Fresh from the farm, ea­ger to be charmed

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

OS­TEN­SI­BLY, this is the jour­ney of six of the best men from the bush as they search for the right wo­man. And it is based on an in­dis­putable fact about rural life in our wide brown land: there aren’t enough women in the bush. Find­ing six horny, het­ero farm­ers would pre­sum­ably have been the easy part. And the girls? Well, the pro­duc­ers say they were swamped with ap­pli­ca­tions.

I can’t help won­der­ing what might have hap­pened if the pro­duc­ers had just rus­tled up 20 or 30 gor­geous, farmer- crazy women, put on a keg in a barn some­where and let na­ture take its course.

But that would be far harder to con­trol and steer into a television show. And it would hardly be in the re­fined spirit of re­al­ity TV, which de­mands elim­i­na­tions, hu­mil­i­a­tions, and emo­tions run­ning hot and cold for the cam­eras.

It goes like this: six farm­ers meet the po­ten­tial farm­ers’ wives en masse and spend five min­utes with each of 10 women. Af­ter­wards, like all good farm­ers, they need to cull. So half the hope­fuls, 30 women in all, who have been groomed, pre­pared and flown about the place, get the chop af­ter ex­actly five min­utes with their man.

The show whizzes past this as if it’s the most nat­u­ral form of se­lec­tion since Dar­win. But let’s con­sider it.

Put your hand up if you’ve ever been wrong about some­one you thought you didn’t like, es­pe­cially af­ter five min­utes.

Add hav­ing your re­ac­tions filmed, and hav­ing a stack of such ap­point­ments in a row to sort through, and you can see that the ca­pac­ity to judge char­ac­ter and com­pat­i­bil­ity could fly out the door as eas­ily as the 30 re­jected women.

Next up? Group dates with each of the farm­ers and his five suc­cess­ful can­di­date wives. At least in this phase the men have time to el­e­vate their judg­ments be­yond mere ap­pear­ances. Af­ter all, the show is called The Farmer Wants a Wife, not The Farmer Wants a Root.

Of each set of five, two women are cho­sen by a farmer to com­pete for his af­fec­tions dur­ing a gru­elling 10- day course. Will th­ese pretty city babes be up to the rigours of rural life? Will any of the six farm­ers find a wife?

Well, per­haps to prove it’s not all a monumental ( al­beit good- look­ing) waste of time, this se­ries kicks off with the wed­ding of a cou­ple who met in the pre­vi­ous se­ries.

To its credit the pro­gram of­fers no cash or other in­cen­tives, be­cause love is its own re­ward, though a lot of sound­ing brass and tin­kling cym­bals can be heard.

A show about hand­some, lovelorn coun­try men and an end­less pa­rade of ea­ger women? It’s McLeod’s Daugh­ters for real.

Dates with po­ten­tial mates: The six farm­ers in the sec­ond sea­son of The Farmer Wants a Wife

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