by Amanda Laugesen
Reality television is a regular contributor to our lexicon, and the most recent series of Australia’s favourite dating show, The Bachelor, was no exception. The Bachelor sees a number of women compete for the heart of an eligible bachelor through a series of ‘single’ and ‘group’ dates. At the end of each show, after a cocktail party, the Bachelor hands out red roses to all the women he wants to remain on the show.
Last year saw social media light up over Bachelor Sam Woods’ decision to friend zone contestant Heather. To friend zone someone is to regard them solely as a friend, despite their romantic or sexual interest in you. (The term was popularised by the comedy TV series Friends in the 1990s.) This year Bachelor Richie Strahan’s quest for true love and fame brought us some more interesting words and phrases.
cool bananas The exclamation cool bananas became known as Richie’s catchphrase when he first used it when competing in The Bachelorette in 2015. The phrase was then seen as endearing but Richie became less popular with the Australian public this year when he rejected Nikki Gogan in the finale, breaking the heart of Nikki (and the Australian public). Cool bananas was popularised by New Zealand band DD Smash, who put out an album with that title in 1982.
pash and dash This term was used by Richie after the gossip magazines circulated a story about Richie making one of the contestants pregnant. Richie responded to the rumours by saying that there was no sex on the show: ‘I’m filming 20 hours a day, I’m under the pump. It’s like a pash and dash at three and four in the morning.’ (Sydney Morning Herald, August 1, 2016) Pash, an Australian term for ‘a long passionate kiss’ (also used as a verb, ‘to kiss passionately), has a history going back to the early 1960s, and has also produced pash rash and pash session.
the white rose The white rose was a special rose given out in the first episode by the Bachelor to a girl who gains the power to take him aside for ‘one-on-one time’ during the cocktail parties. Richie gave the rose to the eventual winner, Alex Nation. Alex’s use of the white rose was a point of much contention at the cocktail parties.
peasant Contestant Keira Maguire caused a lot of controversy on this season as she was cast as the villain and became notorious for arguing with her fellow contestants. She was perhaps most noted for calling fellow contestant Kiki Morris a peasant during one of the show’s cocktail parties. Kiki replied that she would ‘prefer to be called a bitch’. As a term of abuse peasant has a long history that can be traced back to the 16th century.
banter The word banter has long been part of standard English, meaning ‘the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks’. In recent years, the term has resurged in popularity among young people, with a more generalised sense referring to how well two people get along, or referring to any kind of humorous exchange. A satirical take on The Bachelor imagined some typical Richie dialogue: ‘God, we have great banter,’ Richie chuckles. ‘Our banter is so good, and I love a girl I can have good banter with.’ (SBS Comedy, 16 September 2016) The requirement for ‘good banter’ (or, preferably, ‘great banter’) is clearly not just confined to the Australian show; The Bachelor NZ tweeted of one of their Bachelor’s (Jordan Mauger’s) failed matches: ‘They had great banter and great laughs but it wasn’t meant to be.’ (Twitter, April 2016)
stage five clinger Contestant and ultimate winner of Richie’s heart, Alex Nation, was described in social media as a stage five clinger. The term has its origins, according to Urban Dictionary, in the movie Wedding Crashers (2005), and is used to describe a person who is considered to be too attached and needy, bordering on obsessive. Alex responded to this by saying ‘I don’t see myself as a “stage five clinger” but I think it’s really funny’ (News.com, 15 September 2016)
truth bomb Contestant Olena Khamula, who made the top three, was described as telling truth bombs to Richie when she questioned the practicalities of a relationship that might involve long-distance commuting between Sydney and Perth. The site Urban Dictionary defines the term truth bomb as ‘a fact spoken in clear, easy to understand terms and without bias’ and credits its popularity with its use by the character Tracy Jordan (played by comedian Tracy Morgan) on the American sitcom 30 Rock. The term has become very popular in social media, and increasingly the mainstream media, in the last few years.
Miss Chill turning into Miss Grill This catchphrase was coined by Kate, Richie’s mother, in the finale when meeting Nikki Gogan. She used it of herself and it referred to her turning from a friendly conversation with Nikki to grilling Nikki about her relationship history.
The Bachelor is over for 2016 and Richie and Alex have moved on to the next phase of their relationship. However, The Bachelorette is now on Australian screens and will no doubt bring more words and phrases to entertain us.