Was The Bachelor always this painful, or has it grown worse?
That was the question on our lips as the premiere of the fifth season hit television screens across the nation on Wednesday night.
Perhaps we’re out of practice, but the introduction of this year’s batch of lovelorn hopefuls felt particularly cringeworthy.
Not least because Bachelor Matty J – who was runner-up on the last season of The Bachelorette – has essentially been reduced to a female fantasy from the cover of a Mills & Boon novel.
The 30-year-old Sydney marketing man spent most of the episode shirtless, riding horses, holding babies and running along the beach. The word ‘gratuitous’ doesn’t quite cut it.
It worked – his mere appearance managed to reduce grown women to quivering piles of nerves and hormones.
“I want to find someone who makes my ovaries tingle,” says Laura-Ann from Victoria, admitting that, upon seeing Matty, “they’re tingling a bit”.
“I would love to show Matty my secret garden,” the nearly-naked Leah from Victoria subtly suggests. “And I’d love for him to show me his secret garden.”
We get it.
Bizarrely, it wasn’t the woman who inhaled helium upon arrival, nor the girl who twirled a ribbon around herself and told Matty she was a present, who took it too far.
For this reporter, the show jumped the shark the minute one contestant rocked up in a police car, complete with flashing lights.
By itself, this moment wasn’t that offensive.
What was offensive was that Channel Ten had hung all of its promotional material on this five-second moment, making it look like the cocktail party was broken up by the cops.
Were the promise of Ten’s epic ad campaign fulfilled, a SWAT team should have descended on the mansion and helicoptered the women out of there in their ball gowns. In fact, that would have been awesome.
Unfortunately, Matty J ruined the surprise in a pre-premiere interview on The Project.
“Some girls make big entrances, like in police cars,” Matty said, destroying the suspense built up by week-long promo efforts.
Still, Ten continued to tease the “big moment” early on in the episode, proclaiming: “No one expected this!”
Uh, yes they did. Matty literally just told us to expect it.
Not content with exploiting a female policewoman’s profession for fear-mongering purposes, Ten decided to push our patience even further by allowing one woman to turn up late in a bikini and brandishing flaming appendages.
— The Bachelor Aus (@TheBachelorAU) July 26, 2017
Elora from Hawaii apparently only dances with fire as a hobby, or when she needs to make a seriously grand entrance on an Australian reality dating show.
Whatever her goal, her tactics worked – the other girls were green with jealousy and this writer decided she’d had enough of reality television for probably the rest of time. Or at least until the finale.