This week’s episode of The Bachelor—the first of a two-night, mini-marathon—took us to each of the remaining contestants’ hometowns, where they got to wine and dine Juan Pablo and impress him by showing off a “real” piece of their everyday lives. Hey, I don’t know about you guys, but I defs shoot guns, totter around parks in ridiculous wedges, and pack beach-perfect picnics as part of my daily grind. I mean, durr. “Real” would have been seeing Renee try to, like, sell a house, or maybe getting a glimpse of who’s dumb enough to put their trust in Clare’s capable hairstyling hands. But onward.
Kansas City, MO: Nikki’s putting the “ho” in hometown
A small, naïve part of me puffed up a bit with hope when I spotted Nikki emerging from a clump of trees, dressed in more clothing in this one shot than we’ve seen her in so far throughout the entire season. For a moment, I thought that perhaps last week’s colossal embarrassment—i.e. meeting J.P.’s entire family, including his Babay Mama, while wearing a flowered muumuu and generally looking like Ke$ha—was enough to shame even Nikki into making a classy fresh start. But alas, she then proceeded to take Juan Pablo to a ribs joint featuring “gas station barbecue,” followed by an impromptu mechanical bull ride. So that was the end of that.
Niks, honestly—J.P. hooks you up and takes you to effing Vietnam, and you’re PROUD of the fact that you can’t be bothered to spring for more than an $8.00 slab of meat? Granted, I suppose this is really ABC cheaping out on the ribs, but still. J.P. seems more enthusiastic about these ribs than he’s been about any of the ladies all season, and he attacks the meat with pretty much the same gusto/focus with which he pounces on Clare from week to week.
After a joint mechanical bull ride (yes, yes, insert all sorts of puns here), J.P. and Nikki head to the trailer park—oh, jokes, she actually lives in a really nice pad, with really nice, seemingly normal parents. Boring, supportive conversations ensue. Nikki’s parents must think she’s a real prize, to be practically throwing her at a cad she met on national TV.
Nikki considers telling J.P. she loves him, but can’t seem to get the words out because his tongue is stuck too far down her throat. I think she’s just showing him some of that good old Midwestern hospitality, am I right?
Atlanta, GA: Hotlanta Brings a Chilly Reception
Next, we’re off to Andi, who seems to have developed an extremely strong Southern twang since we last saw her. Perhaps it’s being back in her hometown of Atlanta, which also happens to bring out her ombre hairstyle in a very serious way.
Ombre Andi takes J.P. to an indoor shooting range—you guuuys, cayy-ute! These two will actually go to any lengths necessary not to talk to each other, including voluntarily putting themselves in a situation where it’s literally impossible to hear, let along carry on any semblance of a meaningful conversation.
Luckily Andi’s dad, Hy (?!?), gets the convo ball rolling later when he basically verbally assaults J.P. about the legitimacy of his intentions, whose response is—as expected—to stare back at him blankly and smirk. “Whas this mean, intention? Eez like bolt?”
Hy (?!?) is kind of a d-bag, and I’m totally loving it. From minute one you can tell he is over this whole thing—rolling his eyes at the happy couple’s stories of travels, playful gestures, etc etc. In an amazingly blunt talk with J.P., Hy (?!?) basically cops to being seriously dubious of J.P.’s motives in coming on the show, and unconvinced that J.P. is good enough for his daughter. Under equal suspicion is J.P.’s choice of shirt, which is sort of like a muscle tee but then also with differently-colored attached sleeves.
If Hy (?!?) is bad cop, Andi’s obviously sexually frustrated mom is drooling-hangdog-cop, as she basically begs Juan Pablo to dance for her and then practically shoves poor Andi out of the way so she can get a turn on the J.P.-go-round. Geez, lady, show a little pride—although being the pervy toad that he is, J.P. seems more than fine with it and would probably have tried for a little lip action with Andi’s mom had we not cut to a commercial break.
Sarasota, FL: Come to Daddy
In an epic bout of poor decision-making, Renee has decided to introduce her young son Ben to a man currently involved with four women simultaneously. If that’s not Mommy of the Year-worthy, I don’t know what is.
Ben is kind of geeky-adorable—those pink socks killed me—and Renee’s genuine happiness and emotion at seeing him again is super touching. Of course, El Rico Suave has to destroy the moment by making awkward pseudo-conversation with Renee’s kid, offering up such gems as “your mom, she always tell me she only miss you little bit”—I wonder if ABC will foot the bill for the years of therapy poor Ben will need thanks to J.P.’s attempt at sarcasm with an eight-year-old.
Meeting Renee’s parents is another Nikki-esque situation for J.P., who seems to be just coasting by on his good looks and foreign appeal in all of these hometowns (except for my man Hy—?!?—who wasn’t taking any of J.P.’s BS at face value.) My goodness, Renee’s mom, show a bit of fortitude here—this could be the stepfather to your GRANDCHILD! But no, it’s all teary-eyed hugs and joyful comments about how Renee’s never looked happier. And Renee’s dad, the supposed Tough Critic, is about as discerning as my favorite teddy bear.
Sacramento, CA: Home, home on the bay, where Clare and her bats**t crazy sisters play…
The final hometown is Clare, and in this case the ABC production team defs saved best for last. Finally, everything we’ve been waiting for: tearful confessions while throwing oblong-shaped chunks of bread at ducks! Stolen kisses by the water! Fugly, jealous sisters!
The date is standard enough: Clare tells J.P. that, before her dad passed away, he told her to throw rocks whenever she misses him. That just sounds like a slippery slope of violent behavior to me, but whatevs. Cue rock-throwing (IS THIS REALLY THE BEST IDEA, WITH ALL THE DUCKS AROUND?!) parlaying into bread-throwing (PHEW) and ending in many, many kisses. So pretty much the usual.
It’s back at Clare’s casa that all hell literally breaks loose, and it’s in the form of Ugly Sister #1, Laura, who seems to have gotten it in her head that J.P. is out to kill her Momma, and she must protect Momma as though her life depends on, including A) Not allowing Momma to speak and B) Looming ominously in the background at all times. Laura, that’s pretty racist, but whatevs—I just feel kind of bad for all the sisters, since it’s soo evident that Clare’s the (only) hot one by a long shot.
There’s an entire conversation that takes place between Clare, Momma, and Laura, where Momma literally doesn’t utter a single word as Clare and Laura cat-claw each other. Finally, it’s Juan Pablo, master conversationalist, who gets Momma to open up—and in J.P.’s own native tongue, nonetheless! He really does have a way with the ladies. They discuss some innocuous topics, and we learn that J.P. is not only dumb as rocks in English, but also in Spanish: in response to Momma’s question about the weather in Venezuela, his astute response is “hot but also not hot,” according to the translation at the bottom of the screen. Riveting.
Somehow J.P. gets Momma to agree to let him take Clare off her hands, should it come to that. I’m not sure Momma really gets what’s going on, but she seems content as hell to just wrap herself up in her shawl and scuttle on out of there. In a surprising turn of events, Laura goes from vilifying Juan Pablo earlier in the night to launching herself at him in a full body hug/assault when he’s leaving, and I must question her stability but am also like get it, girl.
I have a feeling I know where it’s going, and I’m right—poor Renee gets the axe, and is sent home bereft and befuddled. I honestly do feel a little bit bad for her, because she just seemed so gosh darn excited by the prospect of all J.P. has to offer (I’m drawing a blank.) As a consolation prize, J.P. offers Renee silence…and then some of his patented eyelid heavy petting … and then more silence… and then a limo.
So Renee drives off into the night, and Nikki, Andi, and Clare are left on the proverbial platter—until tonight where, in the second episode of a two-in-a-row treat, it seems like everything goes to pot. There’s a promo with a lot of crying, foreboding music as we survey the Fantasy Suite, Andi exclaiming “It’s not okay!” quite emphatically, and J.P. brooding.
I’m thinking E.D.? But you’ll have to tune in tonight to find out, and check back in with us on Wednesday for the full recap!