(photo by Mad1how/Flickr)
It's not often that I'm jealous of "the ladies" on The Bachelor. I love the show but for me it's starting to bear too close a resemblance to HBO's Big Love. This week, however, bachelor Jason Mesnick and the final three contenders got to go on their Fantasy Dates (you know, the ones that usually end with a night in the Fantasy Suite) in New Zealand. The scenery was just breathtaking and I must admit I felt a twinge of jealousy that they had the chance to travel to Queenstown, which bills itself as "New Zealand’s premier four season lake and alpine resort." Having never been to NZ, I don't know if this South Island region truly is the premier resort locale, but it sure looked that way on TV.
Jillian Harris had the first date with Jason, which was a helicopter ride with The Helicopter Line company. They flew around the mountains, glaciers and lakes and then got out on a cliff to enjoy a little picnic with wine. Harris is no stranger to natural beauty — she grew up spending her summers in Kelowna, B.C. — but she seemed pretty blown away by the scenery. And by Jason.
Molly Melaney's date with Jason was bungy jumping off Kawarau Bridge, an historic suspension bridge that's 43m high. Molly seemed pretty psyched to do it — less nervous than Jason, actually — but it's stuff like this that always makes me wonder about the surprise factor in reality TV. The women aren't supposed to know anything about their dates beforehand, but many people (like me) would have been really freaked out at the prospect of jumping off a bridge connected to a rubber band. Maybe they fill out a questionnaire at the beginning of the show or something along those lines.
The last date was much better, and the weather was perfect — unlike Molly's rainy date. Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Rycroft and Jason took a ride in a wooden sailboat that once belonged to Winston Churchill. They arrived at the Matakauri Lodge and then relaxed in the hot tub, as The Bachelor is known to do. What Churchill's old boat was doing in NZ was never addressed, although Melissa's relationship with her parents was.
All three dates ended in The Fantasy Suite, which in this case was the luxurious cottage at Stoneridge Estates. The rest of the time, they all stayed at the Heritage Queenstown hotel, a larger property that looks quite nice but doesn't seem to have hot tubs — a major flaw in Bachelor terms . The Heritage Queenstown is presumably where Jason, Molly and Melissa will be staying for next week's episode, when the Mesnick family comes to visit (lucky them!) and Jason makes his final decision in the Most Dramatic Finale Ever.