On the Other Channel, The Block contestants have what is called their ‘hero piece’. This is when you furnish your apartment with some bespoke item to make it more identifiable to celebrity stalkers who are in the market and likely to turn up on auction day.
So far Block hero pieces have included the $8,000 glowing brass bathtub that nobody likes, the narcissistic self-portrait that nobody wants and the baby grand piano that no one can play.
On The Bachelor, the batch pad apartment is like Hitler’s bunker given the difficulty in finding it, the rowdy German shepherds and program producers out the front and the fact that Dasha the Russian bachelorette is rapidly closing in.
For the Honey Badger, his batch pad’s ‘hero piece’ that will close the sale – his ‘baby grand piano’ if you like – is his tackle. Which is appropriate given the international rugby career and lycra bike shorts.
No one told bachelorette Vanessa Sunshine this though and given the opportunity to get closer to the Badger’s hero piece during the solo date she tells him that just like a brass bathtub on The Block nobody is buying it and he might want to return it to the store.
They call Vanessa Sunshine the ‘legal secretary’ but I think we can all see this for the dog whistle it is and they really do need a Dr Tim to sort things out.
In contrast, the more progressive Block with its solar panelling and environmentally friendly conversations about the refrigerator light already has a Dr Tim in Scotty. The contestants are always coming to his office to complain about something and even when they don’t he will still go visit them with a camera crew and ask them what is wrong.
Part Kurt Cobain, part Edvard Munch and with a weekly catch cry of ‘whatever’, Vanessa Sunshine is as the song goes ‘a little ray of sunshine’ and while she didn’t get a rose at the last ceremony and none of the other bachelorettes acknowledged her departure will always be remembered for her ready smile, bubbly personality and the fact she was the legal secretary one with a real job who hasn’t previously worked on television.
Like many Spectator contributors, my own hero piece is a Karl Marx bust that I keep on my mantelpiece to help keep things real. The hero piece is, of course, a male construct so its good to know that at least my Karl has no testicles.
For balance I have beside it a Ronald Reagan bobblehead doll I picked up while visiting DC during the Obama regime and working out how to get that phrase into an article one day.
Sometimes I wonder if when I go to bed at night whether Toy Story-style my hero pieces come to life and then I wonder what they might actually talk about, the adventures they might go on and will it make the world a better place just like on The Block.
This is impossible though as — just like the nasty and nice bachelorettes — some plastic things will never mix.
Or as Vanessa Sunshine would say, ‘whatever’.
Michael Scammell is a freelance writer.
Illustration: Channel 10.
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