An entry guide into scary movies.
Congratulations! You’ve been hired as the casting director for a new TV show that has recently been greenlight by the network.
The specs: it’s a black family sitcom set in New York that pays homage to the shows from the late ‘80s to ‘00s. They’re looking to cast seasoned actors as well as newer talent. Who will you cast to play…
Episode 2 of The Bachelor featured what the show is touting as the “steamy” first kiss of the season. There’s just one problem: it was less of a kiss, and more of a one-sided attack. And not from the Bachelor himself.
Twentynine-year-old Romy, from Queensland, was invited on a “surprise single date” by Nick. He took her to his uncle’s restaurant, where they learned how to make pizza and a predictable food fight ensued. It was relatively cute and harmless, if a little boring – until they made their way to the couch. The couch is, in the world of The Bachelor, where personal conversations, rose-giving and kissing happens.
The kiss is typically a significant turning point in the relationship between the Bach and whoever is on the date. It means things are getting serious. Unlike the American Bachelor, kisses here are treated as special – almost sacred. In short, they are a Big Fucking Deal. The first kiss of the season is especially significant, bestowing early favourite status upon whoever receives it.
It was interesting, then, that on Nick’s first date, with 25-year-old Shannon from Victoria, there was no kiss beyond a chaste cheek peck when he gave her a rose. Shannon had been adamant that she doesn’t kiss on the first date, and it seemed like Nick was respectful of that. Going into her own date with Nick, Romy had no such qualms, proclaiming “if there’s an opportunity there to kiss Nick today, I’ll do it.”
Now, I am all for narratives in which women make the first move and own their sexuality, but what happened next was not a positive representation of that. Romy went in for a kiss, but not on Nick’s lips – she went straight for his neck. It appeared prolonged and aggressive, and Nick seemed extremely uncomfortable. His eyes widened, his expression telegraphing “what the hell is happening?” He laughed nervously. As their lips grazed, he appeared to push Romy back.
In a to-camera piece, Nick explained how he was feeling in that moment: “Romy came in for a kiss with. She came in hot. Real hot.” He said this not with enthusiasm, but a kind of horrified disbelief. “The only thing is,” he added, “for me, I like to hold back a bit and establish a real connection, to try and make it a bit more meaningful if possible.”
It was clear Romy had overstepped. Especially when Nick actually said to her, “it’s getting a bit steamy in here. Better take this down a notch.” Despite his explicit attempt to establish a boundary, Romy persisted in trampling all over it. Nick tried again to politely rebuff her, saying “it’s about love and I’d hate to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s not my thing.”
The scene made for uncomfortable viewing. And the show only got worse from there.
When she arrived back at the Bachelor mansion in time for the cocktail party, Romy brandished her rose and gleefully told the other girls she’d had a “really romantic kiss” with Nick. “It was a real kiss…it wasn’t tacky. It wasn’t forced,” she said.
Unless the edited footage we watched was vastly different to what actually happened (which is not entirely unlikely – but let’s focus on the narrative we’ve been presented with for now), forced is exactly what it was. Nick didn’t seem to consent to the physical interaction with Romy at all. Not only that, he actively tried to extricate himself from the situation – both with his body language and his actual words.
Whether it’s a man or a woman making the sexual advances, the consent of both parties should be clear and present every time.
Within the framework of the show, however, the only line Romy was presented as crossing was against her fellow contestants. The “kiss” was used to set-up girl-on-girl drama, not open up a discussion about what the Bachelor was (or, more importantly, wasn’t) comfortable doing. This was further reinforced when Romy approached Nick during the cocktail party, once again launching herself at his neck and even trying to kiss him on the lips. The other girls watched on in horror – stunned that Romy would dare do this in front of them, breaking the unspoken rules of the weird group dating scenario they’ve all volunteered for.
But the horror I felt watching it at home was of a different kind. It was awful to witness Nick, once again, looking stunned and uncomfortable. Again, he laughed nervously, this time repeatedly saying, “you’re a funny thing, aren’t you?”. The unspoken truth behind his words and his expression was apparent: you’re making me uncomfortable, please stop.
Nick’s attempt to diffuse the situation was something I instantly recognised. The instinct to laugh, to be polite, to not make someone else feel bad, even when you’re the one actually feeling uneasy or threatened, is something most women know in their bones. It’s a way to cut through the tension, to mitigate threats, to avoid danger. It was quite startling to see a man in such a situation on national TV – and largely ignored by the wider narrative in favour of a catty mean girls angle.
Nick has been positioned – by himself, by the show – as a charming, loveable larrikin; a blokey bloke with a sensitive side; a man’s man who women will also fall for. I imagine that as Romy mauled him, surrounded by cameras and producers (not to mention the other contestants), the pressure was on for him to adhere to this image. Even still, even when delivered with a laugh and a joke, his words clearly set boundaries that Romy deliberately and repeatedly crossed.
The Bachelor franchise is no stranger to trouble where issues of consent are concerned. Just last year, the American Bachelor in Paradise was rocked by allegations of sexual assault. In Australia, there hasn’t been any major problems of this kind to date (although The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise have both been guilty of casting and uncritically showcasing toxic male contestants). Thanks to the turkey-slapping incident on Big Brother in 2006, local reality TV producers have apparently been more careful when it comes to alcohol and consent.
Until now, at least. Of course, what happened between Nick and Romy was nowhere near the level of the incidents mentioned above. But it was also not in the realm of consensual. It was especially far from the enthusiastic consent that a healthy interaction should be built upon. In the era of #MeToo, it’s simply not good enough. If you’re not a fan of the show, or perhaps even if you are, you might be thinking, “it’s a reality dating show – what more do you expect?”
I’ll tell you what I expect from The Bachelor. I expect to be entertained. I expect to watch people fall in love – or get caught up in the idea of falling in love, at least. I expect drama, and I (begrudgingly) expect the contestants to be pitted against each other.
What I do not expect – and what I do not want – is to see blurred consent play out for the whole country to see. Whether it’s a man or a woman making the sexual advances, and whether it’s a man or a woman on the receiving end of them, the consent of both parties should be clear and present every time.
It’s 2018. We all deserve better. Including the Honey Badger.
@TheDailyShow @Trevornoah He has been a hero to his people as a Cricketer and has used his status to build a State of the Art cancer hospital in Pakistan. His conservative politics also align with the beliefs of the Country. So, in my humble opinion, he is nothing like Trump and brings hope to the region.
1. Runway would be a mostly-online publication with a print issue a few times a year
2. Andy would be an intern, and instead of a guaranteed job anywhere she likes at the end, there’d be a slim chance she could be hired as an assistant full time.
3. And she’d be on a zero-hours contract so would never even know if she has work the next day or not.
4. One of her duties would be running Miranda’s social media.
5. And she’s spend most of her time blocking the haters on Miranda’s Instagram.
6. Instead of being admonished for having chowder, Nigel would judge Andy for having gluten.
7. Andy would have a super-long commute every morning because she wouldn’t be able to rent anywhere actually near the building.
8. Instead of super OTT outfits, everyone would be as minimalist as possible and wear black jeans and white tee.
9. Andy would have to get the twins backstage tickets to Hamilton instead of landing Harry Potter manuscripts.
10. Miranda would wear tiny sunglasses instead of oversized ones.
11. Someone would definitely be running an anonymous twitter account about Runway.
12. A Runway employee would have to teach Andy how to contour, bake, and apply fake lashes, but in a way that doesn’t make it look like she’s wearing any makeup.
13. A lot of Andy’s problems to do with running errands and finding things would have been solved because she’d have a smartphone with 4G data.
14. Andy would probably become a bit of an Instagram ~influencer~ post makeover with lots of outfit photos and flatlays of her notepads and coffees with hashtags like #thedailygrind.
15. She’d make a lot of money on the side selling stuff from work on Depop.
15. Her friends would all work in digital and be trying to grow their online followings, so would love her getting them free things and be more understanding of the job.
16. Andy’s new ~swish~ hair would be a tousled lob with balayage instead of long hair with bangs
17. Emily’s ginger quiff would be swapped for a ginger slicked back low ponytail.
18. Nate would have an obnoxious food Instagram where he’d post about freakshakes and dirty burgers.
19. He would be looking to set up a food truck that serves fusion cuisine.
20. Miranda would want a flat white or a butter coffee instead of a complicated latte.
21. Or she’d order anything with tumeric.
22. Rather than regular sparkling water, the whole office would drink La Croix.
23. The guest star actress would be one of the Hadid sisters instead of Gisele.
24. Andy would never get through to anyone on their cell phone because nobody answers them anymore or they’re always on silent.
25. Instead, she’d contact designers through WhatsApp.
26. None of her and her fellow early-twenty-something friends would be rich enough to dine at a fancy restaurant and would instead be at an ~ironic~ themed bar, or one that used to be an old toilet cubicle but is now converted into a speakeasy.
27. Andy wouldn’t gift an expensive cordless landline phone she got from work, instead it’d be an Apple watch.
28. Andy would know exactly which table to put The Book on because Miranda would be into minimalism so there would only be one side table in her entire house.
29. Caroline and Cassidy, Miranda’s children, would be called Cairo and Vida.
30. Miranda would constantly be Facetiming Andy to see if she’s where she’s supposed to be or using the “find my iPhone” app to track her.
31. “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” would be replaced by someone suggesting millennial pink or palm-leaf print.
32. Christian would be a Softboy™ who would ask to photograph Andy for his photography account. He would use cringeworthy poems as his captions that say things like “the taste of cigarettes dances on my tongue, but the taste of her kiss dances on my heart.”
33. He would also always wear Vans, but with suit trousers, and have a haircut that’s really short on the sides but long on top.
34. Andy would never have to go and run to restaurants for Miranda because Deliveroo and UberEats exist.
35. And she would have just put her phone on silent when Miranda phoned at the end or blocked Miranda’s number instead of throwing it into the damn fountain.
“Sólo Quédate en Silencio”
Again, I think we can ALL agree there are problems regarding representation given the East Asian, Singaporean-centric book it’s based on, and that there is plenty of room for much-needed discussion, but let us not forget that IT’S A SINGLE TWO-HOUR-LONG MOVIE.
How ’bout you try to carry the burden of perfectly representing an entire continent of people for the first time in 25 years? And, oh, if you fuck up, it might be another 25 years until you get another chance to try again.
In an interview with EW, Director Jon M. Chu talks about how there was originally an extra scene with Charlie (this dancing moment which actually made its way into the trailer), but ultimately, given the constraints of a two-hour movie, they cut the scene because it made it seem like Astrid was just leaving Michael to be with Charlie and it detracted from her story.