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How to save 'The Bachelor NZ' from intolerable mediocrity

The Wireless logo The Wireless 19/03/2017

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

© Provided by Radio New Zealand Limited

The Bachelor NZ is back!

Just a year after Jordan Mauger did his best to soil the fledgling franchise and eliminate every morsel of hope created by human unicorn Art Green, we are once again lucky enough to spend two nights a week of our short, precious lives watching some guy date a bunch of girls for a while.

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We learned some stuff about new bach Zac Franich:

- He likes corny jokes (and is probably at this very moment still chortling over the novel-tea teacup pun);

- He LOVES playing two truths and a lie;

- He lives bloody ages away from central Auckland;

- His greatest achievements are completing his (unspecified) degree at university and winning many fabulous medals in competitive kayaking (?).

Though lovely, these qualities perhaps do not paint a very thorough picture of the nuanced, complex man I’m sure Zac is, and we have much yet to learn.

The same is true of the women, and though trotting them out took a zillion hours we still only really got background deets on a few of them with the rest left to blend together like a many headed sequined monster.

Yes, all of it was fine - possibly the worst outcome of all. Not too much happened, hardly anyone stood out and no one got drunk and jumped in the pool.

Boringness is a fate worse than death in reality television and something must be done. Three seasons in is more than enough time to shake things up, and there are infinite ways to do this. So, in the spirit of constructive criticism, here are six ways to inject some life into this comatose series.  

1 - GET A BETTER BACHELOR

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Look, Zac seems like a nice chap. He has a nice mum. He does surf lifesaving. He’s basically alright looking.

But with neither Arthur’s supernatural charm nor Jordan’s skeeziness, he also seems doomed to a middle of the road-ness that no one would wish on their worst enemy.

Arguably the Bachelor is necessarily bland, a handsome and humourless backdrop before which women voluntarily humiliate themselves, and at this he will do fine. But can’t we have someone aspirational? Or at least very, very hot. Because let's be real, no one is gonna drive all the way to Red Beach for this dude.

2 - GIVE US A BACHELORETTE ALREADY

The key to the success of the US version of the Bachelor lies not in their many more millions of dollars or their vastly more theatrical cast members; it is in the choice to alternate between Bachelor and Bachelorette cycles.

The genius here is threefold: The intolerable underlying misogyny of the concept is diluted, the formula gets shaken up in fun gender swapping ways and each season produces a man or a woman who wins audience hearts and minds and goes on to be the star of the following season.

Now producers here have said that this is not possible because there simply aren’t enough men to cast in a Bachelorette season.

I don’t believe this for a second. Ever gone clubbing in Takapuna on a Thursday? Ever walked past Little Easy on a Sunday morning? Ever seen someone deliberately purchase products from I Love Ugly? Men like Zac and Jordan and Arthur are not a rarity. They are EVERYWHERE.

If MediaWorks insists on continuing with this peculiar experiment then the only hope for survival is to take one of the many wonderful women the franchise has already produced and making her a star.   

3 - FIND A BETTER CAST

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The US Bachelor franchise has never had a great track record with diverse casting and perhaps in a show of fidelity the Bachelor NZ seems keen to replicate the problem.

With an overwhelmingly white bevy of beauties for Zac to choose from, the few ethnic exceptions had minimal screen time. Poor Thai-Kiwi Elaine even got hit with the “where are you from” question from Zac before a word had barely escaped her mouth.

Is this surprising? No! Is it very lame? Yes!

With the US show having just announced its very first black Bachelorette, it seems even a country of Trump voters has recognised a need for diversity, making our line-up all the more depressing.

4 - REMOVE DOMINIC BOWDEN

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The long, drawn out pauses. The impressively human-like qualities. The eerily consistent agelessness (somehow not disrupted by newly salt and pepper tresses). Once again we are doomed to spend a significant portion of our lives pondering these bizarre wonders and the man who has mastered them all.

Dom is of course a New Zealand institution, but that does not mean that anyone deserves to be faced with him in a moment of humiliation or heartbreak. Mike Puru, who he infamously usurped, may not have had a ton of charisma but he least he had a nice sympathy face.

Who would be better? Anyone. No one. Maybe just do away with the host altogether making room to...

5 - GIVE THE BACHELOR A LADDISH FRIEND TO CONFIDE IN

With the risk of blandness at an all-time high, this season would be the perfect opportunity to give the Bachelor a cheeky mate for bants and chats.

Likely a stocky ginger fellow called Shane or Bardin, said friend would play a number of roles: helping the Bachelor come out of his shell, giving sassy and sometimes suspect advice and stirring the pot with occasional yet eventful cocktail party appearances.

6 - INTRODUCE MANY DIFFERENT COLOURED ROSES 

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Last night had us all guessing what the enigmatic white rose Zac held in his hot little hand might mean: Purity? Immunity? The dreaded friend zone?

Gaudy gimmick it may be, the white rose has everyone a titter. Sadly for this very reason it also reeks of anti-climax and no doubt Zac will award it to whichever girl most embodies the Colgate Optic White spirit.

But nevertheless it has opened the door for a new world of rose based communication, ideally one for every episode: A purple rose for bravery? A black rose for shame? A blue rose for greatest prostate cancer awareness?

Unlike our patience the possibilities are endless.

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