Tonight's episode opened not with Brad readying himself to sink his teeth into bachelorhood, but with an uncomfortable abundance of product placement and overt sponsorship .
What started with a wicker basket full of drugstore brand essentials -- not even the good stuff or things the girls may actually need, like Vagisil and Xanax -- turned into a deep look inside a coffeemaker and eventually led to a tribute to The Bay's bold, iconic stripes.
I get it. These companies paid good money to pimp their wares in Season 1, but really? Staging a shower scene where the girls all of a sudden feel a burning desire to shave their legs (and each others')? It reminded me of being 11 at sleepover camp and hauling a bucket of water outside of my cabin to have a 'shaving party' with a bunch of my friends in plain view of all the boys -- kinda gross if you think about it now, actually.
Tyler starts things off with what was basically a skill-testing question, forcing the girls to rapidly add four plus one plus eight at lightning speed. Even I was struggling. The end result was clear, though: by the final seconds of the episode there would be four less chicks from the true North standing strong and free in the house.
I think now that we've had a chance to acclimatize, it's time to start setting some ground rules.
1) Every time you hear Whitney say that she's not here to make friends (shocker) or Gabrielle say anything about Whitney, you must take a shot. Go ahead, I'll wait.
2) By no means should Chantelle ever be allowed to read a date card out loud again. Ever. Seriously. By the time she got to the eighth name, I think only dogs could hear her.
Our resident 'hunk' (according to Chantelle ... seriously, I think even my mother stopped saying the word hunk ten years ago) Brad kicked off the eight-on-one with a bang, literally wearing 50 shades of grey and bringing Melissa-Marie, Laura F, Michelle V, Tia, Michelle B, Britney, Chantelle and Bianka to New Orleans. It kind of seemed like a little bit of a premature ejaculation with all of them jetting off to famous U.S. landmarks right out of the gate before he even knows any of the girls, but that's just me.
So we get to watch the gang Shlemieling and Shlemazeling down the main street for five seconds and then they're ushered into one of the most awkwardly quiet, too-brightly-lit, bars of all time for some Burlesque Bootcamp -- really more of an episode six event, don't ya think? Brad tries to justify the decision to send them straight to an activity where they're forced to wear lingerie in front of him by saying that he wants a girl that can go with the flow -- yeah, sure that's why. So while he preps his tube sock for a beating later that night, the girls are in the back trying to figure out how to get a virgin pastor into a garter and how they're possibly going to beat a Playboy model at her own game. The answer? Quite easily.
Before we know it, the lacklustre drummer wakes up from his nap to announce the girls one by one. Melissa-Marie produces a performance that can only be described as an epic fail; Laura V, despite the wish she seems to have made on a vial of coke before her performance, doesn't deliver; Chantelle is, well, adorable (what else can she be?) and the others are just OK. I think it's safe to say that we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when the burlesque portion of the date was over and since Brad seemed ecstatic over finally being in New Orleans, what better way to experience the city than ... hanging out in your hotel room?
The rest of the night was uneventful. Right on cue, we start to see our first breakdown of the season from Melissa-Marie, who misses her daughter, and we finally get to see some of Brad's personality emerge. I have to admit, despite the fact that most of the dates on this episode flew by without really getting into the nitty-gritty of the drama (maybe they had to be sped up because of his surprise one-on-one?), Brad did leave a bit of an impression on me. He does seem like a genuine guy -- maybe it's because he speaks Canadian, and says 'no worries' more than the US bachelors who are usually 'stoked' about something or other or maybe it's his ear-to-ear smile or the fact that he couldn't get past how endearing and innocent Chantelle was to the point where he gave her the date rose -- either way, I'm not nauseated by him, so that's a good thing. The one red flag for me was when he mentioned he's finding it harder than ever to manage eight women ... harder than ever? This isn't your first time managing eight women? Hmm...
The next group date unites Brad with Kara, Gabrielle, Whitney (cue dangerous music) and Sophie who are all competing to rev Brad's engine in Vegas. Not surprisingly, Whitney pulls off the car-racing win by one tenth of a second, scoring a helicopter ride where he forces her to fellate her helmet's microphone before a quick make-out sesh and then heads home.
The final date, announced by Melissa-Marie in a frock I wouldn't even wear to clean my house, goes to Laura B. and finally, we experience a 'simple' local date. Laura receives a Roberto Cavalli dress to get all dolled up in, and Brad tops it off with a jewel box while Whitney circles like a raven on a carcass. They head out to the boardwalk for the most hideously drawn caricature of all time, followed by a gourmet meal which I am extremely proud to note was actually eaten! Like every single bite. One of my biggest pet peeves on "The Bachelor" or "Bachelorette" is that they go out for all these amazing meals and the food just sits there congealing. So good on them for gettin' 'er done. I'm also equally proud to note that his kiss with Laura B. did not make me want to slit my wrists -- bonus! They cap the night off with a Peach Pit After Dark attempt at promoting a Canadian "chantooze" (as Brad pronounces it) and off they go.
The next morning, Brad pulls yet another surprise on Ana by waking her at the crack of dawn for a one-on-one -- and if she keeps rolling out of bed looking that hot, it won't be long before he's showing her the surprise in his pants. He whisks her off to Tofino, our very own surf town, where I am still fantasizing about trying a tuna taco I saw after OD'ing on the Food Network one night not long ago.
You know, the elephant in the room since we heard the announcement that we were getting our own "The Bachelor" has been 'Is it going to be a pathetic, low-budget remake?' And I'm telling you, after this episode, I think it's clear that we're ready to play with the big boys. There was certainly no skimping out on the hand job blankets, now was there? I mean, I thought the US version was just being flashy, with their blankets conveniently ready to accommodate manual stimulation at a moment's notice on every bench, ottoman and patch of grass. After seeing the giant blanket eagerly awaiting the two lovebirds tonight, willing to take them all the way to third base and back without anyone being the wiser -- well, let's just say it made me proud to be Canadian.
The rose ceremony for the evening was as usual, a blur of bad fashion choices (Brad included), secret make-out sessions by the fire (hopefully not too close though -- wouldn't want Whitney's boobs to melt), drunken ramblings and girls crying in washrooms, but in the end, Brad's picks didn't surprise me any more than the general hatred of all things Whitney by every girl in the house. Roses are given to Kara, Tia, Sophie, Brittany, Michelle B, Gabrielle, Ana, Nicole and Bianka and sadly, Melissa-Marie gulps her last swig of champagne for the season, along with Laura F, Stephanie and Michelle V. Next week, we can see Brad's emotions start to get the best of him. It's only episode three, dude -- get yourself together!
Man, I love this show. Til next week!
Ajax, ON<br> <em>(All Photos Courtesy of Rogers Media)</em>
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