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The Bachelorette Meets the Famil(ies)

Oh, guys, I have been looking forward to tonight’s B’ette for a whole week!  It’s time for Emily to go on “hometown dates” and meet the absurd families that produced JWOF, Sean, Arie, and Chris. As ever, there is so much potential for awkwardness and humiliation here. Most of all, I hope JWOF’s family tries to convert Emily to Mormonism.  And do we think any of the families will do that thing where they’re initially resistant and then come around 100% within 5 minutes and beg the Bachelorette to marry their child? Let’s find out!

First up is Chris, who is everybody’s least favorite. He is from Chicago, which makes me dislike Chicago a little bit for producing him.  Disappointing, Chicago.  Turns out Chris is a first-generation (half) Polish-American, so he takes Emily to a Polish restaurant.  They sit at the bar and have a very non-festive beer, punctuated with tense silences and sad conversations about Chris’s abysmal behavior from last week.

After the convo about what a whiny baby Chris is, Chris decides to prep Emily for meeting his fam. He tells Emily that his dad should be “pretty easy,” like Emily actually cares about impressing these people. Aw, bless.  Chris says that he’d be “devastated” if his family didn’t think Emily was right for him.  I feel like he should probably be more devastated that Emily doesn’t think Emily is right for him. Does he not realize that this is a total pity hometown date?

Chris’s dad, who looks SUPER Polish, gives a toast and his mother tells Emily how happy they are to have her there. Mom seems kinda drunk and eager to please.  Dad seems on board, too. He takes Emily for a chat and she asks him if Chris is ready to be a step-father to a six year old.  Dad says that Chris “loves kids,” so, QED, he will be able to take care of Ricki and Emily and be a great husband and father.  Dad also says that all it takes to raise a child is “love and support.” Pretty sure that’s not true. Then Dad asks Emily if she loves his kid and she says “absolutely,” with a fake smile.  I can’t imagine having to pretend to love some guy who I don’t love in front of his family. Can you imagine? Horrible.

Chris’s bottle-blonde sister Renee, who is wearing a denim shirt, a la J Lo in 1999, asks Emily what she loves about Chris. Emily gives some evasive answer that’s so vague I can’t even reproduce it here. Something about liking Chris’s personality or something? Renee says that if Chris isn’t going to be The One, Emily should cut him loose sooner rather than later. Fair enough.  I think Renee can read the writing on the wall here. The writing says: “Chris is not going to win.”

After dinner, Emily and Chris spend some alone time, and she gives him a close-mouthed kiss on the lips. Chris, meanwhile, tells her that she makes him feel “crazy good.” Emphasis on the crazy. Then he tells her that he’s in love with her and she makes a little “awww” noise, like she feels sorry for him. I feel like we all kinda feel sorry for him. Emily’s like, his first girlfriend. And she’s gonna break his heart, as first girlfriends are wont to do.  One second after E and C share a lackluster kiss, Chris’s back porch becomes some sort of Polish dance party. These peeps seem to be taking a page out of Constantine’s family’s book, what with the ethnic dancing and the forced festiveness. Too little, too late, Chris.  Also, too many accordions.

Next up is JWOF.  Emily comes to meet him on a ranch, which is pretty impressive. JWOF bundles Emily in to some weird ATV and they proceed to go on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Next, they shoot clay pigeons.  JWOF is pretty good at shooting and Emily is impressed with his skillz. Then Emily tries and she is also good — oh, hey, turns out she already knows how to shoot. Kinda weird that she pretended not to know how. Is that in The Rules? Always pretend not to know how to shoot a gun?

Emily is nervous to meet JWOF’s family. Who can blame her? She has to meet a horde of JWOF’s relatives, all of whom look like they could crank out a good Mormon housewife blog post or two.  They all sit down to a picnic and toast with lemonade.  BTW, why isn’t there any direct acknowledgement that they’re Mormon? I feel like that’s a pretty critical conversation to have, especially if JWOF’s thinking about marrying Emily, but no one ever mentions it.  It’s like everyone’s politely pretending that it’s just a coincidence that JWOF has a million siblings, none of whom drink, and all of whom are attractive and live in Utah.

Emily chats with JWOF’s brother Steve (who I will hereafter refer to as Stev) and three of JWOF’s pretty, smiling sisters, one of whom is wearing a DENIM SHIRT. Is this a thing now? Denim shirts? Really?

Emily asks the sisters if JWOF is ready to have a six-year-old. They say that he wants a family and if he mets the right girl, he’ll be ready to settle down. Hm.  The sisters ask Emily if she’s falling in love with their brother and she says yes but she also says she doesn’t like to throw that word around. Wow, everyone’s being kinda cagey here.

In the end, JWOF’s sisters decide they like Emily, especially after she proves that she’s good with kids.  Meanwhile, JWOF’s brothers seem less convinced.  JWOF, however, is really REALLY on board.  He takes Emily aside and reads her a letter he wrote her on the plane back from Prague. He tells her how deeply in love with her he is, and I am kinda weirded out by this.  Every single season of the Bachelor(ette), I always marvel at how thoroughly and sincerely some of the contestants convince themselves that they are not just in love but are FATED to marry the lead. It’s like some weird, sad version of Stockholm syndrome.  JWOF comes from what seems like a nice family and owns his own business and seems to have a good, bouffanted head on his shoulders – so how has he come to the conclusion that he is “meant to” marry and reproduce with this rando from TV who was already engaged to another rando from TV and who is also dating three other guys simultaneously? It’s a head scratcher.

Time for Arie’s hometown date, which begins at a racetrack in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Arie drives up in an IndyCar, whatever the hell that is. Apparently an IndyCar is a different thing than a NASCAR? Who knew! Emily jumps into the race-car with Arie and he takes her for a spin around the track. I am pretty sure I would not enjoy this at all, because it seems terrifying, but Emily is braver than I.

Afterwards, Emily and Arie sit on a blanket in the grass and Arie tries to warn Emily that his parents are super European. He should probably specify that they’re super Dutch. In the interest of not creating an international incident, I will leave it at that.

Arie leads Emily into his parents’ Mediterranean style mansion and a lot of Dutch people stand up to greet them. Arie’s mom, Mieke, is glamorous and blonde and wears a tube top with her bra straps sticking out.  Arie’s dad looks like sort of a wilted, older Arie.  Arie’s brothers are handsome and non-descript. They sit down for drinks and after a few minutes, Mieke starts speaking in Dutch about Emily, who looks really uncomfortable.  Actually, I can empathize here.  Sometimes my in-laws speak Canadian in front of me, and it’s always awkward. They know I don’t speak it.

Mieke takes Emily aside for a chat and she lets her know that she watched Emily on the Bachelor with Brad. She asks Emily point-blank what happened to her relationship with Brad. That’s called Dutch subtlety. Emily gives some generic response and she and Mieke chat a bit more. Emily seems to be softening Mieke up.  She asks Mieke if Arie could balance the travel involved with being a race-car driver with being a step-dad, and Arie’s mom says it could work.  By the end of the convo, Mieke is completely won over by Emily’s charms – what a surprise.

Guess what Arie says at the end of the night? That “today was a huge step in Emily and I’s relationship.” Aaaand the night is ruined for me.

Sean’s up next. Here is my prediction for what his “big secret” is (notice time stamp). Let’s see if I’m right!

We’re in Dallas, Sean’s hometown.  Sean shows up to meet Emily in a figure-flattering striped shirt. He also brings along his two dogs.  Emily asks Sean how many girls he has introduced to his parents, and he says he’s only had one serious relationship, with “the sweetest girl,” but he just “couldn’t really reciprocate.” This is straight up virgin talk.  He says he promised he’d never “allow a girl to give herself to [him] unless [he] can reciprocate” and “love her for eternity.” VIRGIN TALK RED ALERT. Not just virgin talk, but weird, Evangelical virgin talk, amirite?

Emily and Sean go to meet Sean’s family, who are all very, VERY white and have names like Jay, Shea, Smith, and Kensington. I am not sure if the little girl or the little boy is Kensington, but it doesn’t matter. Emily says this is “the world’s most perfect family.” I think someone would agree with that… and his name is ADOLF HITLER.

Sean reveals his “big secret” to Emily, which is that… he lives with his family. Oh, noooos! Then he takes Emily into his room and it’s disgusting, with crumbs and stuffed animals strewn about. This has to be a prank, right? There’s no way.

And yes, turns out, Sean punked her – he doesn’t live at home after all. Good one, Sean (not).

So what is his big secret? Is he not a virgin? I feel like he definitely is and he’s just saving that fun tidbit for the Fantasy Suite.

Sean tells his dad, who reminds me of Dana Carvey, that he normally doesn’t “give [him]self” to girls (again with the “giving himself” talk!) but Emily has changed all that.  Sean’s dad sits down with Emily and asks her when she felt the “first connection” with his son. She sidesteps the question but Sean’s dad takes no mind and tells Emily that Sean has talked more about Emily than he’s ever talked about any other girl. Yeesh.

Sean finally bids Emily goodbye and then, a second later, runs after her car to give her another kiss. K, Sean, I think you’re allowed to play the “running after Emily for a kiss” card once. Not twice. You’re done.

Time for the rose ceremony! Emily pores over the guys’ photos, because she forgot what some of them looked like, and then makes her decision. She tells the guys this decision was hard because there wasn’t an obvious choice, although that is a lie, because come on, hello, Chris?? Anyway. Arie gets the first rose (which surprises me, because I thought JWOF had this one in the bag), JWOF gets the second rose, and Sean gets the third rose.

Chris looks devastated/incensed and makes some weird, ragey faces.  Emily tries to walk him out and he kinda jerks his arm away from her. Oof.  They go sit on a bench and he asks — nay, demands — an explanation from her. Their dialogue:

Chris: Well, do you have an explanation?

Emily: No, I don’t have an explanation.

Chris: So it was me.

Emily: No, it wasn’t you, I —

Chris: So what was it?

Emily:  … So many more of my relationships grew so much faster and deeper.

Chris: I don’t understand. How much faster could it possibly move? I told you I loved you. [<– said with undisguised bile]

Yeah, so Chris acts like a grade-A dick, thus proving that Emily made the right choice in sending him packing.  In his pensive limo ride, he says that “everything seemed like it was perfect” and that he was in love and thought Emily loved him too. Whatever. I am having trouble rousing any sympathy for this guy — what a doofus.

Next week, Emily takes the final three to Curacao, where they swim with dolphins and all of the men tell her that they’re in love with her. Meh. See you then!

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