It was touted as an 8 minute unedited sequence between Bachelor in Paradise exxes Richie Strahan and Alex Nation.
But the tense scene in which two former lovers clashed has raised more questions than answers including whether it was an invasion of privacy.
To be clear, once you sign up for a reality show then any kind of conflict is fair game for savvy producers. They own your arse for the duration of the shoot (and even for sometime afterwards).
But as any episode of UnREAL demonstrates, it’s also up to producers how much they screen and how much is necessary for the story.
Viewers could only speculate about just what these two were at odds over. But the dialogue hinted at some very personal places.
R: …you know exactly why and what happened. What I woke up to. I meant I just can’t believe someone would do that to someone.
A: Me? Someone do something to you? Do you actually want to go there Rich? Because I feel like people would have a very big opinion of a woman, being left alone, to do something that involved both of us.
R: Don’t beat around the bush Alex say it. Because you’re not gonna like my response. Because we did talk about it. We talked about the whole thing.
A: Over the phone.
R: Yeah, and what you said to me blew my mind. So if you wanna go into it Alex we can. Again, I’ve had to come to peace with this. I’ve thought about this a lot. I tried so hard to make our relationship work and …
A: You tried hard to make our relationship work?
R: Yeah definitely. 100 per cent.
A: So you don’t think you left any room to grow to try that little bit harder? So you’re honestly sitting there and saying you were perfect in our relationship? Because I wasn’t.
R: No one’s perfect, Alex. Don’t try and put words in my mouth and say I’m saying what I’m not.
A: Yeah but the way you’re saying it is ‘I did this, I did that’.
R: Because I did. I did a lot, Alex. I did so much to try and keep our relationship going and …
A: Yeah because you knew you couldn’t salvage it, because you knew that after what happened, when I was left alone, to go through something massive that no woman should go through.
R: Yeah but you wanted to do it. It was your choice …
A: It was me?! I actually can’t believe that you are telling me that it was me.
Social media lit up over just what was at the heart of the matter, with some explicitly jumping to conclusions.
On radio yesterday morning Kyle & Jackie O’s radio show was briefly dumped off air after news presenter Brooklyn Ross also passed comment.
So was it necessary to screen it like this? Sure, the two confronting each other is part of the narrative. You can’t put both back in Paradise and skip over that moment. But there are also ways to show the argument that don’t leave us all thinking the worst too.
I felt like the subtext was just too raw and unnecessary for ratings points. If less had been shown we could have feasibly deduced they split up over Perth-based Richie failing to spend time with Alex in Melbourne. I suspect that would have been sufficient for us all to move on.
A Network 10 spokesperson told News.com.au: “Alex and Richie’s reunion conversation was an organic moment that was not prompted by show producers. To be faithful to this moment, 10 made the decision to show the conversation unedited and in full, with the aim of delivering an impartial retelling.
“It is a common grievance of reality television stars that footage is heavily edited, contrived or manipulated. Given that this was the first time Alex and Richie had seen each other since their break-up, producers felt it was essential to film and broadcast their reunion in its entirety.
“Both Alex and Richie were comfortable with this. It aired unedited, uncensored and as a split screen enabling viewers to get a feel first hand for what they had both been through and what they had to say. By the end of the conversation, they both felt relieved and happy.
“As part of the show’s duty of care, all Bachelor In Paradise cast have full access to mental health professionals as well as support from the Warner Bros. Australia and Network 10 teams.”