No, I wouldn't have thought it possible, either, but The Bachelorette has gotten, you know, kind of like really exciting.
The signs weren't promising. The 2021 season has been the $2 Shop version of the dating-show franchise — fewer contestants, only one Hottie, domestic travel, wooden host Art Green working off the same script as last year ("You've got a difficult decision to make", etc).
But tonight's episode had everything. It had lots of kissing. It had lots of elevated banter. And the drongos were revealed as sensitive young men with depth and feeling. Lots and lots and lots of feeling.
The feelings came too late for Sensitive Matt and Sensitive Aiden. Hottie Lexie gave them both the hoof.
"I feel Aiden's journey in life has really shaped him," she said, and then gave his journey further shape by telling him to get lost. He took it with considerable dignity and so did Matt. They got more than a rose: they got the respect of a watching nation.
There are now six contestants left. Four of them kissed Hottie Lexie tonight. First up was Sensitive Todd. This guy is more than a pretty face. He also has a pretty haircut. But he doesn't have much to say for himself, unlike Sensitive Joe. He leaned in for a kiss but seemed happier to lean back and explore his feelings.
He asked Hottie Lexie, "What are you going to bring for us to grow and be better?"
She said, "I'm forthright. When I love someone, I say how I feel. How about you?"
He said, "I like to bring a little bit of laughter and a little bit of joy."
She said, "I don't shy away."
He said, "You're forthright."
"Yes," she said, marvelling at his insight.
Sensitive Hamish kissed her in an alpine lake. "Best day of my life, probably, yeah," he said afterwards. It was nice to see him happy. He might be the most sensitive of all the contestants and for a while there he was looking like a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
She said to him, "What I really like about you is I feel like I know how you feel, because you are just how you feel." It was hard to know how he felt about that. He laughed, and gazed at the lake.
Sensitive Jack kissed her in the same alpine lake. They kissed and kissed and kissed, as opposed to Lexie and Todd, who kissed a little bit, and Lexie and Joe, who briefly kissed in between exploring their feelings, and Lexie and Hamish, who probably kissed a couple of times, yeah.
"Jack has very beautiful green eyes," she told Art.
"Jack is a very beautiful man," Art said.
It was the only time he'd said anything original in the entire series. Beauty had moved him to speech. Something special is happening on The Bachelorette. It's actually a sweet programme and it gently navigates the currents of the human heart. The end is nigh; next week's episodes are a must-watch.
*The Bachelorette NZ screens Monday-Wednesday at 7.30pm on TVNZ 2