Maclean’s Bachelor Panel: Week five

And so the truth comes out. Or part of it, maybe.

Sonya Bell, Colin Horgan and Aaron Wherry
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Our Maclean’s Bachelor panel reconvenes to consider what they’ve learned from another hour and a half of The Bachelor CanadaFind all of their panels here.

From: Colin
To: Sonya, Aaron

And so the truth comes out. Or part of it, maybe.

During the week of home dates, where Brad met the final four girls’ families, there was a moment. Sitting at a small dining table in Calgary, Whitney’s dad looked across and asked Brad whether he could see his feelings for Whitney growing beyond where they were at that moment. He even uttered the words: “Look me in the eye.” Which we all know is man-talk for Listen Buddy, I Am Very Serious Here Now. And Brad just straight up said Yes, either because he is an amazing liar (doubtful) or because he genuinely felt he could be with Whitney for the long haul. Either way, it was emphatic. And did Whitney maybe feel the same way? Err… <”There was awkward silence, awkward tension.” — Whitney, 2012>

Two things.

First, was Whitney’s reluctance to commit to any serious feelings for Brad much of a surprise? I hardly think so. Looking back, her focus on Brad had been first and foremost as something that needed protecting from the other girls; he was a possession, rather than a person. As Whitney told us all early on, it was all about the competition, and she was planning on winning it – ie. Brad. But when she was finally asked by someone with a bit of perspective on things (no man with that many tattoos has not Seen Some Things), the very real possibility of her actually having what she was after suddenly changed the dynamic. Then it was all, let-me-just-drink-my-wine-and-gosh-isn’t-this-table-interesting?

Which brings me back to Whitney’s dad. Whitney’s dad is a hero. His serious question worked. It got a serious answer. And among the parents, he was the only one who didn’t either: become instantly convinced his daughter and Brad were some kind of magical fairytale couple sent from the gods of perky breasts and Lycra butts to bless their family with a bunch of glistening offspring; actually physically caress him; or make some kind of weird sexually charged advance on him. Everyone else went a bit gooey when Brad showed up, which was a bit tough to watch. You are adults, guys. Get it together. (Paris, Gabrielle’s cousin, managed to play both roles, to an extent, gushing over Brad at the dinner table but having a reassuring gab over a box of Triscuits: The Serious Talk Snack.)

Anyway, this made me think of something that came up in the phone interview Chantelle did with reporters last week after being dumped. Sonya, you and I both asked her, essentially, whether the feelings she had were real, or whether the competition aspect played a role in fabricating them. Within her answers, Chantelle said this: “Brad is an amazing guy. He is so genuine and so deep. And, to be honest… us girls, we all had a connection with Brad. It was different levels and different connections, but it was real for all eight of us.”

I remain skeptical. I’m sort of beginning to think this is one of the most consistent examples of mass psychogenic illness this civilization has ever seen and managed to capture on film.

But now Gabi is gone. And Whitney is still in this thing. And Bianka’s family is fluent in English. And Kara seems like a really cool girl, so she’ll probably lose.

From: Sonya
To: Aaron, Colin

Brad and his four remaining bachelorettes continued to sprint towards the alter this week (or in the case of Gabrielle, belly-dance towards the alter) and I loved every minute of its absurd premise: “Mom, Dad. I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Brad. He’s also in serious relationships with three other girls. And he just broke up with four more girls last week.”

The family visits injected some much-needed new blood into the show and we got to know the girls a bit better, seeing them one-on-one with Brad and at home. As Colin outlined, it wasn’t a great look for Whitney.

Did anyone else start to feel….bad….for Whit, though? I got the impression, from her dad’s remarks about how he has never seen his daughter smile like this before, that she might have some sort of serious emotional problems. Like, way more serious than Bianka having once been dumped by Kris Humphries.

Distressingly, there simply is not enough Brad to go around. I maintain that he is a good guy. Now after this week’s episode, not only are four women in love with him, but four families are, too. Why is there only one Brad? Why is it Whitney who has a twin? (Whitney has a twin sister!!! This sent me diving under the couch for cover, but then it became clear that Camille is just as afraid of Whit as the rest of us. “Whitney will get what she wants … and she won’t stop,” she told the camera matter-of-factly)

If we’re ready to start placing our bets, I’m going to say that–despite Colin’s concerns about nice girls finishing last–Brad is going to choose Kara in the end. Then there will be a wedding special. And I will cry. (Tears of despair or joy? I’ll never tell.)

Sure, we learned this week that Bianka and Brad are passionate about the same (fairly popular) ice cream flavour, mint chocolate chip. And sure we learned that Whitney is “possibly the hottest girl I’ve ever seen in my life.” (Uh, Kara is way hotter, but to each their own.)

What Brad does tell the cameras about Kara is this: “I just got tingles thinking about her right now … Kara’s somebody you can start your life with. There’s no trying with her.”

Contrast this to his reservations about Bianka (“Can she see a life with me?”) and Whitney (“She needs to verbalize what her emotions are thinking in her head.”) Brad seems deadly serious about getting married at the end of this so-called journey, and I think he’ll go with the girl that seems emotionally ready for a committed relationship.

The chemistry between Brad and Gabrielle never seemed as strong, and I wasn’t surprised to see her go this week. My only regret is that it brought Whitney (and her vein) such glee. Gabi was quite something, too. Who else wears a black cocktail dress on a rainy afternoon for a date at a coffee shop and a trip to a senior’s home? Maybe Kris Humphries should give her a call…

From: Aaron
To: Sonya, Colin

I never understood how Gabrielle had made it this far, but her fate was finally sealed when Brad referred to her as “Gabs.” Gabi is fine. That sounds like something you might call the girl you’re eager to sleep with. But Gabs? Gabs is what Brad would’ve called a teammate whose first or last name was Gabriel. “Yo Gabs, nice hit out there.” “Way to hustle, Gabs.” “Hey Gabs, coach wants to see you.” “Gabs, sorry man, heard you got traded to Saskatchewan.” “Come on Gabs, stop crying. I’m sure there’s something worse than getting traded to Saskatchewan. I can’t think of anything right now, but I’m sure there’s something.” And so on. When Gabi and her family sat down for dinner it became obvious she and Brad had less chemistry than Brad and her gay cousin. I kind of wish this week’s final rose had gone to Gabi’s gay cousin. I also kind of think a show about Brad and Gabi’s cousin going on a cross-country road trip would be immensely entertaining.

Let me now mix my metaphors.

First, watching Whitney fall apart this week was like watching pre-2007 Peyton Manning or pre-2012 LeBron James come unglued in the playoffs: an immensely talented athlete completely bewildered by the moment. It’s like she had spent so much energy thinking about winning without ever thinking about what winning would entail: namely, the possibility of marriage. Suddenly she couldn’t form complete sentences and by the end of the episode she was down to speaking in sports cliches—telling Brad she was in it “100%.” I don’t know if she simply failed to formulate a complete game plan for her conquest or if she simply allowed actual reality—the basic concept of human love—to shake her. Either way, I’m no longer scared of her. Mostly because I figure that, if attacked, I just have to shout that I think I could see myself spending the rest of my life with her. While she’s trying to process that I’ll have time to run away.

If not for Gabs, Whitney probably doesn’t get another week. The look on Brad’s face when he offered her a rose conveyed something like abject dejection, like he really didn’t want to do it, but figured he more or less had to. It was basically a dramatic reenactment of the Republican Party giving its presidential nomination to Mitt Romney: “Well, I don’t really want to do this, but I’ve got this rose in my hand, so here you go Whit/Mitt.” I’ll barely resist extending the analogy for now—at least until we see next week’s election results—but I think Whitney is essentially done. I’m not sure how she recovers from this performance. And I think it’s fairly obvious that Bianka and Kara are much stronger candidates at this point. Not least because Bianka and Brad have the same favourite ice cream flavour. This was treated as a profound revelation this week and while I’m tempted to mock the significance of mint chocolate chip, ice cream flavour seems as good a criteria as any in this circumstance. The very first episode should’ve involved taking the girls to an ice cream parlour and asking them to pick a flavour. We could’ve had all this wrapped up in about five minutes.