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First Dates 2018: The good, the bad and the excruciatingly awkward

Channel Sevens hit show First Dates is back tonight and, at a guess, it would have taken approximate..

Channel Sevens hit show First Dates is back tonight and, at a guess, it would have taken approximately two minutes for the heat of second-hand embarrassment to rise into watchers cheeks as they took in the stellar first episode.

The show is a voyeurs delight because the entire premise means we have permission to sticky-beak into would-be couples oft-excruciating first dates. Sometimes theyre awkward enough to make you want to spin yourself into a blanket cocoon on the couch and take a vow of silence. Other times, they're palatably sweet.

Tonight, the audience was gifted with a pleasing mix of both.

First up is Italian boy Daniel. His ethnicity is mentioned here simply because he emphasises so greatly himself – and it plays a large factor in his desire to find a girlfriend. Hes only 29 but his Italian mum, dad, cousins, nonna, nonnas cousins and so on (presumably) are putting the pressure on him big time.

Things were looking good for Alex and Daniel, but it wasn't to be.

Photo: Channel Seven


Hes a a self-proclaimed nice guy. Often the self-proclaimed part can be an instant red flag, but seemingly not with Daniel. He seems like a proper Nice Guy – not that he thinks thatll do him any favours. “Nice guys finish last, I definitely believe that,” he says. “Girls generally want a bad boy and thats just not me.”

Lucky for him, his date Alex, 30, is not one of those women. Shes beautiful and good-natured and half-Italian, so Daniel is in love almost instantly.

The date goes well, but things really come alive when Daniel decides to test the compatibility waters with a dad joke.

“Do you want to hear a joke about construction?” he asks.

“Yeah, go on,” Alex says, with a big swig of her rosé.

“Ah, nevermind – Im still working on it.” Boom-tish! Except … Alex missed the joke.

“No, go!” she urges. He repeats his line: “Im still working on it.” It sails right over her head again.

“Thats the joke,” he laughs. “You missed it!”

“Oh my God,” Alex says, slowly putting down her wine.


Later, when theyre talking about their 'types', Daniel goes in for the kill and says hes drawn to some very specific features: “Italian. Light-brown hair. Light eyes. Red dress,” he says, describing Alex.

“Oh thats nice,” she says with a blush.

When it comes time to decide on whether or not a second date will happen, Daniel doesnt hesitate to say yes, and Alex reciprocates. They kiss on the cheek and go off to get shots – a promising start to any young relationship. For a moment, the future looks bright but, alas, we soon find out that, actually, Alex never returned Daniels calls in the end.

Ouch. Wheres that blanket cocoon when you need it?

Brad and Kelly shared a love of animals but… well, that's about it.

Photo: Channel Seven

Meanwhile, country bloke Brad, 47, seems sweet but shows a fairly clueless streak when he compares his date, Kelly, 39 – who seems like a lovely, normal person – to a crappy present.

After a night of somewhat forced chatter, he sums it up this way: “Shes probably not the usual girl Id go after,” he starts. “Shes a bit like a really good gift thats wrapped in brown paper. You might think, Thats a s— gift but then when you unwrap it its quite a beautiful gift underneath there.”

Frankly, we're offended on behalf of both Kelly, whos perfectly lovely, and brown paper, which is severely underrated.

Then Brad forgets her name and asks if its Katie. Or Kylie. “Nah, its Kelly,” he finally decides. Shes got no time for any of this and delivers a straight-up “no” when producers ask her if shed like to go on a second date. He seems to take it well for a minute, but then chooses to end things with this zinger:

“Thats ok. Thats cool. Thanks for the night and the conversation, I enjoyed it … Kelly, Kylie or Katie.” Safe to say they wont be seeing each other again.

Rob and Jaime were a match made in social media heaven.

Photo: Channel Seven.

Back on the other side of the Gen X fence, Rob and Jaime, both 26, arrive at the restaurant and realise they know each other because – modern love alert – he follows her on Instagram. They recognise one another, she teases him for always sliding into her DMs and they spend the evening flirting.

At the end of the night, they agree to see each other again – and while the montage at the end indicates theyre still dating, a quick stalk of their Instagram accounts tells us otherwise. And if its not on the Gram, did it ever really happen?

Let's just say Dino and Kahla's interest were not aligned.

Photo: Channel Seven

Last – but most certainly not least – is Dino, whos 33, deeply spiritual and a male model. Hes also a gentleman, which we know for sure because he tells us and his date, Kahla, about 357 times.

“I believe I am a gentleman, whether it be opening a door for a lady, or making sure her hair is ok," he tells us at the beginning of the night. Lucky for all of us, Kahla's hair is perfect and Dino's assistance is not required.

Before dinner, Dino asks Kahla to dance. In a brightly-lit room. With barely any music. With a million other confused diners watching on. Kahla is game and gives it a go, but it's terrible for the rest of us.

After dinner, Dino takes things up a notch. “How do you define seduction?” he asks, followed by: “Give me your fingers.” He proceeds to demonstrate how hed seduce her physically and you just know with every fibre of your being that Kahla is fighting the urge to reclaim possession of her hand.

When an awkward silence ensues, Dino tries to put an end to it with: “Do you like cuddling?” There will be no second date.

Genevieve Rota

Genevieve Rota is the PM Digital Editor for Entertainment at Fairfax Media.

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So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn


Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.


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Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.


Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

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