This week of The Bachelor were the dreaded HOMETOWN DATES. It's the type of drama that makes a woman stress-chug champagne from a bottle, like JoJo's mom does:
JoJo's mom—drinking wine straight out of the bottle—is the real MVP. #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/0qiqGjBtcM— Molly Fitzpatrick (@mollyfitz) February 23, 2016
JoJo arrives home to find a bouquet of roses and a note! Surely it's from Ben, the nice guy from the TV show who has given her roses and written her notes on the TV show!
It's from a dude named Chad, her apparent ex. She immediately starts crying because SHE JUST WANTED TODAY TO BE HAPPY.
So, let's think of the logistics of this scenario here. I can think of three possible ways swervin'-ass Chad got his note and flowers to JoJo's door at the exact moment she arrived home, just minutes before Ben's arrival.
1. Swervin'-Ass Chad is stalking the hell out of JoJo
2. Swervin'-Ass Chad and JoJo are actually still friends, to the point where they might've exchanged texts about when she was coming back to town
3. ABC, which plans out all these flights and had a camera crew waiting for JoJo, tipped off Swervin'-Ass Chad to her imminent arrival and made sure she would be filmed reading his love letter
Without ever seeing this guy, he's got some creepy vibes, so (1) could be true. A lot of people are still friends with their exes, so, yeah, maybe (2) is true. But let's be real: It's (3.) If you wonder why so few couples end up working out from The Bachelor, it might have to do with the fact that this show's producers are totally fine with you reading a love letter written by your ex-boyfriend moments before your new TV boyfriend walks in, as long as they can film it, because it is AWESOME television.
Anyway, let's skip over everybody else for now because JoJo's home visit is the only interesting one! First of all, look at her damn house.
JoJo lives in a house assembled from a "So, You're A Cocaine Kingpin!" starter set. Look at Ben failing to comprehend the majesty of this dishware:
Damn, son, that is some fine-ass dishware. If I had to host a televised dinner at my house, my mom would spend days scrambling around town to purchase dishes that looked fine enough for a national TV audience. JoJo's house? Hell, oh, we BEEN had fine-ass national TV ready dishware. LET US SERVE DESSERT, TOO. WE GOT DOPE-ASS DESSERT PLATES, TOO, AND A GLASS FOR YOU TO DRINK SHERRY OUT OF SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR SHERRY CONSUMPTION. AND IF YOU DON'T LET US SERVE YOU SHERRY WE'LL NEVER GET TO SHOW IT ON TV.
Anyway, things take a turn because JoJo's brothers don't take it easy on Ben. They sit there, looking right through his non-fancy-dish-owning face.
Most people in these scenarios are somewhat hesitant. Maybe they'll ask questions like "so what do you see in my sister?" or "are you serious about this?" which he answered with a smile. These guys accuse Ben of brainwashing their sister and scripting his answers. What could make these dudes so caustic and distrusting of the reality TV love show lifestyle?
Oh, what, you forgot about JoJo's brother Ben, the guy from the Eva Longoria-produced NBC dating show "Ready For Love?"
Of COURSE you forgot about JoJo's brother Ben, the guy from Eva Longoria-produced NBC dating show "Ready For Love." The show was garbage and pulled from air after three episodes. Nobody watched it, and those who did said it was outrageously bad. On the show, Ben got engaged to a girl named Angela, whom he broke up with shortly thereafter. I didn't even know this show existed: only reason I know all this is because I googled "jojo bachelor" this morning because I'm a journalist.
Perhaps this non-Ben Ben is genuinely trying to protect his sister from the dark side of reality TV love. Maybe he remembers what it was like to go through this process, where nobody cares if your relationship actually works out so long as the cameras get every gross detail. And you know what? He's not wrong. Remember when the producers just put JoJo in a bad situation by allowing her ex to send her a love note right before she met the guy she was hypothetically trying to marry?
Maybe this guy has been hurt before, and wants to avoid the same for his sister. Maybe his experience allows him to see the dishonesty none of us can see in Ben.
Or maybe Failed Reality TV Star Ben is just jealous of Actual Reality TV Star Ben. Either way, he finally made a good TV segment for once in his life, so that's good.
* * *
The other drama in this episode surrounded Amanda, who Has Kids. This meant Ben wasn't just meeting her parents, but also her kids. For the previous seven episodes of this show, Amanda's kids were nothing but an off-screen talking point (and oh boy, were they talked about) but now, we realize that holy crap, they're actual adorable human children.
Ben, Amanda and the kids frolic on the beach, doing stuff kids who don't quite know how to talk yet love to do, like chasing seagulls and making stuff out of sand. (Not pictured: Crying and pooping.)
Up until now, these kids were presented to us just a plot point. They differentiated Amanda from the other characters -- she was the one who Had Kids -- and proved to us that Ben was serious about this process -- so serious, he might become a stepdad after the cameras turn off.
Monday night, we were reminded that these kids are also very real human children, toddlers at a formative age who just spent about two months separated from their mom for the sake of a stupid freakin' TV show. And now, for apparently the first time in their young lives, their mom is introducing them to a man in her life who isn't their dad.
Then, at the end of the episode, Ben tells Amanda that she is his least favorite of the four remaining women. There are a few ways this could've been explained well. Here, I wrote down a few.
- I loved meeting your kids and they taught me a lot about you. It also taught me a lot about myself, and I'm simply not ready for the responsibility of fatherhood -- I hope you find a man who is.
- Man -- I didn't realize it until this week, but this is a crazy situation this stupid show placed us in. I met you about seven weeks ago, and a few days ago I met your children, who I would hypothetically have to raise and love as if they were my own. I mean, what if it turns out we're not meant to be together, which is quite possible, considering 17 of the 19 couples on this show have broken up. is it worth the potential scarring factor on your kids to introduce them to a new father figure based on a few weeks of fun dating? These are a lot of ramifications of this experience I hadn't considered that this experience has suddenly caused me to reconcile with, and I'm sorry if the way it's gone down has caused you emotional pain.
- You know, I've always wanted kids. But until the past few weeks, I've never considered the idea of having somebody else's children. At first, I embraced it with open arms. But could I raise them as my own? What if I wanted to have my own children at some point in my life -- experience the unique experience of passing on my genetic material to another human -- would I ask you to have another child, even as you already have two? Is two enough kids for me? Would three be too many for you? Could I love both sets of kids equally? What if I couldn't? Would you love me less for it? These are real issues, and although people can and do work through these things all the time, we simply don't have time in the short time span allotted to us by this show.
Jesus, your kids are garbage! What the hell is wrong with those stupid kids? I'm much taller, smarter, and more handsome than they are!(sorry, this was actually a line he was not supposed to use)
Here's what Ben went with:
"I don't think I knew during the hometown date that things weren't continuing. It took processing and seeing how the other relationships were building and like, how the other hometowns went and seeing that my feelings for other women were stronger."
Ben! Oh, sweet, stupid, incredibly boring Ben! No!
Amanda handles it well, but after being escorted into The Bachelor's signature Weeping Limo, she explains the pain she feels: She had never let anybody meet her kids, had never met anybody willing to go along with her complicated situation finally let her guard down for Ben, and had finally begun imagining a future. Then she told she wasn't good enough. Meanwhile, Ben starts crying and talking to nobody in particular, eventually running out of words to say:
The producers of this show chose Ben because he's dull, a blank canvas capable of smiling and remaining inoffensive when the show's beautiful and interesting women drop chaos at his feet. The upshot of that was this scenario. He just broke the heart of the show's most sympathetic character, not because he's a malevolent guy, but because he was too shortsighted to go about this in any way besides "well, I liked the pretty lady and her kids, but I also liked the other pretty ladies?"
So, we're left with the most Ben moment of the season: Him yelling HEY, UH, WHOOPS, I'M SORRY, I ACTUALLY THINK YOU'RE A GOOD PERSON at a limo with a crying mom inside.
Next up is Caila! Actually, I'm pretty sure she wasn't next up, but deal with it. They go to her dad's toy factory, because her dad is CEO of a toy company! They "design a house," and then pour plastic into the enormous pre-made containers that they use to mass-produce toy houses, which kinda makes it clear they weren't exactly designing much earlier, but, whatever.
Ben carries Caila off, then doesn't carry her over the doorstep of their tiny toy house, which is a garbage missed opportunity. Then, Caila goes to her house, where we meet her Filipino mom and her white dad, who immediately starts talking and tells us how important Caila's Filipino culture is to her. Good job, white dads.
Lauren B.'s hometown date in Portland is pretty Portland -- they eat at food trucks! Wow! -- but the most important thing is that they go to a "whiskey library" where there are hundreds of whiskeys. It's a real place! Ben has told us how much he loves whiskey, so this is a perfect date.
Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of whiskeys. So many you need a ladder! It's beautiful. Ben must be in heaven. I could spend all day, sitting and enjoyi-
where are you going
YOU STILL HAVE LIKE HALF A GLASS OF WHISKEY
DON'T YOU DARE GO TO A FREAKIN' WHISKEY LIBRARY AND LEAVE WITHOUT FINISHING A SINGLE GLASS OF WHISKEY
I WAS OKAY WITH YOU ABANDONING A SINGLE MOM.
BUT NOW YOU'RE ABANDONING A SINGLE MALT.
AND YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR.
I WILL FIGHT YOU
I'm so angry
Why won't the boring man stop being so boring
Please make him stop
The Bachelor Power Rankings, Week 8
(Remember, these aren't power rankings of who will win, but rather power rankings of who will actually win by getting invited onto further Bachelor-related TV shows and therefore continue living in a semi-vacation with free booze and appear on TV often enough to get enough Instagram followers that you can make side money hawking beauty products.)
Now that I know this family's reality TV show pedigree, I know she's in it to win it (or get onto another reality TV show.)
She had kids.
My favorite part of this week was when Caila's white dad told us how important Caila's Filipino heritage was.
4. Lauren B.
The Bachelor is a great show because it's been kinda obvious Lauren is the eventual winner for like seven years now and I'm still watching! If I'm wrong I quit.