Another week, another two hours of The Bachelor and I am left wondering, once again, why this show is two hours long. Now that Molechelle is gone, let’s be honest — nothing good is going to happen. This week we have hometown dates — Brad is going to see where the women grew up and meet the people who fucked up their lives so badly that they believe they can find love on reality television.
“Somewhere, out there/Beneath the pale moon light…”
Anyway, this week’s episodes begins in New York City because… well, I’m not really sure why it opens in NYC. Brad’s not from there. None of the bachelorettes are from there. The only thing that happens there is that Brad puts on a jaunty cap, stands out on a balcony and does his trademarked Thinkin’ Pose. Just a guy. In a cap. Thinkin’ ’bout a girl. Or rather thinkin’ ’bout four girls.
There’s Chantal O. She’s totally different from all of the other women. She’s not timid or shy — here he relieves her slapping him in the face. Brad says he doesn’t hold anything back when he’s with Chantal and in a lot of ways, he wants her to be his wife. But they do have some issues and most of those revolve around the fact that Chantal is on an emotional roller coaster and Brad may want to ride Chantal, but he does not want to ride her emotional roller coaster.
Side note about Chantal and last week’s recap…. I did not mean to imply that Chantal is fat. I don’t think she’s fat. She’s a rather average size and I think she’s the most attractive woman left on the show. However — I truly feel that if one is going to be on television in a bikini, one should suck in one’s gut and flex one’s abdominals. I don’t care what size you are, you just can’t go on national TV letting your little gut hang out. I also have a rule about wearing short shorts. One can wear them — though preferably with high heels — if one is willing to hover an inch or two above one’s chair. Otherwise, you sit all the way down and all your cellulite pops in like “hey! who’s in the mood for cottage cheese?! It’s on this girl!”
Back to what’s going on inside Brad’s head, though, besides a cold, whistling wind. He thinks about Ashley and how outgoing, energetic and bubbly she was on their first date. And how she’s been “retracting” ever since. Brad says he’s never had any second thoughts about Ashley, but she sure has.
Shawntel N., he thinks, is beautiful, unassuming and fun. No roller coasters, games or drama. And he thinks she means it when she says she’s falling in love.
And then there’s Maude Emily. Brad recalls Emily telling him that her former fiance was “the absolute love of my life.” Brad feels the bar has been set very high for any man to enter Emily’s life. But she’s what he’s looking for in a wife.
Now that he’s gotten the hard part of the show out of the way, Brad stops thinking, adjusts his little cap, and heads out of NYC.
First stop is Seattle and Chantal O. Since she’s representing Seattle, Chantal is dressed all in black. She’s got an ugly red scarf for color. She feels that her parents are great judges of character, so she’s going to need their approval before she moves forward with Brad. The two of them head to Chantal’s house so that Brad can meet her cats and dog.
Behold! The slimming effects of black and a strategically-placed accessory.
Her dog greets them at the door. It’s wearing a t-shirt and my opinion of Chantal begins to plummet. They also meet a cat that looks completely disgusted by Brad. Chantal wants to make sure that Brad has plenty of room for her animals and her clothes. I say someone’s doing some serious chicken counting and Brad hasn’t even laid any eggs yet.
People with these sorts of dogs should just go ahead and play with teddy bears. It’s just as satisfying for the person and less humiliating for the animal.
Later, they go meet Chantal’s parents who live in a giant house four blocks away. Chantal’s brother (Conner), dad (Michael) and mom (Billie Jo) look like very well-kept people. In fact, Billie Jo has so much botulism shot into her forehead that it actually looks years younger than Chantal’s. They sit in their fancy, schmancy living room in giant furniture with giant goblets on the table.
Rich people like to feel dwarfed — both metaphorically and literally — by their immense wealth.
Billie Jo has color-coordinated her eyeshadow to Michael’s deep purple shirt. Chantal and Brad talk about their first meeting, in which Chantal smacked Brad in the face. Billie Jo’s eyes are surprised by this revelation, but her forehead remains unimpressed.
“They have to use this much Botox to make me look so rigid.”
Later, Michael takes Brad outside to show him a terrifying statue. It’s an image of a man carving himself out of rock. Because he’s a self-made man. Get it? The statue man should hit everyone over the head with his hammer for that one. So Brad and Mike talk about the importance of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, especially if you don’t have a dad looking out for you.
…or self *pleasure* man?
Later, Michael gives Brad and Chantal the family blessing, should Brad choose Chantal over the other three women who are out to get his love. Mike says he’d be proud to have Brad as a son-in-law. Blessing received, Brad takes off to see the next woman on his list of potential love mates.
Preparing to go into excitable Muppet Mode in 3… 2… 1…
Next stop is Bumblefuck, Maine, where Ashley is waiting excitedly. When Brad arrives, they go to the restaurant where Ashley worked while she was in high school. Because they’re practically Canadian, everyone there is naively nice, speaks French and eats really unhealthy food called poutine, a delicate melange of fries and cheese curds smothered in beef gravy.
Now that’s some mighty fine dinin’.
When the waitress approaches them and begins to speak French, Brad replies in Espanol and immediately embarrassed by his ignorance. When they get their poutine, Brad digs in, saying it looks better than sushi. He’s mixing up all sorts of cultural references today, huh? Ashley insists that they not use forks to eat the poutine and feeds Brad. It would be romantic, except she uses the opportunity to inspect his mouth for crowns, like a true dentist.
Later, they pick up fixings for a lobster dinner and go to Ashley’s parents’ home, where the entire family wiggles around, pants and squeals like over excited puppies. Ashley’s sister, Tattoo, is especially excited.
Later, Ashley’s stepdad quizzes Brad and wants to make sure he’ll be supportive of Ashley’s dental career and desire to dance around in her drawers. The conversation makes Brad question whether or not Ashley is ready for a proposal and family. Things are left up in the air a bit.
Next stop on Brad’s tour of love is Chico, California. We see one of those hokey, locally made commercials for the Newton-Bracewell Funeral Home, where Shawntel N. works. The whole family and dog are in the commercial, which features stilted script-reading by Shawntel and a guy that I assume is a relative. These people really put the fun in funeral.
Funeral home chic… Her style is… to die for!
Brad meets Shawntel at Chico’s biggest tourist trap, the Mausoleum and Crematory. Shawntel shows him around and engages him in sexy, dirty talk about whether or not he wants to be cremated. Later, she has him lie on a prep table, puts on a face mask and shows him how she prepares bodies for embalming. Brad is a little freaked out, especially when she whips out a scalpel. Brad says he doesn’t handle death very well. Not a good sign, considering that death is Shawntel’s bidness.
Not nearly as sexy as Brad thought it was going to be…
Later, they talk about the possibility of Shawntel moving to Austin and she says that she could do a lot of embalming there. And then come to make love to him, smelling of embalming fluid and funeral home flowers. She interviews that no man has ever laid on a prep table for her before, and it means a lot that Brad did it.
They go on to visit Shawntel’s family, which looks like a pleasant, stereotypical American family in their average, tacky home. Her dad has a fabulous, lustrous, gay mustache. Shawntel’s sisters look nothing like her — they’re perky and blonde.
“OMG! Someone brought daddy some Grade A man meat!”
Daddy Mustache is not feeling this whole thing. He gets a smack on the back of the head for saying the Shawntel lost out on a rose by making Brad lie on the prep table. Later, he tells her that if she moves away to Austin, it will ruin all his family succession plans for his funeral homes, where we put the fun in funeral. Shawntel says she’s going to pray that everything works out… in other words, dad, she’s not staying around so you can retire and enjoy all the cash you’ve made off of grieving families.
After dinner, Shawntel walks Brad out and tells him that she’s falling in love with him. He doesn’t say anything but hugs and kisses her goodbye.
We’ve finally come to the hometown date we’ve all been waiting for. At a park in Charlotte, North Carolina, Emily is explaining to her daughter Ricki that she’s made a new friend, just like Ricki does at school. The big difference is that Emily wants to do some grownup wrestling with her new friend, whereas Ricki shouldn’t do that until she’s much older.
So Emily’s new “friend” approaches and Ricki looks pretty terrified. I don’t blame her. I can’t imagine how big and hairy Brad looks to a tiny two-foot tall person. This does not bode well for Brad who knows that without Ricki’s approval, he’ll never get to grown-up wrestle with Emily. The good news, though, is that he’s brought a bribe. While I think a sackful of cash makes the best bribe, Brad has brought a butterfly kite for Ricki, who he insists on calling “Little Ricki,” which makes me think of Little Richard. While I think it would be great if Ricki broke out singing “Good Golly Miss Molly,” she doesn’t and the nickname just serves as a reminder that there was once a Big Ricky, who was killed in a horrific plane crash.
“Mommy! Don’t let the giant monster get me!”
The bribe works, though, and Ricki warms up to Brad, even though the commericals for this episode led us to believe that she would hate him. They fly the kite and go home and play and then it’s bedtime for Ricki. She totally pretends to be asleep when Brad comes to say goodnight to her.
Adorable little faker.
Later, during grownup time, Emily gives Brad clear signals to kiss her. He doesn’t feel comfortable doing that with Little Ricki upstairs pretending to be asleep. He tells Emily that he’s just going to give her a hug, tell her he’s thinking about her and say goodnight. That, he says, will mean more than any kiss ever would. Emily sure doesn’t think so and points out that if they end up together, Ricki will always be upstairs and they’ll never get to fool around.
As she walks Brad to the door, Emily assures him that a kiss would be OK and he finally caves, making out with her in the doorway. Hmmm. If he was worried about privacy, maybe kissing in front of all the neighbors isn’t such a good idea. In any case, he says he’s happy that he did because “my god, kissing this woman is so perfect.”
Glad someone finally manned up… too bad it wasn’t Brad.
After their perfect kiss, Brad heads back to NYC where he recaps his hometown dates with Chris H. Brad says very nice things about all the women and their families. Then Chris H. points out that Ashley is the only woman who didn’t express her love for Brad this weeks. Will Brad feel bad giving Ashley a rose and sending home a woman who’s in love with him, Chris wants to know. Hey! What a dirty little instigator this Chris Harrison is, huh? What a tattletale!
Brad assures Chris that he’s basking his decisions on his own feelings and doesn’t really care what the women feel. Also, he gets in a dig at the women who were on his last season by saying that this season’s hometown dates are so much better than the last time. The women are more beautiful, the families more wonderful, and the dinners are more delicious. The Spanish, however… not as good.
Rose ceremony time… and I may have to take back what I said earlier about Chantal O. My goodness… the hair… the dress… not flattering at all. She looks like that one girl who you went to high school with who always looked and acted much older than everyone else. And she never showed up to class but did come to prom and she brought her 35-year-old boyfriend and they were both clearly an altered state of mind when they arrived and you knew horrible, horrible things were going to happen in the back of his El Camino later that night.
Suck it in just a little longer, girls! There’s only 10 minutes left in the show….
First rose goes to Ashley (I don’t get that at all). Next rose goes to Emily. Chantal O. gets the final rose and waddles over to hug Brad.
Chris H. comes out to smugly tell Shawntel N. that it’s the end of the road. She’s pretty upset that her dreams of roleplaying her embalming fantasy have come to an end. Brad takes her to the side because he wants to talk to her where no one can hear them except for the camera guys, sound guys and production assistants. And all of us. He tells her that he thinks highly of her, but he didn’t feel the way a man should when she told him that she loved him.
He walks her to the limo. Shawntel interviews that this was all a total shock to her and she saw herself marrying Brad, who is perfect and treated her like a princess and she’s never been treated so well before. That’s pretty sad. Men! Treat women better! I’m serious about this!
Back upstairs, Brad reveals to the other women that they’re now headed for South Africa! Ashley jumps up and down excitedly. To be honest, Emily looks like she’s ready for this whole shebang to be over. I don’t blame her. This is exhausting. They need to cut this show down to an hour. Watching other people get tricked into thinking they’re falling in love is only interesting for so long.
So… what do you think? Did Bradley make the right decision? Will the women ever get to meet his family, including his brother Chadley? Do you think Shawntel’s dad was happy his daughter got cut so he can retire and put more time into grooming his lustrous mustache? Can they just announce that Brad and Emily end up together, already?!