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The Bachelor, Episode 8

OMG, OMG, hometown dates, you guys!! I am so excited to see how these families react skeptically to Sean at first and then are organically won over by him within five minutes. And it’s all coming up tonight… on the Bachelor. Except this happened on Monday and now it’s Thursday. But whatever.

First up is AshLee, who is from Houston, Texas. She says she had no idea what true love before she met Sean. Oh, please stop, AshLee, I don’t want to actually feel sorry for you; it makes it harder to make fun of you. BS shows up in Houston wearing a cropped jacket and meets AshLee and her little dog in a park. BS says that he knows AshLee is “emotionally invested” but doesn’t actually say that he himself is emotionally invested. I feel like this isn’t gonna go well for AshLee, you guys. I’m calling it now. Also, is everyone cool if I stop capitalizing the L in the middle of her name? Kay, thanks.

Oh, guess what, you guys, both BS and Ashlee have reverends for dads. As they discuss their dads, Ashlee says a lot of stuff favorably comparing BS to her dad and he looks really uncomfortable and sort of changes the subject to say that she is beautiful and amazing and possesses “many great qualities.” Like such as.

Ashlee reminds us that she has “stepped out of [her] comfort zone to trust this man” and that he has convinced her that he is going to protect her heart. But is he going to GUARD and protect her heart? That’s the real question. She also tells BS that she’s excited to tell her parents that she finally knows what love is. Aaaand this is painful. I just want Ashlee to stop talking and spare herself a TINY shred of dignity. Just a tiny shred! That’s all!

They go to Ashlee’s parents’ house and she says she has been dreaming of this day since she was 4 or 5. But… the Bachelor wasn’t on 28 years ago.  Check your math, Ashlee. Her parents seem nice, and I like that her dad has a moustache and comes out with a drink in his hand. They sit down outside and her dad asks questions about the Bachelor “process,” and Ashlee tells them about the Polar Bear Plunge and inexplicably starts crying. Please, please stop, Ashlee.  I’m begging you. I think even her parents are embarrassed by her at this point. Mom and Dad seem increasingly uncomfortable, especially when Ashlee tells them that she and BS “rolled around in the sand” in St. Croix and that she told BS she loves him.

Mom takes BS aside and asks if he is going to break Ashlee’s heart and he says, “No, ma’am, that’s not my intention.” Which is pretty much as close as you can come to saying, “I am not going to pick your daughter.” Right? Mom and BS talk more about Ashlee’s tough childhood, which I don’t think we’ve heard quite enough about yet (not). Then BS sits down with Ashlee’s dad, who immediately asks BS if he’s in love with his daughter. BS says he’s “crazy about” Ashlee, which, I’ve noticed, is his standard response. He said that to TP right before he sent her home, for crying out loud. This guy’s crazy about everyone. BS then asks if Ashlee’s dad would be okay with BS proposing to Ashlee and Dad says something slightly creepy about realizing that he, as a dad, will eventually be “replaced” in his daughter’s life by her husband. Um? I mean, her dad seems like a nice man and he chokes up talking about how he adopted Ashlee, but then he brings it back to the weird place by saying that whatever man Ashlee marries will have to “fall in love with her” like he did. Except different, right, Ashlee’s dad? Because romantic love between a husband and wife is pretty different from the paternal love a father feels for his child?

At the end of the day, Ashlee says the day was “magical.”

Now it’s time for BS to be whisked away to Seattle to meet up with Catherine, who I think is my least worst favorite out of all of these duds. She’s okay, you know? They go to the Seattle fish market and BS catches fish. He’s shockingly good at it. Catherine catches a fish, too. Hoorah. Catherine and BS then “spontaneously” dance in front of a guy playing a banjo, who avoids eye contact with them.

BS says he feels like a “big kid” with Catherine. The Bachelor is contractually obligated to say that he feels like a “big kid” at least once per season. He is also legally obligated to say that at least one of the meticulously staged and produced dates he goes on with one of the contestants is just like “what we’d do on a normal Saturday, like a normal couple.”

Turns out Catherine’s family is Filipino. So is she half Filipina, half Chinese? Why is her dad in China? I need answers here. Anyway, Catherine brings BS to her family home and introduces him to her mom, grandmother, and two sisters, both of whom are intimidatingly pretty. They eat lumpia and I wonder what Catherine’s mom thinks about super whitebread BS. He seems game enough. He helps Mom roll lumpia and does some pushups with Catherine on his back while everyone looks on indulgently.

Catherine tells her sisters how much she loves BS and they are skeptical. One sister points out that it’s not always going to be fun and goofy with BS, which, thank you, is something I always want to tell these contestants when I watch this show. Your date to the Seattle fish market with cameras following you as you giggle together is not actually real life, turns out!

Next, the sisters sit down with BS. He asks them if Catherine’s ready to settle down and they basically say no, and that when the fun wears off of the relationship, she takes off. Not awesome. They also tell him she’s very moody and messy (which, incidentally, are some of the lyrics of the Ashlee Simpson song “Pieces of Me,” and don’t ask how I know that). Catherine’s mom, meanwhile, seems super down-to-Earth and basically tells BS he wants Catherine to stay true to herself and that she doesn’t want Catherine to be led on. I really like Catherine’s mom. In fact, I want to hang out with this family and eat lumpia with them, I’ve decided. Sean, on the other hand, is sad because Catherine’s mom did not give him her blessing to marry Catherine, and her sisters brought up generic, slightly bad things about her personality. He says that the night “did not go as planned” and that he doesn’t know “how to move forward with Catherine.” Ugh, this always happens on this show: the Bachelor or Bachelorette can never handle any amount of skepticism, however tiny, which any SANE and RATIONAL family SHOULD have in this situation. So Sean’s gonna write off this chick because her mom thinks it’s weird that her daughter is competing for him on a reality show, and because her sisters said she can be messy sometimes? Hmm. I do like, though, that the producers seem to be taking a different tack and letting the families feel their feelings instead of being brainwashed/fed lines suggesting that they suddenly have seen the light and love the lead after a few minutes of banal conversation.

Next, BS goes to meet Drunk Lindsay’s family in a small town in Missouri called  Waynesville, which kinda says it all. Apparently Lindsay’s dad is a two-star general. Linsday meets BS outside of a building covered in bunting and flags, and we get it, you’re an army brat. BS says that Lindsay gives him butterflies and that she brings out the kid in him. Blech. They go to an antiques store and a restaurant and BS says “this is more closely related to real life than anything else.” Okay. He also says that Lindsay has “the biggest heart” and that she is “ready to start a family.” Isn’t she like, 24? I guess in Waynesville that’s child-birthin’ age. BS asks Lindsay what he should call her dad and she insists that he should not call him General, and should “just call him Mark.” Uh, no, Lindsay. He should not “just call him Mark.”

Before they meet her family, Lindsay makes BS wear a mock turtleneck and olive green fatigues and she yells at him and makes him do pushups. I’m sensing a trend here. When BS is battle ready, they go to the army base that her dad runs and to Lindsay’s parents’ house. BS says that her dad’s job is to “mak[e] men,” and that he hopes Mark can see that he is a man. Fingers crossed, Sean!

Lindsay’s dad wears an uncomfortable smirk as he welcomes BS into his house. Lindsay notes that if her dad doesn’t like BS, it’ll probably be a dealbreaker. High stakes!

Lindsay’s mom, Lisa, asks to speak to BS and seems won over before she’s even spoken to him. She asks if BS is falling in love with Lindsay and he says, “I’m not in a position to say that.” Lisa says she likes that answer because it’s honest. Which I guess is true, but also, hi, he’s saying he doesn’t love your daughter. Lisa tells BS that even though Lindsay is only 24, she’s ready to settle down and have a family. We get it, she wants to pop out babies. MESSAGE RECEIVED.

Lindsay’s dad is not so easy to win over, at first. He says he doesn’t want to see his kid hurt (fair enough) and BS nods and says he doesn’t want to hurt Lindsay but he “sees the potential” in her. Then he asks Mark for his blessing. Mark replies that he doesn’t know if he has an answer. Then he talks about being a paratrooper. Finally, he relents and says BS has his blessing, as long as Lindsay says yes. At the end of the night, Mark gives Lindsay and BS some dog tags. So this visit went pretty well, all in all.

Next up is Desiree, who lives in LA. This is the disaster date promised in the previews! Can’t wait! Des shows up to the date wearing a muscle tee over a sports bra and yoga pants. Huh. Interesting choice. BS shows up in his salmon colored shorts and a color block shirt. These are their hiking outfits, we learn. Des says she wants their date to be like an “ordinary Saturday.” They “hike” along a paved road and look over a smoggy canyon. BS says this is “her in her natural element.”

Des brings BS to her apartment, so I guess her parents are zipping up the tent for the night and are coming over for dinner? As Des and BS are preparing dinner, a knock comes on the door and this guy in a plaid shirt walks in and Des goes, “What are you doing here?” Come on – she has to know why this guy is here. This is a prank, right? The guy tells Des that he loves her and everything he says sounds like scripted lines. He’s like, “I love you. We were together for two years.” It’s all exposition about their past. This is not how people talk. After a few tense moments, Des tells BS that it is, in fact, a prank, and the guy is an actor. Ugh, lame.

Bachelor-Sean-Pranks-Desiree-Video

Finally, Des’s parents, Roxanne and Tony, show up. Her brother Nate also comes. For living in a tent, they look decent. At first, everything seems to be going well. As per usual, the mom is impressed with the lead immediately because he’s handsome and seems “sweet.” Dad is also immediately won over. Oof, what is wrong with these people? Maybe their tent doesn’t get TV reception so they’re not familiar with the concept of the show? Brother Nate, however, is not into this. At all. He tells Des not to “fall for nobody.” He is aggressively anti-this whole thing, which, again, I appreciate, even though I actually think BS is, at heart, a nice dude.

Then Nate pulls BS aside for a one-on-one chat and everyone looks nervous. Nate tells BS that he thinks Desiree is into Sean but Sean is not into her. BS seems taken aback. He remains polite, because he is BS, and he says that he’s “crazy about” Des. Of course. Nate shoots back, “Crazy about a lot of girls, right?” BURN. BS admits that he doesn’t know which girl he is going to choose but when God tells him, he’ll know, or something. Nate tells BS that he thinks he’s a “playboy,” and BS insists that’s not him. BS is getting red-faced and flustered. But BS, come on, you’re dating four women. “Playboy” seems like sort of a mild term for what you’re doing. My impression of this whole exchange is that Nate actually doesn’t seem like a bad dude. He’s just trying to protect his sister from getting her heart broken on national TV and he’s going about it in sort of an unsubtle, slightly rude way. But BS seems deeply troubled by it. Deeply, deeply troubled.

Nate and BS come back in the house and Des starts crying and it’s uncomfortable. BS bites his lip and nods as Des’s dad talks about the weather. BS concludes that he is not sure he can picture himself in a family with Nate, since, you know, Nate didn’t instantly love him. Is BS really incapable of understanding where Desiree’s brother and Catherine’s mom are coming from? After BS leaves and Des and her parents tell Nate off. They all defend BS and for some reason, I find this scene really sad and poignant. No joke. Their family just kinda makes me sad. I hate that this show has the power to make me feel melancholy. Damn you, Season 17 of the Bachelor!!

The producers mix it up a little and give us a mid-show shirtless shot of Sean getting dressed for the rose ceremony. BS says he sees “question marks” about his future with Des and Catherine after their families failed to properly kiss his ass. So he sits down for a chat with Chris Harrison in a room littered with candles. When I say littered, I mean LITTERED. Candles everywhere. Major fire hazard. Anyway, BS says he’s “confused” and he has “no idea” who he wants to send home, but it’s going to be either Catherine or Des.

After they chat, Chris Harrison comes out to tell the ladies that they should be nervous, and they are. BS is about to hand out the roses when Des asks to speak to him alone. She apologizes to BS for how her brother acted, and starts crying. It’s uncomfortable. BS says it’s okay and gives her a hug, but doesn’t kiss her. Hmm. Catherine, meanwhile, says in a confessional that she is wondering what the hell is going on, and whether she should have pulled him aside. Which I think means she is not going home, because when would they have filmed that confessional? Right?? RIGHT?

AshLee gets the first rose, which is kinda surprising. I thought she was gonna go home before I saw this episode, you know? Lindsay gets the next one. And, finally, after a long, glazed-eye stare, BS puts the rose down, lowers his head dramatically, and walks out of the room. That music that they play on Intervention (not the happy, post-rehab music, the pre-rehab, throes-of-addiction music) plays as BS pores over the women’s photos.

BS walks back in and gives Catherine the final rose. Des looks sad slash pissed. I do feel bad for her, even though the entire concept of this show is ridiculous. It actually makes me sad to think that her relationship with her brother might now be ruined because of this dumb show. Hopefully they’ll get over it, because this. sh*t. is. not. real.

BS walks Des out and they sit on a bench and he tells her that she has “every quality” he’s looking for in a wife and he kinda worries he’s making a mistake by sending her home. Desiree tells him she does think he’s making a huge mistake and that she could make him the happiest out of all the contestants. BS looks like maybe he might be swayed, but maybe he’s just uncomfortable. Hard to tell. After a long pause, he walks her to her pensive limo. He tells her he’s going to miss her and ugh, this is SO PAINFUL. Just say goodbye and be done with it. Either you want to marry her or you don’t. It’s that simple. They hug for a really long time and whisper things and then, finally, Des gets into the pensive limo. Sad string music plays as she drives off the Bachelor Manse property.

In her pensive limo, Des says she doesn’t know what she’s going to do about her life, which seems a liiiittle dramatic. Maybe look up that actor that played your fake ex-boyfriend? Just spitballing here.

So apparently, there’s a sit-down with BS called “Sean Tells All,” and I have it in my iTunes queue, but I have done too much blogging for today, so I think I am just gonna watch it without typing. But never say never. So, until next week, probably, when we are treated to a window into the “romantic overnight dates.” FANTASY SUITE TIME. See you then!

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