opinion

The conversation between Richie and Alex should never have been hyped the way it was. Full stop.

In the weeks leading up to tonight’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise, we were teased with the dramatic details of Richie and Alex’s break-up.

On Wednesday night, the hyped conversation between the former couple aired. And it wasn’t what we expected.

An unedited, nine-minute long “explosive” conversation pulled us in. But what ensued has left us feeling empty.

This was not for us to see. And this certainly wasn’t for us to speculate about in the weeks leading up.

The Bachelor in Paradise trailer that in hindsight makes us feel uncomfortable. Post continues. 

Video by Channel 10

But who was to blame us?

A glimpse back at the commercial says it all. Paired with dramatic backing music, we saw huge text which read “Alex and Richie have it out,” splashed across the screen, as lightening bolts flashed behind it.

“The circumstances of our breakup were quite brutal,” Richie can be heard saying. “I don’t know if Australia’s ready for the grubby details surrounding it.”

“The grubby details”, as it transpired, was – from what we can only deduce from their cryptic conversation – Alex and Richie’s unwanted pregnancy.

In the past few weeks of reality TV, we’ve heard accounts of questionable behaviour by producers.

We’ve seen contestants lash out against networks, we’ve heard how they were pushed and prodded to purposely cause hurt and create an engaging narrative for the audience.

But nothing has left us feeling quite as broken as what we saw last night, for the sheer insensitivity for the way in which it was salaciously hyped.

The deeply personal conversation between Alex Nation and Richie Strahan, grappling with an intense and emotional issue that ultimately led to their break-up, was unlike anything we’ve ever seen on reality television.

It was raw. And the fact that it had weeks of promotion centred around it as though it was a scandal was deeply upsetting.

The former couple were seen discussing what we can only gather to be abortion.

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A topic that frankly shouldn’t be controversial in 2019, one that we can only hope is one day openly discussed on mainstream national television.

But it was clearly a sensitive experience both Alex and Richie – who never actually uttered the words – weren’t ready to thrust into the limelight.

One thing is abundantly clear: whatever happened between Alex and Richie is not a juicy morsel of gossip to be used in a shameless grab for ratings.

And we were not owed this as an “explanation” by a broken couple. Regardless of how their relationship began.

As we watched the conversation unfold, it became increasingly obvious that this was an intrusion. It was hard to watch.

“Do you actually want to go there, Rich? Because I feel like a lot of people would have an opinion of a woman being left alone to do something that involved both of us,” Alex said.

“Don’t beat around the bush Alex… Just say it, because you’re not going to like what I have to say,” Richie replied. “What you said to me blew my mind, again, I’ve had to come to peace with this.”

As Richie and Alex discussed the breakdown of their relationship – and the difficult situation Alex had endured alone – it was clear the issue was still painful for both of them.

“You knew you couldn’t salvage it, because you knew that after what happened, when I was left alone that was something massive that no woman should have to go through,” Alex said.

“You wanted to do it… You wanted to go down that path because you told me you wanted to focus on you,” Richie responded.

These were not the words a drama-hungry reality television audience should have been teased with. This wasn’t an “explosive argument” we should ever have been promised.

These should not be a network’s words to play with.

Viewers on social media agreed:

“This was so inappropriate by Channel 10, whatever went down was painful and personal, instead they decide to pair these guys up on this show and use it to attract viewers. Not even funny, let them heal and move on,” one Facebook user commented.

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There are some conversations, no matter where they take place, that just aren’t meant to be broadcast on reality television.

And a sensitive, tense exchange between two former partners, about a topic they didn’t feel comfortable explicitly mentioning, is one of them.

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