Now, I wanna manage some expectations here. Do not expect me to usually post my recaps on Tuesday. The schedule for the show is a bit iffy at the moment – this week, it aired on Sunday and Monday. Next week, it’s just Monday, but that might just be because of our pal Jesus. I cannot stay up ’til midnight writing on either of those nights. It’s dumb. And if you’re desperate to catch up, there’s folks out there writing for actual proper sites who have advance access and post recaps the second the episode finishes. If you want my unique but decidedly lukewarm takes, you might need to wait a few days.
However, today I happen to be home sick from work. After a couple of weeks of working long days, my body was happy to pick up literally any virus thrown at it. Luckily for me it was just a cold and not Hepatitis A, which sounds like a shit joke but was actually a real possibility thanks to an outbreak at a fancy restaurant where a work breakfast was hosted (I am all vaccinated as of today). So while I’m home I’m going to re-watch the episodes, and we’ll see what we come up with. I didn’t write my usual notes on my initial watch, as I was busy tweeting. I’m going to need to find the balance between Twitter jokes and note-taking this year, lest I get stuck re-watching every godforsaken episode.
I’ve seen Bachelor in Paradise US, so I’m familiar with the concept, but I will run over it, just like Osher did at the start of Episode One. Paradise has a cast of (basically) thousands, and a permanent gender imbalance with no interest in quotas. In episode one, there’s more guys than girls, and the girls will be giving out roses, meaning that the guys that don’t receive a rose will go home. Over the course of the episodes, more cast members will come in to keep the overall numbers about the same, but with a permanent imbalance and whichever gender has fewer cast members at each time doing the rose-distribution. There’s no ‘winner’ on paradise. You just win love (blech). If there’s couples that are established in the early days they can just keep picking each other the whole way through, although they better be telling a good love story or the producers will try to find some way to fuck it up. They’ll promote the cast as being ‘favourites’ but they always use some villains in because…. drama. The whole show is basically Grown-Up Schoolies. The last season of Bachelor in Paradise US had some controversy which led to a shutdown in production, which will have informed a lot of the choices made in this version. What they didn’t consider doing, of course, was not plying all the contestants with alcohol, constantly, because everyone knows that has no effect on consent, duh!
First person to arrive in Fiji (and subsequently ask ‘Is the bar open yet?’) is my precious Bogan Queen and I have never been so glad to see a person in my life. As long as Tara is there, if nothing else, we will have excellent commentary. She tells us that Bachie taught her to ‘live every day like it’s your last’ which seems a bit dramatic, even if Matty J may inspire someone to die of boredom. Tara is looking forward to fresh meat, which is something she will come to literally scream at people as they arrive. She mutters about wanting to take her shoes off and hunts down Wise the Barman, which is relatable as ever.
Old Mate Sam Frost’s Second Place Michael turns up. I was a bit of a fan of him during Sam’s season, although that faded quickly. He’s ‘extremely competitive’ and all his opening shots show him working out. He’s hoping Laurina and/or Tara will be in Paradise, and I’m really worried he somehow imprints on Tara by being the first guy there. She talks to him….a lot…about how sweaty she is. I’m not actually sure how good this show is at advertising Fiji, honestly. It just seems so humid.
Tall Luke from Sophie’s season turns up, then Lisa from Blake’s season (which I did not watch). Luke almost immediately has heart eyes for her. He says she is ‘gorgeous, attractive (bit repetitive) and has a good vibe to her’. Tara ominously says ‘this is such a good crew…I hope it stays good’ before Awful Leah turns up. Tara is open to giving Awful Leah a chance, and they ask her who she would like to see. Davey Lloyd from Sam’s season is brought up, and Lisa says she would not date him, but he would be a hell of a lot of fun. What an entry for… tada, Davey! Anyway, he’s a Larrikin who has finally moved out of his parents’ place. Congratulations. He’d like to meet Florence because they’ve been flirting on the socials. Brett from Sophie’s season turns up: ‘Got the sun, got the beach, got the babes, got the boys….what could go wrong?’. Well, I’ve got some thoughts. But we’ll get to that. Tara mentions quite casually to Michael and Lisa that Brett’s dating her friend Steph (from Matty’s season). Hmm.
Nina from Saw Woods’ season (which I also didn’t catch) turns up. Eden from Sophie’s season turns up and Tara screams ‘WHERE’S YOUR TRACKSUIT’, thanks to a very memorable breakdancing entrance.
Davey frames his choice to chat to Leah as a strategic decision regarding alliances, not romantic interest. They get along quite well and he tries to get an idea of whether she would take him on a date: ‘We’ll see if anyone better walks in’. Lovely direct Florence walks in at this very moment. She’d like to meet Davey: ‘he’s hot and funny!’. And here are three corners of the love square. Tara and Florence do a hilarious greeting dance and I just want the whole show to be about them. Instead stupid Davey pulls Flo aside for a chat, and Leah threatens to fight for Davey if she’s interested.
Why is anyone thirsting after this dude with NO game. He asks Florence very unsubtly where her bungalow is and she seems IN TO IT? Why?
Eden and Nina have a bit of a chat. Eden is showing some seriously unforeseen quality here being interested in Nina, who is rapidly becoming one of my faves on account of her eminent sensible-ness. Eden mostly still seems like a Kiwi boofhead but he is making her laugh, so okay bro. The show should show us 1000% more of them and not…everything that is about to happen.
Not Mack. Mack’s just a bit of a sad case, isn’t he? An immense Sophie Monk fanboy who sang at her for far too long. He sees Leah straight away and I think we can safely say immediately falls in love with her, because if you don’t have long blonde hair you don’t stand a chance with this fella. Anyway. She’ll steamroller over his heart.
I’m reluctantly to even talk about who turns up next. Blake from Sophie’s season turns up. Now we already know that Blake’s a bully. It’s emerged since that Blake has been convicted of assault over a 2015 incident and has been investigated over revenge porn accusations from Awful Jen from Matty’s season. This man should not be on this show. If he is seeking redemption, being put forward as a romantic prospect on a television show (particularly one which is very alcohol-fuelled) is not the place for him to do it. Channel 10 messed up badly on this one and I will not stop mentioning that Blake Colman has plead guilty to assault and put a man in hospital until he is off the show. And even then, maybe.
Nina correctly assesses when he turns up that this is ‘someone I probably don’t need to get to know’, and this is why I love her.
Flo jokes that while he is not her type, she’s said that about a lot of guys….and then lambasts herself as sounding like a massive slut. I disagree, but it’s safe to say Florence has a bit of a fuckboy problem that I’d love to see her cured of.
And while we’re on the topic, old mate Jake from Georgia’s season turns up. He disagrees with the general option that he is the nice guy of the season, which is probably the only accurate piece of self-insight he will offer all season. He’d like to meet Megan Marx from Richie’s season (who infamously went on to date one of the other girls on the show), and the ads tell us if he can just manage to keep his shit together long enough, he might get the opportunity. He quietly slips in ‘I did meet Florence at an event where we did Family Feud for charity, so that’d be good to explore a bit more’. This is an admirable attempt at discretion, however he’s forgetting he’s talking about one of the most direct women in Australian television, because of course she spills to camera that not only did they meet, their genitals met as well (‘People talk on Instagram, then you meet and get smashed and… things happen’ which is a fairly accurate picture of romance in 2018). But it fizzled out. Florence is surprised to see him, feeling a bit awkward but pleased. And Davey is…jealous. Florence doesn’t want to hurt Jake’s feelings because she’s in to Davey.
I wasn’t kidding about this whole thing being like Schoolies.
Osher comes in and gives Tara (‘Tarzy’) a gentle roast about ‘that time I dumped you on telly’ and I’m a little scared that Osher thinks he’s The Bachelor but that’s okay. Brett’s Not Girlfriend comes up again as Osher asks if everyone is single and Brett half-heartedly raised his hand. Brett says in interview that if she turned up he’d give her a big hug and a kiss.
He responded with ‘That was the premises [sic] to get here…you had to be single….let’s just leave it at that’ and how this nonsense continued for an entire episode after this fuckery we’ll never know.
Osher announces that the ladies have Rose Ceremony control and Nina relishes the fear in the men’s eyes. Come on. We love her. Osher directly references Rose Maths and all of Twitter goes wild. He lies and says three men are going home and says ‘Pair up or pack up’, which honestly us 30-somethings have been hearing our whole lives, thanks. Flo confirms would give Davey a rose or take him on a date, at his badgering. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Davey gets the date card and decides to take Leah to avoid Jake/Florence drama. In what universe is that a good idea? Leah literally worships chaos. Flo is pisssssed. And Leah is not really in to him. She describes him as a ‘naughty schoolboy’ and they have a very mediocre pash. Immediately afterwards, she says ‘You’ve been dying to do that, haven’t you? That’s funny – feel better now?’ and not…not in a kind way. In a ‘are we done here?’ way.
When the girls ask Florence if she would subsequently give her rose to Jake, she admits to the banging (and subsequent fighting and no longer talking) and Tara goes in to deep slut-shaming mode – of Jake. They’re both from the Gold Coast and Jake has a bit…no, a lot of a reputation as a pants man… Florence seems to have heard this from others, too, but when she goes and confronts him about it, it’s hella outing Tara. She’s the only one from his area! Jake must be the stupidest man alive to not be able to work out where the leak comes from (it’s his pants. …No, sorry). Then again, they’re all quite drunk. And because they’re all drunk, I really don’t want to cover their rambling argument. Florence wants to address these rumours, Jake is immediately offended and wants to discuss who accused him instead of just talk about the issue at hand. Definitely a great way to convince someone that you’re not dodgy. It’s doesn’t end well. They all spend the rest of the night being drunk messes.
The last thing you need to know is that the next day Keira (from Richie’s season) gets thrown in to the mix (meaning there’s an extra rose in the offing), she’s very pleased with the new tits and teeth, and basically none of the men want anything to do with her. Except Jake. Because he knows his rose from Florence is at severe risk. Jake gets a date card and hemms and hawws about it for 40 years, discussing it with Brett and Davey who confirm he may have blown it with Florence. He then decides to takes Flo on the date, asking her at the perfect moment of when she was having a nice chat with Davey. Very classy.
Moving on now to episode 2. God. Finally. These bastards run for an hour and a half with ads.
So part of the important context here is that on Sam Frost’s season, Davey was all caught up in the concept of ‘the bro code’. Which doesn’t necessarily need to be gendered when it’s just ‘treat your friends respectfully’, but he takes the whole idea too far when he acts like a woman is a possession to pass back and forward. So let’s sort it out for Davey: Florence and Jake already had an opportunity in the real world. They’re both here on the show (presumably, because Brett proves this isn’t universally true) because they’re open to meeting anyone. So if Florence has shown you and told you she’s interested, take the damn girl on the date because that is the POINT of the show. Nonetheless, it wasn’t super-classy of Jake to literally interrupt their conversation to ask her on a date rather than wait five minutes. Davey still would have been butthurt because he’s jealous and doesn’t feel like he’s being treated with reciprocal respect, but nonetheless, maybe he wasn’t treating Florence with respect by making her feel second-best.
Florence and Jake go to their date at a waterfall (I like that all the dates so far have been…go to a slightly-different location). It is CLEAR that Florence doesn’t really like him as a person (and vice versa), but they’re just very attracted to each other. And this is why I want Florence to be cured of her fuckboy thing. Because she has not yet learned that some boys should just be left at one bang and you’re done. Or even better, if they’re an STD risk, no bangs and you’re done. Anyway, they make out and try to avoid arguing the entire time, which is hard when one of you is a direct as fuck ice queen.
Florence’s gut is telling her not to give him a rose, because this isn’t going to turn out well. We need to teach Florence to trust her gut.
The production crew decides to show us a shot of Eden and Nina having a very cute snuggling nap but refuses to show us them talking so we can actually get invested.
Hey remember Terrible Sam and his Terrible Hair? He’s here. He thinks we’ll remember him from getting the Double Delight rose, which is deeply delusional. He also thinks he’s still single because he has a ‘high expectation and a high understanding of what I bring to a relationship’, and someone for sure is high here and it ain’t me. He pulled this line last year and still has yet to prove anything he brings to a relationship except perviness and a hunger for fame. Go away, Sam. It will surprise approximately zero people that he finds himself getting along with Keira. None of the rest of the girls are having a bar of it. Queen Tara says to her cocktail-mates ‘He’s not getting a rose from me, I’m telling you that’ while mentioning to camera ‘No romantic interest in Uncle Sam [Sophie’s nickname for him]. Happy or him to stay my uncle’ and Queen Nina tells us ‘I like my men…tall dark and handsome, as opposed to short, blonde and a child’
So the boys push Sam on Keira and they bond over Richie’s terrible laugh, which is fair. It is clear from the conversation between the boys that Brett is not pursuing anyone or making ANY effort to stay.
Upon her return from her date with Jake, Florence IMMEDIATELY and not at all subtly grabs Tara saying ‘Do you want to have a chat???’. Twice. Gee, got something to get off your chest, Flo? Keira somehow gets roped in to the chat and barely disguises the temptation to howl laughing when Florence says she doesn’t want to give Jake the rose. She somehow converts it in to a groan. Tara cannot keep her trap shut and immediately tells Davey that Florence will want to chat with him. But honestly Florence just seems to be exhausted by all the thirst. It’s almost like being a woman on the internet. When Davey asks her if she wants to hang out more, she says ‘We’re hanging out now. Be appreciative’. Oh she’s so good. She deserves better than both of these idiots.
Lisa has a very beady eye on Brett, on account of the whole ‘having a girlfriend’ thing. Tara would like Brett to stay, apparently with hopes of a reunion with Steph, the girl HE IS ALREADY DATING. Michael and Tara must have some sort of agreement in the rose stakes (girl why) because he is sitting here in this discussion with all of the girls and it transpires that Tara has attempted to convince Keira to choose Brett to keep him in. But now as Keira would like to give Sam a rose (GIRL WHY), she’d like her to put that pressure on Florence instead so she can send both her garbage men away. And Lisa would like no-one to have the pressure to choose a guy who’s not a viable option for anyone, BECAUSE HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND.
I don’t think any of this had to end in tears. When Keira decided she was invested in actually choosing someone, she should have told Tara in some other non-group context, and Tara probably would have been chill. The context has changed now that Keira has someone she’d actually like to choose, for some unknown bloody reason. And Brett doesn’t deserve the spot, because he has made no effort to secure it. But instead, because EVERYONE IS DRUNK, they all decide to go in on Tara, instead of I don’t know….asking Brett why he’s here?
Dirty Street Pie Laurina, from Blake’s season, is here. I didn’t watch that season but I very much admire the Dirty Street Pie comment. Laurina seems like a very…spiritual person, actually repeating the affirmation ‘I am love. I am light. I am laughter’ on screen. I hope production slipped this in to her room.
She comes in with a date card and she says she’s first going to judge on looks, then have a chat and see who has the initiative for her to give it to them. Blake has no chance with anyone so he hones in on her. Laurina has a long list of attributes she wants in a man and Blake matches not a single one of them. Girl good luck. She WATCHED Sophie’s season and apparently ‘likes cocky guys’. Nina is amazed that he moved in WHEN LAURINA DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A DRINK YET, which is indeed the height of rudeness. Laurina wants to make him feel confident, so offers him the date. Honey, he has an abundance of confidence. Knock him down three pegs, at least. Anyway they go on a date, rub each other in mud and have a bit of a kiss. I will not participate in Blake’s redemption arc. She rates the date 6.2 out of 10.
I need to make note of a lot of the man-jewellery happening here. I saw Luke and Brett wearing similar pieces to this. It’s a whole thing, that may be traditional Fijian but is never, ever explained.
Just thought you all should know.
Sam describes Keira as ‘an absolute legend’, very romantic. They are clearly not in to each other but their egos seem to enjoy some aspect of each other.
Tara is all in her feelings because she took on the idea that the girls thought she was ‘forcing’ them to choose Brett. It emerges that Tara thought everyone knew Brett and Steph were together (remembering she is a particular friend of Steph). But even production didn’t know. So when Tara gets upset (and I HATE seeing her cry, she is a wonderful sensitive angel), Get-A-Grip Friend Florence friend suggests to her, maybe go chat to Brett? Which gives production a great chance to just confront the guy once and for all. The fourth wall is broken SO HARD. ONSCREEN. But first a producer informs Tara that Brett and Steph had both said they were single during casting, so she’s on the defensive. But production gets the real FINISH HIM move. It’s stunning.
Brett admits they have been seeing each other for a year. A YEAR. But it’s not Facebook official, so it’s fine! Tara says ‘yeah you wanted your love story, right?’ and he responds with ‘I’m not looking for a love story, but…’ and THAT’S where he loses her.
This was his little rant on Instagram after the episode, by the way.
And look, I would never put it past production to indulge in some manipulation. I mean, we’ve all seen UnREAL, and no-one casting Blake Colman in a show can claim the moral high ground. But the ‘right reasons’ for being on the show (a phrase constantly thrown around by contestants) don’t actually include a paid holiday with your existing girlfriend.
When it’s announced that the rose ceremony is happening that night, the girls actually go off to debrief who’s getting a rose, which is interesting. It’s settled that it’s basically down to Florence to decide who gets out of what Nina describes as ‘The Naughty Corner’ – her choices being Jake, Davey or Brett. And come on, we all know Brett is out of here. The only choice is Jake or Davey, and who will piss her off the most with their thirst at the cocktail party.
Note: Leah’s gonna get sick of Mack so soon. When he tells her he thinks she’s amazing, she says ‘I know, I hear it from everybody’.
She did a handy job extricating herself from the ‘love square’, however, and knows she won’t be facing a lot of competition for old mate Mack.
Florence is mid-rant to Nina, saying ‘Every time I turn around, Davey or Jake would appear…’ and like magic, Davey appears. Those are bad summoning powers, Florence. Anyway, he knows this is ‘do or die’, so he gets her…a handful of flowers. The biggest of guns. Michael thinks Florence is leaning towards Davey because he brings out ‘a soft spot’ in people, i.e people pity him. He doesn’t seem to have considered that Florence is an ice queen.
The rose ceremony brings us a handy outline of the established couples/alliances:
Nina + Eden
Leah + Mack
Keira + Sam
Lisa + Luke
Laurina + Blake
Tara + Michael
And of course they left Flo til last. She chooses Jake. She’s not quite there yet on her fuckboy-shedding journey, but the way she mentioned she was wondering if she’d made a mistake with her choice on After Paradise makes me think she makes some progress over the course of the show.
Davey and Brett are outta here.
Until next week. Sometime. Probably not Tuesday.