We make a lot of TV in Canada. The good, bad and indifferent. And then there's The Bachelorette Canada (W, 9 p.m.), which starts tonight.
It ill behooves a man, least of all a man of my age, to be making remarks about The Bachelorette Canada, so I'll try to rein it in. But I will say this – it is not the lowest of the low. In the matter of scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel to find excruciatingly mindless drivel, I suspect the bottom has not been scraped clean. After all, The Real Housewives of Toronto is still on the horizon.
The Bachelorette is Jasmine Lorimer, 27, a professional hairdresser and occasional model. Looking at the modelling photos it is hard to discern what is being modelled, exactly, but that's her business. The upshot is she is white, comely and blonde. And has somehow been induced into sacrificing her dignity to find a boyfriend or mate from among a gaggle of guys on TV.
As the whole world knows, and as is indeed the drawing card of The Bachelorette franchise, there's always a bunch of, you know, douchey guys in there. If only she gets to recognize that! If only!
We know a lot about Lorimer in advance. The beauty product she can't live without is Joanna Keller lashes; her top favourite foods are ice cream and pizza, and her fave item of clothing is a little number called One Teaspoon denim shorts. This info is accompanied by photos, so it's easy to discover that One Teaspoon denim shorts might indeed cover the entirety of one or two teaspoons. Her favourite book is the novel The Orphan Master's Son, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Adam Johnson.
Thing is, you will find plenty of ads for beauty products and food during The Bachelorette Canada, but it beggars belief that there will be an ad for books. The entire point of the show is to sell stuff aimed at the women watching in breathless anticipation that Lorimer might discover that guy is douchey.
Who are these guys? Well, among them is a cowboy, a carpenter, a deckhand, a bartender and a fella who calls himself "an inventor" and goes by the nicknames "Futermind" and/or "Tarzan." I anticipate the douche antennae of some viewers being alerted right there.
Now, it's possible there will be genuine drama on The Bachelorette Canada. Lorimer might show maniacal recklessness and spend quality time with a nice guy who understands that true love is being willing to put her needs above his. But that's unlikely. In advance interviews, Lorimer has talked about the "love bubble" that is The Bachelorette Canada. The mind can only boggle.
The production is not the lowest of the low because of the stuff it sells. It's a good business model. And in an ideal world, the money accrued from the commercials will go to the creation of new Canadian drama and comedy. But wait; it's not an ideal world. It is a cruel and heartless and, like some of the guys, it's douchey.
However, it will provide employment. The darn thing is followed immediately by The Bachelorette Canada After Show, in which sage discussion of the preceding program will unfold. In this instance, the host is one Jennifer Valentyne, described officially as "A Canadian television personality." What's that mean?
If I've got the gist, in the case of Valentyne (OMG! What a totally lovely name!), it means she was briefly the "Singing Weathergirl" on Breakfast Television and, previously, hosted a half-minute thing on MuchMusic called MuchHappenings. And then years as a host on one of the Breakfast Television shows. Listen, in Canada, that's a gosh-darn stellar career. It absolutely transcends "TV personality." A Google search says Valentyne is a former Toronto Argonauts cheerleader, no less, and a "shoe/foot model," plus a singer/songwriter, who released a CD in 2001. If she starts warbling on The Bachelorette Canada, I'll just die. To be honest, I hadn't heard of her. We make a lot of television in Canada.
Yeah, I might tune in to see how low it goes. Wish me luck.
Also airing Tuesday
Mohawk Ironworkers (APTN, 7 p.m.) is a fascinating and powerful series of 13 half-hour documentaries that chronicle the toil and skill of the Mohawk ironworkers of Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Six Nations. They are legendary as "the best ironworkers on the planet," as the series asserts. Tonight's program is especially poignant – after the World Trade Center towers were destroyed on 9/11, dozens of Mohawk ironworkers helped clear the wreckage. For many, it was because their fathers had built the towers. What they didn't anticipate is that along with the chaos and horror were the enormous health risks of the Ground Zero cleanup. Several have died from the effects of working in the still-smouldering wreckage. The portrait of those who worked on the cleanup is very moving.