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.