As visionary artiste Skylar Grey once sang, "I'm coming home, I'm coming home - tell the world I'm coming home" and this was eerily the exact case for the Bachelorettes this week. But before we get into any of that - HEY ART HOW THE HELL IS YA TENNIS MATCH WITH NO ONE GOING?!
The home visits were padded out over two episodes this week, no thanks to those terrible recaps of each girl's time on the show. Part of me was bored, part of me was proud at how far we've come over what feels like approximately four days.
The coy Southern Sapphire Alysha; The un-friend zoned Waltzing Matilda; The hippy with a heart (fart) of gold Poppy; The Kiss veteran Dani. They could be a lineup of superheroes, each with their own unique power. The power of toxic farts, the power of poisonous kisses, the power of healing bones and the power of rolling Rrrr's. I would pay to watch that movie.
This week, we farewelled Poppy, who had her blue eyes turned up to 11. It was not enough to save her and, after a moment with Dani, Art decided she was no longer in the running to maybe be his girlfriend one day but not, like, a big serious thing, like, let's not put a label on it too early. I'm sorry to see her go, and will make it my civic duty to partake in one of her yoga classes someday soon. Like Cinderella at Raggamuffin, she left with nothing but a sneaky dread:
In the Puru corner, he had a quiet time this week as all his best friends left the mansion without him. I like to think he filled the hot tub up with Lindauer and lay in it until his skin withered into the shape of a human rose. He was so happy when they all came back and he could talk about Southland though!
Alright, let's get into the week of hometowns that had more grilling going on than at Pitbull's premiere restaurant chain.
Matilda's hometown visit took us to what Dani would have referred to up until The Bachelor filming as The Dark Lands - Waiheke Island. It's where her family used to stay over summer she explains, whilst walking along the beach, trying not to throw up at Art's perpetually bare feet:
They seemingly walk all the way to a swanky beach house (Art's feet are probably raw and bleeding at this point), and meet Matilda's Dad Ken and her best friend Georgie. Move over Art, because Ken won my heart almost instantly with his insightful quips about the Waiheke Chinese takeaway. Who knew Waiheke was such a cultural melting pot?!
Georgie and Matilda got down to cutting veges whilst Ken led Art out to meet his partner, Barbie.
As we have learned from the celebrity couple of the same namesake, Ken is super protective of his Barbie. He gave Art a real grilling over the way he was grilling. It was lad's lunch for sure and, before you could say "Bob's your aunty" - lunch was served.
The lads went to sit by the pool and Ken revealed that he felt very sorry for Art. Poor Art, all those beautiful woman, all those abs, all that free Clean Paleo protein powder. Life is a bloody constant nightmare. They shook hands, which seemed like some lad pact that I don't know about, and Ken surmised that Art was a "good bloke".
That's all we need from them then, time to go sit in a wheat field in the middle of nowhere on two random chairs, eh, Tilds?
Ah hell Ken, I bloody love you. Art and Matilda shared a romantic walk through a primary school (?) and along a path. Art had found his shoes, thank Christ. And then it was time to leave. They said their goodbyes and left Ken, Barbie and Georgie alone forever in that Waiheke fortress.
I could be biased because of Ken, but I really, truly believe that Art and Matilda have The X Factor (sorry I talk only in MediaWorks-isms now). They had the biggest hug and kiss goodbye, and I just felt it. Blame it on that filthy rich Waiheke air - there's something heating up on their love hot plate.
Ah, we join Dani luxuriating on Herne Bay Beach amongst the golden sands - made with actual gold flakes. Art's not wearing bloody shoes again, but hold on - is that David Cunliffe's log of broken dreams?!
Shout out to Duncan Greive for that one, it requires a deep Campbell Live special as far as I'm concerned.
This is allegedly a "make or break" for Dani, he's about to meet her parents and their partners, as well as her twin sister and a little blonde boy who appears for one second and might be straight from The Shining.
Mark 'Robbo' Robinson is the chill Dad, taking Art outside for some serious darts. He has a long-winded stand-up bit about how Art is going to stand right by the dartboard, and they have a full blokey laugh together. Art says he wants financial security, and to share that with a "best mate".
I'm beginning to think Art genuinely believes, as Jane Yee speculated in our award-winning* podcast, that this show is just called The Friend. Anyway then they had a chat about the other girls which was a bit weird:
Dani has a chat to her twin sister Michelle who thinks that Art is 100% better than all her old boyfriends. Holy shit, they are twins? Giant house, twins and a little mysterious boy? This actually is The Shining. Get those darts away from Robbo now before it's too late!!!
Art faces the firing squad of parents and sub-parents, featuring New Zealand's premiere Trelise Cooper and James Griffin impersonator power duo:
The visit is over, Robbo has deduced that Art is a "top bloke" (a little more conclusive than Ken's "a good bloke") and Art survived step-mum Amanda's "what kind of arse" wrath. Time to go shopping in a black-and-white-only shop with no shop assistants, naturally.
Nothing says "I love you" like a little low key looting. They kiss in front of the haunted shop, and go their separate ways. A disappointing shopfront end, something more out of Trinny and Susannah than The Bachelor.
Alysha was practically running in circles around the main street of Invercargill waiting for Art. She shimmied his muscular glutes right into The Seriously Good Chocolate Company, where they proceeded to have a highly suggestive chocolate body paint session. And all through the sexy sugary fun, Art's Paleo insides were going through the purest hell.
Back at the family home, Art was met with 30,000 members of Alysha's family. She went off to do the desserrrrrrt and warrrrned Art to not burrrrrn anything. Art and Papa Brown are chatting inside. Sorry to get all Film Studies 101 here but LOOK AT THAT LOVE-THEMED MISE-EN-SCENE:
Alysha and Mama Brown both swoon over Art in the kitchen, so loved up that they fail to be frightened by the possessed child hovering over cupcakes and presumably dusting a fatal spell onto the icing. What is it with the Bachelor kids?! Creep city.
We saw paleo chickens on Poppy's date, but they do things a little differently down South. Gorging their lambs on endless loaves of bread, it's no wonder Art was looking a little off when they ate the homekill meat.
The ended their date on a blankety, spider monkey kiss. Alysha opened herself up even more to Art, even getting a bit teary at their goodbye. The cracks are starting to show - butt cracks, that is.
Next week is going to be incredible. Overnight pyjama parties!!!! That's what they are, right? And the final rose. Oh my Puru, the final rose. To tide yourself over till then, enjoy even more Bachelor drivel with the latest episode of our podcast The Fantasy Suite.