The Maclean’s Bachelor panel: One bachelor, three critics, countless possibilities.
The Bachelor Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Citytv. You can catch this week’s episode here.
When The Bachelor Canada returned to home soil this week, an ex-bachelorette was ready to come back, too—but not the one who would have made a crucial difference to what unfolded in Toronto.
Natalie knocked on Tim’s hotel-room door wearing a leather jacket and confident smile and announced she wanted the rose ceremony that she’d walked away from in the Bahamas. Tim, who seems determined to get through this with his Good Guy reputation intact, told her this took a lot of courage and agreed to let Natalie stay.
The six other bachelorettes were less understanding: “I hate her,” Lisa told the cameras. “It might be her fake hair. Her fake smile. Her fake essence.”
She followed this up with a fake barf.
And this is why it would have been so much better for the returning bachelorette to be Jennifer the Joyologist, healer of tension, booster of confidence, sister to all. (Perhaps she could take over for the show’s still-MIA host?)
This week was supposed to be about Tim showing the bachelorettes around Toronto to “see how we fit together on my home turf,” but it was the competition between the women that dominated the show. I think all I learned about Tim is that he’s pretty good at pool and once made an important decision on a beach.
Meanwhile, I learned a lot about the bachelorettes: Lisa thinks Kaylynn is trashy; Trish thinks Natalie looks like a witch; Seychelle thinks Kaylynn is too dramatic; Lisa thinks everyone is too dramatic; everyone thinks Lisa is mean; you get the idea.
You’re far less likely to see true love blossom on The Bachelor franchise than you are to see an eruption of girl-on-girl hate. One scene last night was particularly frustrating: when the bachelorettes turned on Kaylynn as they watched her share a kiss with Tim in a hot rod at Canada’s Wonderland.
“She has no respect for anybody other than herself,” Lisa said. “She was basically down his pants the first night.”
When Tim and Kaylynn returned to the group, they were greeted with icy silence—but only Kaylynn was confronted about their (mutual) kiss.
“You really think that was appropriate?” Lisa demanded. “I got nothing to say to you.”
Meanwhile, Tim skipped off with Sachelle, who assured him she understands this is a difficult situation, and then assured the cameras he’s a good guy.
Although Tim slipped away from that incident unscathed, it’s clearly starting to dawn on him that he has bigger problems than too many beautiful women. He said goodbye to Natalie and Dominique this week, but Dominique left him with a not-so-cryptic message about getting to know the women better.
“Maybe ask some of the girls what they think of the other girls,” she said. “I think that’s important, how the girls treat each other and stuff.”
Colin, Aaron, what did you think about this warning?
At this point, way more than seeing who gets the final rose, I just so badly want to see Lisa realize that she’s the one who’s being dramatic.
I had the same question, as I watched the women turn on Kaylynn after she and Tim kissed in the hot rod outside the faux-’50s diner at Canada’s Wonderland. (Note: When I started a career in writing, I’m not sure I could have ever predicted I’d write that sentence. #Life) Here’s what I wrote in my notes as I watched: Maybe they’re going to start disliking Tim. Isn’t he to blame here, too?
The answer is yes. Tim is at least 50 per cent responsible for that kiss and, yet, as you point out, Sonya, he receives zero per cent of the outrage. The overall lack of insight and inability to question Tim’s motives, his character, or anything about him has been the one consistent thing about these women throughout this show, from the first night onward. I think Lisa finally came closest this week to actually laying at Tim’s feet any responsibility for the show’s trajectory, and, even then, it came mostly in the form of a swipe at Natalie. Lisa told the cameras that if Tim picked Natalie over her, she’d know he wasn’t her type of guy.
Well, fine. But let’s broaden that scope: Is he right for any of these women?
I found one exchange between Tim and April to be particularly interesting. As they stood near the water (where Tim apparently went to think deep thoughts), April confessed she’d been in a seven-year relationship that had ended when her trust had been betrayed. Tim then asked April what she felt was the most important thing to have in a relationship.
She replied: “Trust is a huge one, obviously,” but that what she wanted was “unconditional love.”
Tim started to respond. “Well, I guess that’s why we’re both—”
“Here,” April offered.
“Single,” Tim finished.
They’re both probably right. As far as I can tell, there are few relationships where love is totally unconditional. Even April admitted her love came with a few. (Condition one: Don’t betray her trust.) So if that’s the goal, then Tim is correct. It’s an irrational expectation, and one that will likely land you in a bachelor apartment, if not on The Bachelor Canada, as April rightly suggested.
This is why it’s so frustrating to watch these women disregard Tim’s flaws (for instance, he’s a pushover), or, in Lisa’s case, make their love for Tim conditional only on his dismissal of someone else’s. They should not expect themselves to love him unconditionally. And they should work to discover what they’ll allow and won’t allow in order for that love to really work.
Tim has a job to do on this program, but so do all the women. They’re not being fair to themselves by not giving Tim the same scrutiny they give each other. And I wonder whether, if they start to change their perspective, they’ll discover just how much power they actually have. They should ask themselves: Tim really wants me, but do I want him?
So, Aaron, please feel free to offer an answer to my question from earlier—Is Tim right for any of these women?—but I’ll end with my own: No, probably not.
One day, probably soon after arriving at The Bachelor or The Bachelor Canada mansion, some courageous woman will pull the other women aside and she will say to them what you, Colin, have just written, about them having the power and the women will come together and unionize and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the bachelor and nothing will ever be the same.
Until that day, I wonder a few things about how everyone approaches this show. Are the women more circumspect than we are led to believe? Is it possible to be basically skeptical about this show’s premise and still be on this show? Does the experience of being on this show, with its atmosphere of competition and its system of rewards, drive the contestants to set aside any skepticism in pursuit of a rose? Do some people go on this show, at first, as something of a lark, only to find themselves getting really invested in the pursuit of some guy (or girl) they barely know?
I think heart probably wins out over head in a lot of cases. That, and the natural desire to compete and avoid rejection.
There are decent odds that none of these women is right for Tim, or that he is not right for any of them. But I’d probably say that at the outset of every season (or anytime a single friend walked into a bar and announced that the individual he or she was going to marry was present that night). And I still think he ends up with Sachelle. I think everybody would be happy with that. Well, except for the other girls.
However, I would be most happy if wrestling-villain Lisa were the first Canadian Bachelorette. (Note: I would also watch a Bachelor go-kart racing league in which women competed in a series of races for the opportunity to make out with some guy at Canada’s Wonderland.) I bet that show would be highly entertaining. I would watch a show in which Lisa was presented with a selection of suitors and asked to critique their suitability. Instead of presenting roses to those she wanted to keep around, she would instead announce which of the guys made her want to throw up that week (as she did in discussing Natalie this week). And then she would mime throwing up (as she did in discussing Natalie this week). And then the quest for true love would resume.