilda exclaims that it's CUUUUTE and Art has just finished reading Cinderella and agrees that it is like a fairytale place. They take a rowboat out on a teeny tiny pond with a water sprinkler for a fountain and it's then that it is confirmed for me that the Fountain Garden is just one major disappointment. They row in circles and she comments on a rainbow and he corrects her and says "Actually, it's a double rainbow". I feel my lip start to twitch and have to calm myself from all this banality. She tells him he is a rare breed in that he is funny, nice, good-looking and not a dick. He tells Matilda that he hasn't met anyone who has made him laugh as much as she does. I tell the both of them through clenched teeth that they deserve each other, the pair of insipid twangers.

We return to the remaining girls and Poppy says "Chrystal is in a wonderful mood" when she arrives on the jetty with the next date card which is code for "she has indulged in a few too many Lindys" but who can blame her? I'd hit the bottle too if I had to endure being on this show. It turns out that two girls are going on a fishing date with Art and Alysha is thrilled to learn that it will be her and her bestie, Dani.

Dani's just excited to pound Art's face some more and at the prospect of a bit of rivalry she chimes 'Two girls, one rose, one stays, one goes'. I can only hope.

Back at the Garden of Futile Conversation, Art says "Matilda likes her food". Dear lord, Tom Cruise, you did not just say that? That rowboat just had uneven load distribution, that is all.
They enjoy some dessert and then Art gives Matilda even more of a legitimate reason to be weighed down, with a whole pile of diamonds on a silver bangle. Nice move.

Meanwhile, PLOT TWIST. Chrystal reveals to Dani that Poppy has properly pashed Art, so now Poppy's little secret is out. I do wonder if Poppy had wanted their intimate moments to remain just between her and Art why she would choose to tell Chrystal out of all of the girls, who by her own admission says she is not very good at keeping secrets.

We return to the Garden of Strategically Placed Lanterns where Matilda and Art go for a walk since her arm is still broken. I think her brain may be slightly broken too because she has full use of her legs and still decides not to run far, far away from him. Then my favourite thing ever happens. A cat wanders into the scene and stays there on its back for so long, I have to look away. This cat is so available, I wonder if it is actually Dani in disguise.
When Art and Matilda kiss for the first time, there's piano music and even violins playing so we know that this is the Kiss to End All Kisses. The other girls had better be worried.

Art carpes the diem out of the next date with Dani and Alysha. I find the whole situation even more bizarre than the concept of the show itself and it is not easy to watch. Alysha is really dark about having to spend her day sharing Art with another girl whereas Dani behaves as though it is completely normal to be vying for the attention of one man, a man who likes to kiss fish.
Nothing wrong with that.
This third-wheel date gets even more uncomfortable as they head ashore to eat some of their day's catch and Art takes each girl away to spend some alone time, presumably within view of the other girl. Dani takes her moment to remind Art of how much she likes to kiss him. She pretends to care if Alysha can see them but really, she doesn't care at all. Alysha, of all the remaining girls, is the most guarded. She converses with Art without making much eye contact at all and is much more reserved but is still happy to climb into his face. Neither girl gets a rose on the date, meaning just Matilda is safe at the evening's rose ceremony.

It's the last cocktail party ever and no-one is sad about that. The girls are discussing Poppy withholding details on her kiss and Poppy feels affronted at being called a liar so confronts Dani in particular. It's a bit frosty in the room but they'll all be back to being buddies next week no doubt. Chrystal ends up without a rose, which is sad for recapping purposes and I don't know how I am going to get through the next few episodes without her snark to inspire me.

Special mention: Poppy's cleavage.

Next week, we're into the home stretch and it's into the lion's den for Art as he visits the in-laws.

23 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 11: So many screenshots, not much storyline

Mike Puru's timing is impeccable as he finds the girls all pining away together at the dining table to deliver the next 'envelope of lurve'. Dani hopes it will be her going on the single steamy date. It's not. Instead, Alysha gets to drive herself to an aerodrome in Whakatane where she finds a helicopter lounging casually next to Art. They head to White Island, which is a very cool place to visit if you're into volcanic geomorphology and have a helmet fetish, which Art so clearly does.
Alysha throws around intellectual words like 'pluming' and 'acidic' and I think she may just be the perfect match for her boyfriend who knows everything there is to know about anything ever.

They fly to a cliff top for a picnic which consists of beer because gannet colony. Also, New Zealand. Because of his amaze body language skills, Art can tell she is holding something back and she says she was living with her ex-partner in Japan and then trails off. Somehow he deduces from that that she is still married. CONTROVERSY. Being separated isn't that much of a big deal. Going by the promo for this episode, I was hoping for something slightly more scandalous like she is actually a man.
They share a kiss in the ocean and thank goodness that they are in water when it happens because it's sizzling if the music crescendo is anything to go by.

Back at the apartment, the girls are snorting lines of scones and macarons except for Chrystal who eats men for breakfast and Natalie pulls out the next date card which reads "Who's really looking for a love match?"
Dani is.

All the girls except for Alysha and Poppy are going. The Old Forest School looks like a really great setting. Art goes dressed for Book Week as his favourite character and saunters out wearing a tennis outfit and a blue sweater draped over his shoulders.
Bruce Patman and Mike share a joke.
Matilda tells Mike several times how cute Art looks in his tennis whites, and Mike doesn't disagree. I love Mike. There could be a whole paragraph of tennis puns here but I am too tired and really can't be bothered. 
Fangirling on the sideline
The girls play a couple of games and the circus clown music starts to play. Chrystal is hilariously terrible but at least she joins in on this date. A for effort, Chrystal. Art literally skips to high five Dani, his doubles team mate between points and I wonder how long it will be before he is at his annoyingly patronizing best. Not long at all, as it turns out as he offers some sage hitting advice to Chrystal.
You are terrible at tennis, but I still think you're ace.

Afterwards, they order some food from a burger van, and Chrystal does little to scotch concerns about how high maintenance she is by insisting those burger people give her cutlery to eat a burger. Art steals her away to show her his school report. I only wish that was a metaphor. She laughs in all the wrong places and Art probably regrets showing his bowl cut to the resident mean girl but she gives him a gold star and flashes him her cleavage, so totally worth it.
Art then invites Nat to spend some time alone with him and they must have to reshoot this scene several times because in the short distance from Tippy, the converted wagon they were sitting in, to the front door of the building, it magically turns to nightfall. Now we know for sure we are in heartland New Zealand when a) there's a party in an old shed and b) the only brown guy in the room is playing a guitar.
Nat and Art sit on a school benchseat and try really hard to enjoy the romantic serenade with tv cameras in their faces and all the other girls getting tipsy in Tippy laughing off the awkwardness of watching their boyfriend with Nat. It looks like the budget for Tiki Taane's appearance fee only extends to one song so Art manages to pull Natalie away from the other girls' prying gaze to get deep and meaningful, but Natalie can't relax enough to do either so their alone time flatlines in record time. Someone please put this poor girl out of her misery. It is very hard to watch.

Rose ceremony time. Dani's tongue has missed Art's tonsils so very much and pops in to say hi. Their kiss goes on for such a long time that Dani needs to chug a drink to replace lost fluids afterwards. The other girls see this blatant PDA and they spit tacks. It's glorious. Art is busy feeding each girl the same line that he likes them and can see a future with all of them so it is getting much harder to predict who is going to be sent home. Even so, it is little surprise to see Natalie without a rose because brunette. We're down to five contestants and since they are all blonde, the big question is will Art remember who they all are? Will I?

20 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 10: The Bay of Plenty of action

The whole world thinks Danielle is going on the next single date but just when you think that you have sussed out the machinations of this show, it is Poppy who ends up going leaving Danielle, the only one who has not yet gone on a date with Art, wanting to hurt someone. Except she doesn't because Danielle is lovely as you would expect an owner of a kayaking dog that wears a life-jacket to be.

I don't know any of these girls personally, but I have finally worked out who Poppy reminds me of.
Poppy phenylethelamines into her undies and there are hilarious flapping freefall faces all round when she and Art go tandem skydiving. Afterwards, they drive to a cottage retreat that has an orchard and Art declares he'd like to have a big garden like it one day. Aww, he loves gardens you guys.

Back at the condo, the girls have moved from just hanging out in a bedroom with a couch and chair in it to just casually hanging out on the jetty on beanbags and the date card reads "Some things are just better one on one". A committed relationship being one of them. Kristie thinks it is a group date even though all the signs are pointing to it being another single date, but she also thinks a woman named Black Doris makes icecream so she's an unreliable source. It turns out to be a single date and hallelujah! Danielle's name is on the card at last.

Back at the cottage, Art and Poppy go for a dip in a swimming hole where Poppy has a wardrobe malfunction. This girl seems to have all the embarrassing things happen to her when she's on her dates with Art. They step into an outdoor heated bath filled with flower petals. There is not much room for Poppy to fit her gargantuan size 8 frame in there with him but it's a great opportunity for a giggle.
and possibly some unintentional frottage.

Poppy voices her concerns that having a bath on a second date is quite forward which seems a bit rich coming from her since she just flashed him in the swimming hole. She has also previously told him she has a no-kiss stance until she's in the final five, but oooh, they're making lusty eyes at each other so they launch into it with her declaring it to be a "faultless kiss" and that may be so if she's comparing it to practicing kissing on her arm.

She returns to the apartment and Alysha asks the only question that matters to which Poppy replies "I pecked him on the cheek". She lies by wilfully omitting the details of the other kisses. I understand the don't kiss and tell approach but I find her adopting this strategy quite interesting when the other girls have all been completely open about their saliva swaps and they will all find out the truth eventually. What is wrong with you Poppy, you're British and, by association, trustworthy. It is the very foundation upon which this fine nation of ours was built.

Super-nice and super-deserving Danielle goes blokarting with Art on the second single date and it is the complete opposite in dynamics compared to Poppy's raunchy date. I don't know anything about the activity but I suspect the key ingredients for a successful race are wind and worthy opponents and there isn't much of either. The only exciting thing to happen is Danielle's cart flipping on its side. She doesn't even get hurt. I know. HIGH DRAMA.
Much helmets. So excite.

They take a nice stroll along the beach and they flout the total fire ban laws because there's a fire pit complete with perfectly cut logs and a built-in seat made from sand and we witness the return of the picnic hamper from Matilda's and Dani's dates. They roast nice marshmallows, drink nice hot chocolates and laugh nervous laughs leading Danielle to exclaim on several occasions that it is the perfect date but even though she is trying to talk herself into it, there just doesn't seem to be much of a spark between these two. I will Mike Puru to pop up from beneath the mound of sand just to make things more interesting but it doesn't happen. NOTHING HAPPENS.
Scene of nothingness.

Even so, Art gives her a rose. When Danielle recounts the date to the girls and mentions that they went blokarting, the girls look blankly at her. When she says there was no chemistry, Dani and Matilda look genuinely shocked that someone has openly announced that she does not want to make little paleo babies with Art.

We're off to the French Country House (in the Bay of Plenty) for the cocktails. Matilda has coordinated her cast to match her dress and Danielle has something to get off her chest but it's not the gold quilted futuristic number she is wearing. She tells Art she cannot accept his rose after all and the girls are full of admiration for her decision and then toast to one less accordian player in the house. I know, it's all the ammo I have on this woman, she's too gosh darned nice.

This is the third contestant to leave the show of her own accord. What can the girls do to help ease Art's shock at Danielle leaving? Chrystal, still continuing to impress as the most self-possessed woman on the show, could go and talk to him, if only she could be bothered getting off the couch. They send down Natalie to chat with him, the one girl who forgets how to talk whenever she is in the presence of a big helping of Stud Muffin. Now that Art has been cured of his depression through Nat's general awkwardness, Kristie uses her opportunity to salvage her chances of remaining for another week and shows Art her vulnerable side but it's all just blah blah blah to Art because she's the next one for the long, lonely drive back to Auckland or whereever The Bachelor rejects get sequestered while the show is being filmed.

Kristie takes a moment to say goodbye to the other women and they all arrange their faces into something vaguely resembling sadness but something is missing. Where are the tears??! Kristie demands tears. Some of the girls do their best to look properly upset including Poppy but she may just have a headache from her hair braid.

The next episode promises more kissing and an active volcano which is not even a metaphor and shenanigans at the cocktail party. Hooray!

15 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 9: Horsing around

Warning: The horse puns are dire and predictable and don't get any better, I'm afraid.

We check in on Art's workout and this time he's off for a hill climb and burning some mad post-run calories with his intense gaze into the distance thinking about the new adventures that he'll be embarking on with the girls in the Bay of Plenty. Strap yourselves in folks, the circus is on the move.

Back at the house, Mike drops in casually on the girls having a late-night spa to give them the news that they are going to relocate. They all seem very excited about the change of scenery, but I am more concerned about the colour of the water in the spa. There's a distinctive filmy residue made up of dead skin cells topped up with everyone's tears of desperation and that can't be healthy.

The single date card for Kristie reads "There's plenty for everyone" and Matilda correctly guesses they'll be heading to the Bay of Plenty. I hope Kristie is not a geography teacher as she asks "Is there a beach there?" I actually rewind this part of the conversation to be sure I've heard it correctly. Sadly, I have. Correct me if I'm wrong but the very fact that the location has BAY in it would indicate that there is a body of water near it somewhere.
Kristie is lacking in the geographical knowledge department but imaginary horse riding is her forte

She hopes they'll be riding horses along the beach, so imagine her unbridled joy when she is forced to walk down a gravel road somewhere deep in the Bay of Plenty bush. It's pretty though. She finds Art casually lounging against his sponsored Suzuki in the middle of nowhere. Someone needs to teach him how to park considerately for the safety of other road users/people checking on their crops.
Oh hai!

I am actually impressed by the location - where is this place?? We're not told so I wonder if someone forgot to gain consent from local iwi to film there hmmm?! It's all very beautiful with a walk through native bush down and into a tunnel to a waterfall where Art compliments Kristie on her amazing step-descending skills.

Art dives in to the swimming hole and encourages Kristie to dive in after him. I'm no expert but this is not Samoa and that water looks cold. She does a bomb into the water and starts hyperventilating and it's got nothing to do with seeing Art in a pair of togs. The water is cold, girl gonna drown. What does Art suggest? A swim over to the waterfall to have tonnes of pure frigid water sent from the heights of snowcapped mountains dumped on top of her hypothermic body. He realizes that she is struggling and needs help. What's a guy to do? Oh that's right, he has trained in surf lifesaving. Of course he has. This guy is ri-dic-u-lous. He helps her to shore where she can regain her composure and body temperature levels by the side of the swimming hole while we head to the Condo of Rapidly Wizening Ovaries in Tauranga to check on the mental conditions of the other girls.

They're making the most of their new accommodation, staring aimlessly out windows, marvelling at the size of the deck and how nice Matilda looks in the kitchen, the Stepford wife that she is.

Meanwhile, Art and Kristie have driven to a lodge where they can subtly perve on each other some more on the pretext of having full body massages. I want to know how the massage therapists decided who would get to massage the Adonis.
We leave them with Art declaring he doesn't like bossy women and Kristie trying to convince him that she is only a teeny tiny bit bossy and we head back to Tauranga where Chrystal enters the room with the next date card. It's a group date, and we're keeping it country, folks. It involves horse riding and all the girls test the couch springs by simultaneously jumping up and down on it. Point to note: Alysha sucks at holding grudges. Chrystal sits next to her to read out the card and on hearing that she is going on the date, Alysha paws at her in excitement on the Ottoman of Forgotten Feuds.

Phew, back to the single date. I can barely keep up with all the scene changes. Art and Kristie are sitting on a love seat and eating ice-cream and wine. I'm blaming the lack of proper food and the shock of her near-death experience for Kristie not realizing that Black Doris is a plum variety. Let it be known that fruit in Kristieland is also referred to in the feminine form, along with cars and boats.
Art says in his piece to camera that he doesn't feel like the date gets past third gear and I don't understand that expression because third gear is actually a good thing if you're from Invercargill and used to going backwards. There's no kiss, he doesn't give her a rose and I suspect the rose was left to turn black in the Ice-cream Cart of Failed Dates.

Kristie returns to the apartment and it's mucho awkward as she fills everyone in on the date while all the girls hold her down and perform cavity searches on her to find her non-existent rose.

It's on to the group date on a farm. Kristie spies some horses and expertly deduces that someone is going horse riding. Some of the girls look like they would rather shave their heads than go on a horse trek. The girls get to saddle up their horses and we get some disturbing insights into how Matilda's brain works if she can see a correlation between a bridle and S&M gear. I know I am going to get targeted by lots of spambots for even putting that acronym in my blog post. I do it all for you, readers. Matilda mentions that she rode a horse when she was younger and she got bit, stood on and fell off. Chrystal reassures her and tells the group that they are all going to be safe and happy and enjoy the ride. HEAVY-HANDED FORESHADOWING PEOPLE.

Chrystal is given a tall horse and *stop press*, she is unable to control this particular male. She tells Art she will sit out the group date. She's all "Bae" and he's all "Yeah?" and she's all "Nah, not doing it" and he's all "Ok, Goddess". Meanwhile, there's a whole other horsey subplot going on and Matilda's horse hates Danielle's horse. We're not told the backstory but I'm thinking there was a stallion involved somewhere, the little whorse. Matilda's horse kicks Danielle's one and Matilda falls off but Art does not realize the severity of the incident because he's a doctor now.
Dani is the first person to go and see if Matilda is okay and comforts her while they wait for an ambulance and wins the title of Miss Friendship. In the back of the ambulance, Matilda is looking more comfortable after sucking on some gas and I want some too just to get through my life recapping this show. Matilda is taken to horsepital where a broken wrist is confirmed. Last week, Natalie chipped a tooth. Their judgement may be a bit suspect but you cannot question these girls' commitment.

The rose ceremony is so sad because Matilda can't be there due to, I'm not sure, a broken wrist which prevents her from walking or talking. She earns herself a pre-ceremony rose though so all's well with her. Everyone is so shell-shocked by the horse incident and Art declares in a heartfelt speech to them all that it has brought them all closer together which it has in a polyamorous cult-type way. Dani jokingly declares Matilda deserves 20 roses to fill the room which would work if we all lived in doll houses.

Poppy and Art spend some time chatting to each other and aside from the major eye pashes she gives him, I conclude she is part-English, part-bobble head dashboard doll and Art likes the combo, so she's getting a rose tonight. Most of the girls suspect that Kristie is going to be sent home due to not winning a rose on her date with Art. Danielle also feels vulnerable having not had a single date with him so she goes into lawyer hustle mode and puts forth a convincing argument to remain at least until they go on a date. She's safe too.

Art cannot decide who to give the final rose to out of Natalie and Kristie and goes outside to mull over who to send home/polish off the unfinished drinks. Mike asks if he is okay and Art confides that he is feeling confused. Me too, Art, me too. Mike has a "Yeah, good luck with that, bro" response and shuffles off.
Nek minnit, both girls get a rose. For serious. Even emotionless Chrystal did not see that one coming. Way to mess around with everyone's feelings, you puppy scrubber. Most of the girls are filthy about the decision and I agree with Dani that if he struggled to make a decision, send them both home - but this is New Zealand and Art wins the Fair Play award.

What will happen tonight? My Eskimo Pies and I can't wait.

10 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 8: An awkward date and a haiku or two

Kristie has been telling us all season long that so many things are right up her alley, it is little surprise that she randomly pulls out the next date card that she has apparently been sitting on all morning. In another not very exciting surprise twist, it is a group date instead of the anticipated one-on-one date and the coven cackles with much glee. This time, the girls will be heading somewhere for a pool party. Chrystal feels pretty confident that she will be going on the date and is less than enthused about it so half-seriously tries to sell her spot to one of the other hapless girls. We'll never die wondering what Chrystal is thinking at any given moment, but we're not really told why she doesn't want to go. Maybe she is worn out from all her malevolence.

Art casually observes Chrystal's disinterest in mingling with the other girls. She lies on a recliner barely moving the whole time and soaking up the sun's rays so there is no further proof needed that she is part-reptilian. Danielle is spared the ignominy of partaking in a lame game of pool volleyball because she's got a sore ankle from Art double-bouncing her on the trampoline at the last group date. Why do they always edit out the good bits?

Art asks Poppy if she'd like to talk and Poppy responds that she'd "really like to talk to his face" where Art basically reinforces to her that she is in the top three. There's a cutesy little interplay and I smile happily at them in spite of myself. They so want to kiss each other but don't because she's properly English and will only be happy to share him with five other girls maximum so we're at least two weeks away from seeing them pash.
My Art, what big agaves you have.
We return to the pool, where Art is incredulous to learn that Matilda can't dive but she looks great in a bikini so phwoar to that. It's Super Art to the rescue and he gallantly shows her how to dive. Can we find something that this guy cannot do just to make him look vaguely human? Oh, yeah he can't do Alysha. So, there's that.
Poppy is a vegetarian so naturally, she eats the table decorations.

Danielle plays up her injury to her advantage and Art literally carries her to a secluded spot while Chrystal yells out "We all know what we do to lame horses" (not really, but it's what she meant by calling Danielle a dark horse). He finds Danielle's intelligence and career successes to be very attractive which I guess she is in a Mrs Robinson kind of way.

Later in the day, Art and Matilda spend some time alone from the rest of the group where she demonstrates that while she may not be able to dive properly, she can haiku with the best of them and blows him away with:

This tropical storm
Makes my heart go boom for you
Give me a rose now

Her poem earnt her a rose that she still tried to wrestle from him. These things are harder than they look to write.

Hey Billy Big Balls
Make some babies with me and
Call them Matildarts

Amanda's clairvoyance is off the charts when she declares that the next date is going to be either a one-on-one date or a group date. To this point, the three girls who have not yet had a one-on-one date with Art are Natalie, Kristie and Danielle. We are in week four so that's a lot of time sitting around the house agonizing about Art's perceived lack of interest in them and I think Natalie has spent the time wisely by turning herself into knots.

This is Natalie's first date as she has never had a proper boyfriend so it is her best date ever, but only by default.
Mmmm, the sweet scent of awkward conversation

It's all aboard the super-yacht of ill-conceived menus where they proceed to jump off it. It's a really long way down and she probably worries she'll lose her bikini top, but that is the least of her concerns. She has a smack down with the ocean and loses part of her tooth. Hardcore. She spits it out and carries on and I am left wondering who is this girl? The one moment when she is actually allowed to lose her composure and she handles it well. They go stand-up paddle boarding which she has never done before (Art has, of course) and it actually looks really difficult. For someone who seems so awkward, she is graceful and completely unaware of how gorgeous she is. They have a bit of a cuddle in the shower and I hope for Art's sake it's a cold shower because she is smokin' hot. They change into a wardrobe from Dynasty and have dinner which is basically ginormous stalks of broccoli and couscous for her because she doesn't like salmon, olives or sun-dried tomatoes. She's not a fussy eater at all. Art compliments her. Repeatedly. She clearly is unaccustomed to it and is not comfortable with him doing so, yet he persists. The conversation is also very repetitive and superficial and all it does is highlight how much more the conversation flows when he is with Dani, Poppy, Matilda, Alysha, cripes even Danielle. Even though he is trying to make her feel at ease, she totally spins out once she accepts his rose. It is really hard to watch and I just want to leap through the tv and help the poor girl out with one of my haikus. Here's one for prospective future daters of Natalie, because it is fairly certain she won't be getting another one with Arthur:

I am very shy
Don't try to compliment me
or feed me salmon

The cocktail evening is very entertaining. Alysha has stewed over a couple of gibes Chrystal made earlier in the day about her frigidity and she confronts Chrystal the Slut about it. This is not Chrystal's first rodeo so she feigns interest in being admonished and then walks away leaving Alysha still seething. I shouldn't enjoy watching this show, but I totally do.

So, we come to the rose ceremony and it's fairly easy to predict who will be going home as the march towards brunette obliteration continues. It's the end of the love connection for Amanda, the girl of many faces.
Don't worry Amanda, someone still cared enough about you to write you a farewell haiku:

There is a man in
Amanda yet she has no
man this is cryptic

Tune in next week when there is a shakeup at the mansion and cattiness levels reach new heights. Hopefully.

09 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 7: Dodgey moves

Eleven women remain in the house and Art thinks about the potential for a future with them while dangling his red ball between his legs. I'm not even making this up. The show's producers are making the innuendo far too easy.

At the house, somebody has sprung for a plug-in spa pool with most of the girls jammed into it and they all look thrilled to be there. It didn't appear to have a jet bubbles function but no matter because Poppy is on standby.
Brigette performs the only duties required of her so far this season and reads the date card to dramatic effect. Alysha, who really hasn't featured a great deal, will be the one heading for the hills with Art. It turns out that he has "arranged" for her to fly down to Blenheim. The South Island. Woohoo! Bet she's never been there before. Art is there to greet her on the tarmac and they drive off in a classic blue Ford Mustang, which is thrilling. I guess? The Bachelor being filmed here is the third most exciting thing to happen in Blenheim in a while after the Royal Tour and the locals voting on whether to install traffic lights.

The couple head to Wither Hills winery to blend their own sauvignon blanc, where after some playful banter between them, Art wins the challenge and calls it Southern Sapphire after Alysha's eyes. If vomit was a permissible component, there'd be a bit of that in my blend. They enjoy some lunch in the same room as William and Kate when the royals visited, which vaguely impresses Alysha. They make small talk and it's all very bland and Art says he'd like to get to know her better and find out what's behind those beautiful blue eyes. Well, I'm just going to take a guess here Art, and say a couple of retinas. Maybe some optic nerves.

They take a walk through the vineyard and Art presents her with a bottle of the wine he blended earlier that bears a personalized label. They seem comfortable in each other's company and Art takes the opportunity to ask to kiss her after giving her a rose. No pressure.
Alysha, bless her little provincial heart, probably still believes that girls can get pregnant from kissing, so denies him. Poor Art, he should really have done his research as there are at least 75 Things to Do in Blenheim but Alysha is not one of them. When she returns to the house and declares to the salivating masses that she did not kiss him in spite of wanting to totally go there, Dani jokingly but unabashedly takes the mantle of House Hussy. Matilda, looking very enraged by his flagrancy in the kissing department, calls Art "Billy Big Balls" but I still think she wants to climb him like a tree.
Not that tree.
The group date involves a game of trampoline dodgeball and amid some frantic-sounding music and lots of giggling, Art declares that it is some of the most exciting sport he has seen in a while. He's into lifting kettlebells so this is not hard to believe. And the puns just keep on coming. While standing on a trampoline, he kicks off the game by announcing "Let's jump to it" and all the girls laugh like he is the funniest guy ever and I claw my face off.

Her team consists of Brigette and an accordion-playing lawyer. All hope is lost. In her piece to camera, Brigette, with tongue firmly in cheek, declares that she is quite dodgey. Not dodgey enough though as she gets hit by a ball and is out of the game, leaving Kristie in a showdown with the last remaining opponent, Dani. This could only get better for Art if they were covered in oil. Dani's team is the eventual winner and Kristie snarls like the natural born leader her teachers say she is. Dani's team progresses to the second competition, which involves creative slamdunking. Because all girls are dumb, Art demonstrates what is meant by being creative.
Chrystal pulls out a pregnancy yoga move. Natalie really does not look comfortable at all with this challenge and I blush madly for her. As always, Dani goes the extra mile and literally jumps through hoops for her man, winning her alone time in the sweat-infused foam pit.
Minecraft: the Ken and Barbie version

They chat about Kristie's competitiveness and that Art is finding it hard to make his decisions because he's a limpet. Dani opens up about the challenges she is facing from certain girls resenting her connection to Arthur but all she gets from him for her efforts is a weird finger tap under her chin and not the rose she was seeking.

At the evening's cocktail party, the confidence levels and necklines are a bit low. In various dialogues, a few of the girls indicate that they would be happy for Kristie to be sent home because a) she's competitive b) she's bossy c) she fist-pumps too much. I am learning so many valuable life lessons from this show in particular, competitive girls are very unattractive to other competitive girls and also, presumably, to men who use a competition to find love. The tension between Chrystal and Kristie in particular is ramping up a few notches, which is all great telly. Kristie earns a rose prior to the ceremony so both the Southern belles get to roll their r's another day and Chrystal is ecstatic about that.
One for the dartboard, Chrystal.

In a surprise twist, it's a double elimination but as we have seen very little of them up until this particular cocktail evening, it is inevitable that Brigette and Carrisa take the Suzuki ride of shame down the Kumeu driveway. It's fairly obvious Arthur has a type, and the brunettes are losing this battle.

02 April 2015

The Bachelor NZ Ep 6: Life imitating Art

Phew, after this episode I was feeling drained from ALL THE KISSING. So much happened, but then it seems like nothing of any real substance happened at all and I have confused myself for thinking that so much happened.

Art wants to show us his romantic side and spoil his date by - making their own sushi and then eating it in the foyer of the Auckland Museum. Lucky Chrystal, the prime candidate for looking like she has never had gifts bestowed upon her by anyone ever is served up a beautiful evening gown with a fresh side of diamond earrings. Quick side-note: I do not consider it to be romantic for a guy to pick out a dress that she is then required to wear; it is borderline controlling creep unless you're the kindly hotel manager in Pretty Woman because he was a pretty cool dude.

During the sushi-making session, Chrystal is suddenly incapacitated by the sight of Art/the fact she may have to prepare a meal possibly for the first time that she is rendered incapable of tying her apron. Arthur is so grateful to be deemed worthy to breathe the same air as her, he helpfully ties it up for her meatworks-style. The guy was nervous, this is the effect she has on all mortal beings.

They head to the museum to chow down on their meat-makings and Art says he has organized for the building to be cleared for just the two of them, which is not hard since no-one works in the museum after-hours but nice way to try and convince us that he has the keys to Auckland City.

He claps eyes on his beautiful date after he last saw her covered in all manner of fishy and starchy substances and whaddayaknow, we have our second Pretty Woman moment:
I know. Uncanny.

The movie referencing gets better. Art then does his best Richard Gere impersonation and produces a box of bling (it was probably cubic zirconia but he declares them to be "full diamonds" so who am I to second-guess him).
They stroll hand in hand along the museum corridor like a living advertisement for unattainable perfection and sit down to enjoy their meal. There's so much awkwardness between them and I desperately hope one of them drops sushi into their lap to break the tension. Someone order them some escargot.
But, sadly, no, Crystal is a stone cold fish-fox which makes the shark that they are standing in front of when Arthur gifts her the jewellery even more pertinent.

After dinner, they head to the rooftop to admire the view of the Auckland skyline and to play a game of  tonsil hockey. Art is a very good goalie because she asks in the best line of the night "Are you going to open your mouth?" Humiliation station. This girl is direct, if nothing else. I can only surmise that kissing her with his mouth closed was a defence mechanism because he must subconsciously be aware that Chrystal the Temptress is in fact Satan in disguise and he was fearful of her unleashing flies down his throat.

The date ends with Art reverting to his giggly, lovesick 12 year old self and Chrystal declaring to the remaining girls that the kiss was one of the best she's ever had.


In another fantastically Kiwi PC move, everyone gets to go on the next group date. It's not so much a group date as a harem relocation but whatevs. The girls get to walk the runway/around a fountain at the Winter Gardens in the Auckland Domain and the girl who demonstrates the most "personality" gets a private photo shoot with Art. Chicabowwow. Poppy claims that she is a walking orange sausage in her dress. That'd be the gourmet beef and red wine variety and not the saveloys, because she looks absolutely stunning. Amanda asserts she is David Bowie in a dress. She's not far wrong but I think Poppy wins that analogy too.
Some of the girls are clearly uncomfortable with the whole walking around with not many clothes on thing but it heralds the arrival of Natalie, who looks like she was born to model. Go Natalie! I am glad to see her come out of the shadows.
She impresses Art but not enough to win the photo shoot with him. That award goes to Dani, after she blows his mind with her ravishingness in her bridal gown during the finale. The rest of the girls look 50 shades of enraged after she swans off with him for some more kissing practice because she has already locked lips with him so why would you want to try old pastures when there's a good 11 or so paddocks still waiting to be grazed. So to speak.

Art gushingly enthuses to camera "What if this is my wedding photo and I am actually marrying Dani?" confirming my long-held suspicion that he has spent far too many hours amongst women that he is actually turning into one himself.
In the evening's slush hour, Matilda and the girls drum up a fun game where they boycott falling over themselves to approach Art and instead force him come into the restaurant to have his pick from the all you can eat buffet.

Danielle is invited to join him in the confessional to share her personal hang-ups with open books and padlocked diaries and I still like her even though she's confusing the bejeebus out of me with all her stationery metaphors.

We see more of Shivani in this episode than we have in the whole series so far, which leaves me full of renewed hope for her but after she opens her mouth I soon realise why she hasn't featured much before. I am sure she is lovely but all that we learn of her is that she likes tall guys and dancing. Of Art, she says woodenly "He's growing on me" like he's a poorly-thought through wall colour. Unfortunately, the feeling is not mutual and Shivi sashays out the French doors.

As she departs, the girls chorus that they loved having her in the house and she shows real emotion for the first time saying "That means more to me than....anything else". What she actually meant was "hanging around here pretending to be interested in Arthur". Good recovery, Shiv.

Wait for next week when Alysha rebuffs the Buff Dude's advances and Kristie, my early front runner in the race for Art's heart may be for the chopping block. Can you stand the suspense?