Two episodes into Bachelorette Canada, where the episodes are “only” 1.5 hours long (versus the American version’s two) and yet I somehow feel more invested in and attached to many of these men than I do halfway into any given Bachelorette season. In the US, there’s a LOT more time dedicated to house drama and that saps the airtime while also dragging things out unnecessarily. I don’t know about you but I’ve struggled more than once in the last half hour of any given US episode. Personally, I don’t feel like 1.5 hours is too short. Last night we had plenty of time to catch Jasmine and the guys act suitably impressed by their Sandals digs, a few unsubtle product placements involving a Sauvignon Blanc you can coincidentally buy at your local LCBO, Thomas’ 1-on-1 date, two fairly full group dates (a few conversations weren’t shown but that’s to be expected) and a smattering of tension between the “big city” men and the “sensitive intellectuals”—helmed by resident jock, Drew, and nerdy inventor, Chris, respectively. We saw plenty! I would rather a chockfull 90 minutes than a drawn-out 120 and I’m curious to get your opinions on this in the comments.
Speaking of that division in the house… Chris pointedly stated in an ITM that “you’ve got your party animals, gym buffs, really fast-paced Toronto guys” and that “there’s more that I think about in a day than just what I’m eating and what I look like.” I watched much of this episode with Andy, who some of you know by now was born and raised in New York City, and who laughed out loud at this part. We were entertained by the thought that arrogant Drew, who evidently has something to prove, whether to Canada or to himself, somehow qualifies as “big city.” Drew claims one’s “gotta have some balls” to live in the big city and that having that in common with the other Toronto guys—the, um, having of balls?—makes them compatible. In my humble opinion, “big city” doesn’t mean bold or ball-bearing; it means cultured, open-minded, creative, progressive. You don’t seek out city life to say you’re brave; you seek it out for its possibilities and opportunities. Party animals and gym buffs can certainly be found in one of the endless array of cheesy Meatpacking (or King Street West) clubs but the true “big city” folk are meeting friends at understated and less-hyped bars, checking out that new museum exhibit and attending concerts and plays, not to “see and be seen” but out of genuine appreciation for the art. I guess my point is, this house divide has nothing to do with guys like Drew being “fast-paced” city guys and everything to do with them being narrow-minded, narcissistic bullies with a high school-level view on who’s cool and who’s a “dork.” Now, I realize I shouldn’t base my point on Chris’ (biased) description of Drew, but thus far I haven’t seen Drew do or say anything to make me feel differently. Okay, rant over.
Back to our leading lady: Jasmine has gone past growing on me; she’s completely won me over. First, she’s proven introspective in a way I’m not used to seeing from any lead, male or female. After opening up to Kevin W about her relationship with her father while growing up, she later said in an ITM, “I appreciate so much that he could bring that out in me… I want to break through those barriers that I’ve set for myself.” Second, she was also very willing to attribute her curiosity and subsequent disappointment in Seth to her own mind; she’d built him up in her head to be something he wasn’t and could admit that. So few people, especially those in the all-powerful position as leads on this show, have the humility to do that. Also, I personally loved that she sent Seth home as it reflected real life. How many of us would go on a second date with someone who was a terrible kisser and who admitted to hardly listening to what we’d said on the first date? And to anyone who thought she should’ve given him a second chance, his ego-salvaging “I just don’t think the connection was there” when he didn’t get a rose showed he’s far from being emotionally mature and vulnerable enough for this.
Most importantly, this season has already begun to satisfy something in me, the something that craves relatability. I’ve never had the same taste as a Bachelorette before (I’ve mentioned before that the closest for me has been Ashley Hebert) and, as silly as this feels to write, having that makes the viewing experience a lot richer. I completely get why Jasmine gave Mike the FIR. I agree that Mikhel is attractive and all the more attractive for not knowing how attractive he is. Even with Seth, before she really got to know him, I too could see the appeal of his slightly nerdy, slightly shy way. Jasmine seems to look for and appreciate in a man the same things I might, which selfishly is a hell of a lot more interesting for me as a viewer. And as a bonus, I love that the final four men of this season probably wouldn’t be able to pass as brothers.
My frontrunners this week….
1. Mike, 29: Okay, so there were no developments this week between Mike and Jasmine, but that’s not fooling me. It’s practically tradition now that the FIR recipient fall under the radar in Episode 2 (yours truly included) and I still predict we’ll be seeing a lot of Mike this season.
2. Mikhel, 28: I’m almost irked that I didn’t put Mikhel in my Top 4 last week because I totally knew he was a frontrunner but allowed his lack of conversation airtime to make me second-guess myself. Seriously, what doesn’t Mikhel have? He’s very cute and has a sort of gentle giant vibe going on… he didn’t come close to winning that wrestling match even though you kind of get the feeling he probably could have. And he also managed to discuss having his heart broken (twice!) in front of three other dudes without ever sounding either insincere or too sensitive. Even his first kiss with Jasmine was perfectly—but not expertly—executed. (There is a difference.) He didn’t ask if he could kiss her (one of my all-time peeves—sorry, Seth) but just gauged the moment and went for it. And it was GOOD. Mikhel, you stay.
3. Kevin W, 32: I’ve still yet to see that romantic spark between Kevin W and Jasmine, but these two are good-conversation bandits. It’s like every time they sit down they have a great heart-to-heart and it seems totally natural (versus Kevin P, whose Group Date conversation with Jasmine, despite landing him that Group Date rose, struck me as a tad forced). I like Captain Canada, and evidently Jasmine does, too.
4. Thomas, 30: I don’t have much to say about Thomas other than that he’s clearly a frontrunner. He’s attractive and got the coveted first 1-on-1, and we were shown that there’s more depth to him than one might initially assume. However, I’ve still yet to be wowed by their conversation in the way I have been with Mike, Mikhel or Kevin W, all of whom have had way less time with her. It’s safe to say Thomas’ big draw is the attraction and chemistry, of which there is plenty.
For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.
The Bachelorette Canada airs Tuesdays on W Network.
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