So we’ve already covered the fact that I am Bachelor/Bachelorette trash in one of my very first blog posts, but let’s forget about all that (and all of my many cringeworthy colloquialisms scattered throughout that text) and instead delve right into my rather curious experience of watching the American-born reality show make its way 6000 miles across the sea and unfold live before my very eyes in the form of the second season of The Bachelor NZ.
As of the writing of this blog post, there have been twenty seasons of The Bachelor and twelve seasons of The Bachelorette in the United States, beginning in 2002. France, Poland, and Norway quickly jumped aboard the juggernaut success of the American reality show, creating their countries’ respective equivalents within the following year. This gradually increased to an international market of sixteen countries to date, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Ukraine, and, the topic of today’s blog post, New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Bachelor show premiered in early 2015, starring bachelor Art Green. The first season went off rather well, as the show received enough viewers to warrant a second season and the bachelor and his intended bride are still together.
Of course, I arrived in New Zealand to witness the show as things got just plain bizarre in the second season.
The new bachelor was Jordan Mauger, a filmmaker from Christchurch.
So of course I watched! As I was already a fan of watching the straight up weirdness that inevitably unfolds on the bizarre social experiment that is the American show, I was not about to miss comparing and contrasting the Kiwi-fied version.
…people in New Zealand are far too sincere.
Honestly, the reason why the American equivalent is so much fun to watch is because the producers and crew in charge of picking the contestants are keeping an eye out for personalities that will not get along. At the end of the day, they are focused on attracting the most viewers, thereby increasing their ratings, and therefore their marketability. The only way they can do this is by filling each Bachelor/Bachelorette’s pool full of dramatic characters. And man is the United States full of dramatic characters! Statistically speaking alone, New Zealand’s population is 1.4% that of the United States, so we’re simply bound to have a larger demographic of contrasting characters and (dare I say it), villains!
Really only one girl on The Bachelor NZ caused any drama. Her name is Naz Khanjani, and she made no attempts whatsoever at hiding her intentions to “win,” the show, creating much scrutiny that she wasn’t there for the right reasons.
As American fans of The Bachelor(ette) know all too well, many of the show’s “villains” are very good at putting on different personas between camera confessionals, interactions with other contestants, and to the significant other they are trying to woo. Naz was an expert at this, coming off incredibly domineering and intimidating to the other women on the show, while with Jordan she was…well…doing whatever this is:
However, all of the other girls were well, tediously ordinary. While this was refreshing to see in some regards, as I often find most of the contestants on the American show to be incredibly exaggerated characters with unrealistically beautiful bodies, this also made it incredibly boring. There was a significant lack of drama! Even when Jordan would break a poor girl’s heart by sending her home, more often than not, she would give him a giant hug, smile into the camera and graciously accept her defeat tear-free. Fans of the American show know that this just doesn’t happen.
Case in point:
But that didn’t stop me from going to the live taping of the finale at Sky City in Auckland, New Zealand. And for it being such a mild season, I was completely caught off guard by how intense the finale was going to be!
As you saw in the header image, I somehow managed to land the front row of the theatre, and was on camera several times throughout the taping!
Well, spoiler alert everybody, but Jordan’s final choice was between the villainous Naz and the fan-favorite Fleur Verhoeven. He went with…
This created quite the awkward situation when Naz came out to confront the audience full of Kiwis that she had alienated with her antics, dropping quite a lot of obscenities in the meantime.
It only got worse, especially as Naz continually interrupted the host, Jordan, and her fellow former contestants, still obviously quite bitter at having not been the “winner” of The Bachelor NZ.
I would have gladly joined in the mass hissing and booing of the audience, but I decided to keep quiet, as I was rather concerned that I would have been smacked upside by the head by the ENTIRETY OF NAZ’S FAMILY sitting directly behind me!
The show ended on a high note, with the happy couple reunited and able to come out to the public about their engagement.
…except it was less than 48 hours before Jordan broke it off.
So not that different from the United States after all! Now we have international proof, people! The Bachelor, no matter the incarnation or the country, just doesn’t work, nor is it exactly meant to. At the end of the day, it’s a reality show, and is as fickle as the speedy love connection manufactured directly by television producers. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t enjoy just how absurd it all is! I just apologize to the rest of the world on behalf of the United States that the madness all stems directly from our shores!
Enjoy the weirdness, my friends!
All photos by author. Gif from giphy.