One man. 23 women. One mansion. True love. Mike Puru. The Bachelor NZ is back on our screens. A year after Art Green and Matilda Rice found love, or maybe got paid to keep being in each other’s Instagram posts, we are finally blessed to witness another man make women compete for his attention on television, for roses, until one of them, ultimately, receives something an aging Michael Hill has personally crafted in his tiny old man hands.
Looking more like the host of The Bachelor than he does the actual bachelor, 32 year old Jordan Mauger is the complete opposite of previous bachelor Art Green—except not really because he is still a white man. A filmmaker and producer, Jordan would rather spend the day on the family farm than drag you around Ponsonby doing paleo food tastings. He is a true Cantabrian and he loves stubbies. Jordan is in fact so average that one of the women is rumoured to have remarked behind his back, “I could just find any guy like him out in the club any night I want.” However he also has a Delorean with the number plate MJ FOX, which propels him far and beyond Art Green standards, though admittedly that bar was very low (he was a dick AND he did blackface). I honestly just want to see more shots of the Delorean. The ten seconds of Jordan driving down a stretch of empty country road was not enough for me.
To say The Bachelor is problematic viewing is a definite understatement. Out of 23 bachelorettes, only four of them are women of colour—Metz, Harmony, Naz, and Catherine—two of whom are eliminated within the first two episodes (though blogger/fashion designer Claudia at one point states that being brunette “makes me look Hawaiian, but I’m not Hawaiian!”). Metz and Naz are by far the most interesting, with Naz being framed as the show’s villain from early on, probably because she is a woman who possesses strength and confidence. Every time she appears there is a sharp sound of a knife being drawn. It’s not great. There are a handful of very pale brunette women, the most interesting thing about any of them being that one of them is named Storm. The rest of the bachelorettes are a sea of blonde white women, an indistinguishable blur of beige forms, all repeating things like “Jordan looks really good” and “I definitely want to spend more time with Jordan” as they sit huddled around glasses of white wine, fake laughing.
How many wait staff are employed for these ‘cocktail parties’? How long is the bar open? Is there a drink limit? At the end of the first night Harmony definitely reached it, and the bachelorettes allowed her an entire couch to roll around on as they stood on the other side of the pool looking down their noses at her. She may have gone home first, but she got a lot of free drinks out of it and that’s commendable.
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After two episodes it is already clear that 33 year old retirement village worker and Scrabble enthusiast Rebecca will win the damn thing. Not only did she throw out a Star Wars reference when they first met in the driveway, but, according to renowned source of journalistic integrity Stuff.co.nz, she’s writing her thesis on romance in reality television. What an incredible research opportunity. Here’s hoping the last episode ends with her and Jordan speeding into the sunset at 88mph, disappearing in a blaze of fire, travelling back in time to whenever the antiquated gender norms of The Bachelor were considered okay.