Entertainment TV Bachelor in Paradise: A proposal, a new Bachelorette and a reality jolt
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Bachelor in Paradise: A proposal, a new Bachelorette and a reality jolt

Tara Pavlovic and Sam Cochrane
"The happy couple!" tweeted Tara Pavlovic and Sam Cochrane after the final of Bachelor in Paradise. Photo: Twitter
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And so, four weeks after it began in a rain-soaked Fijian resort where playing soccer with local kids was billed as an ‘fantasy date’ and Wais the barman was the breakout star, Bachelor in Paradise has ended with a proposal, a bust-up and the harsh reality that reality TV is not reality.

Host Osher Gunsberg kicked things off by outlining what the “finale” would bring: a commitment ceremony during which the four couples left standing would “face their moment of truth”.

Or, if the producers had their way, a proposal from either Sam Cochrane and Tara Pavlovic, Megan Marx and Jake Ellis, Keira Maguire and Jarrod Woodgate, and Ali Oetjen and Grant Kemp.

To lay the groundwork, they had Sam and Tara, the show’s most convincing couple, wake together and have a conversation as typically deep as all those which came before it on the show.

Sam: “You look so pretty.”

Tara: “Really? Really? I like your teeth.”

The exchange was enough for Sam to gain “clarity”, which saw him in the dying minutes of the show drop to one knee to pop the question: “You are my girl.”

Despite Sam banging on too long accompanied by electronic synth angels, it was an unexpectedly genuine moment in a show which relied so heavily on fabricated plot twists including love triangles and international intruders that some contestants gave up and went home.

Tara was thrilled: “When I look in our future I see theme parks and fast food.”

Best of luck to the loved-up pair, who when they got engaged had spent their entire relationship being plied with non-stop booze without having to go to work, remember to buy ham and milk, or see how their beloved deals with sickness, penury or tangled Christmas lights.

Maybe chances of success in the real world are high. After overcoming temptation, shared huts and boredom on the island, they’re perfectly equipped to face the real challenges of marriage.

To recap, the premise of the Channel Ten show was that rejects from past series of The Bachelor and Bachelorette were put together in ‘paradise’ to find love a second time around.

If desperate contestants didn’t find someone they could tolerate while lying around on daybeds, they were kicked off, losing all their social media traction and second chance at fame.

That pressure to declare love made for confected relationships that lasted until some could no longer bear to keep up the pretense.

Viewers weren’t entirely convinced.

While the show dished up fire twirlers and jealousy, what it didn’t have in large doses was any meaningful conversation between people declaring love for each other.

Maybe it was left on the cutting room floor, but at no time did couples discuss domestic lives, finances, professions, dreams, family plans or favourite childhood TV shows.

Among the most banal: Jake, who kept his mug on telly successfully but couldn’t win the girl.

As she said in the final show, Megan knew Jake wasn’t the man for her. Showing rare insight, he felt “like an idiot” when she dumped him. Or, as he put it when she said she was skipping the commitment ceremony for the airport, “Yeah”.

Jarrod was shown nodding to his own voiceover (“I’ve been training for this for 32 years. I’m a bull at a gate and I just want to be released”) before giving Keira a commitment ring he promised to one day swap for an engagement one.

“Aw, thank you,” she said, trying to force a reciprocal ring onto his hand. “You’ve got really big fingers.”

Ali gave romantics and village idiots everywhere hope when, after her first public kiss with Grant – a fan of knickerbockers who has survived one previous broken Bachelor engagement – declared with straight face: “I would die for this person.”

Grant wasn’t prepared to put his life on the line for a relative stranger but compensated by producing a commitment ring and a promise that “I will spend the rest of my life with you”.

Ali was visibly shattered after sharing that she wanted a proposal and two children. She has since broken up with Grant but gained a valuable consolation prize:

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