Bachelorette Flatpack challenge sparks The Anger Games

Things must be getting serious on The Bachelorette because we've fast-forwarded past the dating phase and headed straight to domesticity. With all the furniture assembly, seed planting and cake cooking on show this episode, you'd swear we were watching Better Homeboys and Gardeners rather than Sophie's Love Shack.

"So, which one of you is the biggest plonker," Osher asks the 12 remaining suitors as he launches the first ever edition of The Real Man Games.

Oh wait, he said planker? Easy mistake to make.

This is the first of four rounds, and only eight of the 12 will go through to round two. They have to lie in the rain beside the pool, propped on their elbows, in that silly pose that was all the rage with the kids a few years ago. The first four to give up will be sent inside, which sounds more like reward than punishment.

"If you get out early don't worry it just means you're a bit of a girl," says Sophie, who clearly is a bit old-school when it comes to gender roles.

Sam is first to go. Brett, Apollo and Bingham soon follow, and get to spend the rest of the day drinking beer and laughing at the others. Winning.

New season of The Biggest Plonker, er, Planker.

New season of The Biggest Plonker, er, Planker. Photo: Ten

Round two is changing a tyre. It's a relay, two teams of four. Blake leads the tall guys - Jarrod, Luke, Hayden - and Mack leads the "less-tall" guys, Harry, James and Ryan.

"When you're done put your hand up so I can check your nuts," Osher says. Fnarr fnarr.

When it comes to changing tyres, the big guys are the pits. By the time Jarrod gets on the tools, it's all over. But not for him.

Fast and the Furious: Jarrod gets jacked of being last.

Fast and the Furious: Jarrod gets jacked of coming last. Photo: Ten

"He's like Robocop," someone says as he ignores Osher's pleas to stop so everyone can get inside out of the friggin' cold.

"I definitely saw steam coming from his back," says Blake. "He was freaking everyone out."

Poor Jarrod. He's just putting into practice all his years of military training. It's a skill set that could come in extremely useful if he and Sophie ever get a flat while on a Sunday drive through Currumbin. He'd just dodge all those parakeets like they were so much Taliban gunfire.

Next is flatpack wardrobe assembly, a challenge that has felled many a man in the real world (and ended many a relationship, too).

James and Mack form the older team, Ryan and Harry the younger.

Harry - who, at 24, is just about young enough to be Sophie's son had she been raised in a Christian fundamentalist sect in Alabama - mocks the "old farts" for carefully opening the packs, organising the screws, reading the instructions. Yeah, but I bet he doesn't know how to spell hubris.

James, 31, predicts a hare-and-tortoise event, and says he loves flatpack. "It's like Meccano, but the adult version."

Nanna nap: James the tortoise Toolman Trethewie is taking his sweet time.

Nanna nap: James the tortoise Toolman Trethewie is taking his sweet time. Photo: Ten

For those who don't know it, Meccano is a bit like Lego, but the less fun version (unless you're a budding engineer, that is).

Ryan says flatpack furniture "is my nightmare", even though he's a builder.

With 60 seconds to go, the Real Man Olympics turns into The Anger Games. The old blokes have a neatly assembled wardrobe, but Ryan can't get his drawers to work properly. So he takes to the whole assembly with a mallet.

Anger management: Ryan the failed carpenter lets rip on flat pack draws.

Anger management: Ryan, a soon-to-be-unemployed carpenter, lets rip on those flatpack drawers. Photo: Ten

"I've always thought Ryan has cranky pants on," says Sophie. "This just confirms it."

So now it's just James and Mack - the "wise owls", as James puts it - in the final challenge: lighting a fire.

"It is what brought man and woman down out of the trees," says Osher. Funny, I thought a cyclone did that.

James wins. "Who would have known that a financial adviser from Manly is the Bachelorette's most manly man," he says. It doesn't sound at all scripted.

Sophie Monk fears she may spontaneously combust due to all the heat coming from James' way.

Sophie Monk fears she may spontaneously combust due to all the heat coming from James. Photo: Ten

Sophie is impressed, telling the camera "he's like Tarzan, but with a calculator".

On their one-on-one date - which, frankly, I'm amazed he doesn't nod off during, given the hard day's yakka he's just endured - she goes even further.

"You're like Superman, really. You've got everything. I'm just waiting to hear that at night you dress like a lady."

"No, that's Jarrod," he says.

'Good at everything' ... but getting the kiss from the girl.

'Good at everything' ... except getting the kiss from the girl. Photo: Ten

Still, there's not much chemistry, other than the sweat oozing from his pores after all those exertions. He gets a cheek kiss, and a rose, so he's safe, but I think he's getting a little ahead of himself when he says "there does seem to be a bit of a spark there". Maybe he's just remembering the fire.

Next morning, Sam and the bros are nonchalantly hanging in the yard when Sophie unexpectedly visits. He's finally getting his first date, four weeks after winning his "double delight" rose.

"On a scale of 1 to 10 in excitement, I'm 13," he says.

Yeah, bro I finally get to use my double delight!

Yeah, bro, I finally get to use my double delight! Did I mention I have a double delight? Photo: Ten

As she drives them to their secret destination, Sophie asks if he can do impersonations, and he pinches his nose and does his best Tom Cruise. It's actually pretty good.

"I was going to close my eyes," she says, "but that's not a good idea when I'm driving."

They cook red velvet cupcakes together, and they're both terrible, but miraculously a perfect batch emerges from the oven (hey, where can I get one of those kitchen pixies?)

She's having a good time but, she says, "I just need to break through all that fun and see what's underneath".

Red velvet and that little boy's smile ...

Red velvet and that little boy's smile ... Photo: Ten

What do you bring to a relationship, she asks him.

"Magic dust," he says, and I think he's actually not joking for once. "I know I inject magic into the day and into events."

It sounds like he's just come out as a pixie (so that's how those cupcakes turned out so well!), but Sophie knows what he's talking about.

"I'm the same, all I want is to make people happy, I'm generous, and then some people want to put out your flame because they're not happy. And I'm attracted to those people because I want to make them happy."

She may not have met any decent blokes in LA, but it sure sounds like she found a good therapist.

She's happy with what she's seen of Sam tonight, and gives him a rose and a kiss too.

Can I eat this rose as those cupcakes were disgusting?

Can I eat this rose? Those cupcakes were disgusting. Photo: Ten

"And you'll get another one," she says, acknowledging he's still got half that double delight to cash in. "Maybe." Snort.

Back in the mansion, Sam and Sophie walk in, wearing evening wear, which means it must be almost culling time.

First, there's some mingling, and Apollo takes it as an opportunity to give Sophie a fork on the couch.

Hey, I said fork!

He waggles said fork in front of her, bending it like no one has ever bent cutlery before - well, not since Uri Geller anyway (look it up, youngsters) - and she is suitably amazed.

What the fork?!!

What the fork?!! Photo: Ten

"Definitely one of my first experiences of using magic to try to get a girl's attention," Apollo says, and given that look the night before you can read into that what you will. "I think it went all right."

"Can you turn water into wine," Sophie asks him. "Because then I'll marry you. Hundred per cent."

Now it's Jarrod's turn, and he's got a party trick of his own. "I want to show Sophie that love is easy to find, but growing it is harder."

He brings two garden pots over, he's got soil, seeds, little trowels. I swear, if he pulls Jamie Durie out from behind a bush he's got this in the bag..

He wants them to plant these seeds, nurture them together, see it grow.

How to Lose a Girl in 10 Days: Awww you made me grow a love fern!

How to Lose a Girl in 10 Days: Awww, you made me grow a love fern! Photo: Ten

"What if it dies," she says. "A Cactus died with me once. That's impossible."

Now the other guys have noticed what's going on. It's driving them potty.

"This guy has lost the plot," says Blake. No, he's just found the allotment.

"He must have had a pot plant in his suitcase for the last month and just kept it there," says Sam, who has apparently not noticed the army of production assistants who make everything happen on this show. (Sorry, dude - it's not magic dust.)

Not happy Jarrod: Luke and Ryan keep an eye on things.

Not happy Jarrod: Luke and Ryan keep an eye on the magic dust being sprinkled by TV producers. Photo: Ten

Finally, it's time for the rose ceremony. Who will be dead-headed tonight?

Sam and James are already safe, which leaves 10 of them. Tonight just one is going home.

We get a voiceover from Ryan, who says he is feeling confident. So he'll be in the last two, then.

And we get one from Bingham, the polo player, too.

"I'm enjoying my time hanging out with the boys," he says. "The experience I'm having is second to none, and if it was to end now I'd be devastated."

Wait, has he been on The Bachelorette or an end-of-season footy trip? He didn't even mention the girl.

End of the road: Ryan is spared at the rose ceremony sending Bingham home.

End of the road: Ryan is spared at the rose ceremony, sending Bingham home. Photo: Ten

"I should have taken that time to get to know Sophie a bit better," he says as it comes down to him and Ryan. "I think I might be in trouble."

And just like that, he's gone, back to his ponies and mallets, back to a different kind of stable relationship.

What a silly chukka he was.

Facebook: karlquinnjournalist Twitter: @karlkwin Podcast: The Clappers

The story Bachelorette Flatpack challenge sparks The Anger Games first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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