Fireworks were promised and happened but let me look at the normal stuff first because the fireworks is a mess in my head.
Monica and Mark are comfortable, funny, relaxed and at ease with each other. They both say they like each other and they're taking it slowly. Which is great. I like their kookiness. But I bet they're a TV producer's nightmare - no drama!
Jess and Dave turned up, aired their views, but there's not a thing happening between them. She's strong though, and maybe stronger from this experience.
Craig and Andy didn't rate a mention, which was a surprise.
Nicole and Keller, and Bella and Michael were the couples in the fireworks. Mostly because the two couples are total and complete opposites. Let me look at Bella and Michael first.
B & M have quite a focus on sex/intimacy, with excessive PDAs even at dinner with others talking, sitting opposite the couple who've broken up. They don't seem aware of others or others' feelings. Bella says she isn't into kids, had no plans for kids, and never saw herself having them because they detract from the sex and intimacy of the couple. Michael doesn't say anything. Which is odd. (Could be editing). Then Bella begins questioning who had sex and when...even with the defunct Jess and Dave there. This is where things get heated because she just doesn't give up, no matter how politely others try to fob her off.
Nicole and Keller. Right before the party, he says he loves Nicole but doesn't know how she feels so he's not saying anything yet. So he's rattled already. Then we hear he's never been to a dinner party before. I'm really worried for him. Nicole seems to laugh when he's a goose, so she's not really helping him learn what she wants. She says he's immature, and indicates that he's not well-informed. He's also a bit of a shit-stirrer. At the dinner, he makes a couple of inappropriate 'jokes' that no one seems to notice (edits maybe). But he says at one stage when Nic jokes about being with Dave, "But then you'd get left on your honeymoon." He seems uncomfortable, out of his depth, and Nicole doesn't seem to notice.
After Jess and Dave talk about their split, Nicole says that maybe Dave should have given it more time because sometimes the "oh wow" doesn't happen right away - and Keller's floored by this. He moves back from the table a little, his expression is shocked and frozen, and he doesn't make any jokes. I don't think he's any clue Nicole wasn't as into him at the get go.
Then Bella talks about kids, and this too upsets Keller's sense of the world, his strong need for family, and he's on the defensive.
When Bella the starts on about sex, Keller and Nicole are both evasive, even saying they like to keep private things private, but the questions keep up and Nicole blurts out that they've had sex, isn't that enough now. No details. It's uncomfortable, and I think Keller wasn't prepared for her to cave. Then he gives this story with lots of detail leading up to sex - which made me wonder if it was true (his odd telling, her strange reaction).
Keller seems to have really defined sense of right/wrong, black/white, public/private. The "experts" comment that he has strong boundaries and that Bella isn't reading these. But I think Nicole has missed these too. I think while Keller and Nicole share similar views about a lot of things, their relationship has gone smoothly. They haven't yet had opposing views, so maybe she hasn't realised how rigid his views are.
Keller makes quite a low shot at Bella, Michael gets defensive and then attacks Keller (his verbal attack is as nasty, if not more personal, that Keller's). Meanwhile, Nicole has up and gone. She's uncomfortable so she's run, leaving Keller defenceless and unsupported, which I can't imagine is good for him.
At the end of the night, Keller apologises to the men for his behaviour and Michael accepts it well. I think it took a big man to make that heartfelt apology, so my hat was off to Keller. Not sure if his apology went to the girls too as they'd split into groups then.
So my learning from tonight was CONSERVATIVE vs LIBERAL. It's probably not going to work if you mash two very different people together - eg Keller and Bella would never work. And friendships get strained when you have this mix of couples too. So a character's attitudes to society are quite important, and pairing too many opposing views won't ever work.
On this show, Keller is a fascinating person. I wondered earlier about his tattoos and why he had them if he was so conscious of people's negative reaction to him because of them. Then when you see him in shorts, the Tatts are really only in places where they're visible (hands, forearms, calves, neck, upper chest, shoulders). It makes me wonder why you get them in confronting places, if you're concerned by people's reactions. Is it the shit stirring part of him? Is it cover up?
Tonight he showed very conservative views about family, sex, relationships, careers, even some homophobia (or at least anti-metrosexual). Maybe this is a product of years in the defence forces, or maybe it's him, but it's intriguing. He's the most fascinating person on the show...but I also worry about him being exposed like this on a national TV program when he seems vulnerable.
I think tonight I realised I need more depth to my characters, more layers of issues and confusion. Plus I need to think about their societal views and how that might work with their relationships and friendships.