Watching The Bachelor NZ as an Australian, is a little unnerving but ultimately highly entertaining. The formula is the same (obviously) and one must suspend any disbelief that there are people willing to go on the show despite things like feminism and the fact that heaps of people watch you generally make a knob of yourself before being rejected by a bloke who was cheating on you.
I’m not here to bore you with the reasons why the show just shouldn’t exist in a civilised world, I’m here to let you in on a little secret. When it comes to reality, the Kiwis do it really well. The women are the usual mix of attractive blondes with occupations similar to those little children deem important. ‘When I grow up, I want to be a Vet’. If you come on this show as an insurance broker, you better have really big boobs.
But these women are funny and reasonably self aware and even the inevitable bitchiness is quite up front. First night in the fancy NZ mansion, one chick decides this bloke is not her cup of tea and shoves off. People don’t normally leave these shows voluntarily! They’re frogmarched off or their torches are extinguished or they’re left standing humiliated like a fat kid no one wants on their footy team. What a twist! In New Zealand, the home of progressive politics, even a contestant on the Bachelor believes in equality.
In Episode 3, one woman Crystal, says to Arthur (thank you NZ, for I could not have made that up if I tried) ‘Is there any chance I can talk to you alone for a minute? It’s just that I’m about to kill myself listening to this (other women talk).’ The others turn to each other, raise an eyebrow or two and return to sipping champagne and chatting about their mutual boyfriend’s abs. The hilariously British Poppy farted on the previous episode. Can you imagine if Iain Ziering farted on The Celebrity Apprentice? In America, you can take a gun into a restaurant but if you fart or show a nipple on TV, you’re in some trouble my friend. In NZ, Arthur’s response, ‘someone had to fart some time’. Quite profound really. .
So the women are charming and seem to take this whole thing someone less seriously than the Aussies and WAY less seriously than the Yanks. Sure, they discuss when they’re ovulating with the same easy tone I’d use to order a latte but apart from planning their imaginary weddings to New Zealand’s hottest man, they’re also having actual fun. Not pretend fun like ‘Oh yay, I am fun and always up for fun things and did someone say fun?’ When one interrupts the other telling Arthur about their tough exterior or Protestant work ethic that has meant they have been up to this point, desperate and / or dateless, the interrupted woman simply says ‘thanks for interrupting moll’. Everyone falls about laughing.
And Arthur is such an Arthur! The man went bungee jumping in a button up shirt for goodness sake. Now the dates are a surprise to the women but are not supposed to be a surprise to him so that was odd but endearing.
Oh and the mad host Mike, he makes Osher Ginsberg seem normal. For one thing, he is on a show with 20 women and can’t actually say the word ‘women’, he opens each ceremony with ‘now there are 20 woman here tonight…’ and I should really know better but when people from New Zealand say things like ‘are you SURIUS?’ or ‘I want to get to know you a bet better’ it’s funny, well at least to me.
Finally to bring you up to speed, this week another fine NZ woman tells Arthur, ‘thanks but no thanks’ during the rose ceremony where he seems as confused as the rest of us that now there are TWO people in the universe either don’t find him attractive or really need to get back to their Vet practices. So the rest of the remaining rose-less chicks have just found out there’s NO ONE going home this week! They’re safe but perhaps they shouldn’t have been. Brows are furrowed, roses are casually chucked in their direction and some of the tension has just been released for the time being. Or perhaps that was just Poppy farting again.
So if you’d like a little extra reality with your reality TV, check out Arthur and the girls who may or may not be that in to him on Tuesday nights at 9.30pm on Lifestyle You on Foxtel.