When Love Comes to Town
Nine's new romance reality has the distinct feeling of deja vu without ever really adding anything of value.
Single ladies from the city. Single country blokes. Host Natalie Gruzlewski.
Yes, this show is The Farmer Wants a Wife 2.0.
So why not just say so?
I realise it is based on a Norwegian dating show Babes on the Bus -problem is, I’m just not sure it’s better than FremantleMedia’s Farmer series, which ran for 8 seasons.
The only crucial difference seems to be the inclusion of a bus in which the ladies have to decide if they will leave potential beaus for the next stop, or stay and pursue romance. I’m not convinced it’s compelling enough to distinguish itself from what viewers are already familiar with. But maybe that’s the intent.
There are 12 ladies when the bus makes its first stop at a Margaret River Farmer’s Market, in southern Western Australia. There to greet them is a throng of townsfolk, suitably cheerful that Reality Television has come to town. They applaud the girls as they step off the bus like rock stars.
At this point I am rather gob-smacked at the garb the stylists have made these girls wear. A mix of bright, short, tight, bling and high-heels -they are overdressed. I’m sure they are all lovely girls, but they are not dressed for a day in Margaret River. They are ready for a hen’s night in Darlinghurst.
If you blur your eyes they could even be the drag queens from the I Will Survive bus. In fact, I sort of wish they were.
They are introduced to two unassuming blokes, a Carpenter named Adam and a Solicitor named Moshe. The girls each choose a bloke and we follow each group on “first dates.” Adam takes his ladies to his farm and decides he’d like to test them on building a chook house where hilarity and flirting ensues. Seriously? What, he wouldn’t rather hop in spa with them and pop the champers? Producers aren’t even trying to hide these blatant storylines.
Moshe wanders around a local fair with his posse as his first date. No wonder he is still single.
There are the obligatory shirtless shots of blokes, doubts by nervous women, and the occasional bitchy remark that would have been left on the cutting room floor of Real Housewives. This show needs to decide what tone it wants: more Reality bitching or none of it, please.
As sparks begin to show for various individuals, the numbers are whittled down, until eventually the girls are forced to decide ‘should I stay or should I go now?’
At a whopping 90 minutes this dilemma is dragged out far too long. Nobody has heard of the concept of speed dating.
For all the manufactured storytelling of The Farmer Wants a Wife, the show actually had its heart in the right place. I’m not suggesting this one doesn’t -the individuals seem quite genuine about wanting to find romance- but will it be able to rack up a trophy list of marriages, engagements and even babies like its predecessor?
Trust me, you’ve seen it all before. After one episode I am ready to get off the bus, thanks.
When Love Comes to Town premieres 8:30pm Tuesday on Nine.