Steve Braunias: Bachelorette review – The drongos ride again


No. No, no, no. This won’t do; this won’t fit, this old, foot-stinking shoe; this is worse than measles, shingles, a dose of the flu. What I’m trying to say here is that the latest series of The Bachelorette is already an unwatchable mess.

Last year’s series was merely a watchable mess. I reviewed every single episode as a service to the community. Yes, the Pulitzer awaits. The PTSD has come and gone, but it flared up again as the first episode dragged itself across the screen like a dirty mop across a floor.

To look at it was an agony. There was that soulless mansion in the middle of nowhere. There was host Art Green, so wooden that he could be mistaken for one of the mansion’s weatherboard planks. To listen to it was to eavesdrop on the cheerful and witless mating calls of the New Zealand drongo.

Wait, this sounds like last year’s series. It isn’t. There was a freshness to The Bachelorette 2020, an air of mystery and suspense as a retinue of drongos competed for the fair hand of Hottie Lesina and her co-bachelorette, Hottie Lily. It was sweet, it was sad. It had villains (and in Lesina, a villainess), it travelled to Buenos Aries. But The Bachelorette 2021 is stuck, like the rest of us, in good old New Zealand, and the contestants are coated with that special kind of oil or tar which is commonly found at the bottom of barrels.

So far there’s just the one bachelorette. Lexie Brown is a brand and marketing manager. Oh well. “I’m such a people person?”, she says, her inflection not so much rising as soaring.

There were 18 drongos at the start of the show and 14 by the end. I didn’t catch their names but they sounded like Mack, Jack, Josh, Gosh, and Django. They brought gifts, all destined for the great storeroom of useless presents accumulated over the years on The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises. One of them presented Lexie with a red balloon. He got kicked off the show; he might have made more of an impression if he’d tied the balloon to the rings pierced in his nose.

“I’m looking for the Michelle to my Barack,” one of the drongos told Lexie. He got kicked off, too. Was she a Melania looking for her Donald?

There were Dad jokes (Art Green), Mum jokes (the show’s narrator, Jodie Rimmer) and lots and lots of Bro jokes from the contestants. “How are you, bro,” they asked of each other, and they replied, “All good, bro.” But they’re not all good. They’re dreadful.

And yet it was sad when four of them got the chop. The Bachelorette is set up as a search for love but really it operates as a study of rejection. “No,” it says, to drongo after drongo. “No, no, no.” It kind of makes it worth watching, possibly.

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