Let's think about what we just saw on the Season 2 premiere of "Big Brother Canada." Let's ruminate on the variety of Canadian personalities displayed in that 40-odd minutes. Truly, this is a cross-section of eccentric folks. Whether it'll work to the show's detriment or the show's benefit is yet to be seen.
It's obvious that "Big Brother Canada"'s production values are amped up, because the house itself is awesome -- lots of red, lots of wood, cool symmetry and that squeaky-clean Canadian feel. Maybe that's why the houseguests seem so jarring: their erratic and out-there behaviour clashes with the decor.
I'd say, coming out of this premiere, that I can barely tolerate 50 percent of the contestants (for reasons stated below), but have two favourites (also explained later). It's very early days and I get that people change, so these are just initial assessments. But that doesn't mean I didn't have to turn away from the TV at several moments because it was just so awkward. The King of Awkward himself, Arlie, was unbearable pretty much every time he was on-camera. The heart's there, but ... not much in the way of social skill. It'll be an uphill climb. Other contestants who are going to have problems fitting in are Kyle a.k.a. "Unbuttoned Shirt Guy" -- who clearly needs to tone it down -- and Reiki Master Anick, who might very well smile and shriek us to death.
Paul, too, might have some difficulty. At age 43 he's the oldest contestant and the first-ever father on "Big Brother Canada." He also ended up winning the HoH competition (standing on a gigantic ice cube for almost two hours) by promising not to nominate to evict the remaining challenge participants, who all willingly stepped off the ice cubes. I want to believe that Paul has a deep strategy, but every time he speaks to the camera I can tell he doesn't really have control over what's happening to him. He pretends to, though, and that might be enough to convince this bunch.
OK, boo, hiss, I know, I'm being harsh, but I feel like the show is missing the Gary of the season; Gary was the lifeblood of Season 1, and it probably wasn't a mistake that he came back to the house after getting evicted. The producers know how important it is to have that central figure on a reality show -- the Boston Robs, the Rachel Reillys -- and this show is missing one so far. Two contenders stood out to me: they were prominent, but mildly, and not annoyingly, which is so key at this point in the game. First is Kenny Brain (can that be his real name?), whose declaration, "I'll be gayin' it up!" made me chuckle. His beard is amusing and his personality rides that line between cool and nerdy. I expect him to go far in the game.
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The whole cast -- minus the mystery houseguest.
Age: 29 Hometown: Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica (lives in Thornhill, ON) Occupation: Hair Stylist Describe yourself in three words: Extra, witty, and charming.
Age: 27 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Occupation: Welder, Inventor Describe yourself in three words: The. People’s. Champ.
Age: 28 Hometown: Hanmer, ON Occupation: Reiki Master Describe yourself in three words: Eclectic, outgoing, and spiritual.
Age: 27 Hometown: Calgary, AB Occupation: Restaurant Manager Describe yourself in three words: Outgoing, energetic, and intense.
Age: 25 Hometown: Claremont, ON (currently living in Stouffville, ON) Occupation: Unemployed, but I’m treating this experience like a job. Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, energetic, and conniving.
Age: 23 Hometown: Barrhead, AB (currently living in Edmonton, AB) Occupation: Model Agency Coordinator Describe yourself in three words: Fun, outgoing, and bubbly.
Age: 23 Hometown: Clarenville, NL Occupation: Student Describe yourself in three words: Fun, energetic, and goofy.
Age: 25 Hometown: Grand-Falls Windsor, NL (currently living in Montréal, Quebec) Occupation: Model Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious, confident, and intelligent.
Age: 24 Hometown: Porter’s Lake, NS Occupation: Personal training and picking up the ladies downtown. It might as well be an occupation. Describe yourself in three words: Jacked, charming, and athletic.
Age: 22 Hometown: Vancouver, BC Occupation: Freelance fashion stylist Describe yourself in three words: Blunt, sassy, and clumsy.
Age: 43 Hometown: Born in Cape Town, South Africa (lives in Toronto, ON) Occupation: Consultant, Motivational Speaker Describe yourself in three words: Analytical, funny, and creative.
Age: 20 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Occupation: Student Describe yourself in three words: Loud, talkative, and funny.
Age: 25 Hometown: Montreal, QC Occupation: Hair dresser and make-up artist Describe yourself in three words: Fun, big-hearted, and big-mouthed.
Age: 32 Hometown: Osgoode, ON (currently living in Langley, BC) Occupation: Mortgage Broker Describe yourself in three words: Fun, outgoing, and kind.
"Big Brother Canada" will be introducing a mystery guest during the premiere on March 5. You have to tune in to find out!
The other promising houseguest is single mom Ika. I caught her making evil-eyes at a few other houseguests, and silently observing. If she's capable of being a quiet-and-trustworthy go-to, then she could go far as well. But she needs to keep that edge.
We can't forget the "final houseguest" (three contestants, one of whom will enter the "Big Brother Canada" house), as chosen by the viewer (us). If any of you watch "Survivor" it's kind of like Exile Island, so they exist on the periphery of the competition until re-entering the game. I'm not really a fan of it, but in this instance seeing drag queen Scott Bosse as one of the "final" contenders, I suddenly had visions of him wreaking havoc in the "Big Brother Canada" house and instantly wanted him in there. I seriously can't even remember the other two. Never show the drag queen first, Slice!
There will definitely be drama with this group, as evidenced by the amount of alcohol consumed on their first evening in the house. It wasn't just jitters, it was a-flowin'. Not that I mind, it's the oil that greases the gears of reality. Let's see how nice we really are in Season 2, Canada.
- There were a LOT of crotch and boob shots. I'd forgotten about that aspect.
- I thought it was lame that the twists are now sponsored. What's next? Camera Turns Left, Sponsored By Pepsi. There should be a limit. And Twistos Twist? I hope that doesn't last all season, but I dread that it will.
- The "half-not" room, where everything is cut in half, was pretty clever. Looks uncomfortable.
- My friends pointed out that Heather looks like Kimmy Gibbler from "Full House."
- Anick's mouth is open enough of the time that I saw her uvula on at least five separate occasions. No word of a lie.
- I predict right now that Scott Bosse will get into this game somehow.
We will be recapping the show here on HuffPost Canada. Joanna Adams, who wrote our wonderful "Amazing Race Canada" recaps, is writing for the team. Check for them once a week.
"Big Brother Canada" Season 2 will continue to air three nights a week on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. "The Big Brother Canada Side Show" -- new this season -- will air Thursdays, following each eviction episode, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In case that isn't enough, "Big Brother After Dark" will air seven days a week from 2 a.m. - 5 a.m. ET/11 p.m. - 2 a.m. PT.
Follow Chris Jancelewicz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CJancelewicz