Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 6

In episode 6, nothing makes any sense, can someone please edit this show properly, oh god I’m exhausted release me from this nonsense.

Mostly I’m exhausted by Jarrod, because he is a dude with a lot of emotions, and they are all insufferable. He thinks that Grant and Daniel are ‘taking all the women’ which is clearly not a situation happening against the ladies’ will so maybe you should just chill out, dude. Keira is off massaging Daniel very much voluntarily, so maybe it’s just time to get a lock down on your emotions. Megan enters get-a-grip friend mode and reminds Jarrod that actually, everybody is talking to everybody. Daniel is of course gross so when Keira asks if he’s attracted to her, he responds with ‘I’d have sex with you right now’ and a great gagging is heard throughout the land.

Jake thinks another ‘sausage’ is due to arrive, and here is Jared Haiborn, another US Bachie veteran who has apparently been very hot property in the American iterations. Not sure I get it, as I can’t unsee this:

I’m sure he’s very nice but he doesn’t seem to be a hit with the ladies when he goes around for a chat. Megan describes their talk as ‘average’ and Ali thinks he is ‘seems gentle and caring and beautiful’ (which seems like a lot from a brief chat) but did not feel her elusive ‘spark’ (I gotta say, as someone with the surname Sparkes, Ali’s mission to find me is slightly odd to watch).

Sam quizzes Ali on whether Jared ‘made her mountains crumble’ which is an interesting turn of phrase, and she very subtly indicates that no, she is in to someone else. Who in the world can it be? Turns out it is Grant – who last episode went on a date with Leah that definitely made her mountains crumble – and there is some very aggressive setting up of this from the group they are sitting with. I think everyone wants both Ali and Grant otherwise occupied. They go off for a chat and it turns out Grant had assumed she meant him. HOW? They have literally never spoken before. Their entire relationship, which seems to move at the speed of light after this, is a complete failure of editing on behalf of Channel Ten, because they were so hyper-focused on a non-existent love triangle that Ali was in BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T EVEN FANCY ANY OF THEM.

This show hates romance.

Apparently he and Leah are looking for different things relationship-wise, with the implication that Leah is less serious than him. I’ll remind you that it was Leah who asked the one practical question of ‘hey how the fuck would this work with you in America’, and he who brushed it off. Leah is also grossly unaware that Grant feels this way, and will make her feelings extremely known about him just picking up with Ali without even trying to chat with her first. Leah doesn’t seem to have the greatest relationship with other women, so of course it is first Ali that cops her ire, telling us  ‘everything about her is big’. I disagree. Sure, she’s got big tits, big eyes and big lips, but her personality seems absolutely minimal.

Back to poor old Jared, and for some completely unfathomable reason, he decides to use his date card on Megan. She’s taken aback, and tries desperately to squirm out of it, pulling him aside for a chat while telling us the awkwardness is somewhere around a ‘9.9999 out of ten’. Approximately. Apparently Jared does not understand the old polite rebuff, where she says she was surprised that he asked her on account of the fact that she didn’t really feel like they had instant chemistry, and she would hate to get in the way if he was attracted to anyone else….Anyone? Bueller?

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Somehow he wears her down with the power of aggressive blandness. All she wants to do is stay on the island with her mojito and be a get-a-grip friend to the literal dozens of people who need one right now, and here’s this powerfully-jawed American come to take her away. Jared does get the point though, and whinges to Grant that he wants to go home. How about talking to…any other girl?

Blake states that Megan is out of Jared’s league. Megan is indeed a sensible hottie with no interest in Jared, but it is intriguing that this statement is coming from Blake, who currently has no romantic connections on the island after getting the name wrong of the only woman who would give him the time of day, oh, and assaulted a guy.

Poor old Jared and Megan are now stuck on a boat for the most awkward date ever, which she is using as an ill-advised test of her relationship with Jake, to see if she can connect with someone else. Honey. We have already established that this is not going to happen with this particular Thunderbird. He makes movie references and it almost seems like an elaborate lie to get him to stop talking when she tells him that grew up in a super religious household and wasn’t allowed to watch movies or TV shows, so has seen very few movies (it’s actually true). Just keep referring to the Chrissy gif for the general vibes of the whole encounter. When they return from their date Megan indicates that it was ‘probably…as expected’ and that ‘He’s up for grabs, ladies’.

Jarrod does an astounding number in hypocrisy this week, ranting and raving over and over again about how he doesn’t like being second-best in Keira’s heart. Despite, of course, throwing over Keira to pursue Ali and making sure she knew she was his second choice at the first rose ceremony. I cannot emphasis how much he has earned every little bit of this insecurity, but I must hasten to add – Keira does not help this at all. She doesn’t get a get-out-of-jail free card. However, she is not a total manbaby about it.

Nina talks to Ali about how she is feeling torn between Eden and Daniel, something I have never been more confused about in my life. I had Nina pegged as so sensible, and Daniel literally could not be more of a fuckboy, growling about how he wants to take her dress off while in the middle of doing the rounds of flirting with every girl on the island. Ali is as surprised as the rest of us to find out that Nina and Eden have not even kissed, so at this stage they are really formally Just Friends. Jarrod has a whinge to Nina about wanting to throw in the towel over Keira and Daniel’s flirting, which Nina relays to Daniel. Daniel – in probably the only time I can empathise with him on any level – doesn’t give a fuck. Nina is utterly torn about the whole thing, and is worried about getting hurt. I can think of one guaranteed way to get hurt and its name starts with Daniel. She’s there crying while he tells us: ‘They call me Gepetto because I make women my puppets’.

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Keira takes Jarrod for a chat, and when he describes himself as struggling she tells him ‘I know how you feel, I’ve been there’. His amnesia about the Ali situation is genuinely so frustrating. When she tells him that she is genuinely interested in Daniel, he goes off, insisting that he should have been told this earlier. A reminder is issued that this time she’s been spending with Daniel has actually been her deciding that. Keira is not a fan of the idea that this is solely Jarrod’s decision to make. Turns out he has no time for all this: ‘I don’t have time to stuff around – I have a vineyard to run… I have a busy life’. Spoiler alert: he has SO much more time for stuffing around this episode.

Grant takes Ali off for a mini-date, and Eden accurately assesses that they are ‘they’re zero-to-one-hundred’, so maybe it’s not all just bad editing. They appear to have a requisite five minute conversation about the spark, before Ali is reading to get her pash on. Well, that’s your one frog. Hope you’re happy together. Leah’s head meanwhile is exploding, as Mack is thoroughly enjoying it all. Leah thinks they’re both ‘a bit mentally twisted’, and that the Americans are ruining her experience, with a special shout-out to Daniel’s manipulations. It is clear that every single person that is not being manipulated by him can blatantly see what is going on.

Keira has momentarily flipped back to Jarrod and indicates to him that she thinks she was running away from something genuine. He inexplicable compares her to Madonna, I’d be more tempted to compare her to heroin but okay. Daniel sees them go off together so decides to try his luck with Laurina, who doesn’t mind because she enjoys a good flirt. Keira and Jarrod are off in a A Second Location where she is opining how much she knows that he has her back, and that she trusts his intentions – which at the very least he could not make any more clear. Eventually she tells his ‘You can have a kiss now. On your lips’ and I can only think that this weird pash negotiation happening is because of the consent issues with production.

Leah and Michael have a bit of a chat – Michael fears that she is more interested in him than he is her, but she’s not exactly out here making heart eyes at him. I’m not too concerned about another love triangle there.

Keira has returned to the group and realised her kiss should have been with Daniel, a pretty damning indictment of Jarrod’s kissing ability. Tara gently tries to indicate that while Keira is enjoying the power now, she may not want to give Daniel her rose and give him that power next time. Meanwhile Jarrod is off talking to the guys and staring at her moonily at Keira, while they try in vain to get him to chill the fuck out, as Daniel will reveal his shittiness. Michael delivers some of the greatest words of wisdom ever heard on television: ‘You can build a body in the gym, but you can’t build a heart’

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For some inexplicable reason, Keira thinks it’s a great idea to sneak in to Daniel’s hut and have a pash with him. Honestly, she cannot justify it. ‘It’s hard to resist! What’s a girl to do? I don’t want to disrespect Jarrod, but you just gotta go for it’. It should be really easy to resist, because Daniel is so clearly a goddamn sex pest.

So….she goes and dumps Jarrod. He is confused AND SO AM I. When all your choices are bad just go and make new choices, Keira. Stop flim-flamming between these two garbage men. She mentions that he is gentlemanly when he like, picks something up for her, and he spits out ‘I’m gonna use that gentleman-like-ness on another girl’. Okay. We all know you’re not, because no-one wants a giant manbaby. He also tells the others that he doesn’t want to approach another girl because they’ll think he’s just trying to get a rose, which would be clearly true but is at least semi-reasonable.

Unsurprisingly Leah mentions that Jarrod’s ‘red-ometer goes right off’ when she casually drops in conversation that Daniel and Keira kissed, and it’s true, he is a human tomato. Vastly awkwardly, this happens right when Keira is standing behind him. Sam asks her directly ‘Have you kissed Daniel yet?’ and she responds with a grin, a sip of a drink and ‘No’. Which is quite clearly a yes. A stunning display of maturity, she then chooses to go off at Sam for asking it in front of Jarrod rather than maybe blaming herself for her terrible decisions. She doesn’t want to hurt Jarrod, you see. I know Jarrod is a terrible manchild but a way to avoid this would be to not make really bad decisions that will definitely hurt him.

Thank god, Osher is here. We just need to get through a cocktail party and then we can have our precious rose ceremony.

Keira is discussing her rose decision with Laurina and Nina. Laurina says she would like to give her rose to Daniel, but he’s a free agent and they all acknowledge that they’re interested. Keira would like to give him a clear indication she’s interested in rose form, which Laurina shoots down with a ‘You’ve gone up and kissed him on the lips, I think he knows you’re interested’ .

In the only snippet of Luke and Lisa we see all episode/season basically, she pays him out for wearing a rose print shirt to the cocktail party: ‘You think you’re gonna get a rose?’. IT’S CUTE AND I WANT MORE OF THEM.

Daniel creepily asks Keira if he makes her moist, and a ten-year vaginal drought is initiated Australia-wide.

Sam thought that Nina and Eden were super loved-up, which seems misguided because they have not yet kissed, but urges Eden to show Nina his big heart. His gesture is not so much to….talk to Nina…but to talk to Daniel. He urges him to treat Nina with respect. It’s an admirable attempt, but I don’t think Daniel actually understands the basic concept of respecting women, so maybe the time could have been better spent.

Jarrod makes some creeper talk about the Australian women being ‘innocent and genuine’. Just wait til the rose ceremony, mate.

First up, Leah tells us that she wants to get rid of the arseholes and keep the nice guys here. So she chooses Michael. I’m not a fan of Mack but honestly all Leah’s choice does is make sure he goes home. It does nothing for the many other pricks here.

Tara chooses Sam. They smooch and I can’t even begrudge this anymore given the constant parade of deeply garbage me.

Lisa chooses Luke.

Ali chooses Grant.

While Daniel opines on voiceover that ‘ If I haven’t kissed her, he sure as hell ain’t gonna kiss her’, while Nina chooses…..Eden THANK CHRIST. However, if she’s not seeing him as more than a friend, I hope she gives someone else the opportunity to hang out with him.

Laurina has been built up to be the one to choose Daniel, as ostensibly agreed earlier. So she drops a bombshell when she chooses, in her words ‘American Jared’. I think even Jawbreaker over there floored by that one. Turns out Daniel said something ‘slimy and derogatory’ to her at the end of the cocktail party, and when you think about all the disgusting things that Daniel has been shown saying, you’ve got to think it’s pretty bad for them not to show us, right?

Megan chooses Jake (DON’T WORRY MEGAN ELORA IS ALMOST HERE)

Keira steps up to the plate for the last rose, muttering ‘I don’t know…’ under her breath in a great show of confidence. Eventually she settles (in every sense of the word), for Jarrod.

This means a big old DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD to Keen Bean Mack and Cheese, Convicted Assaulter Blake, and Probable Assaulter Come On Daniel.

See you in a couple of days for the end of this godforsaken week.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Battle of the Sexes’: The Victorian Values Review

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A word of warning to my fellow Aussies: we’re going to have a pretty unique perspective on this movie. And if you care about any queer person in your life, you’re going to find it effects you. Because:
a) We’re currently going through a non-binding postal survey that has essentially turned in to a national referendum on the way LGBTQI people live their lives.

b) Margaret Court. Just….Margaret Court.

I’ve got to tell you, I had to do a bit of a Wikipedia dive on this one. Margaret Court was never on my radar (even though she has an Arena named after her, my bad), so making her a villain of the piece seemed a little….obvious, after her comments in May this year. But given this movie was filmed over a year before that, I wanted to see what else may have informed that decision. Turns out Margaret Court was raised Roman Catholic and then went full Pentecostal around the period the film is set in, became a Minister in her own church and has used that platform to speak out about gay marriage (and a bunch of other things). Safe to say, she well and truly had form before her comments this year. I’ve heard stories of audiences booing her appearance, however, despite the Lido loading us up on Pimms at today’s preview, my crowd mostly kept it in.

(As an aside, I am so glad they got an Australian actress to play Court, although strangely Jessica McNamee did seem to slip in to a trans-Pacific accent sometimes).

Battle of the Sexes is undoubtedly a story about Billie Jean King, a story about sexism, homophobia, fear, and strength. This is not Steve Carell’s story to tell, and as such he takes a bit of a back seat. I mean, his character is played as such a loser that he sleeps in the back seat of a car. And his son’s couch. Yeah, Bobby Riggs is not doing great at the start of this story. And, with real life being a spoiler again, he ain’t doing too crash hot at the end, either. But he does have an colossally smug period in between beating Margaret Court and taking on King. Carell effortlessly slips in to Riggs’s bravado and showmanship – and no-one that’s ever scene The Office could doubt this.

King is surrounded by a colourful cast of characters as she establishes what will become the Women’s Tennis Association. It kicks off with the Virginia Slims Invitational and nine players, including King and her good friend Rosie Salas. Rosie, played by Natalie Morales, ends up not only winning the tour, she also finds herself  calling the match between King and Riggs, with some oafish white dude holding on to her neck in a way that has never not given me the heebie-jeebies. Also helping establish the Virginia Slims International is Gladys Heldman, played to acerbic perfection by Sarah Silverman. Heldman is shown to be alongside King at the moment that spurns her to move in to a new realm – a pay dispute with a tournament organiser – however their relationship is a little vague. Wikipedia tells me they were essentially colleagues, but the movie had me convinced Heldman was King’s manager, until the moment King asks her husband Larry to tell Riggs she’s ready to bring it on. Whatever their relationship, Silverman trying to shove cigarettes in the hands of these athletes because of the sponsorship deal she’s locked down is a hoot.

King’s relationship with Heldman isn’t the only one the movie futzes. At the centre of this story is King’s queer identity, her struggle as a married woman coming to terms with her sexuality, and meeting a woman who could change everything (all the while being observed by the judgey judgey eye of Margaret Court, and casually being cheered on by seemingly-not-at-all-in-the-closet Alan Cumming, assisting the team on wardrobe).  King meets Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) in a hairdresser’s chair, and what follows is a brief but intense love affair, clearly seen and comprehended by King’s husband Larry (Austin Stowell). Billie clearly knows what she wants, and the impossibility of having it. The movie ends on a gentle note, with Cummings’ character telling her that one day things will change and they will be free to love who they love. The postscript on the movie tells us that eventually King did move on from her marriage to Larry, and began a long-term relationship with a woman named Ilana Kloss. She and Larry are still buds.

What the movie fails to mention is that King and Barnett (who is still present at the end of the movie) were in a relationship for many years after this. In fact, King was only dragged out of the closet against her will in 1981 when Barnett sued her for ‘palimony’.

On the theme of identity struggles, this movie really doesn’t know what it wants to be. It contains many clear dramatic elements, in King’s struggle with her sexuality and in the battle for women to establish their place in a male-dominated arena. Hidden Figures was somehow much more accomplished at balancing this with comedic elements. Battle of the Sexes takes a broader approach. Fred Armisen is there as the man shilling bogus vitamin pills (and possibly speed?) to Riggs. Riggs’s therapist, who’s there to help him with his gambling problems, has a blackjack debt to him. These ridiculous elements certainly circle around Riggs (altogether laughable himself), and it makes it incredibly difficult to mesh in to King’s dramatic storyline. Here we have a Joke Person up against a Real Person.

But of course, these movie isn’t just a fumbled mesh of comedy and drama. Even though it’s a movie supposedly about tennis, the ‘sports’ part felt reasonably absent until the last act – the match between King and Riggs. And this is where I suspect we find there’s actually a pretty decent sports movie hidden in here. Because the promotion has made no attempt to hide the outcome (and why would they?), but we can feel real stakes and real tension. As someone who is not aggressively in to tennis, it reminded me of just how thrilling the game can be to watch. And when you can know the result and still get that invested? That’s some pretty good film making. Someone in my audience clapped when King got a key shot. The woman next to me cried when she won. I don’t think the Pimms had a lot of influence on this, either.

Do I need to tell you that Emma Stone is fantastic? That she shows vulnerability and strength in equal measure and you will want to high-five the heck out of her while gently reminding her that her husband seems like a really nice guy? That she will make you wish you had witty bon mots and not just pure blinding rage next time someone says something sexist to you? And that she will make you ache, ache for everyone who sees the cruelty and the judgement surrounding them and quietly retreats in to secrecy, waiting for the world to change.

If only it had changed a little more.