Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette Canada: Episode 1

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode of Bachelorette Canada

Sharleen Joynt Bachelorette Canada

Canadian Bachelorettes are the best Bachelorettes (Photo: Courtesy Corus Entertainment)

It’s funny how foreign it is to watch a season helmed by someone you know nothing about. I’ve—and I’m sure many of us have—gotten so used to watching the previous season’s fan favourite become the lead that I found myself a bit frustrated watching the season premiere of Bachelorette Canada.

First, and I don’t say this lightly, I was not into new host Noah Cappe. It seemed as though he was doing some parody-like impression of Chris Harrison, to the point where I was amazed anyone was able to keep a straight face during filming. His stares were always a bit too intense, his fingers glued together in a Mr. Burns fashion, his dramatic pauses too long and way too dramatic: “I am absolutely delighted. To officially welcome. Your Bachelorette. JASMINE.” I understand wanting to emulate a successful franchise like The Bachelor/ette, but the host can be his own person and needn’t be an imitation. A little personality and authenticity—perhaps something to make the show more uniquely Canadian and less like a carbon copy of its American counterpart—would go a long way in my eyes.

Second, at the risk of sounding harsh, my first instinct upon watching Jasmine Lorimer figure skate and pose by a flickering fire was a tinge of disappointment. Call me biased, but Canada is one of the most diverse countries on this planet, a proverbial melting pot of cultures and races. Especially while the American franchise is consistently under fire for its lack of diversity, it would’ve thrilled me to see a woman who couldn’t pass for an all-American, blonde beauty queen crowned as the first ever lead of Canada’s spinoff. I can’t help but think that there was a missed opportunity there, to maybe show just how open-minded and progressive Canadians are. Back when I recapped the premiere of the second season of Bachelor Canada, I marveled at how physically varied the women were. I realize, of course, that much of The Bachelorette—Canadian or otherwise—is about having tons of men drool over the lead and say things like, “WOW WOW WOW” à la Wale when they first lay eyes on her. My only wish would be to possibly (or at least attempt to) expand the public’s perception of what drool-worthy is, especially for the younger girls watching this show who aren’t blonde, future part-time models.

But enough about my whining with Jasmine Lorimer being too blonde and too pretty. As much as the feminist in me would have loved to see a visible minority (or some unplaceable mixed-race delight) as the lead, it would be decidedly unfeminist to condemn Jasmine for not being that.

Honestly, I must admit that I really like our Bachelorette. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen a lead use the word “deter,” let alone in the first five minutes of her season. I loved Jillian’s season and her ultra-bubbly persona (what a nice surprise to see her on the premiere!) but I appreciated how laidback and not at all manic Jasmine seems; I never got the sense she was “on” or trying to be. A particularly telling moment for me was when Jasmine was talking to Drew and he asked her about family. She said her family consisted of her mother and her sister. Drew made the assumption that her parents were divorced and continued to talk, yet Jasmine didn’t correct him but just listened and watched. She’s an observer who seems to realize you can tell a lot more about person by what they do and don’t ask you than by what they actually say.

Sharleen Joynt Bachelorette Canada

Is Drew the new, less meaty Chad? (Photograph: courtesy Corus Entertainment)

As with any Bachelorette season, it’s all about the guys. There was a mixed bag of looks and careers and charisma. Some standouts to me were Mikhel, whose intro was charming and who got frontrunner music during his limo exit; I had him pegged as a Top 4 contestant but was thrown off by the fact that we didn’t see much of his conversation with Jasmine. I had a soft spot for Chris, the inventor, whose limo exit was memorable (how cool was that rose on fire?!) and whose evident nerdiness spoke to me. I thought Drew might have Final 4 potential but I can’t see his arrogance being lost on Jasmine. Plus, the previews suggest he’s this season’s villain, which unless you’re Courtney Robertson, never bodes well for longevity.

Sharleen Joynt Bachelorette Canada

This guy—Mike—looks like a winner to us (Photograph: Courtesy Corus Entertainment)

My Top 4 predictions are as follows…

1. Mike, 29: Mike was my favourite from the get-go. Long before he received the First Impression Rose I had already jotted several of his lines in my notes. In his intro, he said, “Doing charity work… made me feel really good. So, selfishly I do it for myself. It just happens to help a lot of other people. [laughs]” I loved the honesty of this statement, of how there’s a selfish quality to charity work and how that’s a totally OK thing. The dryness with which he said, “Gotta bear the abs for a good cause” was not lost on me. I also dug his limo exit: “Art of war. It’s about winning the battle before it begins.” Honest? Check. Charitable? Check. Highbrow literary reference? Check. Now add a similar backstory to Jasmine’s, good conversation skills, and emotional vulnerability and maturity… we’ve got a frontrunner on our hands.

2. Thomas, 30: I rate Thomas so highly based not only on his airtime, but also his type of airtime. The “sexy” background music—which seems to play whenever he’s around, even when they were just discussing a shared love of travel (how unique)—is identical to April Brockman’s, the eventual winner of Tim Warmel’s season. They dedicated a fair portion of the hour-long premiere to showing Jasmine’s attraction to him, going so far as to include her nickname for him: “Sexual tongue”. (Interesting.) I have a hard time imagining Thomas not sticking around for awhile.

3. Kevin P, 35: Kevin P’s ukulele-accompanied limo exit struck me as slightly too suave but after learning that he was legitimately very ill, I was mostly just impressed. Night One is borderline vomit-inducing based on nerves alone, so I applaud how well he kept it together. There’s something magnetic about Kevin P, as evidenced by Jasmine saying she’s drawn to him; no small feat when there’s 19 other men.

4. Kevin W, 32: While Kevin W had the prime real estate of being first out of the limos—I don’t actually know if this means anything on the Canadian version—he wasn’t remotely on my radar until his conversation with Jasmine. Nothing remarkable happened, but it just felt like a solid, real conversation between two adults getting to know one another, and for a moment didn’t feel like television. I’m still waiting on the chemistry part, but for now I feel like a “connection” (oh dear, I’ve said it) with Jasmine has been established.

For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.

The Bachelorette Canada airs Tuesdays on W Network.

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