Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bachelor Canada: After the Final Rose (for real?)

Never has an After the Final Rose episode been more truthful. Maybe. There was no mention from the host, Tyler Harcott, that there would be any future seasons of Bachelor Canada, Bachelorette Canada, or Bachelor Pad Canada. Was that it? Time will tell. If this really was the final rose handed out, at least they quit while they were ahead with a solid effort all round.

I feel a bit sheepish writing this one after potentially being called out on national TV. Whitney said the whole thing has been tough on her, that people are nice to her face when she's recognized but that some "tough guys" hide behind their computers. "They think they know me," she said, but all they do is focus on her eyebrows or the protruding vein in her forehead.


Now, I'm sure there are others blogging about Bachelor Canada she could be referring to, but my computer doesn't get the internet so I wouldn't know. But I felt a tinge of guilt. I know I've mentioned her eyebrows. I wasn't sure about the vein thing so I went back and checked. I couldn't find a reference to it in my blog, but maybe I missed it.

A few weeks ago I was reminded how real people are on TV and they have the ability to do a Google search for their name and might stumble across an insignificant blog written by an insignificant nobody (how's that for self-esteem?!). In 2010, I blogged about another American network reality TV show and recently met one of its competitors. I had forgotten writing about him, but he remembered. He had read it from his home in New York City and quoted what I wrote about him. It wasn't vicious, thank God. And he said he was happy I was covering it. But it just drove home the point that even though I think I'm speaking to a handful of like-minded fans in this non-revenue-gaining forum, the people I'm writing about (and sometimes slagging) might be reading. And their families.

So let me share where I'm coming from.

In no way do I think I know anything about the real people involved with the show. All I know is what the editors give us and what the individual decides to put out there. That's what I'm commenting on. I try not to be vicious. Believe me, sometimes I say things while watching that I never put into print just because it's below the belt. I try not to comment on anything too personal. But her eyebrows are a style choice (something she can control) and her fake boobs are a decision she made. Fair game, I say. Plus, she's clearly and objectively a very good-looking woman.

But some responsibility lies with the contestant. In Whitney's case, I liked her in the first episode. But she chose to get catty and competitive and rude. That won't go unnoticed. Nor will I say she's just playing a character and isn't really like that in real life because I simply don't know. All I know is what I see. If you don't want to be called on poor behaviour, don't exhibit it.

Her tears on this episode are a common sight for the villains. They regret their actions and regret their newfound reputation. Let that be a lesson to future fame-hounds. You'll go a long way by being a decent, kind person – or at least faking it on TV. Viewers don't shit on the sweet, normal contestants.

It's too bad Whitney's feeling the brunt of it, but it'll blow over. And if I were ever to meet her, I'd be nice to her, too.

Now onto the show.

We start by seeing upcoming highlights of the very episode we're about to watch, including seeing Bianka and Brad making lovey-dovey eyes to each other. Then the show begins and the host, Tyler Harcott, teases the audience with, "Have things turned out?" Hmm, I wonder. One thing the American producers have taught the Canadian ones well is to make sure any sense of surprise or anticipation is shot dead.

This was only a one-hour episode so there was no dilly-dallying. Brad came out in the first segment and he was smiling ear to ear. He said he was so happy he could "pull a Tom Cruise and get up on a chair." I hope, for Bianka's sake, that's where the Tom Cruise comparison ends.

In the next segment, Whitney came out to no boos. Canadians are a polite people. Well done. And, eyebrows notwithstanding, she looked smokin' hot. But that was never an issue. I don't think she did herself any favours on this night. Once again she was incomprehensible, sticking to her talking points in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Despite how bad she feels, she says she has no regrets about doing the show. That's a bit of a disconnect but I'll let that one slide. She claims she learned so much about herself. She knows she's indecisive and can never make up her mind, even in routine decisions about where to eat. Yet she says she wants to get married and have a family. That's going to require at least one very important decision. Maybe she wasn't ready for the show.

She also revealed that despite the immediate connection she felt with Brad, she said she realized she didn't feel confident he was the guy she wanted to marry in Penticton. I had to go back in the blog archives to find out when that was. It was episode 4, I believe, after Brad got back from Mexico on a group date. He met Whitney in Penticton and they went rappeling down a cliff. She went first. Coming back to you? Yeah, it was ages ago.

So she wasn't confident then but continued to act in a way that suggested the complete opposite. When Brad came out in the following segment, he called her on it. He wondered if she was acting the whole time. He recalled going to PEI with her and asking her if she saw a future together with him and she responded in the positive, 100%. Then that night she called her sister saying, "I don't see a future with him."

Case closed, right? Whitney's got some 'splainin' to do. But she stood firm and kept on point: She "never once acted." Okay, so then... what, exactly? We realize she doesn't express herself well, but surely she can do better than that. Instead she tried going on the offensive: "You had a choice to keep me on the show, too," she said. Aha! Gotcha, sucker!

Uh, not so much. He kept her on the show based on what she was telling him and on the physical connection he felt. It wasn't as if he knew she was making secret calls to her sister back when it happened. But we got no answer to the apparent incongruity.

When the offensive tactic didn't work, she played the sympathy card. The tears came as she whimpered, "You have no idea the stuff I go through now," and talked about how she's been portrayed. But here's the thing, Whitney, if you're reading: the editors can do a lot, but they can't work with what they don't have. If you never made that call to your sister, if you never slagged the other women, if you never turned on the charm around Brad, they couldn't create that. So yeah, it sucks that you're having to go through this now, but you had something to do with it, too.

The next segment was Brad with host Tyler Harcott. I liked this segment because Brad was asked questions from fans across the country. Someone asked if the order he hands out the roses reflect a preference for the women, which is something I've never heard addressed before. He said he goes in the back, looks at the photos, selects the girls, then decides "who can I make sweat the most." Funny answer and truthful, too. I suspect he gets some help in that decision, too, but talking about the process is tricky. Baby steps.

Other tidbits about Brad he revealed: His full name is Bradley Charles Smith. His most prized possession is his Queens University football jersey. His worst habit is he bites his nails. The funniest gal was Ana. His favourite Bachelor host is Chris Harrison (in your face, Harcott! – I'm sure he was half-joking but I liked that he answered straight while Harcott was pleading in jest). The best kisser and smartest among the women was Bianka (naturally). She also smelled the best. And his fascination with the deep V t-shirt hinged on the fact that it showed off his tattoo.

Next came Bianka and she radiated happiness. They looked like a really nice and in-love couple. Brad choked up numerous times talking about her, but they also both have a great sense of humour. Nothing much to report here except Brad said they recently took a 10-day trip and "almost eloped." Also they plan on getting married "as soon as possible."

I'm not sure the record for successful unions the American show has, but it's somewhere south of the Mendoza line. Far south. So wouldn't it be nice if the first ever Canadian show ended with success? And if this is the last season, they'll have batted 1.000.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bachelor Canada: We have ourselves a wiener

Here we are. It's all over. Sorry I'm late. I couldn't watch the show last night. Just finished it this afternoon (the day after) and am ready to offer my take.

I guess if you're reading this, you already know who won so let's not be coy. There are no spoilers. I thought it was a good episode, but maybe I think that because there was plenty of conflict and Brad made the right decision.

I wasn't high on Bianka throughout most of the season, but she grew on me. In the end, I thought they made a nice couple and hope they can make it work. They both say marriage is forever, but don't they all? We'll see if this Canadian version of finding love on TV works any better than the U.S. version. We don't have the infrastructure of Canadian tabloids and magazines at every checkout counter, so maybe we'll never know if or when they'll break up or get married. We can just go on our lives assuming they lived happily ever after.

But one thing I'm dying to find out is if the Brooklyn Nets' Kris Humphries was following or was informed of the goings-on of his former girlfriend. Some sports scribe has got to ask. I think Bianka's goal should be to outlast Humphries' 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian. Make it to three months and she wins hands-down.

Okay, to recap the episode. They were in Brad's hometown of Hudson, Quebec, where the two ladies met the Smith clan. But first Whitney and Brad met on a nearby golf course to hit some balls. Knowing how it all ended, it's interesting to consider her earlier words: "I love Brad. I'm 100% confident that we're right for each other." Granted, it was a disembodied voice who said that and she could have uttered those words at any point during the proceedings and the editors just inserted them into this episode.

Brad naturally wanted to talk about Whitney's words at the last rose ceremony, where she hinted that things weren't, well, 100% – after getting the rose, of course. Despite her selfishness and deceit, you could really tell Brad was bending over backwards to excuse her behaviour. He went so far as to take the blame for her actions, saying, "I feel I forced you into a situation where you had to become impulsive. And I feel responsible for how you acted. So I want to apologize to you." Wow, I thought. He's really under her spell.

He can golf, which you'd expect considering he said he spent his youth on that course. Whitney obviously never spent much time golfing. She'd shank one after another off and Brad would run off dutifully and get it as she stewed. There's a difference between being competitive and a bad sport that I don't think she ever learned. But once he gave her some pointers, she started getting it and was all smiles. Oh yeah, she should have just dressed in a giant red flag all season long.

Despite all his excuse-making for her, Brad knows what's what. Before heading to his family's house, he said, "In the back of my mind, I can't help thinking something else is going to go wrong tonight. I hope she doesn't close off tonight." Or was that, "I hope she takes her clothes off tonight?" I didn't quite catch it.

It was the former. I've never seen such an awkward gathering, be it real life or reality TV. Granted, she was put on the spot around the table. It was like a press conference with everyone firing questions at her. But still, she showed zero personality and couldn't finish a sentence. Brad to the rescue, though. He finished all her sentences for her as she hemmed and hawed, and spent a goodly portion of the time with the patented Whitney Table Stare®.

Do you think Whitney read this?
"She was just crashing," is how Brad put it under the intense questioning, particularly from Brad's sister, Ashley. Ash was splendidly blunt, both to the cameras and to Whitney. To Whitney she said, "I find you nervous around us, guarded around us, letting Brad talk for you. Are you nervous?" (Not asked in a sweet, concerning way but rather accusatory.) To the camera she was even more direct: "I think she's lovely. But this is a grown woman. Can you not speak for yourself? What's going on?"

Ashley was also concerned about how Whitney's reticence made Brad take more of an active role. "How does this [relationship] go forward? I'm concerned for Brad. Will he become a control freak?" I don't think that was a legitimate concern but it was kinda funny watching him frantically trying to make Whitney look good.

When they said their goodbyes outside, saying "See you in Barbados," Whitney couldn't have been more distant. Looked like she was already in Barbados. Without Brad. They gave each other a perfunctory peck and they were off. And that was the beginning of the end. Brad told us, "I don't know what to think after today. With Whitney it's so much work." Compare that statement to one he made earlier in the episode: "The chemistry between me and her is effortless." Reading between the lines, she's hot but a handful.

When Bianka came to town, Brad took her on a sports car tour of his hometown, stopping off at his favourite hot dog stand. He had been telling her all about the place since they were in Mexico so Bianka was dying to try it since she's a "food connoisseur." I guess even connoisseurs sometimes eat junk food.

On the visit, Bianka didn't get to meet Brad's dad because he had to sit in the Senate all night. He is obviously new to the job. Canadian senators don't have to do much of anything except show up to rubber stamp government motions. But while he was off offering sober second thought, Bianka and Brad showed up with two cases of beer. Unfortunately, their taste in beer was rather pedestrian. No rich micro-brewery beer; they brought Molson Canadian, i.e. the Coors Light of Canada.

After we heard Ashley describing the previous night as "the most uncomfortable family dinner I've ever had," she got down to laying her teeth into Bianka. She called Lady B on her "very, very polished answers" but Bianka was calm and real in the confrontation and completely won Ashley over. It turned into a love-in.

And outside, Bianka told Brad, "I"m really falling in love with you." Brad melted: "I'm really falling for you," he replied. Notice the change in verb.

At a family conference with Brad, everyone let him know that Bianka was by far the winner in their minds. Except Mr. Sober Second Thought, who refused to take a position, saying it was 100% Brad's decision. Ah, politicians!

Next up was Barbados. The first last date went to Bianka and the two learned how to play polo. Sitting on his horse, Brad told the coach, "It's very Canadian. I feel like I'm playing hockey on a horse right now." I loved it immediately, despite not being a hockey fan. I think from here on out that's how polo should be referred to: horse hockey. (Update: Just Binged it. Turns out horse hockey is a thing. Looks like polo to me, but I think it's different. I think I just like the idea of taking the uppity polo down a notch.)

For her part, Bianka, who started out the season very guarded and unsure, was head over heels. No, she didn't fall off the horse; she was just ga-ga for Bradley. She said she can't stop smiling. She goes to bed smiling; she wakes up smiling. "I'm beyond happy," she said. And she looked it. "I've never felt so sure about something in my entire life... I'm in love with him. I want him to be my husband."

Cut to: Whitney's date. She tells us, "I love Brad and I think he's an amazing guy." Kinda different vibe, isn't it?

Whit and Brad went boating and the chemistry was there at first. Then she went all Whitney on him. And that involved making absolutely no sense whatsoever from this point to the end of the show. It's like she was repeating back to Brad everything she's ever been told about herself, only directing it at a gob-smacked Brad. She said, "Communication is huge. I'm not as confident in our relationship. I don't know always know exactly how you're feeling." No, I didn't get that backwards. Whitney actually said that. To Brad. Yes, yes, pot and kettle and all that.

She continued: "I'm unsure where we stand or if we're 100% right for each other." Brad very reasonably responded that he's not sure what her argument is. And this is where she went from nonsense talk to just plain dumb: "Don't say that! It's not an argument!" And in so doing, she turned the word 'argument' from one of its definitions to another one of its definitions.

I think Whitney looks mysterious and intelligent when she's silent and brooding, but when she opens her mouth she's either spiteful or ignorant. (Disclaimer: at least on the show, knowing the editing process might have something to do with this.)

She told him, "I feel like if I try to explain something to you, you get defensive. And you know you do! You can't say that you don't." Well, if he can't, we can. At least we didn't witness any of that, and we witnessed that exact same thing from her. It really was quite funny hearing this from her. And it only got better!

Brad woke up the next morning knowing what he must do. "I don't want to have conflict with somebody over things she can't even express herself." That's how you express yourself, Whitney.

So he marched on over to Whitney Headquarters and knocked on the door to give her her marching papers. She answered without even the slightest hint of surprise. It was as if she was expecting him. Suspicious? Yes, but remember she's been acting crazy all episode so maybe this lack of recognition on her face is part of it.

She invites him in saying, "I have something to tell you." "Me first," says Brad. Oh goodie, this had all the makings of a bad sitcom. They argued about it briefly and I really wanted Whitney to go first because we knew what Brad was going to say. But he persisted and just blurted it out. "You're an amazing person but we're not at all ready for each other." And with that, she quietly shut the door in his face. We don't know if she was in a bedroom or a closet. Doesn't matter. She didn't stay in long.

She opened the door, not showing any signs of upset. Here's what she said: "I respect you and you have to respect me. You can't say hurtful things to me." He stood there looking bewildered, as I think we all looked when she started in on her gibberish. Hurtful things? What were we missing? Will we find out next week on the After the Final Rose episode?

She then walked away. Out the door. Then circled back, saying, "Please, just respect me, Brad. Please." (He said, "I do.") She continued, "I am respecting myself." What did it all mean? Your guess is as good as mine. In fact, tell me in the comments what you think it meant, because I can't even come up with a guess.

And more: "The way that you're acting, it's not fair to me. I'm happy for you but I'm here for me at the same time. And we both have a choice to be here. This is how I feel. Please just do that for me right now." ... Huh? I can't begin to make sense of that. Please do what for her?

It occurred to me that maybe she had practiced her lines to break up with him, not knowing that he'd break up with her first. So she just carried on with her plan, regardless of whether it made sense or not. She continued: "We shared some amazing moments and we had some amazing time together. We really did. And I want you to just... please... like... That's it." Brad stood there with his mouth agape.

And that was it. Brad told us, "It's not that Whitney's not for me; I feel that she's not ready for anyone right now." Bingo. I just wonder why it took him so long to figure it out.

At her exit interview, Whitney again sounded like she was the one who broke it off: "I respect Brad and I have the utmost respect for myself. We shared some amazing moments and I have no regrets in our relationship and I wouldn't take back anything for a second. But marriage is not for me and Brad. I'm not ready to marry him." Gabby was right after all! She wasn't there for the right reasons!

Now all was left was getting ready for his big moment with Bianka. A new ring guy, swarthy and sweaty, showed Brad some bling and he picked one. He put on his suit and made his way to the waterfront. Tyler Harcott was there to give him the bro handshake. Seriously, Tyler Harcott? Would Chris Harrison ever do that? Just give the meat and potatoes handshake like a normal person. You're over 40.

When Bianka arrived, Brad couldn't hold back a big smile. Then as she walked towards him, the tears started flowing. I would have thought seeing those tears would have given Bianka pause. But she had a huge smile for him, as if she knew she was the one. And he let her know almost immediately that she was. He told her she was "absolutely the woman of my dreams." She said, "I'm crazy in love with you. I can't wait to start my life with you."

"That's an easy segue for me," Brad said, and dropped to his knee. "This is the easiest decision I've ever had to make." He proposes and she says yes. They embrace and kiss, the music swells, eyes mist all across Canada. Then Brad pulls back and says, "You said 'yes', right?"

And that was that. The first even Bachelor Canada in the books. Some think I was just being patriotic by liking this version but I assure you that wasn't the case at all. I think I was being fair. I don't like probably most Canadian shows. I wouldn't be shy in saying I thought this one was subpar if that's what I thought. But it sounds to me like those who think it's vastly inferior (as opposed to just about the same, give or take) are those that automatically dislike anything just because it's on Canadian TV. Other than the sped-up nature of it, which hurt it, I think it was almost exactly like the American version, from the sets to the locations to the production value to the contestants. I think if you showed video of clips from this season and clips from any season from the Bachelor to someone who'd never seen either, they wouldn't be able to tell it apart. So well done, Canadian producers.

Will it come back? I guess that remains to be seen but we'd all like it to, wouldn't we? If only to criticize it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bachelor Canada: The Women Tell All To Tyler Harcott

I'm Tyler Harcott
I'll make this quick. And why not? The season has been rocketing through and tonight's Women Tell All episode was squeezed into one hour, which, as many people know, works out to something like 44 minutes after commercials. Then subtract all the filler and you're down to about half an hour. All the drama and pathos is squeezed into soundbites.

I'm Tyler Harcott
Still, though, it wasn't bad, all things considered. Once again, it looked just like a Women Tell All version down south. Same format. It even looked like the same studio. 

While we didn't learn a lot, one thing I took home from tonight was the host's name: Tyler Harcott. I know this now because after a season of going practically anonymous, Tyler Harcott announced to us that his name was Tyler Harcott five times in the hour. That's Tyler Harcott, in case you missed it.

I didn't think much of Tyler Harcott early in the series, but I thought he was absolutely fine tonight. How does he compare to Chris Harrison? Not sure. It's hard to see someone new in the role, but Tyler Harcott was like I said: fine. If this northern version of the show has legs, I think he'll grow with the job and on us.

I'm Tyler Harcott
But we're not here to talk about Tyler Harcott. We're here to talk about the women. One thing I couldn't wrap my head around was the timing. We know this episode was filmed before last week's episode aired because we saw highlights of the night immediately following the fantasy dates show, when Kara was sent home. But Kara was sitting in the rows of jilted ladies. And at one point she said it was "tough seeing the last episode." I'm so confused! This is why I could never totally enjoy Back To The Future.

It was funny to hear just how many of the women weren't feeling Brad. Melissa-Marie, the supposed Playboy model (I haven't seen any evidence she's ever posed for them despite endless searching... all for the cause, of course), said she thought they'd have a different Bachelor. Not sure who, but anyone else, I guess is what she was getting at. Then Tia said she didn't feel a connection with Brad, either. And when Kara came out for her turn on the lukewarm seat, looking lost and sad at the video montage of their bromance, she said she loved him as a friend and loved hanging out with him but was not in love with him. When Brad eventually dumped her, she said, "I knew it was right and he knew it was right." Of course, the producers never let us in on that.

Speaking of the producers, it was nice to hear mention of their dastardly reputation. Normally they're an invisible force. But in this episode we heard on a few different occasions how most of the girls figured Gabrielle was paid by the production to stir things up. They thought she was a plant. They didn't make it clear that she wasn't, but it should tell the powers-that-be what people think of the show. If they were in government, they'd be voted down on a non-confidence motion.

When Gabby was up, they showed a video tribute to her trashing ways. She had a negative opinion of just about everyone, even Britany, saying there's "something not quite right about Britany." But face to face, Gabby apologized, saying she loves her. And Britany accepted! She ran up to her to hug! I'm thinking maybe Gabrielle was right – there's something not quite right about that.

I'm Tyler Harcott
The low point was when Tyler Harcott, the host of the show, got the women, by a show of hands, to reveal who has fake boobs. And they did. Of course. Whitney wasn't out there at that point, or both her hands would have been raised. But the others, as far as I could tell, were Ana, Melissa-Marie, Laura F. and, shocker, Laura B. Chantelle has still resisted the urge.

Chantelle was still as sweet and bubbly as virgin champagne. Didn't really learn anything new in her segment except that Tyler Harcott, the host, thinks "we're all richer for having [her] in our lives." Oh, and Brad made a good point: he said she might have received a rose had she not left the show that week, but the following week could have been tough since she hadn't kissed a man in four years. If he kissed her, and then didn't ultimately choose her, it would have been disrespectful to her.

Calgary's Whitney entered to boos, just like the villains in Stampede all-star wrestling. Was it just me or did she look different this episode. It seemed her lower jaw jutted out. Either I never noticed before, or that's her fighting look.

You know that old adage, "Good things come to those who wait"? Well, Whitney said she doesn't believe that. She goes and gets what she wants. Gabrielle said she hoped it was all worth it, since she's here in the end. Whitney replied that everyone approaches her and asks why she didn't knock the yappy Gabby's block off.

Ana didn't applaud when Whitney entered and told her what's what. That got Whit quivering and weepy, saying, "Maybe I was closed off and maybe I said things I shouldn't have said." Yeah, maybe. But maybe not. Never admit anything on national TV, Whitney.

Oh, and did anyone else think the shoes were atrocious? I know I'm no fashion maven, and this is probably the style, but they're too much.

Highlights of the final week made it look like Whitney was going to be the one. We saw Bianka walking and Brad crying unconsolably. We also saw Brad's sister taking matters into her own hands with both finalists. Could be a good/bad one, although I don't really like either one. But I gotta go with Team Bianka.

That's just about all we got. Short and sweet. It's kind of nice not having the whole evening be wasted watching the show, but I also figure, if you're gonna do it, do it right. Let us get invested in the characters and their shenanigans. Let them have time to develop real fake relationships.

I'm not Tyler Harcott
But it kind of reminds me of the old joke that Woody Allen quotes in Annie Hall. There are two elderley women at a Catskill Mountain resort. One of them says, "Boy the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know. And such small portions." 

The show is terrible at its core, but we want more of it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bachelor Canada: Three's a crowd

Whining is beneath me, guys, but not a single comment last week?! Is it me or is it the show? As I've said, I think the show is as good/bad as the American version, but I guess a much smaller audience can see this one. That's what I'll console myself with. Yeah, that's it.

I was speaking to a woman last week who watches the show and she was saying how horrible this version is. Why? Because they say all the same things as the American ones. But to my way of thinking, every season all the contestants say the exact same things. It's branding. That's what they do. Everyone's on a "journey", some people aren't there for "the right reasons". We know the game.

She also didn't like the host, but the guy (whose name was finally mentioned – three times, yet! – tonight) is hardly around at all so that's no reason to dislike the whole show. Probably more than anything, she was one of many Canadians who automatically hate anything on TV that even hints at being Canadian. Usually there's good reason to feel that way, but I think this is an exception. That is, if you hate the U.S. franchise, you'll hate Bachelor Canada, but I can't see liking one and disliking the other because they're practically identical, for better or for worse.

One major difference, though, is the time allotment. We were down to the final three women tonight and the network gives up a whole hour for it. When was the last time any Bachelor/ette season clocked in at under 2 hours? Maybe in the first season, whenever that was. It was surprising all they could fit in given the constraints.

Brad took his three ladies to the Maritimes this week. Or what the producers erroneously called the Maritimes. Yes, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are two of the three maritime provinces, but Newfoundland & Labrador (one province, if you're reading from outside the Great White North) isn't included, for some reason. No idea why. Maybe because they were late to the party, constitutionally speaking. (Hey, maybe my ignorance on the subject will spur an irate Newfoundlander to comment!)

Bianka got to go to Newfoundland, Kara to Nova Scotia, and Whitney to PEI. No love for New Brunswick, for some reason. They're the forgotten Maritime province. I've been there many a time. I was there this past summer, as a matter of fact. Sure, it's not as glamourous as the others but I'm sure they could have scouted out a decent location or two.

The episode started with Brad gazing pensively out a private jet's windows as he reflected on his three remaining potential brides. Bianka would make a great wife, but he's still waiting for her to trust him. Kara is an all-around nice person and most like him, but he wonders if he can be around a girl who's exactly like you expect. Yeah, consistency sucks. Better to get one of them mercurial models where you never know how the day is going to go. And, of course, Whitney and her eyebrows are hot. So much to consider.

The first fantasy date went to Bianka. They met in Ferryland, Newfoundland. I thought maybe they should have taken a day trip to Dildo. Yes, there's actually a town called Dildo. That's awesome. (On the topic of oddly-named town names, this time on the decidedly not awesome side, did you know there's a place in Ontario called Swastika? I kid you not. How is that even still allowed?)

Bianka showed her smarts right off the bat. They were standing near the water, in which sat a big (but surely shrinking) iceberg. At the mention of it, she said, "I didn't know what that was." She thought maybe it was a giant piece of foam floating on the water. She said that.

Brad thought it was time the two of them had an "adrenaline date" so the two of them kayaked out and around the Titanic killer. Bianka wasn't thrilled with the idea, especially given her fear of deep water, but she went along. Barely. She wasn't having fun. When Brad said he'd do the rowing, she said she'd help because she just wants "to get to this frickin' piece of foam and go." And once there, she said, "Let's just get out of here, please."

You just know Kara would have been all over such an adventure, laughing all the way. But it's clear Brad prefers drama in his women.

They got back to shore and Brad poured some vodka over glacier water before handing her the card. You know which card. Yeah, that card. Only this time it was signed by Tyler. I know that because each girl read his name. Glad to see the producers read this blog! I'm influential. Tyler is the guy's name. Got it. Tyler. Don't let me forget it.

Bianka didn't gladly jump at the chance to spend the night in the fantasy suite. She's a lady. Remember last week she said she wouldn't give up too much too soon. She's learned her lesson. Live and learn. She expressed her concerns that Brad was loving two others and reiterated that she had been cheated on multiple times before. Yeah, well, she should be used to it then, am I right, gals?!... No? Oh, okay.

But really, is it cheating if she knows about the other two? It's not like he's running around behind her back! Come on, this is 2012! Get with the program, Bianka!

So she said her piece and was therefore true to her word that she wouldn't give up too much too soon. Mission accomplished. Usually she jumps straight in on an offer like this, but this time it was a good five or ten minutes before she accepted. Because a lady waits. "Here's to our journey of love," she said. A helicopter whisked them away to St. John's and a bed covered in rose petals.

(Quick question: Has anyone in the history of real life sprinkled rose petals on their bed? And who cleans up that mess?)

She admitted to the cameras that she's "definitely falling in love with him" and she thinks she "can make him a very happy man." Presumably in the future, not in the fantasy suite, although probably there, too.

Don't know if you caught it, but there was a hilarious exchange as they sat gazing into each other's eyes. Brad said, "Whatever made you change your mind in Mexico, I'm glad you did." Then there was this long uncomfortable pause. He finally physically nodded to her, as if to say, "Your turn. You speak now." And she jumped right in with, "It was you." Finally she remembered her line.

The second date was in a place called Wallace, Nova Scotia, with Kara. She's just so full of life. Brad took her skeet shooting. As dull as that sounds, Kara was all over it. It truly was a dream date for her, god bless her. They got dressed in hunting gear and were given a lesson. The deal was, when one person got one, they got to open an envelope and read a question to the other person, who had to answer honestly. Problem was, they both sucked at skeet shooting. Brad said he had his Certification of Canadian Marksmanship, but that was for stationary targets not little plates whizzing by.

But he eventually snagged one. His question to Kara was, "What do you need from me to be happy?" She answered that she wants a family, not to take life too seriously, and live life to the fullest. Mutually exclusive wishes?

Next she hit one and asked Brad, "What are you looking for in a wife?" He said something about wanting someone with the same values and who can tolerate his annoyances as he will tolerate hers. Whoever he marries one day, that should be on the wedding vows: "Do you, Brad, promise to tolerate Kara's annoyances till death do you part?" Actually, now that I think about it, it's kind of funny but also maybe should be on people's vows.

The last question (that we saw, anyway) was for Kara from Brad: "What did you expect going into this and what has surprised you the most?" (I'm paraphrasing.) She said something about how she's now thinking of a future.

When the card came, she got all throaty and replied, "I would love to go upstairs." I thought of the three, she was hands-down the best. Not only for my tastes, but for his. They seemed like a great couple. We know now that she was the one let go. Too bad, but at least he's consistent in choosing the worst people available every week.

While she was still in the game, she said, "I'd be happy if he proposes. I'm definitely ready to start a life." Remember this when we get to his reasons for sending her home.

The last date was in PEI with Whitney. Brad said if she doesn't open up, it's a deal-breaker. But we all knew what he meant by that. She would just have to utter some meaningless platitude and he'd hear what he wants to hear. And that's exactly what happened.

They went lobster fishing, which is a bit of cliché but way more subtle than what might have been. It's probably the first time in the history of the smallest province that no reference was made to Anne of Green Gables. Well done, crew, well done.

They followed this adventure up with drinking in a hot tub, because that's always recommended. He asked her if she'd thought about what he told her at the last rose ceremony and she replied that she's had lots of time to think. "I can see myself with you in the end," she said and he was blown over. That's all he was looking for her to say! But what did she say? It was so vague and ambiguous. She didn't say she wanted to be with him in the end, just that she could see that being the outcome. And the end of what? Their lives? The series? Yeah, probably the latter.

And her lack of communication continued unabated, despite his warnings that he needed her to open up. At a sunset dinner, he did all the talking: "I hope that when you look at me you see someone who's good enough for you." No reply other than a simple, "Mm-hmm." Aw, she doesn't say the most beautiful things, doesn't she?!

When he handed her the fantasy suite card, she read it aloud. Brad asked, "What are your thoughts?" One word: "Absolutely." Those are some well-formed thoughts, I think you'll agree.

We never did see their suite I guess because Whitney created some drama away from Brad. She made a call to someone (a friend? her mother?) and was second-guessing if this is what she really wants. The person agreed that if she's not sure, she should tell Brad. Whitney said, "I don't know if I'm ready for the next step."

So at the rose ceremony, we were waiting anxiously for her to break up with him. As he walked about, Kara was the only one who actually smiled. Brad handed out the first rose to Bianka. Okay, Whitney, speak up now. Take Brad away for a moment. But then Brad picked up the second rose and called Whitney's name. Unbelievable. And she accepted! Before Kara got a chance to say goodbye to Brad, Whitney then said she had to speak to Brad.

They whispered on a porch. Whitney said, "I don't know what's wrong." Brad said, rightfully, "This is the most selfish thing you could have done, do you realize that?" She said, "Something doesn't feel right." Brad said, "This is not the time and place to do this." So you just knew it was over between them, right?


Unbelievable. All he wanted was for her to go apologize to Kara. That's it. Then business as usual. She was still hot, after all.

I was gobsmacked. Kara, the lovely Kara, was still all smiles. She said there was no need to apologize. Brad was morose as he walked her to her stretch Hummer, or whatever vehicle that was. "Do not feel bad for me at all," she said, proving she's the best of the three by a country kilometre (if you're American reading this, no we don't actually say that).

There was drama with both of the other two, but this is the girl he's sending home? Maybe she was the worst in the sack, er, sorry, in the fantasy suite. Who knows? But from what we've seen, he deserves to be alone. Although, if Whitney had done the honourable thing and not accepted the rose, there's no way Kara would or should have taken it. Then we'd be left with Bianka and no rival. And no rival equals no mystery, which equals no viewers.

What was particularly galling was his explanation to her for why he didn't select her: "Do I see it being further than dating for you?" It was awkwardly worded, but the sense was that he felt she wasn't ready to get married and he was. Now scroll back up to her answers to his questions earlier if you don't recall. She said she's ready, willing and able. At the car, she said, "I don't know, I would have loved to get married in the end." In the ride home she said, "I wanted to be with him forever. I really thought I was going to marry him."

Back in private, Whitney said, "I don't know what to think." Brad, treading water furiously, said, "Let's just get through this." Love is in the air! Can you feel it?!

He then goes in to kiss her and she... lets him. Nothing reciprocated at all. It was like he pulled a mannequin towards him. See, what's not to love/hate about this Canadian version?! It's as awesome/horrible as the real show. Brad said, "I still believe I could be the guy for her." Yes, keep telling yourself that, big fella.

Next week is the After the Final Rose episode and it's already been filmed! You know what that is? That's horse hockey, that's what that is. No invitation? Who are all these people in attendance? How did they hear of it? When was it filmed? Where was it shot? How can I be Canada's Reality Steve if I don't have these scoops?

Oh well, it looks good. Whitney gets brow-beaten and sheds a tear. This is really where whatisname will earn his big Canadian paycheque. Looking forward to it.

Tyler. Yes, Tyler. That's it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bachelor Canada: Babies, Bingo, Bellydancing and Bobsledding

What a busy day. Not only is it Halloween, but the start of the NBA season. What's a dad to do? And on top of it all, Bachelor Canada keeps chugging along. Actually, it's speeding along, as we discussed last week, but they're down to three now so we're almost done. Anyway, what I'm saying is the PVR got a good workout tonight.

This is, what? This was week 5 and it was hometown visits. To put that in proper perspective, Gabby said it best: It was her first date with Brad and she was taking him home to meet her family. Along with Gabrielle, the other three were Kara, Bianka and Whitney. Here's how it played out.

First up was a trip to Mississauga, Ontario, to visit Bianka's folks. She had only ever brought one guy home with her, she said. That had to be Kris Humphries, right? If you were dating an NBA player, you'd bring him home. But because this wasn't a regular occurrence, she was nervous and feeling like "a little giddy high school girl."

So unusual I'm surprised
I could find a Google image
Brad had previously thought the enigmatic one was high maintenance, but not anymore. They stop into an ice cream shop, where she's on a kiss-hello basis with the proprietor. She wanted Brad to guess which flavour was her favourite. He'd never guess, she said, because it was so unlikely. Hmm, made me think. Was it something obscure like pralines & cream? Or maybe it was surprising the other way: vanilla. Brad was stumped. All he knew was that his favourite ice cream is mint chocolate chip, which happens to be my whole family's favourite. Well blow me over with a feather! It's also Bianka's favourite! We must be the only people in the whole wide world who like such an unlikely flavour. I'm surprised ice cream makers even produce such a random flavour when so few people in the world like it.

Bianka told us that in previous relationships, she had given up too much too quick. She didn't say what, exactly, she had "given up" but she said she wouldn't make that mistake this time. She ain't giving 100%. She must have learned that from Humphries.

(Totally off topic, but here's a great trivia question for you: Which NBA player was once ranked ahead of Michael Phelps in swimming? Why, yes, you guessed it, Kris Humphries. They were 11 at the time, but still.)

She also said she has trust issues because she's been cheated on multiple times. Methinks she goes for the bad boys.

On the way to her parents' house, she broke the news to Brad that they don't speak English. Oh my God, what would he do?! He was sweating. They only spoke Croatian. I thought that smelled fishy. You can't raise a family in Mississauga and speak no English. You've got to know at least some.

Turns out my spidey senses were dead-on. When they arrived, Bianka started speaking Croatian to everyone, and they replied in kind, until the big reveal: It was all an elaborate prank on poor, unsuspecting Brad! Oh, those jokesters! With that kind of sense of humour, it was a given Brad would get along with them like a house on fire.

Bianka got her mom to tell Brad the amazing story of their own relationship. She came to Canada on a 4-week vacation, met her future husband, and they were married at the end of that month. That's the story they tell their kids, anyway. The real one probably involves the post office and a mail order. But hey, it worked. They've been happily married ever since.

Brad and Bianka actually seemed like a nice couple. He said it feels like a real relationship, like he's dating her. Hmm... that's good because... isn't he? Has this all been a ruse?!

Next up was visiting Kara's hometown of Vancouver. It was the real Vancouver experience, she told him, as they were standing under an umbrella at Granville Island. And as a long-time resident, I can concur. Only real Vancouverites don't use umbrellas. We're hardened by the rain.

Her uncle owned (or operated) a large boat and took the two of them on a tour of English Bay. They, too, looked like a cute couple. Brad said he feels least insecure around her.

Brad was going to meet Kara's mom, her sister, and her nephew (or "my world", as she described him). Her dad, apparently, was working in Saskatchewan and couldn't get time off, in the same way Bianka's parents don't speak English. But this time, the prank was also played on Kara. While they were eating, her father snuck up from behind and put his hands over her eyes. Surprise! He wouldn't miss this for the world.

Her dad asked about Brad's intentions and he replied with a lesson his own father, the good senator, taught him: He'd make mistakes along the way but he'd have everyone else's dignity and respect in mind. Good, solid advice. A good non-answer, too. Or a nice way of saying, "don't hold your breath."

It was here that Brad showed he's the son of a politician when he was handed the first of three babies. The nephew started crying, but Brad blew on its head (at least that's what it looked like to me) and the baby was calm and Gerber-like. Brad nodded cockily to Kara, as if to say, "That's how you do it."

He had the time of his life. He called her family "such good people" and said he didn't want to leave. "There was not an awkward moment in that entire night. It was just seamless," he said. In fact, as he was driving off, he thought, "Can I come back?" That's gotta be pretty telling. And on her part, Kara was the first to utter the L word. No, she's not a lesbian. She said, "I know 100% that I love him." Of course, Brad is an athlete (or sorts) so anything less than 110% is not enough.

The third date went to Gabrielle. Gabby wound up being the odd one out, not getting a rose, so let's look back now to see if there were any hints.

She met Brad at a coffee shop in rainy Oakville, Ontario. She told him she'd never brought anybody home to meet her whole family before. He was going to meet 10 people, including aunts, cousins, siblings, nephews. Whatever a typical family consists of. But first, she had a surprise for him.

She took him to a seniors' rec centre to show that she has a soft side, that's she's not 100% crazy and cutting. She volunteers twice a week there. She and Brad sat down and joined in four or five others in a rousing game of Bingo. Brad was the life of the party being faux competitive. When he'd lose, he'd say things like, "Horse radish!" or "Cinnamon and gravy!" to fit in. More than in any other episode, I thought he really showed his winning personality and qualities.

When the game ended, a very stilted Gabby said in monotone, "Thanks for playing Bingo with us. So let's go meet my parents." It's probably something the producers made her say and that was her way to not play along even thought she was contractually obligated.

At her house, Brad fixed the hair of the second baby of the episode, looking like a total natural. Gabby's cousin, Paris, was "out of control," she thought. He was flambouyantly pretend-hitting on Brad. And for a football player, he took it all in stride. In fact, when it was time to say goodbye, he gave Paris a peck on the cheek, then giggled all the way out the door.

So far, nothing to go on as far as why she didn't get a rose. But maybe it was the reaction of the aunt and sister. Her sister said, "If you marry Gabby..." and her aunt mentioned that she couldn't wait for offspring. That can scare a guy off.

Or maybe it was the belly dancing he was forced into. Although he seemed to be having fun. And then there was Gabby's reaction. While the aunt thought Brad was swinging his hips just fine and quite liked watching him move, Gabby snottily said it was "just embarrassing." Even though she volunteers with old folks, my sense is she could be a handful. Paris says she's just shy. Her mom says she's never comfortable around many guys and keeps to herself a lot.

Still, Brad characterized the visit as a "home run." You see, Brad, this is why you're not in the CFL anymore. A real football player would have called it a "touchdown."

The final hometown visit was to Calgary, Alberta, to see Whitney, "possibly the hottest girl [he's] ever seen in [his] life." Incidentally, at the top of the show when he said that quote, did you notice they also threw in another quote. He had a different sound to his voice, so I'm sure it was said at a different time. And he didn't mention any name, so he could have said it about anyone. The quote was, "She's here for the right reasons." They edited the episode in such a way as to make us wonder about her intentions and her inner feelings. Hey, no need, producers. We've been wondering about them all season long.

The crux of the issue was that she doesn't express herself. At all. She explains it as she just gets shy and/or speechless around him. It ultimately won't matter because Brad thinks she's hot. That trumps all to most guys. And to football players, even more so. He couldn't keep his arms off her.

Whitney took Brad to a mountain where they'd bobsled down, going around 14 turns at 100 km/hour, proving two things: 1. bobsled is a real thing outside the Olympics, and 2. anyone can do it. Seriously, how dangerous can it be if these two neophytes can put on some lycra and reach such speeds. I think in the Olympics, the gold medal should go to gravity.

Interesting side note: the bobsled expert, all geared up in Canada gear looking like he might have been a Canadian Olympian, spoke with an Australian accent.

At her parents' house, Whitney's mom gushed, calling Brad "beautiful" and saying, "imagine the babies."

Speaking of babies, Whit's twin sister had one. Funny that all three babies were roughly the same age. Again, Brad handled it like a pro. He even kissed the baby. His dad would be proud.

And speaking of dads, Whitney's pater was a distinguished looking gentleman in his 50s, I'm guessing, with short white hair and... two sleeves of tattoos running up and down his arms. I gotta admit that's a little intimidating and I take back anything negative I may have written about the lovely Whitney. It was all in fun! Heh-heh. I'm certain it was the editors who gave any impression at all that she was somehow conniving. Remember how I liked her in the first episode, before the dastardly editors got too involved?

The editors even got to her twin sister. They had her saying, "Whitney will get what she wants," but I'm sure it was all taken out of context.

At dinner, her father spoke eloquently about how happy Whitney looks with Brad. In fact, it's the happiest she's ever looked. While he's waxing poetically, Whitney stares daggers at the table cloth. Dad then turned the questioning on to her, and she hemmed and hawed about her feelings towards Brad, ultimately deflecting the question. That got Brad's attention. He still thinks she's amazing, but he needed a serious conversation with her. "Do I really know who this person is? Maybe she's pulling the wool over my eyes," he said, before remembering how hot she is and waking up from that reflective soliloquy.

Whitney wasn't enamored with her father at that moment. "Dad was supposed to be asking Brad questions, not me," she said.

She admitted that there were awkward silences and an awkward tension at the house, but she was still confident she'd get a rose. And we know she did. At the rose ceremony, the host dude (they still haven't repeated his name; don't the producers read this influential blog??) solemnly told the four women that Brad had made up his mind. So then Brad comes out and steals Whitney away for a moment first. Why? If what the host dude said was true, it's clear that it didn't matter what Whitney would say, she was getting a rose.

Brad told her, "Ever since I left your house, the wheels have just been absolutely turning. You come in and you're this intense person and you're intensely after me, and I totally dig it. You have so many amazing qualities about you. Like, man, this could be the girl. But sitting down with your family the other day while your dad was talking, he's so expressive the way he talks. He doesn't hide his emotions. And with you, every time we get into a situation where something needs to be said, you don't say it. It bothers me how emotionally closed off you are. I try my best to reassure you all the time about what I'm feeling. I want you to seriously think if that's something you can do for me."

She rocked back and forth and pouted while he was talking, then answered somewhat cryptically, "I know I can. And I would 100% regret if I went home and I didn't tell you. Because it's there. It's 100%." What's there? A feeling, I guess. What kind of feeling? She didn't say but led us to believe it was some kind of romantic, positive feeling.

Again, it didn't matter what she said because she was still hot. So she got the rose. Of course, the producers made him hand it to her last. The roses went in order to Kara, who got a big smile from Brad and an eyes-closed hug, then Bianka, who also got a big smile. With Whitney, no smile. But she got a rose and Gabby didn't, and isn't that what it's really all about?

When the three roses were handed out, the host dude earned his money by coming out and announcing, "Gabrielle, I'm sorry, there's no rose for you tonight. But I'd like you to take a moment and say your goodbyes." Nice job, host dude! Now go cash that big cheque!

And Gabby was almost reasonable on her limo ride exit. "It's been a helluva ride," she said. She thought he made a mistake, and that's a common feeling on getting dumped. But then she launched into her patented, "People can't handle the truth" routine, adding, "Maybe I should like, maybe I should sugarcoat things a little bit more." Not sure what "truth" Brad couldn't handle. And she also got one last dig in at Whitney, warning, "Mr. Smith, choose wisely."

I believe it's fantasy suite week next week. We'll see if Bianka really won't give up too much too soon this time. See you then.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bachelor Canada: Zipping along

Wow, is this thing ever moving along rapidly. This was the fourth episode and we're down to the final four already. And don't forget, one Canadian episode = 90 minutes rather than the bloated 2-hour American version. Even though they keep telling us Brad is making these decisions, I've got to think he's being guided. If the network wanted the show strung out a bit longer, he'd be eliminating one or two per show, not four a week. I guess it isn't the cash cow the original series is. Too bad.

Too-Tall McGhee
Last week I suggested someone should mention the host's name once or twice just to put it in our heads. My wife read that and emailed me an article on the guy, name and all. Which went in one eye and out the other. Or something like that, because I don't remember what it is again.

That gangly host told the women at the start of the show that Brad insisted he needs more time with the frontrunners so he'd be eliminating four more. Is anyone buying that excuse? Sure, he says he's starting to develop deep and "intimate" feelings, but the more women he eliminates, the shorter the series will run, meaning less time, not more, with his favourite(s). Or maybe he just wants to hurry things along to the anticipated fantasy suite so he can act on those intimate feelings.

Tonight, Gabrielle continued her record of never uttering a sentence without invoking the name of Whitney. She started off saying she thinks she's going to get a rose and, indeed, hopes she's going to get a rose. Not because she digs Brad or anything, but "so I can shove it in Whitney's face." Who's there for the wrong reasons?

The first date was a 4-on-1 with Ana, Kara, Gabby and Britany and they got to shoot an 8-page spread in Lulu magazine. Or something that sounded like Lulu magazine. I'd never heard of it and Brad mumbled both times he mentioned it. There's money well spent, Lulu! (Just Binged it: it's actually LouLou magazine.)

While Gabby was always reminding us about Whitney, Britany told us she was a small-town girl every time she opened her mouth. And an insecure one at that. The Swift Current native was also intimidated. She wasn't sure her connection with Brad was the same as some of the others. And, in case you missed it, she's a small-town girl. Note to self: small-town girls like to cry a lot.

On Gabby's photo shoot, she and Brad got to make out in a limo. I almost didn't recognize her as she was heavily made-up. It was almost clown make-up. Not attractive. Since Whitney wasn't on this date, Gabby felt the need to attack someone else. Britany was her victim. She said professional hair and make-up people can make anyone look good. Irony – I love it!

Britany had other things on her mind. She was all worried about potentially introducing Brad to her family. Here's the problem: the girls barely know Brad. It's way, way too soon to be meeting families. So what this has done is force somebody like Britany, who wouldn't even have been in this position if they had taken their time, to open up way too soon. Not only that, but open up about her family on national TV. I get that in small towns, everybody knows everybody else's business, but maybe her dad didn't need his problems exposed like that. I'm not even going to mention them here.

Brad said he'd normally give a rose just for being so brave about opening up, but in this rushed format he had to take his time. One woman was supposed to get a rose but he said he wasn't in the right frame of mind to make such a rational decision.

Back at the mansion, Whitney wasn't going to wait around for Brad. She took control and ran off to find him. She said she had a pretty good idea where he was. Okay, fair enough. So she gets to the hotel, but knows to go up to the fifth floor? And has a hunch which room he's in? She's amazing.

Brad was "so happy" she was there but worried if she or he would "get in trouble" for her shenanigans. Maybe he hasn't even seen an episode so it's a fair question. But if he had, he not only would have known it was fair game, but he'd know that it's always the beautiful sociopath that pulls the move.

All she says is that she really wants him to meet her family. Then somehow he feels the need to open up to her about the deaths of two of his best friends. Not sure how that came up, but it was very emotional for him. And they are the reasons he got that giant hideous tattoo on his chest. I suppose I can't make fun of it now. But couldn't it have been more discreet? You know, I've spoken to plenty of old people who have had tragic losses when they were young, and none of them have forgotten even without the aid of a tattoo. But yes, it was sad so I'll say no more.

He also revealed to Whitney that for a while he treated people terribly until a couple years ago, when he started being the nice guy he is now. So it was an emotional one-way conversation. Whitney sat there stoically. Of course they kissed when he was finished and she said she was glad he told her, but one got the sense she was only glad because it gave her the upper hand in the competition. In fact, she then said, "I better get that 1-on-1 date!" You see, she does exhibit empathy!

The 2-on-1 date was next and it was a doozy because one of them would be going home. If you've read my previous missives, you'll know my favourite has been Laura B. So a date with her and the almost NBA wife Bianka was a no-brainer. Bianka had been the most closed off of anyone. This date was all Laura's. Done deal.

They flew to Paris. Yes, that Paris. Not Paris, Ontario. Not Paris, Texas. The real deal. On the date card, they called it the City of Love. With a group that didn't know the Big Easy was New Orleans, you could be sure they wouldn't be sure about the City of Love. Was it New York? No, that's the Big Apple. Yeah, but it could be called something else. Was it Oakville, Ontario? No, that was a joke. But whatever, surely they couldn't be going to Paris, France. This is Bachelor Canada! Canadian shows don't do things like this.

Well, they do, but then they blow their budget in the first three weeks and have to pull the rip cord early.

So Laura B. met Brad in front of the Eiffel Tower in the pouring rain. It was sexy. They kissed under the tower. There was passion. There was cheesy accordion music. But Brad couldn't let go of the night Laura had "an emotional meltdown." You know what I call that? Just about any episode in the history of the show, just about any contestant in the history of the show, and just about any woman in the history of womankind. What's the big deal? She had some wine and her hormones were kicking in. Other than that, she seems utterly delightful.

They then went to Brad's room, changed into the hotel robes and drank wine. He admitted he gets nervous around her. As he should. One of them said, "I like how we are together." Can't remember who but the other one agreed. I like how they are together, too.

It was make it or break it for Bianka. Her guard was still up. She said she can't see herself being engaged after this. Smart cookie, sure, but is that what you're looking for, Brad?

They stop at a creperie and Brad effortlessly converses in French with the server. It made me proud, for some strange reason even though I don't speak French. When he got up to leave, leaving Bianka behind, she called out, Au revoir in the worst French I've heard since grade 8. It made me the opposite of proud.

Bringing the two women together the plan was to take a carriage ride for three around the city. But we know enough about Brad to know he makes up his mind quickly. So right there on a bridge he gave the rose to... Bianka! Unbelievable. But Laura B. was a trooper. She smiled and waved them off. In her goodbye interview she fought back some tears but still laughed as she said, "I love how much of a goofball he is." Then, to prove she's not an emotional juvenile after all, she said, "That's how life goes." Que sera, sera and all that. Let this be an audition for many future dates. If there's a Bachelorette Canada, my vote is for Laura B.

The 1-on-1 date was between Whitney and the virginal Chantelle. No surprise as he picked Whitney, leaving Chantelle as the only one not to get a date this week. The chaste one said it's "definitely hard to not be pursued."

So Brad flew back from Paris and met Whitney in Penticton where, after a leaping leg wrap-around greeting, they took a helicopter to Diamondback Wall to face Brad's biggest fear. I can't believe one would have a fear of rappelling only. He must also fear heights. Anyway, they attempted (and, spoiler alert, completed!) a simulated rock rescue.

Whitney descended first while Brad fretted and almost lost his lunch. But if we know anything about daredevil stunts, extreme sports and relationships, they're all about trust. That's why in the history of extreme sports, not a single couple has ever divorced or caused the other to mistrust them. Because if you can trust them in extreme situations, it's a given you can trust them 100% of the time in real life situations. Or so goes the silly Bachelor narrative they trot out each and every season. "Trust is huge in a relationship," said Brad. "For Whit to trust me, we're in a really good place."

After their successful descent, they went to my favourite summer getaway, Osoyoos, and the gorgeous Spirit Ridge winery. Whitney admitted that she doesn't "verbalize my emotions very well." Brad wanted to see her soft side, so she talked about butterflies in her stomach. She's a gamer, that one.

Back at the mansion, Chantelle got a phone call from her dad. She was super excited. Actually, maybe not. She was how she naturally is, which always seems super excited. Not knowing what he was going to say, she took the call on speaker phone. Turns out her grandpa died and there'd be a funeral the next day. Well, he said Saturday, but when she finally left she said "tomorrow". I'm guessing she might have stayed a night but it was edited to look like all one day.

Needless to say, she packed her bags and left. Brad was understanding, as expected. But maybe he wouldn't have picked her anyway since she didn't go on a date. We don't know. It was a little suspicious when he said, "I always look forward to spending any time with her." Except when there are seven other women to choose from, apparently.

So with Laura B. and Chantelle gone, that leaves only Kara as my favourite. I guess Brad and I are very different people. (I can hear my wife smirking and agreeing completely. I'm taking that as a positive.)

Whitney isn't in love. And how could she be in such a short time? But, as she said, "I can't see it going any other way." She also said no one else has a chance against her. She's probably right, but that's no reflection on them or her. Although it's a very real reflection on her manners.

Was it just me or did Whitney look different all throughout the show? I couldn't put my finger on it. But just one look at those bushy eyebrows and cartoon boobs and I knew it was her.

With a rose, a 1-on-1 date, and a secret rendezvous in Brad's room, Whitney still felt the need to make her presence felt at the cocktail party. While Gabby sat down with Brad, Whitney waltzed in to interrupt. Even Brad couldn't believe it. He said, "What?" as it was happening, in a kind of incredulous way, but didn't put a stop to it. Gabrielle called Whitney the "devil. She's evil. Very evil."

With six left standing at the rose ceremony, and with Whitney and Bianka already avec rose, only two roses would be handed out. The first one went to Kara, showing Brad has some semblance of taste, afterall. He picked up the second and last rose but then needed to walk away. When he returned he told them he needed some extra time because he realized he didn't have a clue. Throughout it all, Britany smiled hopefully. Would she get it? Or would it go to Ana, with the supermodel body? Or maybe quirky little Gabrielle, for reasons unknown?

What most likely happened was the producers told Brad to pick Gabrielle. He picked up the rose but couldn't do it. So he walked off for a meeting with them and they read him the riot act. "Listen, bub, you're going to do as we say and pick that mouthy little one. Don't you understand good TV?... Er, I mean, she's marriage material!"

And so it was Gabby. We didn't see if she then shoved the rose in Whitney's face. Instead we got our goodbyes. Because of the quick nature of the series, neither had developed that strong a relationship so they were both fine with it. Ana said she'd miss his jokes. And Britany continued smiling, although she "really hopes she can get past this funk."

That was it. Next week is the hometown visits. Just like that. It's looking like Whitney all the way but they do tease us that Brad emotionally wonders at some point if he even knows a particular woman, and that can only be Whitney. No other of the final four would elicit emotion from him.

I wonder where the After the Final Rose show will be filmed. And I wonder if the producers will invite me. It's the least they could do for all my fine blogging. I'm a pussycat in person. And I promise I won't hit on Laura B.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bachelor Canada: 6 + 5 + 1 = everyone

Anyone out there? I got no comments last week so I can't get a sense of how people are liking this maple leaf edition of the Bachelor. I'm digging it. That is, I find it no better or worse than the American version. But I'd love to hear what others think. I don't think Americans are watching/can watch. I doubt anyone else in the world is interested. Canada's got a tiny population, relatively speaking. So who's with me?

This week 12 ladies were left freezing their butts off in Victoria. Yes, it's a mild climate, but when I saw them sitting outside the mansion in bikinis next to cherry blossoms, I knew they must have been told to look the part. Spring is lovely in Victoria, but it ain't exactly bikini weather. Then I noticed a shot of one of them sitting under a blanket. That made more sense. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the scenery.

Right off the bat the host dude (someone's definitely gotta mention his name at some point every show just so we learn it) told everyone there'd be a 1-on-1 date, a 5-on-1 date, and a 6-on-1 date. My handy-dandy calculator app tells me 1 + 5 + 6 = 12. Coincidentally, the exact same number as the women left. Would that stop them from fretting they might not get to go on a date? Noooo!

Kara, the softball player from across the water in Delta, was chosen for the 1-on-1. The evil Whitney squinted and said she was her only competition. Don't know where that came from. Then the Canadian producers took a tip from their American counterparts and sliced in a clip of Whitney saying, "I hate this girl and I want her gone." No reference to who she was talking about. Could have been anyone. But it fit here so they put it in. There's absolutely no way Whitney would say that about the lovely Kara.

Kara was a great choice for the solo date. What a great and ready laugh she has. Brad led her to... a helicopter! I know, I know, been there, done that. But wait. This one was orange! How about now, huh?! Excited just a little bit? And the pilot was a woman! They're changing things up on Bachelor Canada!

So off they went from Victoria all the way to southwestern Alberta. I had no ideas helicopters could make such long flights. I wonder how many days that took.

They arrived at a ranch for a horseback riding adventure. When they got there, the cowboy who ran the place said, "Have you ever rode a horse before?" No, neither of them had, to which he added, "We promise we won't laugh too hard." Okay, and we promise not to laugh at your poor grammar.

Not only did they have to ride horses – not a particularly easy feat for a greenhorn – but they had to wrangle cattle, too. Or at least stand around while the real cowboys did.

That night the couple had dinner in a "romantic barn". I hope they had fire extinguishers nearby for all those candles sitting on haystacks. Kara revealed that she still lives at home. Not only that, but she hangs out with her parents. She's a down-to-earth gal and they made a decent pair. She was handed a rose, which she gladly accepted before a big smooch.

Back in Victoria, the beautiful but thus-far-dateless-in-18-days Nicole said she'd be devastated if she didn't get to go on a date. Whitney was shocked she wasn't on the first date card, too. It's conceivable they didn't actually know how many would get to go, but if that's the case, don't tell the viewers off the top that everyone's going because the fake drama ain't working.

From Alberta, Brad flew down to Mexico for his 5-on-1 date. Presumably Kara got the chopper to herself back to Victoria. Down in Mexico a mariachi band played poolside for the bikini-clad quintet. Bianka drew all attention to her backside with a half-thong-type number. Maybe she was trying to woo back her former lover, Kris Humphries. He certainly goes for rear ends, having dumped Bianka for one of the Kardashians (I don't keep up with the trash but I know each one of the sisters possesses ample booty).

The girls were giddy when Brad took off his shirt and showed off his six pack. He took Gabby away for a chat and for a brief moment she seemed normal. He was very attracted to the feisty one. As well he should be. She's like a less stable Paula Abdul. She told him that it takes a very secure guy to be with her and not a lot of people can handle her sense of humour. To date she's shown zero signs of a sense of humour but I'll take it at her word that she has one.

Who knows what else they did but sit at a pool, or for how long, but TV-wise it was very short. Then Brad let them know there'd be no rose (despite Gabrielle clinging on to one that wasn't mentioned), but one lucky lady would get to go on a date with him while the other four would fly back to Victoria that very night.

Bianka with the former Mr. Kardashian
Bianka was chosen for the date. Her hard-to-get attitude was intriguing to Brad. He sensed she had been hurt before and she confirmed his suspicions. She had her heart broken by a professional athlete so she was a bit gun-shy to get in there with Brad, forgetting that a) as a CFL player, he barely qualifies as a professional athlete, and b) his brief career is over. But she was thrilled to get the date, which was Gabby's cue for her weekly "She's not here for the right reasons" claim. That girl keeps flip-flopping between semi-normal and full-on psycho. At least she's not afraid to say it right to Bianka's face. "People get offended when I tell the truth," she said. Can't understand why.

Brad took Bianka on a 62-foot yacht to a private island. She and Brad got some sun on the deck. He laid on his back and she laid on her stomach. Her thick g--string got no camera time, though. Not that I was keeping track. We could have used subtitles here because I missed a chunk of their dialogue as it competed with the wind and surf. Then they drank wine on the island and Brad was smitten.

At the mansion, the last date card arrived and Whitney was confidant her name was going to be on it. Smart one, that Whitney. And sure enough, she was right! She and everyone else who was left were going to Sooke, about a half-hour's drive away. But it was kind of a cool date. The six women got to compete in a lumberjack competition. Brad, the supposed jock, kept calling it a "3 versus 3" competition. Who says that? It's 3-on-3. Maybe he was told to say it that way so as not to confuse it with date cards.

On team pink were the virginal Chantelle, the lovely Julia Louis-Dreyfus lookalike Laura B., and the bilingual Sophie. The blue team consisted of evil Whitney, curly-headed Michelle, and gorgeous Nicole. There'd be log climbing, jousting on a plank over a shallow pool, and cross-cut sawing.

The log climbing looked the most fun. Laura went against Michelle and team pink was first to ring the bell. In the jousting, Whitney, whose breasts are not yet paid for, told her opponent Sophie, "whack me in the face as hard as you can but don't hit my chest."

The evil one pulled this one out in a lacklustre affair. That would leave the sawing to decide things. Chantelle and Sophie bested Nicole and Michelle. Not sure how they chose the final contestants, but Whitney said, "I probably would have won that event." She thought she had the stronger teammates but she realized she was wrong. That's called being a good teammate. Look it up. Now Chantelle, Laura and Sophie got to go out with Brad. Whitney said, "I can't believe I pushed Sophie in that frickin' water and now she's going on a date with him." Oh, and she squinted her eyes to convey evil, just like her acting coaches taught her.

The three gals and Brad went to Sooke Harbour House and you'll never guess who was playing when they arrived!... No, you'll never guess because you've never heard of him... Actually, maybe you have. I pride myself on not knowing bad contemporary country singers. But Chantelle and Laura not only knew this guy without prompting, but they knew his song and were singing along to it. Go figure. His name was Dean Brody. Maybe he's big enough to be on Google. You can check for yourself.

Laura got some alone time with Brad and she was eager to show him that she's not "Miss Drama" all the time. She was embarrassed by her actions at the house that night when she got all verklempt and thought she could go home even after having a great date with Brad. Brad said the fear is that her actions will repeat themselves, but he was very kind. Relieved, she face-attacked him, tongue first.

Meanwhile, Chantelle told Brad that her last relationship was four years ago. Not only that, her last kiss was four years ago. Not only that, she's actually dated since then. Ergo, she hasn't kissed on any of those dates. Ergo... yeah, we get it. But that's all she said. Then she started fretting that she needed to tell him the whole story, as if he hadn't already put two and two together. Yup, she's a... a... a "girl of values." Say what? Oh, right. She means she's a virgin (giggle). And guess what? Brad didn't care. Or, more realistically, he hid his total enthusiasm nicely and came off as kind and caring. He kissed her. To no surprise, she didn't return the kiss. Does that count as a kiss in her registry of kisses? If not, maybe that's how she's still a virgin. Maybe guys have sex with her, but she just lies there.

Brad said, "She's got some serious guts and that's such an attractive quality."Back at the mansion, Chantelle and Britany take a bath together to talk about what happened.

Wait. Run that by me again? They took a bath together? Oh, she's that kind of virgin! I get it now.

Not really. They were wearing bikinis. You know, as girls and pastors do together. Perfectly natural.

Brad felt no need for a cocktail party. In fact, he was so disgusted with his options [my interpretation] he decided to send home double the allotment he was supposed to send packing. Instead of two leaving, he called an audible and said four would hit the proverbial showers. Not clear on the reason. And after seeing his choices, not clear on those, either.

Kara had a rose, so only seven more would be handed out. And they went in order to Chantelle (which is a decent decision), Gabrielle (crazy), Britany (I have no real handle on who this person is other than she likes to bathe with women of the cloth), Ana (meh), Bianka (blah), Laura (yay!), and Whitney (evil incarnate). As you can guess by my parenthetical remarks, I'm cheering for Laura and Chantelle. Oh, and Kara. I hope all three of them take a bath together at some point.

That's right, the gorgeous Nicole, who didn't get to go on a single date, was given the old heave-ho. What gives? Also gone is the delightful Sophie, as well as Tia, who made no impression on me one way or the other, and Michelle, the yoga instructor who's not very good at climbing logs.

I could buy the fact he wanted to send home four this week so he could have more time with those that are left, but when the upcoming highlights showed us that he's sending home another four next week, whittling down the number of women to a final four, it makes me believe this is not all his doing. Maybe the show ran out of money. You can't string those four finalists for more than two or three weeks. The producers must be pulling the plug. Oh well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts. Will you?