I have a guilty little confession. I’ve been sucked into that other worldly place of fairytales, roses and a lot of oestrogen by immersing myself into The Bachelor.
And before you recoil in disgust, I know, I know. I am morally opposed to the programme. It doesn’t agree with my values on so many levels.
The prince on the white stallion riding in to save the women from singlehood- like, All At Once.
The pitting of girl against girl- catty, bitchy and competitive.
The portrayal of the bachelor as the absolute gentleman, whilst simultaneously dating multiple women. Yeah – that.
That old trope of needing a man to really be complete as a woman.
The beauty pageant look. The fairy tale dates.
The inferences about the offer to stay the night and the shade thrown on the women who embrace the Yes, whilst The Bachelor – well he gets kudos.
And so on.
I love though that New Zealand has reinvented the product to a degree. Our women exhibit strength and grace. Our women leave the show if they don’t wanna be there. If there’s not a connection, or a rose, they don’t appear to be that bummed.
An engagement isn’t a given. Which is good because the stats on who actually stays together make for grim reading. But I digress.
Redefining the genre
If we’ve managed to redefine a dating show like The Bachelor, to mould the genre into our own unique version, can New Zealand push even further into setting a new standard? Could it be not just entertainment, but infotainment? I know, I hear you gasping. Read on.
I was pondering this, whilst trying not to get incredibly peeved by the constant references to Jordan’s hometown – Canterbury. Can-ner-bree. ‘Cept it’s not. It’s Christchurch. Canterbury is the province, but hey for the record no one here says “Welcome to Canterbury”. Around here we tend to use the specific name of each location – Banks Peninsula, Akaroa, Little River etc.
What eased my annoyance of these geographic nomenclature issues, was the distraction of the magnificent scenery The Bachelor and his dates were in amongst on their tour of Cannerbree. There were many examples of spectacular drone footage showcasing some pretty jaw dropping geology.
Yes, that’s right – I just dropped in the G-word.
It’s all very well making references to Lord of the Rings. But imagine, just imagine – if there was just a little fact dropping in of relevant science.
“Stunning, huh Naz? These hills were formed in a violent volcanic eruption 6 million years ago. But don’t worry, you’re safe with me. This volcano we’re sitting on is long extinct. My heart’s on fire though.”
“Here we are on top of mighty Te Mata Peak, Jordan. Wow, look at this shell in the rock. Kind of amazing to think the sea used to be all the way up here. I think I’ll swim into your arms for a hug.”
“Jordan, these glowworms are amazing. I heard they aren’t even worms – they’re maggots. And when they grow up they turn into something less pretty and non glowy [giggles] – a fungus gnat would you believe?” [Deadpan] “It’s probably the only time I’d say a maggot was romantic then, Erin”.
“I hope you treasure this shell ring for many reasons Naz. I know they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but in the future shell rings like this one and not diamonds might be the rarity. Ocean acidification is dissolving shells.”
“Jordan, give us a hand to plant this broadleaf Griselinia. Might be handy to know Maori traditionally used it to treat venereal disease, eh?”
Knowledge can be both sexy and empowering. A little careful feeding of relevant science-based information at each date location by the film crew to the next Jordan-Bachelor-person and the coterie of women could transform The Bachelor New Zealand into an infotainment masterpiece. One filled with little snippets of learning in amongst all the leering.
Would you watch it? If some steaming up of the show with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) tickles your fancy, feel free to let the producers know – they’re currently canvassing people to see what they think of The Bachelor NZ. The survey link is here. Let’s spice things up with science.