Entertainment TV The second-most obvious question about The Bachelor and his intentions
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The second-most obvious question about The Bachelor and his intentions

The Bachelor swing
Swinging time or dud date? The Bachelor's Nick and Cassie get high. Photo: Instagram
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While the biggest obvious question still to be answered about this season’s The Bachelor is who wins, one more conundrum about Nick Cummins’s intentions is playing on the minds of viewers and contestants alike.

Why are the dates Nick takes his reality TV harem on so downmarket?

The Ten hit has gone from hiring out Royal Randwick for the day to a couple of lanes at Wet’N’Wild in the far-flung back blocks of Sydney.

The days when Bachelors lavished tennis bracelets, sports car rides and fine dining experiences on their evening gown-wearing ladies seem to be done.

Cost-cutting in reality TV is unusual at a time when it is much cheaper to produce than quality free-to-air drama, which can cost up to $1 million an episode to screen and has been in an irreversible downward spiral for years.

And The Bachelor should pay its share of any bill. CBS has injected much-needed funds into Ten’s coffers, and the show’s ratings – the highest for years, because both men and women love the Honey Badger – has seen advertising dollars pour in.

Remember when Laurina Fleure complained about her “dirty street pie” in 2014? Now the contestants are lucky to get a feed at all, although many dates seem to end with Nick ushering his sweetie into a room set up with just a couch and bottle of plonk.

“I did find that myself,” Shannon Baff, who made an emotional exit from the show on Thursday night, told The New Daily on Friday of questioning the basic dates.

The thought that budget constraints had kicked in crossed Shannon’s mind when a group date involved “doing the activity in the mud and stuff” and plunging into a waist-deep river for fun.

Other single dates this season have seen Cummins pushing Cassie Wood on a swing he fashioned from wood and rope and passing a rugby ball with Brooke Blurton.

Jamie Lee Dayz asked aloud whether watching someone wave around a samurai-style sword constituted a date. At least she didn’t get injured, unlike Brittany Hockley stacking it on a Segway.

For real.

But Shannon has a theory: “I think it’s just [Nick] trying to figure out how to mesh with them properly.”

It’s not the worst thought, and The New Daily put it to Ten. Are the dates cheap and cheerful because money is tight or to better reflect the Honey Badger’s image of down-to-earth blokiness?

Sadly, we did not receive a rose or an answer from the network.

And as Melbourne car-care consultant Shannon, 25, put it of both possibilities, “Either way it was a bloody blast.”

By the time she spoke to The New Daily, she had long recovered from giving former Wallaby Nick a half-time speech when he booted her.

Instead of slipping quietly into the night, Shannon made a last stand: “We would have made a great couple. You haven’t got to know me. I was hanging onto s–t, man.”

“Emotions were high, I know that much,” Shannon told The New Daily.

“I’d been there for a bloody long time, I hadn’t had conversations with my family and friends, couldn’t get any advice from the outside world.

“I bottled it all up for two and a half months and it just came out in a really random way. Obviously I had a couple of drinks at the cocktail party.

“It was all a bit much, I was feeling like I was hard done by and, boom.”

Now recovered, Shannon is sure Nick will “find the love of his life at the end” and she predicts it will be Brittany.

Bondi venue manager Jamie-Lee, 27, who left on Wednesday night, disagrees. She thinks Brooke is the front runner.

She and Nick “maybe didn’t have that spark there”, admitted Jamie-Lee, who said she “definitely felt my time had come” when she was given the flick.

Unlike Shannon, who is still single, Jamie-Lee has re-connected with an ex since leaving the mansion and “we’re now happily in a relationship”, she told The New Daily.

“We recently caught up at an event and just hit it off. I’m not giving out her name,” she said.

The pair dated for 18 months before Jamie-Lee went on The Bachelor, with the show’s producers not pressuring her to disclose on air her last relationship was with a woman.

“It’s not something that I really felt the need to disclose,” she said.

“It would be kind of weird, saying to Nick, ‘I’m Jamie-Lee and I’m into girls.’ It’s not something I kind of felt the need to talk about.”

The show is down to six women, and will wrap up next month.

The Bachelor screens on Ten, Wednesdays and Thursdays 7.30pm.

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