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.


HP said...

Awesome recap. Thanks for posting and being so dedicated this season!

I agree - I thought the Cdn version stacked up well against the US version. The Whit scenes were so odd, but then I realized that they really FELT like a real break-up; it was messy and confusing. None of this "I wish you all the best in your future" and then tears in a limo.

Amazing job, Bachelor Canada! Looking forward to next season already. Well, and ATFR, of course. :-D

samantha said...

I liked your blog alot; thanks for writing it. I liked the Canadian version of the show better than the U.S. versions because it was more low-key and genuine - simpler dates and none of the prolonged tear-jerking limo rides for the ejected girls.

One huge omission for me was that none of the girls ever described their career aspirations. What did Kara study at school? Does Bianka work in a hospital or clinic or school? What did Whitney do in her job? Zero work life was discussed. What does Brad work at? So unrealistic.

Whitney struck me as rather unintelligent and/or as someone who may do a lot of drugs. That smug, inappropriate smile in the early episodes gave way to an unreasonable paranoia by the end. Her emotional affect was always "off". Or was it the edit?

The Canadian verson did not take off because there were no message boards on the website. That makes a huge difference re sparking ongoing interest and discussion.For example, Kara was saying how much she loved Brad during the show, yet at The Women Tell All she told us there was no real connection there. Was she lying the first time, or the second?

Because there were no message boards, few people found your blog. But thanks again for your insight and wit. I enjoyed your posts.