Canadian reality shows are usually the more demure, comparatively earnest cousin of their American counterparts. But not anymore! With this season of Bachelor Canada, our country’s reality television scene has truly come of age. The premiere was a delightfully absurd romp that easily trumps recent seasons of the US version. I am beyond excited to write all about it in the space of this column!
Everything started with an introduction to the third Bachelor Canada, Chris Leroux. Chris is a retired professional baseball player who pitched for the Florida Marlins, the Pittsburg Pirates, and even the New York Yankees. Chris Leroux sort of looks like actor Chris Hemsworth, but with a beard. So I guess one could say he looks like Thor. Take that, American Bachelor!
As the episode began, Chris was busy shopping for luxury real estate in Mississauga. Now, I’m not sure Chris is hot enough that I would move to Mississauga for him, but the fact that he’s searching for a four-bedroom family house suggests he’s sincere about wanting a wife.
We are treated to tropes, like shots of Chris wistfully sitting alone on a rock, staring at the waters of Lake Ontario. We also meet Chris’ family, who, like the families on this show always say, just want Chris to settle down. Because apparently being single at age thirty-three is some sort of national tragedy, akin to wildfires or floods.
Anyway, we eventually switch locations to the Bachelor Canada mansion. It’s huge and fabulously tacky. I’m convinced it’s the same house at which Regina George resided in Mean Girls. (That movie was filmed in Canada, you know.)
The host of Bachelor Canada is Noah Cappe. He’s basically a clone of Chris Harrison. Because I recently saw the new Blade Runner movie, I have taken to calling him Synth Chris Harrison. Anyway, Synth Chris Harrison finally became relevant to the episode when he let Chris know that it was time for twenty ladies to show up and introduce themselves. He seems to be doing his job adequately. I have no complaints about our country’s Chris Harrison clone.
When his bevy of beautiful women arrived, Chris looked a little overwhelmed by the colourful array of long dresses and luscious locks. He did, of course, have his initial favourites anyway. Take Brittany, for example. Brittany is a twenty-seven-year-old Miss Calgary who is prouder of her pageant queen sash than I have ever been of anything, including my master’s degree. When she and Chris snuck off for their one-on-one time, he looked her up and down, and demanded, “Why are you here?” Chris argued that Brittany is so hot she could easily “meet someone at the bar.” He couldn’t fathom what would compel her to go on reality TV to find love. Aw, bless him. Chris appears to believe the women on this franchise are only there to meet him! Oh honey, these ladies weren’t born yesterday (though some were born in 1993). They all know the way to get married fast is to join eHarmony. But these ambitious Canadian girls want love, and fame and money.
Anyway, some other highlights of the night included Chris meeting Lisa, who is clearly this season’s comic relief. She is a self-identified mermaid who showed up wearing a fishtail costume that probably reminds you of the time you went as Ariel from The Little Mermaid for Halloween. Anyway, Lisa’s not just a mythical being come to life; she also feeds – and cuddles with – squirrels. As someone whose squirrel phobia is legendary (I literally cross the street to avoid them), this made me uneasy. Plus, isn’t it weird that a mermaid would befriend squirrels as her sidekicks? I mean, she’s a sea creature and they’re land animals. What would they even have in common? In my opinion, Lisa should get herself a pet crab, like a normal mermaid.
As for villains, it seems the role of “bad girl” will be played by Shanti, a former professional model. Shanti is indeed a beauty. She resembles the actress Rashida Jones, but with chaos in her eyes. Shanti spent much of the first episode sequestering herself in one of the mansion’s bathrooms, sobbing to a producer that she wanted to go home. She expected Chris to pursue her instead of the other way around. Being a model, she is apparently used to men falling instantaneously in love with her.
Eventually, Chris had to coax Shanti out of the powder room by insisting he could tell that she’s a “beautiful person.” Now nothing is more ominous than The Bachelor telling a woman she’s beautiful on the inside. Any time that happens, a contestant is posed to receive a major “villain edit.”
Another character who is poised to be central to this season’s plot is Dee, a single mother from Kitchener. Dee is charming woman of many talents. She even won the First Impression Rose. She made a favourable impression by riding in on a motorcycle, and her chyron claims she owns “a mobile spray tanning business.” I’m not sure what mobile spray tanning would look like, but I admire Dee’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Anyway, Dee decided not to tell Chris about her daughter right away. Of course, that’s her prerogative, but it’s now inevitable that another contestant will spill her secret before she herself shares it with Chris. I predict this will happen in Episode 3. Has Dee even seen this show before? She needs to work on her strategy.
Anyway, my favourite contestant of the night was Catie, because we went to high school together. Catie is a lawyer/meditation coach. Chris initially found her “intimidating,” because she’s an attorney, but he eventually become besotted with her, describing the twenty-nine year old as “zen” and “beautiful.” However, I’m hoping that Chris’s initial intimidation doesn’t belie a fragile masculinity problem.
Anyway, that’s a wrap for week one. Bachelor Canada has made me truly proud to be Canadian. It looks like the third season is the charm for this series!