Friday, September 19, 2014

Bachelor Canada: What's all this aboot?

Hello there, Canada, and unfortunates the world over who are unable to view the glory that is Bachelor Canada. To you later group, I hope this blog will allow you to live vicariously through it to experience the special horribleness of your favourite franchise's poor cousin.

Not Tyler Harcott
Actually, I was quite impressed with last season's Bachelor Canada. I thought the lead and the contestants were all on par with the American version. The setting was grand and the locations gorgeous, and that if you didn't know otherwise, you might even be fooled that it was the original, minus Chris Harrison and added some geeky looking Ryan Stiles double trying to look hip (Tyler Harcott).

But that was the first season. This new version looks atrocious. Harcott has dyed his hair jet-black no doubt to cover up the gray, but it doesn't look natural on a wizened visage. And his wardrobe is also better suited to someone half his age. But let's not dwell on him since he's not around that much. The Bachelor, a 28-year-old guy named Tim, sounds very rehearsed in all his interviews and laughs way too much. As in all the time. And – I hesitate to even bring this next part up but what the hell – the ladies usually are some low-rent variation on supermodels, but let's just say this group is more down-home and realistic. No one really stands out. Maybe that's part of its Canadian charm, that the women are not particularly special. I'm just saying. My wife and one of her friends also commented negatively on their dresses, but they looked fine to me.

What does it all mean? It just means that the eye candy element isn't there. I won't get into individual details because that would be ungentlemanly and mean. Some of them are fairly attractive. If I don't single them out, they can all believe they are.

But what I think it really does is make it less believable that our hero will fall madly in love with one of them. He's an okay-looking dude who keeps himself in shape and seems to have altogether way too much going on to be so unencumbered with love. The guy was a Bay St. (US equivalent to Wall St.) investment banker working 100 hours a week until he quit to own his own tech start-up and construction company. Oh, and he's 28. And he somehow found the time to get a oversize garish tattoo on his left shoulder blade.

And then there's his diction. He actually said this: "I'm ready to find the person with whom I spend the rest of my life." You read that right. He said "with whom." Didn't I tell you he sounded scripted?

But worst of all is this self-described "all-Canadian guy" who plays hockey goes whole hog with the Canadian thing and pronounces "about" exactly how Canadians are made fun of. Well, not quite "aboot", but close enough. Keep in mind, I rarely hear this. Most Canadians that I know and see on television don't pronounce the word noticeably different from Americans. But some do, and hence the bad rep we have. This guy Tim does and it's like fingernails on a chalk board every time he says it. (I stopped counting at 7 within the first ten minutes.)

One other noticeable difference between the two countries' versions is that this Canadian version has more lax broadcast censorship. They bleep out the word "fuck" but on this first episode, "shit" was uttered four times uncensored. Score one for Canada!

We started off as we often do on the American version getting to know a select few of the women in little film segments. No need to go into them because we'll talk about them as they get out of the limo, but they profiled eight and all but one were chosen at the rose ceremony.

So here we go. The first limo arrives with:

  • Rileigh, a 23-year-old philosphy student/waitress. She carries a tray with two shots of liquor which she and Tim down. Tim laughs.
  • Kaylynn, a 26-year-old ballerina from Vancouver. Tim laughs.
  • Raelee, a 26-year-old gymnast who, apparently, Canada voted to be on the show. I was not included in this vote. Why not?! Anyway, Tim laughs.
  • Jennifer, a 26-year-old never-nervous "joyologist." She certainly was chipper. All I could think of was that this joyologist should hook up with the pantsapreneur. Tim laughs.
  • April B, a 27-year-old real estate agent, who's father died of an OD. There are actually two April B's. Unlike the American show, all the female contestants' last names were used. I can't
    remember the two B's so let's call this one April Beauty. Tim laughs.
In that first limousine, April Beauty was my winner.

Limo 2:

  • Sachelle, a 24-year-old, who offered Tim a seashell as a mnemonic device so he'd remember her name. Tim laughs.
  • Dominique, a 28-year-old model/receptionist from Montreal with a missing tooth. Tim laughs but not at the missing tooth.
  • Trisha, a 28-year-old slightly delusional pageant queen wearing a sash even though she's never been in a pageant. Or maybe she has, but she's never won. Tim laughs.
  • Andrea, a 30-year-old from Kelowna. Tim didn't know where Kelowna was but laughed anyway.
  • Renee-Anne, aka Renee, an emergency room doctor. Her shtick was to give Tim a prescription. Pretty sure that's against the Hippocratic Oath. But it must have worked because Tim laughed.
Out of this quintent, I picked Andrea as my favourite. (Spoiler alert: she wasn't Tim's.)

Before limo 3 showed up, Tyler Harcott arrived. I guess his alarm clock wasn't working. He asked Tim how things were going so far ("Overwhelming"). Then Harcott asked, "Seen things you like?" Things? Um, okay. Anyway, Tim answered, "Yeah... maybe." See?! I told you this was an uninspiring lot! He couldn't very well have said, "Nah, not so much, Tyler. I'm hoping the next three limos bring something better." But he may as well have. "Maybe"???

Limo 3:

  • Rituiska, a 30-year-old Venezuelan, who arrived speaking Spanish to Tim, hoping to impress. He threw it right back at her, telling her he was an exchange student in Chile for a year. Oh, and he laughed.
  • Alison, a 27-year-old nurse from Montreal. She did a little dance. Tim laughed.
  • Jacqueline, a 23-year-old blonde nut from Toronto. I mean 'nut' in a quirky way. Tim laughed.
  • Rebecca, a 24-year-old waitress from Calgary with lots of tattoos who goes by the name Becca. Tim laughed.
  • Sarah, a 31-year-old from St. Catherine's with one long tattoo running down her spine from her neck to her butt. Tim laughed.
Hard to pick a winner from this group but it might have been the owner of the spine ink.

Limo 4:

  • Natalie, a grade 3 French teacher who managed to equal Tim in stiffness. She stood about six feet away from him then taught him how to kiss-hello like a French person, in case he had never been outside his home before today and there was no cable or internet at his house. Tim laughed nervously.
  • Sharan, from Vancouver, is one of the many contestants of colour. She's Indo-Canadian.
  • Martha, a 26-year-old Mexican living in Montreal. She's a fashion buyer. She tried the Spanish trick, too. Tim equalled her. And laughed.
  • Kelsey, a 28-year-old sommelier. Tim laughed.
  • Jenny, a 26-year-old Vancouverite by way of Hong Kong with a "weird" English accent. She also has a right shoulder blade tattoo to match Tim's left one. Tim laughed.
Who's the winner in this round, you ask? I'd say it's a toss-up between Mexican Martha or Stiff Natalie.

Limo 5:

  • Jewel, a 32-year-old basketball-loving tall black accountant from Toronto. She dribbled a basketball between her legs. Tim laughed. That was the last we saw of her.
  • Sonia, a 42-year-old lingerie model. Take a moment to let that sink in. You read right: She's 42. And a lingerie model. I'll let you guess which fact she revealed to Tim. Obviously she looks good but come on. She's 42! He's 28! She did that thing where she moved her head around a lot so he couldn't get a full-on look at her face. Not that there's anything wrong with it; just that's she's 14 years older than he is. He laughed. But not at her; with her.
  • Christine, a 29-year-old Asian music teacher from Vancouver. Tim laughed.
  • Lisa, a 25-year-old bag o' trouble from Calgary. She has long red curls to match the flag that she represents. Tim laughed.
  • April B. In this case the B stands for Burlesque. She's a 30-year-old from Victoria who dances burlesque by nights and by days rips pubic hair off vaginas. That's right, she's a "vagician" or "waxologist." She announced her exit from the limo with confetti.
My hands-down winner of this group was Lisa, although I also liked Jewel.

At the party, the ballerina Kaylynn was very emotional. And probably quite drunk. But she and Tim seemed to have a connection. He told her she seemed very confident. Oh, no, she assured him, she was actually a sensitive, emotional person. That's the side of her we saw, even if Tim didn't, that's for sure.

Then Tim had one of the best lines of the night when he told her that he had been picked on as a kid: "I used to not be a very good looking guy in high school," he said. Humility!

We got lots of the joyologist working her magic, spreading joy and goodwill to one and all. One of the others described her as a "hoot." Keep in mind, dear international reader, this is the Canadian Bachelor.

Jennifer the Joyologist told Tim she quit her job in cancer research. I guess there wasn't enough joy in searching for a cure to one of the worst diseases known to mankind. She wants to spread real joy, not superficial joy.

Maybe Tim really has never left home. Because when Kelsey the sommelier led him outside carrying a bottle of champagne and a knife, Tim was freaked out. Like he couldn't possibly imagine what was up her sleeve. I won't insult your intelligence by revealing what freakish act she performed. But Tim's mind was blown.

Rebecca then stole Tim away. She was wearing an apron. Not sure how long this party lasted, but she found the time to bake an apple pie from her grandmother's recipe. Which led to another great line of the night: "I hope that my pie guarantees me a rose." Ahem.

Then Christine the music teacher took Tim back outside to share with him her prodigious talent. She had written a song for him and wanted to perform it a cappella. If you've ever seen a season of The Bachelor/ette, you'll know that's never a good idea. And it wasn't in this case, either. Let's just say it won't be attracting any new students to her. But she did provide lots of entertainment for the others. Trisha snort-laughed.

But Tim fell for it. He gave her the first impression rose for taking a big risk. Personally, I don't think such risks should be rewarded but that's just me. He gathered all 25 women around to announce his decision, something you don't usually see. The unsteady Kaylynn became even more unsteady, saying she couldn't help but feel insecure and jealous. Thankfully Jennifer the Joyologist was there to give her a pep talk.

Then Miss Natalie, the teacher, got some one-on-one time with Tim. "I have to ask what was your first impression of me when you saw me?" she said. Clearly nothing rose-worthy.

She told him she teaches grades one, two and three. But does she? She revealed her job is to go into each class for half an hour each. "It's a dream-come-true kind of job," she said. Yeah, I guess working 90 minutes a day is pretty sweet.

Rileigh, the philosophical bar waitress, admired Rebecca's boobs. Philosophically, of course, as I do. Rebecca replied, "Do you want to touch them?" And Rileigh did.

Lisa the Red Flag accidentally spilled a drink all over Jenny and looked quietly pleased with herself. She's got a quality, that one. I like it, but I'd approach cautiously. Tim sees that, too. He says she's got an edge to her, which he finds sexy. She reminds me of someone I know but I can't figure out who it is. I may have blocked her from my memory.

Tim got a bit rose-happy. He handed another one out to the very proper Miss Natalie. He was attracted to her confidence. She readily accepted, enunciating clearly, "I'm very, very thrilled about this."

And then another rose to Sachelle, "the cutest and so honest." As you can well imagine, Kaylynn is now a total wreck. Tim sensed it so he made his way over to her. They flirted. Well, she flirted and he laughed. She leaned forward drunkily when talking. She felt that he was sexually attracted to her.

At the rose ceremony, Christine, Natalie and Sachelle were all safe, leaving twelve more lucky ladies to receive a flower and ten unlucky ones to be sent home (the Canadian version tends to speed along at a faster rate than the American one). The roses went in order to:

  1. Kaylynn. And thank God. She went from depressive to manic at the announcement.
  2. Jenny and her right shoulder tattoo
  3. Dominique the model/receptionist
  4. Mexican Martha
  5. Philosophical Rileigh
  6. April Burlesque
  7. Lisa Red Flag
  8. Dr. Renee
  9. April Beauty
  10. Nurse Alison
  11. Sonia the Cougar
  12. Trisha the Beauty Queen without a Crown, who was losing it as rose after rose was handed out to the others
Someone from the group said they now know Tim's type: olive-skinned girls.

That's that. We got some upcoming highlights and it looks like all the world's hotspots were covered. There'll be lots of kissing and lots of tears and lots of cat fights. All with a Canadian twist. That's what it's all aboot.