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Art for Art’s Sake

Here we go again. Listen: things aren’t great this week. In last week’s flood the Shit Den got hit pretty hard. The TV’s fried and is shooting off sparks ominously into the dark. Our only couch is completely waterlogged; The Rat floats around in a McDonald’s cup. We’ve put some wine biscuits in there with him and he’s been bobbing away contentedly.

As we said, things aren’t going too well. We’ve always treated The Bachelor and our long-suffering editor, Sam, with trepidation and contempt (respectively) but this week we really hit our nadir. We know we keep saying that—and we promise we’ll stop soon, truly—but this week we really mean it. That’s right, guys: we’ve fallen for Art.

The depravity and desperation of our romantic lives meant this was always going to happen. George last met eyes with a potential mate in about 2007; Joe’s shelled out for Tinder Premium and has parachuted himself into Tasmania. We’ve had to stop going to the New World across the road because we keep freezing in front of Jamie at the express counter. We fall often and we fall hard.

And look, we honestly never thought it’d be Art we fell for; there were so many alternatives! Danielle (M, not B) caught our eye early on and Joe still blushes (a grotesque and disquieting sight) every time Puru is on screen.

But our hero showed some frailty this week and we were enamoured. When an anxious Art asked Poppy whether her mother would like him we were melting, and his hopeful little whimper when Poppy answered in the affirmative had us in little puddles on the floor.

A stupidly bounding Art also met up with Alysha in Invers. Now, you might be surprised to learn that both of us are sons of the South—Joe was born and raised in a commune at Waikouaiti and George’s formative years were spent dagging sheep down Mataura way. George read Ag-Sci at Telford and Joe’s “parents” (it takes a village to raise a child) didn’t believe in the education “system”.

But we digress. Our hero put in a consummate performance this week. He managed to display the full range of human emotion: from melancholy all the way to pity. Art evoked a real sense of pathos through his endearing hesitancy with Alysha’s probably-disgustingly-bigoted meathead brothers, who took an immediate dislike to our Paleo Prince. The episode evoked some uncomfortable memories for both of us.

And goddamnit if he isn’t doing a lot better than we would, okay. Christ knows we’d go to pieces at one of those cocktail parties. It’d be just like George’s after-ball in 2008; we’d be sloping off to that little white trellised piece with three Heinekens and a pouch of Drum. We’d be sat there forlornly, stealing little glances at Shivani et al., and hoping one of them would come on over and ask us if everything is okay.

It’d be horrible. And did you see Art making out this week? We imagine that if either of us ever get the opportunity to try kissing we’d be a nervous wreck: eyes darting every which way, clammy hands clutching at thin air.

Okay, dear readers, we hear you. We know what you’re saying, and the answer is no. We might be “hacks” and “unhygienic” but we haven’t “come around” to the show’s “despicable politics”—we know that the whole premise is a paean to the worst excesses of Kiwi neo-liberalism. And the gender politics are clearly no better. We felt real solidarity with Dani’s step-mother in her righteous indignation at this whole sordid nightmare. But show be damned, we’re in love with Art for Art’s sake and nothing more. Love might be blind, but it can still smell bullshit.

Forgive us an abrupt ending, readers. The water is edging ever closer and The Rat grows hungry. George is treading water and Joe’s gone under: a small patch of bubbles marks the spot where he swam moments ago. Once again the curtain falls on an urgent scene.

P.S. Save the date! By popular demand, the Bachelor meet-up will be held at The Bristol at 8:30 pm on the night of the final episode. Come dressed as your favourite participant. J & G

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