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Pop CultureMay 23, 2017

The Women Tell All went behind the magic of The Bachelor – for about one second

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Alex Casey watches The Bachelor NZ’s ‘Women Tell All’ special, and finds a fittingly tame end to the season. 

Will we ever forget the moment that Naz stomped onto The Bachelor NZ’s Women Tell All stage last year, brandishing her manicured fingers like knives and effing and jeffing up a storm? It was better than any viral Maury or Jerry Springer clip I’ve seen, made even better after she threatened members of the audience and nauseatingly snaked her way around Jordan Mauger’s thigh. Compare that to what happened on Monday night’s reunion episode, the most memorable thing of which might be Vanessa’s new hot pink hair.

It’s no surprise that this year, following a much calmer season, we failed to reach those dizzying electric moments of live television drama that season two has continued to barf out in buckets. As Dominic Bowden took the mighty Civic stage for the live Women Tell All event, you could feel the crowd heaving in their seats behind him. It looked like a full house of fans, all there to see nice Bachelorettes return to nicely air out their mild grievances to the nice man that none of them harboured any bad feelings towards.

Troublemakers Katey and Lucia took to the stage first to talk about their friendship on the show, and the kiss at the rose ceremony that made early headlines. An extended scene played out that featured Claudia confronting the pair about their immature behaviour, bizarrely using on screen graphics to translate the entirely-audio exchange. If there was ever something that needed to be captured on camera, this was it. There’s only so long you can watch text bubbles over stock mansion B-roll.

Perhaps due to the same lack of resources, there weren’t many insightful bloopers. The one moment that gave us a peep behind the polished Bachelor product was when the tapes kept rolling after the final rose (ring). The camera pulled back to reveal the happy couple surrounded by at least 12 crew members, makeup people, steadicams, tripods and at least four trucker caps. Those sorts of exhilarating unveils are littered through international versions of the show, where the fourth wall is less of a wall and more of a piece of netting.

And then it was time for the main event: where Zac came head to head with the final two women whose hearts he broke on national television. I’ll admit there was a small, perverse joy in seeing Zac squirm around their difficult questions, hanging his sheepish face and gulping like a giant goldfish in a Hallenstein’s tuxedo. Using old lady speak like “bless your heart” and “hello miss”, he proved himself once again to be our most endearing and genuine Bachelor yet. Claudia barely grilled him, and made the flub of the night when she graciously said “Zac is a great guy, Lily is a great girl, and I am very happy for them.”

It was Viarni that won.

For all the stammers and awkward moments throughout the evening, runner-up Lily McManus took the hot seat and the nation let out a sigh of relief. In thigh high black boots she slinked out and unsurprisingly charmed, describing The Bachelor NZ as “the best screw over she’s over had” to whoops and applause. Just as someone in the audience was compelled to scream “GO LILY” during a quiet moment, it’s clear this can’t be the last we see of Lily on television. Passing up the opportunity for Lily to be New Zealand’s first star of The Bachelorette would be like sending a unicorn to a glue factory.

Making their first public appearance together as a celebrity couple, Zac and Viarni closed the show looking relaxed and relieved. Viarni did a funny voice, Zac smiled so hard the Optic White nearly took out both of my eyes. They seemed happy. In the most true blue Kiwi response ever, Zac said he’s hoping they can eat fish and chips on the beach together now that they’re public.

It was a fittingly by-the-numbers answer that remains in keeping with the rest of the season – flirting with moments of danger and excitement but ultimately settling for the safe choice.

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