The Bachelor recap: Mr Nice Guy better not mess with Awesome Heather

The Bachelor season three: Sam Wood and contestants Laura and Sarah.Is this the most normal Bachelor yet?Australia’s verdict on Sam Wood
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Buff up the acrylics, flick on the ceramic straighteners and set the chemically whitened teeth to stun – it’s time for another season of The Bachelor, the trashy reality TV show that takes the “not” out of “make love not war”.

Now I’m a tad uncomfortable with the idea that writing a recap of The Bachelor means I’ll wind up slagging off people who, away from the cameras and emotionally-heightened situations, are probably pretty nice. So I have to approach the show as if it were a scripted and carefully stage-managed production in which the characters are all fictional phonies. That way I’m only slagging off the presented image, not the real people, and can sleep slightly better at night.

First, let’s meet our Bachelor. Sam is a 34-year-old Tasmanian-born Melburnian who runs fitness courses for kiddies. He’s tall, has designer stubble and a half-buzz, half-floppy haircut, and thanks to some gratuitous shower scenes in which the camera caresses his figure like I caress a bucket of the Colonel’s finest, we know he has washboard abs.

He’s also got a picture-perfect family in a picture-perfect family home in Tasmania – the only thing missing is that special lady to share it with. And kids. Sam really wants kids. He has man ovaries (movaries?) and they’re in full yearning mode.

Clearly Sam has been hand-picked to be the polar opposite to last season’s villainous Batch, Blake. He’s being portrayed as the ultimate family man in waiting, the kind of guy who will roast you a lamb over a fire he’s built himself (shirtless of course), bathe and put the kids to bed, listen intently and sympathetically as you discuss your day, then pleasure you senselessly deep into the night.

Put simply: Sam is not a man who farts.

When he finally fronts at “The Mansion”, the mysterious Sydney harbour-front property that is probably three-quarters responsible for the city’s housing price woes, he’s kitted up in full James Bond regalia and looking nervous.

He and host Osher Gunsberg, whose own hair is something of a national treasure, have an intense conversation about what he hopes to get out of the evening. Sam even asks Osher to be his wingman, and the giggles and intense looks the pair give each other makes you wonder if they shouldn’t just call off the 19 girls now.

But no, Sam has committed to heterosexual elimination bigamy, so it’s time for the ladeez.

My first thought as they all arrived was – would it kill someone to try an updo? All these glamorous gowns and not a chignon, twist or bun in sight. I know we’re all trying to escape the memory of our tendril hell in 1990s formal photos, but really, how long must we all suffer under the oppressive rule of hair extensions and curling tongs?

Back to the mill, where the girls file in one by one and try to make a good impression on Sam. Striking Snezana​ instructs him how to say her name using a cheese meme (ensuring her nickname is forever Parmigiana);  Joni has a great dress but Joan Collins circa Dynasty hair; and Rachel shows her breath control by presenting Sam with a suspiciously-phallic balloon rose.

Madeleine is Jessica Rabbit with very nice cupcakes; Krystal shows foresight in bringing not only a couple of beers, but a bottle opener (now that’s planning); Emily is so stunning Sam cannot resist staring at her breasts at least four times (then claims they had “an immediate connection”, snigger) and Zilda looks like an alien space lizard wearing a human skin suit.

Jacinda is an early favourite for me. She looks like Gloria Estefan and is brassy and fun. Her tactic of taking a Polaroid selfie with Sam is cute, and particularly funny when she turns the beat around and snaps a pic of his bottom.

Speaking of which, it’s time to talk Laura, aka Anal Glands.

To be honest, I really like this contestant – she’s a vet! Vets help animals! I love animals! – but I cannot for the life of me now call her Laura as she’s already been seared into my brain as Anal Glands.

In Anal Glands’ defence, the Bach did ask her about her job, and her Yorkshire accent actually made the act of expressing fluid from the congested rectal organs of a canine almost charming.

But Anal Glands aside, it’s clear the producers have established a definite hero and villain – for this opening episode at least.

Aspiring filmmaker Heather is so awesome, I would officially like to apply to be her best friend. In her sparkly black dress and spot-on red lippy, she is the epitome of old Hollywood glamour but without any of the artifice. She likes superheroes and yoga and seriously Heather we would be such good friends. I’ll even let you take first hit in the traditional pyjama pillow fight.

Conversely, I expect primary school teacher Sandra to wake up as Australia’s new Public Enemy Number One. Loud, brash, inescapable – she’s like Clive Palmer in a wig.

Osher brings the ladies together to welcome them and drops a bombshell – not only are they competing for a Red Rose, but a White Rose. It’s like the Battle of Bosworth Field all over again.

Sam will give the White Rose to the woman who makes the best impression, and allow her to plan a date for the pair of them. Such power! Immediately Zilda pivots her disguised lizard head in the direction of the prized flower, no doubt pondering how she could lure her competitors to the powder room and swallow them whole.

For Zilda’s ultimate goal is to return to her home planet with the Batch in tow, so the alien space lizard people can learn what makes him hypnotic to television viewers, genetically splicing his DNA with theirs, they can return en masse to conquer Earth by taking over all reality TV channels and rendering us all gibbering idiots.

There were some fun moments during the 43-hour cocktail party, such as Parmigiana revealing she has a daughter, Tessa deciding her flannelette and Timberlands were a far comfier option than heels and Spanx, and Sarah giving Sam a salute to the sun right there on the grass and winning herself a red rose for the effort.

Sandra also did more to un-endear her to viewers by launching a one-woman gang war against Rashael, a woman so gentle she would lose an arm wrestle to a newborn kitten.

And of course it was Awesome Heather who took out the White Rose, making me incredibly jealous of the Bach himself. No fair. I want to go on a date that Heather plans. I bet there’ll be ham sandwiches and gelato.

Eventually it was time for the Rose Ceremony, that time honoured tradition in which a woman hopes a man will hand her the sex organ of a plant to show their four-minute conversation made her worthy of his ongoing attention.  Ahh, progress.

Predictably, Sandra received the last rose, although Sam did seem to baulk when she declared he’d saved the best ’til last. She had to be kept on the show – she actually had personality, and her inevitable ruffling of feathers will keep us all entertained.

That meant two women had to miss out: Jessica, a 24-year-old Gold Coaster, who made absolutely no impression on anyone. I seriously don’t even remember seeing her before the Rose Ceremony, and am fairly convinced she was parachuted in on a taffeta cloud after a headcount snafu.

The other one to miss out was our lady lizard Zilda who, despite her best efforts and incredible cleavage, failed to convince Sam she was in fact human. She was clearly disappointed, as punishment for an incomplete mission on her home planet is being boiled alive in mercury.

Having seen off the alien threat, Sam now turns his hand to the simple task of dating 17 women at once. I’ve only got one word of warning – treat Awesome Heather right, or I will END you. Have a great time, Batchy!

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