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Alone in the City of Love

In my last post I mentioned my impetus for downloading The Bad App again was that I was off overseas to Europe. I didn’t actually end up swiping a lot – turns out the No Bio Epidemic is international, and weirdly enough most people wrote in their local language… three languages I do not speak, despite my awful, awful attempts (my hot tip? Learn your yes, no, please, thank you, and ‘I do not speak this language’).

I wanted to talk about the rather odd experience of travelling alone in deeply romantic places. I was not by myself for my whole three-week trip. During my time in Germany I was able to stay with friends, and I met up with my bestie in Berlin. But I took myself solo to Florence and…Paris. The City of Love. I was not at all phased about travelling alone – I live alone and I’m highly independent, so I’m used to my own company and making decisions about where I’ll be, when. My only concern was really not being lonely, but not having anyone to talk me down from my anxiety if something went wrong (fortunately, I only had one issue – when I missed my train connection from Italy to Germany. Four hours in Bologna station and a rather difficult conversation through Google Translate later, and I was on my way).

I’ve dreamed of Paris since I was a kid. What a cliche. But I didn’t realise until I was there how seriously they take the whole ‘City of Love’ thing. That city is PDA central. A quiet break from the sun in a park attached to a church delivered me two teenagers making out for a good twenty minutes straight. I never realised what prudes Aussies are until  I witnessed the amount of physical affection people are willing to share when some random broad is sitting right there. Then there was the moment I had to jump out of two separate sets of wedding photos as I took a selfie with the Eiffel Tower, while I had another couple waiting for me to take their picture (I believe in Good Travel Karma so I always take people’s photos….but I feel like I need to add a disclaimer that I do not know their angles). I was shoved away in some pretty odd corners when I turned up in restaurants alone, like they didn’t really want me to be seen committing the repulsive act of eating with only a Kindle for company.

It’s a bit odd to be wandering by yourself in all that. The closest I came to romance is when a strange man called me over to his car when I was crossing the road and yelled at me in French, eventually communicating ‘You are very beautiful’. I’ll never know how close I came to getting robbed that day.

But just because you’re all alone in the most romantic place on earth, doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love. Because I fell in love with Paris. Not the one in my head, the actual Paris. With centuries of history and culture, dizzyingly intricate and ornate architecture, just the best afternoon light, and some of the most delicious cheese around. Also that pain au chocolat the size of my head. And people there know how to fucking live. Drinking a wine at a cafe on the boulevard before midday? No biggie. Picnics as soon as the sun shines? I’ll bring the baguette. Salsa dancing by the Seine? Welcome to Sunday evening. You can even find the occasional Aussie making a half-decent coffee. It’s kinda hard not to have a boner for it all.

Walking ’til your feet yell back, snacking ’til you nearly burst, feeling like your eyes will fall out of your head with SHEER BEAUTY EXHAUSTION, admiring the perpetual tans on almost universally attractive people. You can still do it with your eyes open. The people there smoke too bloody much, everywhere, and the hustle is seriously in your face at attractions. You can queue for eons to see the good shit. People will not fucking move for you on the sidewalk, probably because you’re Skecher-clad tourist scum or maybe just because they don’t feel like it.

But it just can’t kill that high. And I think that’s probably love.

 

 

 

 

Oh god….I’m going to end up on Tinder again, aren’t I?

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A funny thing happens when you approach 30. You’re kind of forced to take stock of your life. However, I’m not someone who worries about goalposts. I don’t really believe in marriage, although I’m a big fan of weddings (people are forced to give you presents and tell you that you’re pretty? HELLO). I’m a very happy aunty who’s never wanted kids. I’ll buy a house either when I’m partnered up or I can afford one on a deeply average income… while somehow still affording rent because hell knows I’m not moving back to the South Coast of NSW to live with my parents.

So I don’t believe in goalposts, but I do have hopes. And as we’ve previously established, I am a romantic. I may not want tradition, but I do want a companion to go through this dumb thing called life with – and not just so I can afford a house. I found myself approaching 30, living in a small coastal town, surrounded by my friends, who are the greatest people on planet earth, but also apart from my friends in some ways. Because every person in my group was in a committed relationship, and I realised I was beginning to live their settled lives, when I myself did not have any desire to settle in to the life I had. I was living in an area I had almost no chance of meeting someone I had things in common with. So, I had a choice. I could move to Sydney, where I’d worked for 8 years, and which I hated, or I could just call time and move to Melbourne, which I loved, and where a beautiful nephew was himself about to be born. It was a tough choice (see aforementioned greatest people on planet earth), but one where I saw a lot of opportunity. I’d connected with so many people in Melbourne before in my life. This is where it’s going to happen to for me, I thought.

So, what’s happened since then? Well, I was on Tinder for a while last year. Both half-seriously, and then continuing my Tinder Trends series while I was unemployed. Then I got a job and got exhausted by Tinder. Ugggggh it’s so awful on there guys. The trends are never good. I dipped my toe in Bumble and mostly found more of the same. But here’s the thing: I have met a whole bunch of awesome – generally straight – women in Melbourne. Outside of work, I have met no men who are not boyfriends of said women. I’m not a big believer in office romances, partly because I’ve seen things go wrong and also because my mother met both her husbands at work (yep) and both of those were hellllla ill-advised. Also I am a big weirdo at work and pull a lot of faces at my desk while swearing at my computer. I don’t think it’s charming. ANYWAY. What I’m saying is I am not organically meeting people who I would date here in Melbourne, the land of opportunity.

Last night as I was standing in the shower, where I do my best thinking, I was pondering that clearly I am going to need to download Tinder in a couple of months when I go to Europe (goodbye, probably about a fifth of a non-existent housing deposit for the mortgage I could never service and would never get). Not because I am planning to casually fuck my way across the Continent, but because of my natural human curiosity about the people I will in no way be talking to in public spaces, because I actually care about my safety. I just…want to know what my options would be, if I were local.

But then, of course, you know where this is going. Because in the next breath, I realised I wasn’t even finding out what my options are now. Where I live. Nothing makes me wildly keen on the idea of dating (shaving my legs? Trying not to swear as much as I actually do? Praying I don’t get murdered?), and I really don’t mind waiting, but at some point I’m probably going to have to realise that the right person for me is not going to appear in my lounge room while I’m watching Younger.

If Silicon Valley could get on with *that* app, though…

Netflix, you did it. I’m so proud of you.

Netflix has proved to be really good at some things. Shows about lady wrestlers. Shows about The Upside-Down. Making you cry about makeovers. Making you cry in a different way over terrible cakes.

They’ve not really nailed the rom-com before.

I watch basically every Netflix Original rom-com that goes on there, but I’ve only seen fit to write about A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance because they were really cheesy and ’twas the season etc. And yes I did actually enjoy Christmas Inheritance but that is because the standard for holiday romances is so, so low. However, I’m not going to pretend I’m not counting down the months until The Princess Switch with Vanessa Hudgens.

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I watch the rest of the nonsense they add. I watched Ibiza, which I felt vastly overestimated the appeal of watching people who are drug-fucked and vastly underused Richard Madden’s natural Scottish accent. Happy Anniversary made me want to never be in a relationship lest I have to talk that much. They do okay with teen rom coms….sometimes? Candy Jar was charming. The Kissing Booth was one of the most problematic things I’ve seen in a long time, GIRL RUN AWAY. I did not watch When We First Met because I hate Adam Devine with the fire of a thousand suns.

So I am extremely pleased to say, they’ve done it. They’ve made a good rom-com. Meet Set It Up: 

The basic structure is barely even trying. Two over-worked and under-appreciated assistants who work in the same building set up their bosses to get some free time: “When they’re boning, we’re free, right?”. In the meantime they hardly realise that they themselves are being drawn closer together. So no, you’re not here for the plot. You’re here for the charm.

This whole movie is like some sort of twisted charisma factory. We start with the most important role, the heroine. I haven’t seen Zoey Deutch in a lot, but I knew something very important going in: she made the dire, horrific mess that is the Vampire Academy movie legitimately enjoyable, purely through charm and excellent line deliveries. There was a moment there where even pashing her PE teacher seemed like a good idea. So yes, I was more than happy to be carried along by Harper’s crazy schemes in Set It Up, even if she made fun of Charlie for being horrifically old. At age 28.

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I’ve mostly seen Glen Powell be kind of blandly handsome and pleasant, as Juliet’s poor old American Not-Michiel-Huisman fiancé in Guernsey, and pleasingly not-racist John Glenn in Hidden Figures. He gets to lean in to his asshole (so to speak) a bit more as Charlie. He gets some amusing and cutting lines, although we’re probably meant to think his deeply terrible boss Taye Diggs has rubbed off on him bit. Look, even Mr Darcy has to learn how to soften up a bit before he’s a worthy romantic hero.

I was pleased to see Lucy Liu given credit as the goddess she is in the movie:

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She’s a badass sports writer with her own publication, and while she has a touch of the Miranda Priestlys to her, you never question Harper’s admiration for her.

There’s a great support cast, a brilliantly old-school soundtrack (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking that cue from Nora Ephron)… I’ll stop talking. Go watch it. The world is fucking awful, go escape for an hour and 45 minutes.

I’m absolutely delighted that Netflix has managed to produce a movie that balances rom and com so adeptly. I’d love to see writer Katie Silberman do more, but I have some bad news. Her next movie. Such a promising concept:

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.

It stars Adam Devine.

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‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’: The Victorian Values Review

It’s a mouthful. I’ve been shortening it to Guernsey – because a lot of this film is about Guernsey, and its experiences during WWII – but I was delighted when the girl at the box office told me that some people have been asking for tickets to ‘The Potato Movie’. Come on guys, Peter Dutton’s a long way off getting a biopic.

First up, as always, a trailer:

This particular film is a difficult one to talk about without spoilers, but golly there’s a few of them in the trailer, anyway. Part of the issue, of course, on basing your movie on a bestselling book (in this case, the 2008 novel of the same name) is that you want book fans to know that the key scenes and lines they love are in there. Nonetheless, the trailer could have dropped a little of the content and still been effective.

The movie starts thusly: Juliet Ashton (Lily James) is a successful writer in London, shortly after the end of WWII. She’s starting to become slightly disillusioned with the explosion of partying that has taken over London society, but is having a damn good time with her American diplomat beau, Mark. Her publisher Sidney (my boyfriend Matthew Goode) would be pretty darn happy if she’d just start her next book. Unexpectedly she received a letter from a pig farmer from the island of Guernsey named Dawsey Adams, asking for a book hookup for a group he’s part of – the titular Society. The story of the group’s origin (and let me reassure you – the name’s a gag) draws Juliet in to a correspondence, with her eventual decision to travel to Guernsey to meet this infamous group. Once she arrives, she becomes drawn in to their lives and the tales of what happened when Guernsey was under German occupation during the war.

I was lucky enough to be recommended the book by a friend many years ago, and was very excited when rumours broke in 2013 (yes, five years ago) that Michelle Dockery had been offered the lead, as I thought she would be perfect. To make it clear how long this movie has been in development hell – it was apparently initially intended to be a vehicle for Kate Winslet, and in 2013, Simon Curtis was attached to direct. Although Mike Newell ended up tapped to direct, the movie ended up maintaining the Downton Abbey connection from Dockery and Curtis (who is married to Elizabeth McGovern who played Cora), with a star turn for James (Rose), and support from Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley), Jessica-Brown Findlay (Sybil) and Goode (Henry Talbot). Taken together you’ve got a whole lotta people who are incredibly comfortable in period costume. Part of me can’t help but mourn for the idea of Dockery in the lead role, however – in the book, Juliet is 32 years old, and James, who has just turned 29, reads a bit young for a successful writer. She is bloody lovely to look at, though, and is less ‘mannered’ than I’ve seen her in other roles, allowing Juliet a bit of goofiness. The cast is mostly rounded out by people you’ve seen on the telly – like Katherine Parkinson from The IT crowd – and a man I shall henceforth know as The Extremely Handsome Michiel Huisman. Look, I’ve seen The Age of Adaline, I’ve seen Game of Thrones, and he has NEVER done it for me more than in his pig farmer get-up. I don’t understand it and I don’t particularly care to. He is extremely swoon-worthy – noble and caring and just a smidge sarcastic – in this movie.

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Sexy men aside, there are so many factors at play that will determine whether you like this movie. I enjoy it, as I did the book, because I’m intrigued by the lives of ordinary people during WWII. I gobble up books and movies set in the period, even though I know they make me cry every fucking time (this one wasn’t too bad). However, if that bores you….this movie will probably bore you too. I will say that the period details are absolutely stunning, from Juliet’s fancy London get-ups, the phones, the recycled and repaired clothes from the folks on Guernsey, to the old-school ships and planes. There is a lot of attention to detail at work here, and I always want to give props to the people behind the scenes that hunt these pieces down and create props. While the story itself could easily be told in a TV movie, the budget that comes along with a studio feature has allowed some gorgeous work to be given a starring role. Also, a word of warning for the ladies: you will want to buy hats after this. Juliet wears an abundance of wonderful 1940s hats, and it’s no bloody coincidence that I saw this movie yesterday and went and bought a knit beret today.

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Not as nice as this one though.

It’s also a love letter to Guernsey, with lush scenery (although it was predominantly filmed in Devon, unfortunately, due to the logistical issues of filming on the island). And what an extraordinary tale the locals had – the book was well-researched, but the movie also does an excellent job of showing just the kind of difficult position they were put in, forced to live alongside their enemy in such a small space for five years. Whilst the Blitz was a horrifying experience for any Londoner, Juliet quickly learns how different the Guernsey experience was to her own. The Society itself grew from an act of resistance, and she learns the complex interrelation between this small group and the occupying forces, and the legacy it has left behind.

The cast bring a lot of warmth, wit, and heart, to what is at its essence a drama. This is a movie that is hugely at risk of being being trod on by genre pics, coming out right in between A Quiet Place (which I also saw yesterday, and really should have seen first to give my heart an opportunity to recover) and Avengers: Infinity War, and as always, I try to review movies that are at risk of being ignored. However, I think just from the trailer, most people know if they want to see this movie or not. If you’re not interested because you don’t like romance…I’m not sure why you’re reading a Victorian Values review, but sure, skip it. If you’re interested but on the fence, I can assure you that the movie is unlikely to disappoint. It’s not a thrill-ride, but it’s stunning to look at, the leads are charming, and the ending is happy.  And Michiel Huisman is very, very handsome.

Bachelor in Paradise Australia Episode 11: Farewell, Paradise

I think it’s been very clear over my series of recaps – my longest recaps yet, I would say I’ve clocked about 30,000 words so far this series with all the characters to cover and the ridiculous length of the episodes – that I have been frustrated with this show. Filling the cast with garbage men (including a guy convicted of assault), poor editing, the weird hyper-focus on ‘dramatic’ storylines over actual relationships. Nonetheless, I’ve devoted late nights and lunch hours to my writing.

But at some point, I must acknowledge that while writing about a popular show drives eyeballs to my blog (which I make no money out of whatsoever), it also serves as a promotional tool for the show. I become part of the hype that they reap advertising dollars from. And I no longer feel comfortable with that after last night’s show, so I’m going to cease recapping it.

I can’t get on board with the queerbaiting that came to light this episode. There was never any Megan/Elora story as heavily implied by the promos. They spliced in a shot of Megan and Thomas kissing amongst other shots of Megan and Elora to make it appear that way. It’s dirty and low to communities who are just looking for a bit of positive representation. And while I already felt it was a bit salacious to have at least three consecutive shots of them when the rest of the trailer was really random, I figured when you have a storyline so different to what this franchise normally tells, you want to make sure people know about it (obviously it doesn’t hurt that Megan and Elora are beautiful women).

To be clear, this is not a comment on Megan. She is obliged to represent no-one but herself, and if the only people she wants to be in relationships with on this show are men, then that’s chill. Bisexual people’s sexuality doesn’t  depend on whoever they’re with at any given moment.

This is purely about the manipulation on Channel Ten’s part. I don’t want to be part of the hype machine that told such a specific lie to bait people who wanted to see a representation of a queer relationship, finally, on one of these overwhelmingly hereto dating shows.

If you want to read some excellent recaps on the rest of the season, I can highly recommend Jodi McAlister at BookThingo for smart stuff and like 90% the same sense of humour as me with less swearing, and Tahlia Pritchard at Buzzfeed for the lols.

Thank you for reading. I’m yet to decide if I will continue livetweeting (I do really want to see what happens with Apollo….) but you can find me at Twitter here.

Keep an eye out for my next film review to hopefully wash this dirty taste out of my mouth. The worst part is, as misleading as it was, that trailer probably had the best editing of the whole season.

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Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 10

So you all remember how I cancelled Eden two whole episodes for finding it impossible to respect someone’s boundaries, right? Golly was it exciting to finally see Twitter catch up with me on Monday night.

While Apollo is just chilling out is his hammock like a handsome god, Michael is telling Megan that he has changed his mind about letting Lisa come to him. Megan is an excellent get-a-grip friend as always, laying it down on him like:

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And with the girls having the Power of the Roses this week, he’s probably not going to get Lisa’s.

My notes here say ‘some man-bunned idiot turns up’ and it turns out it’s Thomas, from the Canadian Bachelorette, and I have no idea how infamous he may be, but he designates himself as a international fashion model, immediately reminding me of the insufferable David Witko from Georgia Love’s season (who Leah went on to date! I bet she’ll be steering clear of this one).

Keira and Megan both think Tommy Hilfiger here is their type, which, sure, okay. They both go on about how they like rugged, manly guys, and then this fella turns up with a topknot.  When he announces that he’s Canadian, Tara responds with ‘we just got rid of one of you!’, which is delightful. He has a date card and takes Megan off for a chat, and he rambles about enjoying guitar and drawing portraits while Megan is sitting there like ‘Wow, you really don’t need a lot of personality to tempt me away from Jake, do you? Just some dark hair I guess. Wow, this is confronting’.

He takes Leah for a chat and she is essentially, again, ‘best of luck with your future endeavours’, a grand position to be with when you’ve got rose power but no romantic prospects.

While Sam and Luke romantically walk down the beach holding hands, Tara asks Lisa if she feels like she will be in a relationship at the end of the show (seems like a valid moment for the question). While they have not had ‘the chat’, Lisa’s feeling pretty firm about it. Meanwhile, Keira is urging Michael to look to any other girls that come in, instead of pursuing Lisa. Aww guys, you tried. Although Jarrod appropriate cops shit for his ‘Yeah, look at us!’. No-one wants to look at you Jarrod. Get some SPF 50+ immediately, you human tomato.

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But Michael needs answers with Lisa! He knows love ‘is sometimes not served up on a plate…I feel like in this situation you really need to fight for it’. Okay mate but really if someone has clearly made an alternative choice maybe you could just move on with your life instead. She hasn’t spoken to him in like three days, and has gone and spent all of her time with Luke. Anyway, he says that if he doesn’t get a positive result he’s prepared to walk away. He doesn’t get one, although Lisa is kind, but it turns out it’s not ‘walk away from this delusional fantasy where Lisa and I get married’, it’s ‘walk away from the entire show’. Here’s some footage of Michael’s exit:

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(this is never brought up again in the entire episode, like everyone on the island simply didn’t notice).

Back to Lisa and Luke. He’s yammering to camera about how he likes to take things slow, but Lisa is still feeling a little insecure. He seems to be a bit bad at words, but the grand gesture that is desperately needed doesn’t seem to be on the cards either. They’re cuddled up in a cabana and as always this is super unclear, but it appears she has decided to leave…and is asking him to come with her. Why she wants to leave her free holiday is completely unclear, although we have seen a LOT of rain so maybe Fiji in the wet season (which is indeed when this was filmed) just sucks. She ‘doesn’t want to waste any more time’, and accuses of him of just wanting more holiday time. This is….not exactly a crime, but when he confirms this, she just gets really upset. He feels pushed, although he’s terrible at expressing it because Australian Masculinity.

Eventually she comes back to the conversation and apologises for making him feel pressured, but it turns out he’s relented. She’s the one he came here looking for, so they will leave together.

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(Turns out Luke probably cheated on her – they’re being vague about the ‘broken trust’ thing, but they broke up – after they were home so nice work dude)

Elora gets a date card and finally has an opportunity for some time alone with Apollo, and you can basically see her dangling the keys to her sex dungeon. Simone is going in to a tiny rage spiral, being rude to Thomas when he tries to talk to her. She’s determined to have her day ruined. Apollo and Elora go an extremely short distance (rain! again!) to have high tea where they bond over such things as both being carnies (sorry, ‘travelling entertainers’). Elora tries to take the Keenest Bean title from Jarrod at one point by encouraging Apollo to ‘deepen his throat’. But while Apollo thinks Elora is an amazing person (very kind assessment from a kind man), he’s thinking about Simone because he doesn’t want her to be hurt. He tells Elora that he’s looking for someone to travel with, with a lust for life, and that he doesn’t like drama, or people who complain about things. Sounds like Tara to me but okay!

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Whilst everyone is very happy when they come back that Elora finally got her date (and can now shut up about it), Sam observes that Apollo essentially makes a beeline for Simone. They have some cute little lines about how they missed each other, while Elora looks on with an expression that could probably melt steel beams. While it’s ‘a dagger to [her] heart’, she still plans on giving him her rose:  ‘I’m not someone who gives up’. Because that went so well for Michael, y’see.

The next day, Megan is yammering to Keira about her confused Jake/Thomas feelings, while he tells us he’s going to to ask her on a date:  ‘We had a connection, good eye contact…everything you want’. Yep, that’s what we want.

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He asks her and she rebuffs him on account of the Jake-ness of it all, showing him she loyal (only fair considering that’s what he did with Elora, I guess, although Megan would have taken that Elora date in a heartbeat). Thomas tells us ‘I didn’t get this date card not to go on a date…I’m getting a rose tonight, and many more roses’. So he asks Leah. And she shoots him down. So he asks Simone. And she shoots him down.

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In the end, a very odd cheer-up plan is concocted. Jarrod has ‘planned a date’ for he, Thomas, Apollo and Sam to go on. Long story short, they all end up shirtless in a milk bath together, while Apollo is rubbed in lotions and they drink cocktails. It’s very odd but it definitely seems to do the job of taking Thomas’s mind off the fact that no women on the island want him. Also…

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We’re finally up to…. wait I think…. is the final drama for the day. Elora tells Ali in the lead up to the cocktail party that she received a little love note from American Jared. Ali, having no chill, spills this to Jared at said party, telling him how sweet she thinks it is. Yeah, Jared hasn’t been writing any letter. Actually, he can’t even read! (no, jokes). Their suspicions immediately turn to Sooky Old Simone, and Jared shows much greater faith in her that me by exclaiming ‘Nobody’s that stupid!’.

Tell you who is that stupid though? Eden, who thought he was pulling a hilarious prank. Eden tells Jared ‘You should be thanking me’ when confronted (why???), meanwhile Megan has the shitty task of breaking it to Elora, who is appropriately hurt that she was messed with, for no other reason than apparently Eden is a fucking child. Eden asks Elora for a chat and when she tells him she needs a minute, he responds with ‘it has to do with me, so…’  and basically pulls her away, once again fucking refusing to respect someone’s boundaries.

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He tells her it didn’t come from a place of jealousy or malice, so good luck with your comedy career mate because your sense of humour is fucking terrible.

All the usual suspects pick each other at the rose ceremony (Leah chooses Jared), and the decision at the end is left for Elora to pick between Eden and Thomas. I’m not sure why this a choice, except that Elora wanted her chance for an Oscar acceptance speech after all the boys got to do one the other week. She announces: ‘I’m very hurt, by what have you done. But in no way will will I let anybody change who I am. And Eden…I did want you to find love. So I choose you’

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Thomas is out, and we really, truly, barely knew ye. Barely got to know how garbage you could become. Megan thinks this has all cleared some stuff up for her, that she is looking for something deeper and meaningful. Too bad Jake is a puddle.

 

Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 9

Your girl’s laid up at home right now after spraining her ankle on the way to Sydney this weekend. This is my first viewing of Sunday night’s episode and in the interests of getting this up before the next episode in about three hours, I’m just gonna write the recap as I watch. Not my usual mode! I typically take detailed notes as I watch and then write separately. If Channel Ten would just release us from this hellish schedule I could just go back to what works for me, but I guess this is where we’re at. Not having seen this episode, now that Apollo is here there are no guys that I am aware of left to enter, but at least 3 or 4 women that I know of through trailers/being spotted on set. So we’ve still got a bit of an ahem ‘journey’ ahead of us.

Osher tells us that ‘mateship was thrown out the window’ at last week’s dramarama bros ceremony. I’m not sure how the ANZACs would feel about this use of mateship but he did indeed ‘dog his mate’ and I am dying to see if Lisa is showing any interest in him at this point or if was all a show just to let Luke know she has options.

Michael makes the stunning claim to Grant and Megan that ‘Even I didn’t see that coming’, which Megan immediately calls bullshit on because she is the greatest. Mate. We saw you planning it all episode. And you spent at least 3 hours writing your Oscars acceptance speech about selling out. Megan wants to know what the hell happens now – Michael is planning on letting Lisa come to him now he’s made his attentions known. Just a thought – there could have been some private way he could have done that if that’s all he wanted to do. Oh well. Lisa and Luke are off chatting about how Like didn’t see it coming, and he feels like it puts him in a tough position if Michael wants to get to know her. If Lisa is trying to reassure him, she does a terrible job if it, telling him that both Luke and Michael were guys she was interested in getting to know coming in. Luke wants to clarify her feelings for Michael: ‘There’s absolutely nothing there’….and she essentially accepted the rose in shock. ‘Michael is an awesome guy, but I’m interested in you‘. Lisa thinks its brought them together, which is going to be a treat for Michael to find out! So glad Nina basically got sent home because of all this nonsense (although Michael would have likely been pressured by Keira to give his rose to her, so I guess the net result is the same).

Eden is still whinging about how he was a real martyr because Nina wouldn’t let him pash her on national television for ten days. Sam tells him ‘You are far better than the situation than you were subjected to’. To me, that situation seems to be ‘a very mild case of blue balls’, and I’m so glad I can cancel Sam again. Even my Greek god Apollo better be ready to be cancelled if he insists on pursuing someone who has established a clear boundary with him that he refuses to respect.

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A date card is here – Michael would take Lisa on a date for sure if he got it, and we all prey he will so we can be saved from this terrible plotline. Alas, Eden The Annoying gets it, and we all know he’s taking Elora off so he make some weird comments about her body comparing her to meat. Eden: ‘What are you doing?’ Elora: ‘I’m…going on a date?’. And then the most relatable thing in Paradise occurs: Simone leans over and whispers to her ‘What if Apollo comes in and you’re gone?’. And okay, I think everyone who has been here for nearly two weeks (hissing: particularly Tara) should get first dibs on Apollo, but I definitely understand the concern. No-one wants to miss an opportunity there. And Elora is very firm in not wanting to go on this date and missing Apollo: ‘every time he was on screen he just had this presence that drew me in’ (they’re called abs, it’s okay), but she doesn’t want to hurt Eden. Why not just hurt Eden? He’s rubbish, and he’s going to blame you for his case of blue balls eventually too.

Michael hopes Eden acts respectfully and slows the fuck down, because word is he has freaked Elora out by getting ‘all funky fresh’ (golly our Michael has a way with words) and draping his arm around her post rose ceremony. I’m going to say that he is going to have a lot of difficulty with this.

Channel Ten offer him (and her) a small punishment by making them climb up a giant sand dune for their date. She is NOT feeling how touchy-feely and territorial he is being, and when they set up their boogie boards for sand-duning (that is what this activity is called, I have decided) he tries to hop on one with her and the body language should be EXTREMELY CLEAR YOU IDIOT. This may be even worse than the Megan/Jared date, I think. We cut to Keira and Megan chatting just for some sweet relief. Keira is very grateful for Luke giving her a second chance.

Jared is talking to Jarrod, presumably just to confuse Twitter. It seems that maybe Jarrod is convinced Simone is too young, but once again the editing in this show is so fucking terrible. Michael asks Simone about the date and she says while it was a good date, but there was no spark and she wasn’t attracted to him (I’m sorry to be such an ancient stick-in-the-mud, but why kiss in that circumstance?). She wants a pretty boy! A pretty boy with a good personality who doesn’t look in the mirror all the time! Last episode her priority was a guy who wouldn’t lose interest in her, but okay!

The important part here is of course that ‘pretty boy with a good personality’ is the perfect intro for our Magician/DJ/Dorky Angel Apollo. He’s got his white shorts and lobster shirt on and he is ready for Paradise, FINALLY, GOD, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN KEEPING HIM I HATE YOU. Tara has already fallen in love with an idiot and I think it’s too late to save her! In another moment of deep delusion, Apollo thinks he is remembered for an awkward date moment, and not when he was shirtless and dressed up as an actual literal god.

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Apollo is determined not to hold back this time! He’s going to find his lady! In fact, he’s going to come in to Paradise and ‘hopefully make some magic happen’, and then laughs at his own joke like the huge dork he is. Oooh…and he’s walking in with a date card. No-one has ever been more excited than every man on this island – Luke leaps out of the pool and picks him up (hooooow?). The girls are apparently ‘frothing’ – Megan tells us the girls have been talking about him non-stop since they got there. Michael encourages Leah and Simone to pounce. Apparently Elora has been telling everyone he’s the entire reason she’s there.

The horrifically awkward date of Eden and Elora continues. She’s uncomfortable and doesn’t want to have to sit and talk with him because she doesn’t want to discuss feelings, which same. He asks her why she’s on the date with him, and answers that she doesn’t know him. What is she looking for? She’s looking for a spark – it could be a slow burn, and he completely talks over her. He then thanks her for coming on the date with him and the hug, with her giving him a kiss on the cheek. ‘Ahh the cheek’ he exclaims out loud, like a fucking predatory. Oh my god someone please release Elora. The girls have the roses this week you fucking idiot, stop acting like a weirdo creep and someone might keep you in out of pity at least. He realises he’s not getting a kiss and for some reason starts…what he thinks is a food fight which is just him shoving food at her with crazy eyes while she protests. What is wrong with this man.

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Apollo is getting the hot goss with Jarrod and Luke about who’s single and Luke casually drops in to conversation to Elora is…very…keen to meet him, when Tara and Sam come screeching in. Apparently Tara and Apollo are already good friends (they are both Gold Coast folks), which isn’t annoying to me on some level at all. Pah. Turns out Apollo has been way too scared to approach the girls yet, even though he’s here clutching a date card. Sam volunteers with matchmaking, even though his previous efforts have mostly been terrible. Keira turns up, and Jarrod mutters that Apollo ‘is 24, he’s just a kid’. Maybe, but he is the most respectful dude we have seen grace our series in this entire franchise. Keira would run roughshod over him, but he’s not too immature for her. He’s just a good person.

And it’s taken me and hour and a half to recap 22 minutes of show, so I might just drop some detail level here because I’m not getting this out before tonight’s episode otherwise. God I hate TenPlay so much. The simple process of pausing and resuming can take an eon.

Keira and Apollo chat. She would be happy to ‘kiss him…just for Australia’ but there’s no chemistry here, she thinks he’s too young. His body sure is ‘rigged’ according to Keira, a previously non-existent term I think I will adopt.

Exhaustingly, Jarrod tells Keira he is back on her. How is this possible. Why is this possible. Just pash you fucking idiots.

Apollo takes Simone off for a chat and Leah threatens Elora’s head exploding. Apollo and Simone have a little giggle together, including about Simone adorning Matty J’s penis with a sticker. He says she has a ‘beautiful childlike nature’ which is a bit off, but she’s not put off from him calling her ‘Penis Sticker Girl’. He gives her the date card. Hilariously, Tara and Sam who constantly boast on their Instagrams at their special drama-avoiding abilities, are here champing at the bit for Elora return and everything to kick off.

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She does, and Ali lets her know the situation. Apparently Simone and Elora had discussed her lust for Apollo even before the show. Elora instructs Simone not to feel bad but then seems to get mad that Simone mentioned Elora was interested in him – of course, Luke was way ahead of her on this one.

Jake, Michael and Eden are off chatting, and Michael tells Eden that he stinks. Truer words were never spoken. Eden is struggling because Apollo is a beautiful angel and he can’t even deny it. Speaking of, Elora still feels like he’s fair game so she’s going for it. Surprise surprise, Simone gets her nose out of joint at the mere act of Elora taking him for a chat. Ali ‘can’t believe she doesn’t have her friend’s back’, which, okay, but Simone doesn’t really have a leg to stand on by saying all other bitches ain’t loyal to their friends. Maybe just chill out and see how your date goes mate, because right now you’re trying to piss your mark on him on the basis of a five-minute conversation and a date card.

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Michael: ‘I can see that blowing up’ Megan: ‘I hope so’. Good god, everyone’s desperate for drama that does not involve them. Megan accurately assesses that does not ‘seem like an arsehole’ (and therefore may not be a great match for Simone who gets a bit fiery). Elora and Simone go off for a chat and Elora asks Simone not to mention her, as it might kill her chances if he thinks she’s all over him. Chat to Luke, mate. And also, in future, maybe don’t tell everyone literally how hard you’re gagging for someone.

Jarrod takes Keira for a mini-date. I don’t care. Grow the fuck up. I will note that he describes her as his ‘purpose in life’.

Elora makes the bizarre choice to complain to Eden about Simone going out with Apollo and feeling unwanted. This is….not the person to complain to about this?

It’s another crappy weather date (what an ad for Fiji this show is) for Apollo and Simone, but that doesn’t stop her from suggesting he takes his top off so she can sunscreen him up. Relatable. Their date is some sort of challenge borrowed from Survivors, collecting bottles from balloons/buoys. She capsizes them and Apollo her tosses her back in like she is a small child, as everyone is to him, because he’s a fucking unit. She keeps capsizing (maybe on purpose at this point) but this is becoming a bit of a theme for her dates.

Elora wants everyone to know she is butthurt, and they are all sick of her. Keira wishes Apollo could make them both disappear and then laughs heartily at her own joke. Meanwhile, post-date, Apollo and Simone are chatting over a wine. ‘Apollo makes me feel like a child again’ – god, this is a weird ongoing theme. Is it just the size? Or is she just really immature? The things in the bottle are questions for them to ask each other. Apollo says he ‘is just looking for someone to create a story with’, which is a bit cute. Simone expresses to Apollo that she’s worried Elora will give him her rose and she won’t get to give one to him, a valid fear on this show but probably not one to mention to him…

I’m still angry at Sam so I do not want to devote time (thanks to TenPlay being so buggy it is now less than half an hour to Monday’s episode) on his romantic gesture to build (‘with some help’) a little shack thingy for Tara. I suppose we’ve all got to find something to fill the sober hours. She’s delighted, blind as she is to Apollo’s vastly superior charms.

(Can you imagine Apollo making an ‘I have needs!’ speech?)

Unfortunately, she tells us she’s falling in love with Sam.

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Apollo and Simone return from their date and Elora has never been more excited to see two people not holding hands. Everyone demands to know whether they’d kissed (‘no), and then drags Simone off for a chat, but she’s feeling defensive. Elora says ‘can you promise me you didn’t bring my name up in conversation?’, which we know she did. Simone tries to shrug it off.

The guys want to know if he’s attracted to her, which he is, but he’d like more time. Jarrod wants to know if he wants to get know other girls, ‘or Elora’, and honestly, Simone is not the villain here in the ‘bringing Elora up constantly’ field. In the girls chat, Simone and Elora both state that they would like to give Apollo their rose, which is extremely awkward. Elora and Simone go off for a chat and Jarrod makes everyone pay attention to it. Simone doesn’t know how they can be friends if they’re both interested in the same guy.

There’s mention of Simone and Elora’s ‘bad history’ which has made its way through the Bachelor grapevine. The rumour is that in the outside world, Elora had hit on a guy that Simone was interested in at an event. It turns out (it was kind of whispered in passed) this was awful Courtney from Georgia Love’s season. Elora thinks that Simone is the origin of this rumour. Time for another insufferable argument on this show. If Simone told people this story, then her then crying about having her personal life brought in was ridiculous. If she didn’t, then it’s tacky of Elora. Either way it doesn’t reflect well on either of them. Begone!