The Maclean’s Bachelor panel: One bachelor, three critics, countless possibilities.
You can catch this week’s episode here.
Colin Horgan: Perhaps the most telling thing was the sound of birds. As the first night’s rose ceremony of Season 2 of The Bachelor Canada wound down, if you listened carefully, the soft trill of morning song could be heard. It certainly sounded like it, anyway. And it would make sense. Surely, the expectation that a cocktail party with 25 excited women and one nervous man (Bachelor Tim Warmels) ought to take place after the sun goes down limits your taping hours. This also means it’s only after the production team has taped enough interviews and reaction shots from these 26 individuals that the (relatively) serious business of handing out roses can start. Oh, and, of course, after everyone’s had enough to drink.
Maybe all of that helps to explain why some nerves seemed so prematurely frayed.
Mostly, I’m talking about Kaylynn. Kaylynn, a ballerina from Vancouver, was quickly smitten. “You have nice, big hands,” she told Tim. He felt at least somewhat similarly. “It was very obvious there was an intimate connection,” Tim told us afterward. “If I’m very honest, yeah, I wanted to kiss her.”
But he didn’t. And, perhaps as a result, things slightly spiralled for Kaylynn from then on.
As the night continued, and each woman vied for Tim’s attention—Rebecca, from Calgary, baked him a pie . . . allegedly?; Christine sang him a song (sample lyrics: “. . . heart think fast / wait I want this to last / the story of me and you”); and Kelsey, a sommelier, opened a bottle of champagne with a large knife)—Kaylynn descended into further frustration. “I just don’t like feeling so insecure,” she whined to the camera, somewhat missing the point of the entire evening. “It’s so overwhelming,” she blubbed. “If I go home tonight, I’ll be crushed.”
She got a rose in the end, along with some others, ranging from the slightly strange (e.g., burlesque dancer/”vagician”/Siri voice impersonator April Bognetta) to the seemingly quite normal (e.g., real estate agent with a Dark Past, April Brockman), all of whom I’ll leave to you two to examine.
As for Tim?
One hundred per cent of contestants polled found Tim to be achingly attractive. This must have been a relief for the producers. Those opening sequences of Tim powering along the seawall on a motorbike, and jetting about the skies in a private charter (we are led to assume, anyway) wearing aviator sunglasses and earth tones were probably semi-expensive. But the level to which the women last night were infatuated with Tim was, as it always is, vexing.
Never having been the subject of such simultaneous mass attraction, I can’t attest to this immediate wholehearted infatuation being the normal reaction (Aaron?). But golly, they assumed a lot, didn’t they?
“He’s the type of guy I could see myself being with,” Natalie, a French schoolteacher, told the camera in her very precise, phonetic way, sometime in the evening—presumably, only within a few hours of meeting Tim. “He’s just such a rare type of guy and it’s difficult to find men like him these days.” If by “rare,” she means reality-TV contestants, then perhaps she’s correct. Otherwise, I’m not sure what she’s on about. Tim is a fine-looking gentleman, to be sure. And he seems very pleasant and immediately outgoing. But to conclude he is Man: Special Edition? I wonder.
As I said, maybe it all comes back to the hands on the clock. People say bizarre things in the wee hours, and that’s doubly true when it comes to people running on the very last fumes of anxiety fuel. With time, we always assume, the initial titillation hangover wears off and the stuff they’re all here for—Real Emotions—takes over. But is it ever as good as the first night? Will anyone here make all the other chilly evenings as good as this one was for Tim? Or will he forever wish he were just back at the mansion, eating pie and wondering if it’s pronounced Sea-chelle or Say-chelle or whether maybe that’s just a chain of islands or something?
Sonya Bell: The Bach is back. Life couldn’t be better.
I’ll admit I was initially skeptical about the second season. Once a Bachelor Canada has been done, and once the American franchise has offered a triumph of the genre like Bachelor in Paradise, what’s even the point?
But I realized on Thursday night there is something particularly compelling about a gaggle of girls in sequinned dresses—whose names all seem to be variations of Riley—when they come from your own country. Who knew we had a 42-year-old lingerie model in our midst, not to mention a professional “joyologist” named Jennifer? Don’t even get me started on Natalie, the hottest French language teacher I never had.
You would think the toughest part about pulling off this series would be finding a guy who makes 25 diverse women swoon. But something about the thrill of the competition—or, as Colin notes, the alcohol—ensures it happens every time.
This year, our Bachelor is being billed as a “fiercely independent” guy who will “throw away the rulebook.” He is called Tim Warmels.
“That’s a good name,” cooed one woman, who was told only the “Tim” part.
At this point, viewers know more about Tim than the bachelorettes do. Aged 28, he grew up “an all-Canadian guy” in a small town outside Toronto and now owns a tech start-up and a construction company, or something.
None of it matters. He could be a petty thief living at the Motel 6 in Flin Flon and, still, supply and demand would ensure that someone accepts his proposal at the end of this.
Any early bets on who it will be, Aaron?
Unfortunately, my very favourite bachelorette didn’t receive a rose last night. Jennifer the Joyologist, where are you now? Can I hire you to follow me around saying nice things? This woman was the life of the party, perhaps the only bachelorette in the history of the series to go out of her way to make the other women feel welcome, special and confident. She will go on to be Canada’s Oprah; I’m calling it now.
Tim may pride himself on making his own calls, but I suspect his judgment is going to get him into trouble this season: One of his roses last night went to Lisa, who had quickly established herself as the resident Mean Girl by intentionally knocking a drink all over another woman’s dress.
But, as far as Tim can tell, everything is just grand. He couldn’t stop smiling last night. Surrounded by his 15 rose-clutching women, he marvelled: “My future wife could be within 10 feet of me right now and that’s everything I’ve ever wanted.”
That alone should have given the bachelorettes pause: He’s only ever wanted to be “within 10 feet” of his wife? Does that suggest a history of stalking? A future of separate beds?
But the Bachelor isn’t about thinking. Like all reality shows, it’s about winning. The prize just happens to be the love of a man who looks like a Lego character. Best of luck, everyone!
Aaron Wherry: Why are we still watching this show?
I mean, really.
I know a large part of the reason I’m watching this Canadian version of The Bachelor is because I’m hoping, after a couple seasons of a Canadian version of The Bachelorette, as well, we’ll have enough rejected candidates to stage a Canadian version of Bachelor in Paradise. All I really want here is for 20 single Canadians to be set up in a cottage at Grand Bend, provided with more alcohol than they could ever consume, then made to couple up on threat of being made to leave a television show. Don’t ask what your country can do for you, single Canadians, ask what you can do for your country.
Otherwise, The Bachelor is one of our more puzzling cultural institutions.
And we must recognize that it is an institution. The Bachelor debuted 12 years ago and has broadcast 18 seasons (The Bachelorette has aired another 10 seasons). The finale of the most recent season drew more than nine million viewers. Alongside The Real World and Survivor, The Bachelor is one of the three pillars of the modern reality-television universe.
The first two are more easily explained. The Real World is basically a pointless social experiment: Put some people in a house, see how bad it can get. Survivor is a test of physical and mental endurance within a game of social competition: a contest that showcases the politics of human interaction. The Bachelor is . . . what, exactly?
In theory, it’s about love. But it’s not clear anyone really believes that theory. Or, at least, it’s not clear why anyone would put much stock in it. The show hasn’t exactly proven itself to be a particularly reliable system for creating lifelong couplings. And, on the face of it, the theory is ridiculous: We’re going to get a handsome fellow who wants to be on TV and set him up with a bunch of women who want to be on TV and make them do a bunch of ridiculous stuff (by producers, who, mind you, have to be interested in TV ratings) and, in a matter of weeks, the fellow will have someone he wants to marry and who wants to marry him.
What generally happens is Drama. Anxiety, drunkenness, suspicion, rivalry, heartbreak, infatuation, disappointment, shame and moments of something like love that may or may not last. If a half-dozen people don’t end up crying, it’s been a boring season.
And yet. Periodically, it works out. And how ridiculous is this really? Any much more than how love ever happens? (Minus the fact that most of our early courtships aren’t televised.) How do any of us find love?
In theory, The Bachelor is about the most important force on Earth. In reality, it’s basically a very silly display of human longing and messiness from people put in the very odd state of being constantly televised.
Anyway. This season looks like fun. Bit sad about the Joyologist. By the looks of it, they might’ve had her stick around and just be responsible for reassuring everyone that it was going to be okay.
Sonya Bell makes frequent appearances on Macleans.ca. Read her Amazing Race Canada column here. Colin Horgan is also a regular contributor. He most recently wrote on Lena Dunham’s Girls. Aaron Wherry covers federal politics for Maclean’s.