It’s time for the home town dates and Matty is really looking forward to them.
Matty is an idiot.
Those of us who have been watching these shows know how they pan out. The Bachelor ships himself out to each of their home towns where he goes on a lame date because the girls seem to have actually organised them themselves. No yachts, no abseiling, no pint-sized British rock stars; just picnic blankets and landmarks. This is followed up by a dinner with the family where one family member makes a dick of themselves, followed by an awkward pash on the patio – more awkward if it’s not between the Bachelor and one of his girls.
First stop is the Gold Coast where Tara is meeting Matty at her favourite place in the whole world, Movieworld. She’s managed to close down the entire park for their date, which must have cost the producers a motza, unless they managed to coincide it with a visit from those roller coaster inspection teams…
But Matty is chuffed. One of his biggest dreams has been to visit a theme park when no-one else is there, and to that I say…dream bigger, Matty.
As much as Tara claims this as her favourite place, she proves to be very unskilled in dressing appropriately for the Batman Spaceshot. The chair drops and her blouse lifts up and covers her face, exposing her boobies. Rookie mistake…or was it?
The visit to Tara’s family house is reminiscent of one of the first ever reality TV shows on Australian TV – Sylvania Waters. Sure, their canal might be a little more up-market, and their front door a little more flash, but the sister is wearing a denim jacket that looks like it’s been zhooshed up with a BeDazzler and the blokes’ knuckles are about an inch from dragging on the ground.
Tara’s tribe consists of half a dozen kids in the front yard, a couple of sisters and their mates, and Tara’s brother Troy. He hasn’t evolved enough to figure out which way his hat goes on his head, or that you can take it off…nay…are expected to take it off, at the dinner table.
Troy is trying to put Matty in his place. He grunts his disapproval that Matty would go on a TV show to find a mate.
“Wouldn’t catch me doing that.” And more’s the pity, because there’s something I would probably really find entertaining.
Bachelorette number 1 is Shazza, a greyhound strapper from Dapto. Meet Bachelorette number 2: Raelene – a grid girl at the Ipswich speedway…and then there’s Debbie from Whoop Whoop where the only single men are her brothers…
Osher wouldn’t even have to change any of his group date scenarios, but how much more entertaining would they be? Imagine that pig chasing fiasco with Troy’s potential dates!
Troy sees right through Matty.
“Liar! You got four girls left. Ya gunna break some hearts, arnya?”
Matty spills out some stock standard Bachelor answer about how he has genuine feelings for Tara, and uses just enough polysyllabic words to scramble Troy’s brain.
Next minute they’re chinking their beers together like they’re old mates. The rest of the dinner is uneventful, the patio pash goes off on schedule, and Matty manages to catch his plane for his next hometown date.
Florence is up next, and while she lives in Melbourne, her hometown and her entire family are firmly planted in the Dutch countryside somewhere. Instead, she meets Matty at a place called Windmill Gardens which is exactly like Holland, with a windmill, a canal, tulips and a couple of dykes…I mean, bikes.
They go for a twenty-metre pedal, before sitting down for a traditional Dutch picnic: Heineken, cheese and a couple of hash brownies.
OK. There may not have been any hash brownies, but the date would have been much more exciting if they were.
As I mentioned, Florence’s family is still abroad, but she’s in Melbourne, so a quick phone-call to Uber-Dutch and a couple of friends, Mali and Maha, have been delivered for Matty to meet.
Mali is quick to ask Matty why he has to go on national TV to find a girl.
“You are in it for the fame only,” accuses Mali.
I feel I must take a bit of time out here to defend Matty. This is The Bachelor, not The Hunger Games. It’s not like the government is traveling around to far-flung districts, pulling names out of a bingo barrel and forcing them to be a tribute to fight to the death for Matty’s hand. Twenty-four girls go into this of their own free will, and most of them must be hoping for something to come out of it in case they are one of the 23 who get eliminated. Two words: Sam Frost. Yet Matty gets crucified. Double-standards, people!
Besides which. Matty already has tasted fame. He has a Bachelorette rejection and a tampon ad under his belt.
Although Matty’s ears go inexplicably red, he survives the interrogation from Mali, but then Florence won’t hold his hand in front of her friends, and he’s managed to find Holland on a globe, and Matty seems to be a bit dubious about the commute.
No time to contemplate that for too long though, because he’s off to catch-up with Elise.
“Welcome to Paradise!” proclaims Elise, and in one foul sweep of her arm manages to destroy any naïve image of Paradise I may have conjured in my head. Far from palm trees and champagne and toned Latino masseuses and chocolate waterfalls, it turns out that Paradise is rocky, blustery, cold and grey…and in South Australia.
Apparently, Elise had a whole array of beach activities planned, but had to scale them a back a bit. I’ll say; they stroll amongst the seaweed and watch a pelican shit on a rock.
Maybe it’s a good ploy on Elise’s part. It doesn’t matter how much of a grilling Matty is in for from her family, it can only be a step up from this.
It all starts amicable enough, before Elise’s mum excuses herself from the table. Eagle-eyed Matty soon notices that she is in the kitchen, swilling wine…alone.
At least she’s using a glass. One of my favourite Bachelor moments ever was in Ben’s season in the US and the home date with JoJo was so stressful that her mother forgot all about the camera and started swigging the shiraz straight from the bottle.
But I digress. Elise’s mum wants to know why it took him so long to take her daughter on a single date. He tells her he had to wait until the aggressive girls had gone, and further redeems himself by mashing a few spuds. She is so happy with this response that she offers to pack up Elise’s room and ship her off on the next train to Sydney.
The final home date is indeed in Sydney, and Matty is shocked to see that Laura has brought another man on their single date: Buster, her dog.
Well played, Laura. Well played, because not only is Buster a dog, he is a three-legged, rescue dog. And Buster loves Matty.
And just in case there was any doubt that Laura would not be eliminated tonight, the family dinner includes the usual overbearing sister, the mute brother-in-law, but throws in a button-cute set of grandparents.
Despite her husband of sixty years sitting right there, Grandma feels a stirring in her loins that she thought was a thing of the past.
“He’s a ten-out-of-ten!” she proclaims, and we know how much a grandmother’s approval can sway the course of love. It’s like Georgia and Lee all over again.
By this stage Matty has three family dinners under his belt, and there are no backward hats in Sydney. He passes the family test and the sister advises Laura to tell him how she feels, before it’s too late.
Out on the patio, Matty and Laura embrace. Actually, it’s less of an embrace and more of a shackle; either way their eyes meet.
And Laura makes her masterstroke.
“Do you love me one hundred percent?” asks Matty
“Don’t,” she replies. “Don’t make me say that when you can’t say that back to me.”
Sheer. Fricken. Brilliance. Just give her the rose already. And one for her Gran. And one for Buster.
But a rose ceremony cannot be had without Osher, and he’s back at the mansion. While Matty has been jet setting around the country, Osher has been biding his time applying individual droplets of water to the three roses with a pipette.
It’s hard to create tension when there are only four girls left and one of them didn’t have any family at the family date and didn’t want to hold Marty’s hand. And tonight’s choice of cocktail party had that under-boob tattoo on full display, and maybe, just maybe, Matty had an image of what that would look like on a seventy-year-old chest flash through his head.
There is no rose for Florence.
Osher, in true wing-man style, swoops in to place a comforting hand on the small of Matty’s back, a tender acknowledgement of Matty’s dilemma.
“I got your back buddy. It’s tough only having three girls left.”
Meanwhile, Florence is staggering through the garden, in the dark, in ridiculous shoes. Dutch gone.
And then there were three….