Okay. Right then. I have a shocking announcement to make about the latest episode of The Bachelorette, the dating show which follows the romantic fortunes of men who I have perhaps unkindly but not entirely inaccurately described over the past few weeks as clones, drongos and zombies.
Much of the series has played out as a slow, witless drag. I've sat there watching nothing happen for so long that I've considered climbing onto the roof of my two-storey mansion and flinging myself off to see if there's any difference between The Bachelorette and death.
But tonight's programme, which heralded the start of week six of the show, set a new standard. It could fairly, and with all due logic and appreciation, and without any sentiment or falsehood, no irony or hoax, be described as really good TV.
Shocking, I know, but I mean it. The show explored the rules of attraction, and did it with tenderness and skill. It got real. It got emotional. It got sad.
Sadness, on a show designed and intended as a piece of junk; sadness, when up until now all we've had is banter, the exchange of cliches, and that particular degeneration of language which demands every sentence end in the word "bro"; sadness, and heartbreak, too.
Bachelor Steve and Bachelor Liam went out on a double-date with the two bachelorettes, Hottie Lesina and Hottie Lily. They were taken to a country house with a pool. They swam, they chewed on cheese, they paired off to talk about how they were feeling and where things stood.
Bachelor Steve and Hottie Lesina held hands by the pool. That is, he grabbed her hand, and the longer he held onto it, the more her paw looked like dead meat. Specifically, it looked like a slice of luncheon sausage, which is the world's deadest meat. Who hasn't held hands with an unwilling partner – or been the owner of that flat, lifeless hand? God it's awful, and there it was, on TV.
Steve was like, "You and me! Yeah, baby!" She was like, "Um – hahahaha!"
It was excruciating and deeply uncomfortable. He wore his heart on his sleeve, but she wanted him to put on a jacket. He was feeling it; she wasn't feeling it. He was tempting the worst thing that can happen to a man in his prime: rejection.
Bachelor Liam and Hottie Lily sat beneath a fine old tree in golden sunlight. She couldn't take her eyes off him. He couldn't shut up. He said even though the two of them had a beautiful thing going, he lived in Perth, she lived in Auckland, and he wasn't prepared to leave, he loved Western Australia, that's where his heart was, mind you his heart was also kind of with her, too, but something had to give AND SO ON AND SO ON.
Lily was like, "Oh."
It was poignant and tragic. The golden sunlight played on her okay hair, and played on his gorgeous hair. She guessed that he was talking about cutting and running to avoid the threat of being hurt and maybe she was right.
Really good directing, really good editing; really good TV.