Bachelorettes: Rochelle, Anna and Ali. Photo: Stuart Bryce
There’s something therapeutic about watching a couple of hours of trashy television each week. Perhaps it’s the escapism of putting serious stuff aside and immersing oneself in the mind-slowing trivia of reality TV. The genre’s popularity seems to have coincided with the quickening pace of modern society, with time-poor viewers never being so poor as to miss their favourite program.
Most likely, trash TV works for its feel-good factor: realising that the idiots on the small box are leading an existence even less extraordinary than your own. Whoever first declared that “all things are relative” must have had shows like Big Brother in mind.
Now for a dump-truck confession: I can’t get enough of The Bachelor Australia.
Tim Robards: The Bachelor Photo: Supplied
It’s not just the stupidity of SlideShow or the annoying superficiality of Leigh Sales that has driven me into the arms of Tim Robards and his harem of lovelorn beauties. I genuinely like the show. Already I’m bracing myself for having to visit a Dickensian church hall one day, announcing myself to a circle of similarly troubled souls: “My name’s Mark and I’m a Bachelor addict.”
The program came onto my radar through the American version about a decade ago. I recall an episode in which the bachelor and his chosen paramour collapsed around each other, like lovers in a Rodin sculpture. Nobody does schmaltzy romance better than the Yanks.
In the best traditions of Australian manhood, Robards is a much sturdier character. Faced with the slow-burning paranoia and histrionics of the bachelorettes, he never overreacts. In fact, he barely reacts at all. His personality is as one-dimensional as Ita Buttrose’s impersonation of an Easter Island statue each morning on another Channel 10 classic, Studio 10.
Fantasy role: What Mark Latham might look like on The Bachelor.
This suits the show’s producers perfectly. Viewers are never distracted by the bachelor’s role, shifting their focus onto the psycho ward of stalkers around him.
The program has been the perfect dress rehearsal for casting a new Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction 2.
To young men reading this, if any of the show’s chickie-babes come your way in nightclubs or darkened bars, be careful to avoid future issues with the RSPCA. Lock up your bunnies.
I’m fascinated by all the bachelorettes but none more so than Danielle, a 24-year-old events co-ordinator from the Gold Coast.
Before she failed to receive a rose and had to leave the show on November 6, she played the role of that perennial schoolyard favourite, the mean girl. Mid-series, when her arch-rival Ali came to grief in a boating accident, the look on Danielle’s face mirrored that of Sophie Mirabella the night Simon Sheikh hit the deck on Q&A. That is, flint-faced contempt for their opponent’s plight.
There’s plenty to feel good about in The Bachelor Australia. For men, partly it’s cheering on Robards with a good ole nudge nudge, wink wink, but also realising even blokes this good-looking can be unlucky in love. For women otherwise intimidated by the drop-dead glamour of the bachelorettes, the program offers new hope. Whatever they have in looks – and the two remaining contestants, Anna and Rochelle, have plenty – they lose in emotional retardation.
So cheer up, ladies. Even if you’re a two-bagger, or worse, the host of the Ernie Awards, you’re not without hope in the meat market of life.
The finale of The Bachelor airs on Wednesday, 7.30pm, Ten