It’s official: I’ve seen it all before. I’m jaded by TV love. I’m too old for The Bachelor.
After last year’s situation when Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins failed to pick a potential bride – good for ratings but it earned the former rugby union player national scorn and ongoing semi-exile – Network Ten had to pick a winning leading man.
Not sure they found it in Matt Agnew.
The 31-year-old unknown is the most intellectual bachelor in seven Australian seasons. He’s an astrophysicist, which meant plenty of lines about destiny being written in the stars and planets aligning.
The lame jokes set the tone for the premiere episode on Wednesday night and have probably destroyed any future happiness for Matt in terms of his professional life.
As it does, The Bachelor reduced him to a cliched conversationalist who seemed thoroughly pleasant and forgettable in a Rove McManus way, like a lukewarm apple strudel at a food court.
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No surprise, the adrenaline spikes came from the women.
Fashion brand manager Emma, 32, is the anointed Stage 5 clinger who within seconds of meeting Matt outlined her “classic” vision for her longed-for wedding day.
“I’m really looking for love. I love being in love. I love love,” she told the bachelor, who politely didn’t run screaming back to a limo.
— Jessica Lynch (@jesskalynch) July 31, 2019
Later at the cocktail party, Emma described Matt as “perfect” and said “I love him”, which drew derision from Rachael, who says she’s a 23-year-old fitness trainer but actually appears to be Vanessa Sunshine from last season’s The Bachelor in a blonde wig.
“This girl is embarrassing. You’ve only met him for 10 minutes,” Rachael (who showed up in a bridal gown) told Emma.
It’s not often truth is heard on reality shows amid the gushing and fakeness and cliches, so Rachael earned a big tick.
Even the bits where she had trouble enunciating through her lip filler were amusing.
— The Bachelor Australia 🌹 (@TheBachelorAU) July 31, 2019
The early maneater/villain is Nichole, a 25-year-old Gold Coast cafe manager who showed up on a dirt bike packing confidence: “Obviously I’m not the ugliest person you’ve ever seen on the face of the Earth.”
Asked by Matt why she was on The Bachelor, Nichole said “she’s ready for a guy to … do fun sh-t with”. Lady, he ain’t picking you.
The rest was same old, same old.
Awkward small talk, party tricks (how to strut on a catwalk, how to do Pilates, how to speak Mandarin) and the woman picked out by producers to paint as mad: This year, it’s Kristin, who told everybody “I’ve been living in China for the last two years” to the point she seemed like a plant from President Xi.
— Alex Anastassiou (@alexanasta_) July 31, 2019
Matt showed taste awarding his hometown golden ticket date and first rose to Elly, an adorable 24-year-old nurse who won him over with some campfire marshmallows and lack of desperation.
But will it be enough?
Seven seasons in, audiences know the contrived set ups of The Bachelor.
The litmus test is if you care enough about anybody to put yourself through the next months of a stale format, boozy dates and creeping mass paranoia.
The women seem as feisty and slightly crazy and competitive as required.
The confident baddies will last just until the audience is hooked on the one or two genuinely viable options.
That just leaves us with cookie cutter Matt, who desperately needs to take things up a notch to justify the women fighting for his heart and with each other.
Even Osher’s hair, a tamped-down version of its glorious past self, seems lacking the energy to go the distance.
Anyway, good luck, Mr Agnew. May you find a love that’s out of this world. I’ll tune back in when you’re standing by the kidney shaped pool in Vanuatu, proposing to either Elly or Helena.