This is not a rom-com: Why the Four Weddings and a Funeral series is such a disappointment to fans of the film

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Edit: the below is based at the first four episodes, which at the time of writing I was under the impression was the whole miniseries. There’s now 5 episodes out and according to iMDB there’ll 10 all up (miniseries?). Although it’s clear I’m not really enjoying the show, I’m happy to catch up when it’s finished to see if my comments about pacing and character development still stand. I’m really glad ‘the end’ was not the end.

Well, look at the image above. We have to give them some points for vastly improving the diversity.

But was anything else an improvement? Four Weddings And A Funeral is probably not in my top 5 rom coms (if you’re wondering at the top 2 spots, it’s When Harry Met Sally and Bridget Jones’s Diary) but it’s certainly in the top 10. I love spending time with the characters, but the execrable acting from Andie MacDowell puts me off a little.

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*head explodes*

I’m just saying this movie put me off Andie MacDowell until she popped up in the greatest film of the last ten years, Magic Mike XXL, and I was given no choice but to stan.

Spoilers abound for the series below, btw.

So it turns out that Andie MacDowell provides our extremely tenuous link to the original film, as the mother of Rebecca Rittenhouse’s Ainsley.  We don’t discover this until episode 3, when she turns up to cut Ainsley off from the family money. This is all terrifically mysterious as quite recently in the diegesis Ainsley had a failed wedding, crossing over episode 1 in to episode 2, which apparently her parents decided….not to attend? It was quite a large wedding. It makes no sense. But nonetheless, there’s your connection.
(Note: Andie’s character is credited as “Mrs Howard” and not Carrie so….who knows, tbh. Given Carrie and Charles’s daughter is somewhat-canonically Lily James…)(also yes that clip confirms Carrie and Charles never got married so let’s just say it’s only a cameo and this entire thing is unlinked and they should have just named the whole show something else that would not invite comparison)

It turns out that, particularly when you only insert easily the most charm-less part of the film, it is incredibly difficult to recreate the charm of the first film. Yes, the movie is filled with toffs who we should probably not feel a lot of sympathy for because they’re pretty much all rich. However, they somehow manage to exude warmth, a genuine bond, and they all (Kristin Scott Thomas and Andie MacDowell – a literal model – excepted) sort of *look* like ordinary people – helped along by the fact that 1994 was simply not an extremely attractive time in our history as a people.

The show doesn’t help itself a long a whole bunch by centring around a bunch of beautiful Americans – going so far as to cast the wonderful…British… Nathalie Emmanuel as a Yank – who inexplicably all met in the UK for university and most of them ended up moving there. Leaving the show to be set in London, with a British supporting cast, but unavoidably American. The main cast can’t seem to nail the dry, self-deprecating humour that seems innately part of a British rom com (particularly one penned by Richard Curtis).

Nathalie particularly suffers, I believe, by the Four Weddings and Funeral project sharing a lot of key staff from The Mindy Project – most prominently Mindy herself but also producers, writers and directors. In the end, it feels like they’ve made Nathalie’s character Maya – in many ways, the main character of the series, the catalyst whose return to London sparks much of the plot – in to a Mindy-esque protagonist. Fast-talking, flawed, funny. But it isn’t until you notice it that you realise a lot of Mindy Kaling’s charm is extremely specific to herself.

It’s not helped that our first impression of Maya is her waking up in the bed of a married man. It’s hard to engender sympathy in me personally for a woman who’s either 30 or closing in to it, who definitely knows better and definitely knows he’s married, who is carrying out an affair. Nora Ephron just managed it in When Harry Met Sally, but….a) no-one on this writing staff is Nora Ephron and b) Marie was not one of the very main characters of When Harry Met Sally. It’s there in the name.

The miniseries format seems to have presented a challenge to these writers, very few of whom seem to have worked outside the weekly series format. They seem to want to have characters who are somewhat unlikeable to start out with (intense and jealous neighbour Gemma, rude and conducting-an-affair Maya, pining and insufferable writer Duffy) and bring us around to loving them. In a rom com film, you pretty much have to start out with having the characters you want the audience to like being likeable. In a series, you have the luxury of time to develop and endear. The pacing of this miniseries is off. Very few characters have coherent journeys, nor make the trip for unlikeable to likeable.

Let’s talk about Maya’s love life. Over the course of about 3 hours, she pines after her married boyfriend, dumps him when she realises he’s having an affair, sort of observes her best friend’s fiance Kash from afar while having the occasional flirty conversation about Mamma Mia! (which the show’s trailers want you to think is endgame, even though it would be messy), then suddenly at the end she’s kissing Duffy in the rain. Duffy spends the first bit of the series pining after Maya (who he’s had feelings for since uni), picks up with a fellow teacher at his school, and all of a sudden the end he’s dumped the teacher and is professing his love to Maya on her doorstep. Why did he dump her? We’ll never know, apart from the fact that she’s not Maya, which he’s always known. Apart from a few conversations about the death of her mother, there is almost no build-up on Maya’s side towards deciding she wants Duffy.

This is not a rom-com.

Do not buy that this show is a rom-com.

One of the best things the movie gave us was absolutely no romantic development between Fiona and Charles. Fiona wanted Charles, and we felt for her, but Charles didn’t see her that way. Even if we, as the audience, kind of thought they would be a great match, sometimes love is simply unrequited. Fiona let him know her feelings, and he treated her with honesty and kindness. It’s a more realistic portrayal of what sometimes happens between friends than grand gestures that first go unnoticed and then are suddenly reciprocated from nowhere.

Suffice to say, I did not ship it.

The only character who has a semi-sensible journey emotionally and takes the turn from unlikeable to likeable is Gemma, the extremely posh neighbour who has developed a (deeply possessive) friendship with Ainsley. Her jealousy is off the charts when Maya makes her return. I think we’re supposed to side with Maya, but all in all the female cattiness just comes off as distasteful all round, and Gemma presents as a caricature despite being part of the core cast. She barely develops in to a rounded character – with an emotional life outside the scope of her friendship with Ainsley – until her husband passes late in episode 3, with some of the best work in the series being her send-off to her husband and handling her son’s grief.

By the end of the series, we are left with a broken engagement, a death, a break-up, a secret child and an out-of-nowhere coupling which is only telegraphed by a seemingly unrequited pining. As such, it’s a struggle for such a show to recreate the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you finish a rom com. In fact, I finished it by yelling ‘WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT COME FROM’ at the telly.

Which might mean that the closest analogue is not a rom com, but a horror movie making a play for a sequel.

 

 

 

Why does The Bachelor casting skew so young?

A short bit of data nerdery today to support my main bugbear with The Bachelor casting.

Why in the world do they cast such young women?

Recently we were given the opportunity to learn about all 28 women cast to vie for Matt Agnew’s heart. Matt is 31 years old, by the way. What stuck out to me was how many bachelorettes have the number ‘2’ in front of their age.

Let’s pull out the numbers:

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There are in fact more bachelorettes under the age of 25 (7) than there are over the age of 30 (6). For a Bachelor who’s 31 years old. The average age is 27.4 or, if you’re one of those who prefer medians, it’s 26.5.

As much as we may claim that girls mature faster than boys, once you reach you’re thirties it’s pretty natural that you gravitate towards people in a similar stage of life as you.

This plays out in our Bachelors who have actually had successful relationships. Tim and Anna are the exception here, however. Lightning struck there with a 4-year age difference (out of curiously, I checked the average age of 30 year old Tim’s contestants and it was 27.9, which means they’re maybe moving further away from common sense).

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For the Bachelors we’ve actually come to like, coming on the show has generally been a reflection of a genuine desire to settle down (i.e the marriage and babies on this lot!)

Can we really presume that’s likely to happen when a bunch of fame-hungry folks in their early 20s are cast?

Drama is fun, but surely having several genuine possibilities to toss up between is even better?

If nothing else, it’d make the office sweeps more compelling.

Bachelor in Paradise 2019

Occasionally, I notice folks coming to binge-read my Bachie recaps, always a vaguely surprising event on my Stats page but nice nonetheless.

I wonder sometimes if they’re coming looking for more recent recaps. You might remember that last year I rage quit Bachelor in Paradise, abstained from Ali’s season because she was so irritating in BiP (she actually turned out to be pretty entertaining, and I enjoyed tweeting about her season) and also refused to recap Nick’s because he seemed like a drongo (a 100% correct assessment).

I had a bit of a think about whether I wanted to return to recapping that queer-baiting nonsense Bachelor in Paradise this year. I thought about how the Daily Mail had completely blown the possibility of an actual queer romance between Alex and Brooke with their pap pics on Alex’s return to Melbourne (I won’t spoil that, but if you want to Google ‘Alex Bachelor in Paradise park’ that’ll do all the spoiling you need). Nonetheless, BiP is still heavily leaning on the Brooke/Alex angle in their promos.

I thought about how the cast seemed to be stacked with mean girls from Nick’s  season and fuckboys from Ali’s. That I don’t care about whether 23-year-olds find love and don’t think they need a TV show to help them. That there was a random American and I literally watched his season of The Bachelorette and yet my mind only brought forth a blank. I summed up all my feelings when I looked at the cast photo:

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So anyway, I won’t be recapping Bachelor in Paradise this season. Keep an eye on my Twitter – I’ll livetweet when I have the opportunity.

As always, I highly recommend Jodi’s recaps at BookThingo. She’ll be doing BiP….sucker.

An Incomplete Guide To Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances Pt 3

Look, if Netflix is going to persist with this, I’m going to keep hate-watching. Like, hate-watching while low-key loving. You can find the 2017 editions with gems like the o.g A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance here and here. I’ve watched a few of the newbies over the last few weeks, and there might still be time for another edition before Christmas. Spoilers embraced this time.

Hope you like single Dads because Netflix is betting on them this year.

The Holiday Calendar
I watched this one right when it came out – at the start of November. Early November is too early for Christmas movies y’all. Particularly really bad ones. Let’s lay this one out – Kat Graham can sell you a lot of highly unlikely shit. Although her character Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries wasn’t wildly…joyful, she is super charming and all those years of basically shrugging off vampire/witch/werewolf shenanigans really did a lot for her ability to sell some wild concepts.

And you know what? She sold me on an Advent calendar that can somehow predict two versions of reality with one toy item a day. But she couldn’t sell me on a girl not choosing Ethan Peck. It’s pretty easy to see he’s The Wrong Man, given how late in the game he’s introduced (a full 20 minutes in to the movie) compared to all the time we’ve invested in loving stares from her male bestie who quite clearly wants to join her family to ensure continued access to her Mum’s cookies (not a euphemism).

But. Come on. That voice. I thought maybe it was just me but even my many friends who have not had the pleasure of watched Ethan play sexy broody fuckboy with a heart of gold Patrick Verona in the 10 Things I Hate About You show were convinced she’d made the wrong choice.

Never mind that the reason they break up was that he didn’t put a lot of faith in the rather out-there idea of a sentient Advent calendar, meanwhile the guy she ends up with not only loses her job for her, he also reacted to her Advent calendar theory by accusing her of being an alcoholic. So.

One last point of Sorry, I Can’t Buy This: as if any millennial who had a shot at it with absolutely no fucking training wouldn’t take a creatively unfulfilling office job where she had absolutely no chance of being fired, as opposed to a creatively unfulfilling casual job taking Christmas photos of pukey kids, while wearing an elf costume. SPARE ME KAT GRAHAM, go somewhere that’ll give you insurance.

Rating: 3/10, The ending was kinda cute but I can’t get over the terrible life choices.

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The Princess Switch

Ethan Peck given you a taste for hot single Dads? Well do I have the hot single baker Dad for you:

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Shockingly, Olivia is not played by Vanessa Hudgens.

Welcome, also, if you’re a Nashville viewer, to the uncanny valley of Sam Palladio speaking in his natural accent, which somehow sounds super fake?

What a great mash-up of genres this one is. A Parent Trap-style life swap and a royal romance? What more could you ask for, really? Oh yeah. CHRISTMAS. It’s got it all. Super-organised Chicago baker discovers the only person in the world with a bigger stick up their arse is the Prince of a small, probably European country (important question from Twitter: do you think Princess Switch‘s Belgravia and A Christmas Prince’s Aldovia have a voting bloc in Eurovision? I bet they both hate Montsaurai of Once Upon A Holiday, with its Dirtbag Princess Katie). He must learn the spiritual fulfilment of carriage rides and visiting orphanages which hang up mistletoe, a very normal thing to do in a workplace based on childcare. Meanwhile, a Duchess learns the pleasure of making out with a really hot single Dad who knows how to make cakes, and who only has one annoying family member (his cloying daughter) rather than an entire small country paying attention to him.

Anyway, my main problem with this movie is that it’s G-rated, and therefore when Kevin turns up in Margaret’s bedroom looking like THIS:

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She does not play any form of hide and seek with him.

A big ups to Netflix for refusing to buy any jewellery for these royal movies that doesn’t look like it comes from Lovisa (Americans: think Claire’s). This movie includes a corker:

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How many hot glue guns died in the making of that thing?

All in all, this movie is extremely silly and manages to pack in every cliche you could want, plus a baking competition. I can only imagine the environment in which it was written. I’m picturing a lot of eggnog and six seasons of GBBO on in the background.

Rating 9/10, deducting one point for not getting Kevin’s pyjamas pants off.

Christmas Wedding Planner

I’ve got two words for you: Charisma. Void.

That’s the only way I can describe the romantic hero in this movie, an extremely low-budget version of Michael Weatherly from NCIS. And he just kinda comes off like an arsehat? I read plenty of romance novel heroes with his personality type, but to translate it to the screen you really need to cast for charisma and chemistry with the heroine, because we have a lot of gaps to fill without the written word. And while the heroine does a bit of narration, she mostly uses it to yell “I am a fierce warrior”, a quirk disturbingly reminiscent of Anastasia Steele’s inner goddess. I’m not particularly surprised to find out this one is based on a Harlequin novel.

So, what’s Kelsey’s job? You may think it’s to plan Christmas Weddings, an extremely niche market if I ever saw one. Bloody millennials. In fact, she’s never planned a damn wedding before her cousin’s, and yikes. She needs to….make some interventions.

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Girl if you don’t think that’s gonna date your wedding, think about how it’s already dated this movie.

This is an extremely dumb movie with a heroine who on first appearance seems kinda charming but eventually just becomes so quirky it’s annoying. You know. The Zooey Deschanel effect. I’ve got a theory though. She’s so odd because she’s dealing with the fact that a ribbon is keeping her head on.

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Aesthetically, it’s a fascinating movie. Kelly Rutherford (what are you doing here? There’s actually good soaps out there to pay your bills!) is a sort of generically-rich aunt, and it’s just close enough to Lily Van Der Woodsen that it really shows that this movie….does not know how wealthy people dress. For example, not a lot of grown-ass women sitting around their homes in tiny lid fascinators and diamanté headbands, Lovisa strikes again.

The worst accessorising choice of all happens when Emily rips the ribbon from her cousin Kelsey’s neck for her wedding bouquet. A truly tragic end.

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Jk the biggest tragedy of this movie is (SPOILER ALERT), Kelsey decides to marry a Charisma Void she’s known for about a week on the spot.

Rating: 4/10, added one point for the heroine’s fabulous lipstick game.

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding

I, known A Christmas Prince hater, am back on my bullshit.

Because I hated this one too. It’s the only one of this bunch I abandoned so frequently that I was able to plan a trip to Sri Lanka and become obsessed with Ariana Grande in the three hours it took to watch it (I’m not joking, my screencaps have timestamps). If you can’t even sustain me on sheer bonkers trash, then that’s a sad indictment of your trash movie. There were some highlights, however.

Amber continues to be a truly atrocious note-taker and also journalist:

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Her Undercover Outfit? Literally Sunglasses At Night and the outfit she was heavily photographed entering the country in like, a week ago.

I really didn’t expect this movie to have a prominent plotline about The Power of Unions. I was truly disappointed that it turned out to be some good old-fashioned corruption and the end of the movie didn’t end with Aldovia turning in to a Socialist Republic. Maybe next time?

The plotline about press freedom didn’t hold a lot of water either. Did Amber end up keeping her blog that should have absolutely been killed about twelve months before the events of this movie?

We learned that the royal family attached Go Pros to the end of their toboggans:

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And that Amber, one of the most awkward people on the whole planet, was raised by one of Life’s Huggers:

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Amber cannot be trusted with a Hot Glue Gun:

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Great question, I thought I’d managed to travel in to this fictional universe to burn it.

Wisely, someone ripped off the Gryffindor ribbons before Emily made it to stage. Everyone on this stage is a scab btw, as the concert had been cancelled due to worker’s strikes.

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The workers! United! Will never be defeated!

We learned Richard can’t decorate for shit and Amber is a ginormous liar.

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Richard has also taken to referring to himself in the third person, so it’s kinda hard to be Team Richard in this movie. Read some Karl Marx, dickhead.

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This kid….has a boner. I’m sorry but he does. Blame Netflix.

50 Shades of School Play

Clearly, the greatest job on this production was to create the outlandish initial sketch for Amber’s wedding dress. I was very disappointed not to see the Cone of Shame at her first fitting.

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Everyone involved in this movie should have to wear one tbh.

And finally, Lovisa have got their claws in to another one:

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Golly, Aldovia’s budget really is in crisis.

Rating: 3/10, same as the first one.

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 7

I want to start this recap with a little statement.

Mostly, that the people I write about in this recap are essentially characters, brought to life by producers and editors. I try to use people’s own words as much as possible, lest it all becomes my own interpretation, but I know that their narratives are created by those making the show. It means my perception is limited by what they choose to screen. I know I can get super-judgey, but it is intended against the ‘characters’ and the story the show is telling about them, and not the people. ‘The Edited Version of X Which We Are Being Shown’ is just a lot longer to type than ‘x’.

I say this, mostly because on Twitter I was judging Laurina’s behaviour at the end of this episode as ‘bratty’. The context that both the people on the show and to some extent production, certainly at the time and possibly right up until after the show last night, that was missing was that Laurina’s brother died a month before production. It casts her behaviour in a different light.

In addition, whilst I’m going to have a rant about Keira in any case, a conversation between Jarrod and Grant, and a subsequent conversation between Keira and Grant, seems to have been so heavily edited in such a way that it again robs people of vital context – including exactly what it was that Grant apparently quoted Keira as saying, e.g that Keira thinks Jarrod is a terrible kisser (a theory that I actually think is quite likely). Apart from ignoring actual relationships in favour of drama, the editing is not bringing any clarity of circumstance to viewers.

With all that said, this is the story of Paradise we were told last night…

Eden is celebrating the current post-ceremony cruisy vibes, and tells us that the good news is, ‘the men have the power’. This has never been good news in the entirety of human civilisation, Eden.

The show starts telling the story of The Magical Disappearing Laurina, aka She’s Having A Nice Holiday And We Are Not Happy About It. I think to some extent the show is trying to draw parallels with Brett, who was very much here to have a chill in Fiji with his girlfriend. Once again, context, she was grieving and needed time out and a gentle reminder that dealing with Blake would be an excellent cause to go off men permanently. Jared would like to get to know but can’t seem to actually find her. She’s probably not interested then, mate.

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There is so much more Jarrod and Keira nonsense in this episode than anyone could ever want or need. And I think I deeply just need to accept the editing shenanigans here, but the long story as short as possible seems to be that she gave him a rose not because she wants him for herself, but that she wants him to find love. She has told him this, and he feels ready to ‘mingle’ on that account. But every time he makes an effort to actually mingle, Keira gets annoyed and jealous. There is some serious wanting her cake and eating it too vibes. It’s annoying and hypocritical and I just want them to sort themselves the fuck out, preferably with at least one of them going home.

The girls are having a chat and Tara asks Leah if she’s been making good choices. No she has not…’Have you pashed and someone’s dashed again?’. Oh dear, Leah really is a little bit unlucky. Not that I think she’s a particularly kind and lovely person, but apparently she tried to pash Michael after a few wines post rose ceremony and he wasn’t having it. And indeed, Michael is here to tell us he feels no romantic connection to anybody and he’s just waiting for his girl to walk in.

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Which brings us to Elora! I wasn’t really a fan of Elora on Matty’s season, but I am kind of excited on Megan’s account. Elora is currently our only option for saving her from the clutches of Jake….according to the promos, at least. Elora comes in with a date card and Tara tells her she has to ‘go on chatty-chats with the boys’, determined that they not tell her off the bat who’s in relationships….mostly to give Sam the chance to decline her. Elora first approaches Luke (who tells her he’s solid with Lisa), and Jake, who lets her know he’s close to Megan and wishes her luck on her future dating endeavours. Elora then approaches Megan and the entire island flips shit at the idea that Elora might be asking her out
Keira: ‘Taking a girl on a date???’
Elora: ‘Maybe….’

Jarrod: ‘I hope that’s what I think it is’.
Settle down, perve.
All the fuss was enough for me to know she wasn’t going to. Megan is a bit further behind, getting her hopes up, but Elora is just getting permission to approach Jake again. Elora made fun of his ‘sexy squint’, so I’m not sure why she’s pursuing this one so hard. Laurina tells Jake: ‘Megan’s face doesn’t look impressed, but that’s just her usual face…’ Well if people would stop being so deeply unimpressive…

So Elora pulls Jake aside, and tells him to really only go for it if he’s open to meeting new people, but yep she would really like to take him on this date. He is flattered and thinks it would be fun, but ultimately lets her down. When he returns, Megan is pleased. She thinking it’s a big turning point in their relationship, and hopefully it’s the turning point where she dumps him because a better option is there. Hey, one can hope.

Elora sets off the flames on the side of Leah’s face by eventually approaching Michael, who she will go on the date with. Leah thinks Michael can’t even see what’s standing in front of him! Okay, Leah, he has seen you. He’s not in to it. I thought he wasn’t rugged enough for you, anyway?

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Elora and Michael are off to do some glass blowing! I thought Michael was just being a ridiculous person when he referred to is as kinky and sensual, and then I heard the instructor telling him ‘Blow blow blow, go for it, harder ….and stop’ and I maybe changed my mind. The show plays some very subtle saxophone music over this entire scene.

Leah is ‘exhausted from chasing Michael around….next, moving on’ and Nina points out that she is pretty low on options, at this point. Guess who’s completely unloved by the Aussie girls, though? Thunderbirds are go! Leah wants us to know that she finds him ‘genuine and lovely’, which arguably means he is a terrible match for Leah.

Oh god, it’s back to Jarrod and Keira. Jarrod is creepily noting Keira’s nude-coloured top when in walks Simone. Simone got caught up in the Great Matty-J Slut-Shaming Scandal with Leah, a fucking low point for this entire series. She’s blonde, if you recall, which means she has Jarrod’s immediate attention, describing her as ‘a blonde bombshell in a  little red number’. He mentions to Keira that Simone reminds him of his ex-girlfriend, and yeah…you could probably say the guy has a type, right?

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It’s like a peroxide-heavy game of spot-the-difference.

Keira is happy to rant about how it would be ‘downgrading’, but she clearly feels threatened knowing the guys have the roses this week

Leah has a chat with Simone and starts selling Jarrod: ‘He’s so, so funny’ (is he???). Simone had presumed he was with Keira, which Leah shoots down. This chat has lasted approximately five seconds when Jarrod The Keen Bean screams across the courtyard: ‘Leah, are you going to share Simone around or are you going to keep her all day?’. Settle down petal. Funnily enough, this buys him some time with Simone, which she mostly spends laughing nervously and experiencing genuine confusion about the term ‘vineyard’. Jarrod’s feeling like a prince what with his vast knowledge of that place wot where grapes are grown. He tries to explain the thing with Keira, which Simone describes summarily: an absolute mess.

Just to really rub this in, Keira is off questioning how genuine Jarrod’s feelings were in the first place, because he’s off talking to Simone. This is what you wanted him to do.

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Michael and Elora sit down to have a very dull conversation that mostly serves to remind me how pretentious she is. ‘I do much more things than other people’ she says, and she’s really easygoing. She boasts about her wanderlust some more. I just find it so hard to believe that someone who’s so self-consciously easygoing actually is easygoing. Accurately, Michael isn’t really feeling the chemistry, because there is none, but he would like to hang out some more. When he returns, he greets Ali, Grant, Luke and Lisa with a ‘What’s up, couples retreat’ and lets them know that she’s a ‘top bird’ but not for him.

Leah aggressively does not care because she’s over here talking to Jared, thanks. She tells him that he seems to be there find love and he says ‘he’s here for the experience and to hopefully form a connection’, which I think we can all agree is a very different thing
Leah: ‘I think you and I connect’
Jared: ‘Yeah….yeah’
Leah: ‘You’re cool, this could be fun’
Tell Ali to call off the search, I’ve found her sparks.

There’s a bit more negging of Laurina’s solo time here that I don’t care to recap, although it does feature an amazing dance routine from Tara, Keira and Laurina.

Now it’s time for the ridiculously heavily-edited conversation between Grant, Ali, and Jarrod (with Jared hanging off the side, presumably to escape his overwhelming chemistry with Leah)
Grants asks who Jarrod will give his rose to, and Jarrod feels like Keira is already jumping down his throat for talking to Simone. Grant decides to give it to him ‘straight’: ‘as sweet as she is, she’s wishy-washy. She doesn’t know what she wants…don’t string someone along just because you wanna stay here, you know?’, the most gentle straight-talking I’ve ever seen. Jarrod seems blinded by his honesty, and has maybe finally acknowledged he is being taken advantage of, which he probably is.

Keira is watching this happening and getting antsy. She says she is in Grant’s ‘bad books’ which is why she wants to know what is happening. If you check the link near the start Keira has essentially said that after the last rose ceremony, Grant cornered her and abused her for sending Daniel home, which is a very bad look for Grant, because Grant was a fucking sex pest (and it turns out the girls basically agreed to send him home on account of sex-pestiness). In addition, apparently he passed on a comment that Keira thinks Jarrod is a bad kisser. So while she’s being paranoid, perhaps there’s reason for it. She pulls Jarrod aside, and he won’t tell her what they were discussing. Keira is determined to get to the bottom of it, and wheedles him. He quite reasonably says he’ll discuss it when he’s ready to talk about it, and he wants to sleep on it. She is very drunk, and tells him she doesn’t need to know what was said, just what it was about. Yeah, alright.
In any case, she decides:
‘I need to go talk to someone’
Jarrod: ‘Don’t talk to them about it’
Keira: ‘I will’
Cue the deepest sigh ever.

She very obnoxiously grabs Ali and Grant, and their whole conversation is a mess, much as she is. We’re never actually allowed to know for sure what it is that Grant said he was essentially quoting Keira on (we now have her word for it), but her main point of offense seems to be less about Grant warning Jarrod off Keira, than Grant assuming he can speak for her and her thoughts. Then again, ‘You think he’s a safe bet. And you feel like he’s Mr Right, but I don’t know if you want Mr Right. You might be in between Mr Right and Mr Right Now’ does not seem particularly flattering.

Keira goes on a drunken rampage, screaming at him and threatening to throw her drink at him. That one’s not editing, love. She tells us ‘When I feel slightened or hurt, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m very reactive’. She’s very good at mangling the English language, our Keira.

Probably the worst part is Jarrod’s weird, patronising reaction where he accuses her of ‘chucking a tanty’ but finding this cute and adorable rather than a sign of someone whose drinks should probably be watered down. Anyway. He’s still hanging on that thread, it seems.

We’re now on Laurina chilling out with her under-eye mask when Megan runs in with a date card. I should emphasise it is dark and at the very least, Keira is drunk so it’s probably not very early. Megan screams that Laurina has the date card, and has ten minutes to get ready. ‘Nah, I’m not going’. Look, you can see here that without the knowledge of what’s going on with her, forcing her to spend some time with someone is not a bad idea from production because it looks suspiciously like she’s using the show for a holiday, but it is the date equivalent of a ‘u up’ text at 1am when you’re in your jammies. Sam’s reaction that this ‘is a dating show, not a sleeping show’ seemed okay in context, and he really didn’t know, but an apology probably wouldn’t go astray now (nor would it go astray to comparing her to a 300-year-old demon, either). No-one comes off particularly well from the ensuing scenes – production seems insensitive, the others seems a little mean, and Laurina comes off as a bit disingenuous with her excuses – when the context is added in.

In the end, Laurina gets weepy and accuses production of being disrespectful, before deciding to leave. I think everyone can agree it’s for the best. Apparently she’s in love now, and I bet he doesn’t even where stupid braids in his hair.

 

 

 

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.