Natasha Frost weighs in on this week's episodes of The Bachelor NZ.
Can’t speak for Jordan “just wanted to check in” Mauger, but I’m falling, hard.
All others are cast aside - my queen, Fleur, dethroned; Storm irrelevant. Even lovely Ceri is dead to me. And it’s all because - and I can’t believe I’m writing this - of Naz.
I had been looking for reasons to care about the show, with its constellation of identikit blondes, not to mention Jordan “why do you think you’re right for the role” Mauger. They washed dogs; they went to Hawaii and didn’t even see Lilo or Stitch; Storm pulled an array of incredible irritated faces. So far, so snoozeworthy.
But now I have found one: Naz.
It is partly because in her orange dress, she looks better and happier than I’ve seen her before; partly because of my love for her, partly because of her low-key love for bodybuilding. Partly because when the other girls launch into some classic Kiwi casual racism (“Nazanin? I’m going to call you Nazareth, ha, ha, haha.”), she takes it on the chin.
It is not until she gets her long-awaited single date that I realise quite how much I like her. She is tenacious; she is affectionate; she is resplendent in bodycon. Inconceivably, she seems prepared to overlook Jordan’s weaker points. She is, in short, quite perfect for the role of Jordan’s Girlfriend™.
(I do still think that Rebecca’s going to win, but that’s beside the point.)
But as my love for Naz blossoms, any affection the ladies of the mansion (sounds like a brothel; isn’t) have for her withers.
In an Oscar-worthy sequence, we see two lizards wrestling outside the Hawaiian digs: laid over them is Fleur’s track. (She has, presumably, forgotten to turn off her mic.) Fleur slags off Naz, the lizards fight to their reptilian deaths. Could it be… a metaphor?
The other girls seem quite chirpy about their competitors’ relative success with the Bachelor. Erin and Jordan get back to what’s #real on a superyacht; Jordan ‘checks in’ with Rebecca ‘to find out how we’re both feeling’ (and doesn’t ask her more about raising and selling cows to fund her university degree, which strikes me as a missed opportunity); everyone is, ostensibly, delighted when Storm finally gets her one-on-one time with the Bach.
But the claws are out when it comes to Naz and Jordan. No cheers for her single date, accusations of dishonesty in her account of that date, open-mouthed horror at the fireman’s lift across the lawn.
What Naz has, to her credit, is about a million Unique Selling Points: a fear to be conquered, which Jordan can maybe help with; an outstanding commitment to contouring; that knife and strings soundtrack. I’m calling jealousy.
Jordan seems to be treating this process not as an opportunity to amp up his Instagram following or progress his career further from the role of Additional Assistant Director on Hunt for the Wilderpeople. He’s looking for the best possible candidate for the role of Life Partner - and Naz’s application has tonnes to differentiate it.
A final thought: I sometimes wonder whether, faced with the girls (and, admittedly, there are only 10 now, which makes it a bit easier) at the 'Rose Ceremony', Jordan looks out into a sea of worryingly similar faces and struggles to remember their names. If nothing else, Naz is not easily forgotten. Little surprise her CV is top of the pile.
Going home: Shari, Alicia.
Pick to win: Rebecca, still, but Naz in my heart.
Single Date: Naz, Erin.
In trouble: Sarah.