Well, that was a long 2 hours. The first 75% consisted of the 4 most boring hometown dates imaginable, and the last 25% was all tears and depression. Is it possible to make this even remotely entertaining? Maybe we can document the Five Faces of Andi! I know I’m reaching, but cut me some slack; this week was brutal.
We’re in Milwaukee, y’all! And Nick looks like he’s freezing because he’s wearing the same semi-sheer Rayon scarf the producers were pushing in Belgium, which is about as helpful in a Wisconsin winter as board shorts. They walk around a public market, wear cheese-heads, tour a brewery, drink Nick & Andi beer (I want my own beer. After this week, I’d call it “Edward’s Magic Numbing Sauce”), and then they do a polka, which, on a scale of 1 to Juan Pablo, rates at approximately a zero. Say what you want about Juan Pablo, but the man could move. Then, it’s time to meet Nick’s clan:
A family is a couple of sisters and maybe a weird uncle. That’s a group you have a generational rivalry with. Chris lives on a farm in Iowa and even he thinks that family is too big. “We can always use some help around harvest season, but not that much fucking help.” By the way, Nick’s mom looks surprisingly spry for a woman with 10 kids. I have one kid; most days I look like a 63 year-old homeless man; hats off to the lady for keeping it together. Nick makes the introductions and then they split off into the typical hometown interview pairings – Nick + sister, Andi + mom, Nick + mom (Nick cries – 1 for 1!), Andi + 2 different sisters – you get the point. In the one-on-one with the older sister, we get to see the first of Andi’s Five Faces – the Thoughtful-and-Serious-Frowny face:
Andi sits down with the little sister, who has a list of some basic questions, and Andi decides to reply in a Shakespearean monologue rather than the 5-10 word answers required. She’s hoping to enlighten this young lass with some brilliant life-lessons; instead, she gets this look:
“Hey, counselor! Why don’t you shut up and let me get through my list?” Nick asks little sis what they talked about, and Andi talked so much that the poor girl not only forgot what Andi said, she forgot the questions she asked – and she had them written down on a piece of paper. The sister does think Andi said she loved Nick. Or liked him. She’s so tired of listening that she can’t remember which one it was. On a side note, Andi actually remembered every sibling’s name, which might be the most impressive thing I’ve seen all season. They say goodbye at the :19 minute mark and we’re off to commercial.
Off to Iowa, where we see Chris walking through his backyard, which is approximately the size of Marin County. Andi meets him at the corner of No and Where, and we get to see her Super-Excited-Open-Mouth face:
They ride around in a tractor and sit down for a picnic. Andi questions whether or not she could live in Iowa, and wonders what she would do for work. Chris tells her she could stay barefoot and pregnant, popping out little manly Chris-babies to manage the farm as they get older. Cue Andi’s What-Did-You-Just-Say?-Frowny face:
Chris immediately back-pedals: “Or work for the Ceder Rapids district attorney’s office. You know, whatever’s cool with you…” Andi says she’s open to it, which means she thinks he’s hot and wants to make out with him some more, but there’s no chance in hell she’s moving to Iowa. Date finale: a plane flies by, towing a sign that says “Chris loves Andi!” Nice move, Farmer Chris. As your reward, make out with Andi a little bit more before commercial break.
Time to meet the family. The sister starts off by throwing Chris under the bus by making a fart joke and telling Andi he doesn’t wear underwear on the weekends. Everyone does the interview round-robin, and Chris doesn’t cry (1 for 2). I like this family; everyone gets along and they seem like nice, down-to-earth people. I don’t think Andi picks Chris in the end, but he has an outside shot as the next Bachelor. He’s a good looking, successful guy. Maybe a little too nice (might be lacking in the drama department), but at least we can hear what he’s saying, as opposed to Marcus. They finish off playing hide and seek on the farm, and Andi magically finds Chris’s hiding spot, so they make out while the rest of the family watches. Not weird. Off to commercial at the: 43 minute mark.
Next up: Josh in Tampa. And he’s totally pumped! He’s been waiting for this moment forever! He’s gonna give her big hug and a kiss and he’s never gonna let her go! Ever! Even if she tries to get away, or calls the police, or security has to use a taser on him! He’s NEVER GOING TO LET HER GO!! Right off the bat, Josh takes her to a field to play baseball, because he’s trying to leave that part of his life behind and he doesn’t want to be judged as a typical athlete. Whatever. If any guy on this show is working solely to be the next Bachelor, it’s him. I think Andi knows he’s full of shit, but she loves her some alpha-male, so we get to see her fourth face, the Scrunchy-Crooked-Smile-Turned-On face:
Josh talks about baseball some more. Then he changes the subject to his brother’s football career, and Andi wonders when this day is going to start being about her. Don’t hold your breath, sister…
We meet the family, and Josh cries (2 for 3). From the beginning, it’s pretty clear that the world revolves around Young King Aaron. The whole conversation is about football, and training camps, and the draft. Everyone is kissing this kid’s ass. He even sits at the head of the table and gives the toast while dad watches in complete silence. I’m sorry, but my son could grow up to be President of the United States, and there’s not a chance in hell he’s taking my spot at the table. Why don’t you get out of my seat, Mr. President? And grab me a beer while you’re up. They talk about football some more, and Andi and Josh’s mom decide to leave so they can talk about something besides sports. Mom and sister go out of their way to warn Andi: this whole family, including Josh, is about Aaron. We’re going to every game, every Sunday – end of discussion. The sister even tells her that they’re going to fight about it. Translation: you’re going to all of Josh’s crap, and he’s not going to any of your crap. Warning alarms sound, and Josh has just moved out of the final two. They finish the day with – you guessed it! A family football game! Surprise, surprise…Touchdown at 1:05, then a commercial break.
Finally it’s time to visit the Gentle Desert Flower in Dallas. The first surprise of the day: Marcus is talking at a normal, conversational volume. I can actually hear what he’s saying; I’m not interested in the least, but I can hear him. He talks about how excited he is to introduce Andi to his family. Andi says she hopes her feelings can catch up to where Marcus is. Uh-oh; it’s not looking up for the good-looking kid. He takes her to an empty club and reenacts the striptease from the second episode. Out of all the things that happened between you two this season, this is the one you want to replay? The first time was uncomfortable; the second time is outright painful. Andi thinks he’s the hottest guy she’s ever seen, yet when he moves in for a kiss after his dance, she looks like she’s kissing JJ dressed in a Marcus-costume. For whatever reason, she is just not digging this guy. Maybe he senses it, and that striptease was less about her and more about making his case to be the next Bachelor. I’m hot! I’m sensitive! Pick me, America!
Time to meet the dysfunctional nucleus of this tender soul’s life. For all the drama and buildup about how broken these people are, they seem totally friendly and normal. Interviews, interviews, interviews…The one-on-one with the sister was particularly informative:
Sis: Does it bother you that Marcus can be…um…too caring some times?
Andi: I like the fact that he can be so open with me, and I want to see if I can catch up to that.
Sis: Marcus is kind of a pussy.
Andi: I know, which is why I’m not that into him. But he’s really hot, so I’ll talk him up to be the next Bachelor so I can stare at him on Monday nights while Nick and I plan our wedding.
Marcus sits down with older brother, and after a lifetime of hardship, picks tonight, cameras and all, to mend fences and thank his brother for being the father figure in his life. Strikes me as slightly manufactured for television, but he does it and he cries, making it 3 out of 4 guys crying tonight. Then, Marcus tells Andi he loves her. Andi says life with him would be a fairy tale – it’ll just have to be someone else’s fairy tale. Cut to commercial at 1:28.
Alright, the boring crap is out of the way, now for the depressing part. We open at Chris Harrison’s house, and this time I’m not even kidding! I’m so bummed, we finally get to see Harrison’s real house, and the situation is so somber, I can’t make a joke about it. His house is awesome, by the way. He seriously got this place for hosting the Bachelor for 12 years? I want to be this man. Chris greets the guys in his lounging blazer, because that’s how he rolls when he’s at home. And speaking of outfits, Marcus is taking the suggested wardrobe a little too seriously:
Shorts, t-shirt, and the infamous scarf – 1) If it’s warm enough to wear shorts, you don’t need a scarf. 2) The fact that he’s wearing it in LA proves that it was completely useless for Nick in Milwaukee. Andi shows up and they drop the bomb: Eric Hill was killed paragliding in Utah. Everyone is shocked. The crew puts the cameras down and everyone exchanges hugs. Of course, they set their cameras down at the exact angle to catch the whole thing on film. I don’t want to say it’s contrived, that would be a little too harsh; it does seem a little voyeuristic, though. Either way, it’s all extremely sad and everyone is pretty upset over the whole thing.
But, the show must go on. Andi and Chris Harrison sit down for a pre-ceremony chat. Andi is still broken up, but Chris talks her off the ledge and gets her ready for the ceremony. She walks out, starts to ramble a little, gets overwhelmed, and has to leave the room to collect herself. One more commercial break…
(Can I mention again how excited I am for Bachelor in Paradise? Isn’t Drunk Craig tailor made for a show like this or am I holding out too much hope? Also, it’s nice to see that Crazy Cody recovered from the tragic heartbreak of getting dumped by Andi in time to join the cast of Whore Island. I’m sure his feelings were genuine the whole time.)
Back to the ceremony. Moving on:
Aaron Murray, QB, Kansas City Chiefs– Sorry, I mean Josh. 22 minutes spent on his date, shortest of the also-rans. The more I think about it, the more he’s the best choice for the next Bachelor. He’s more outgoing than Marcus, and with a brother in the NFL, he has more marketing potential than Farmer Chris.
Farmer Chris – 24 minutes. They were selling the Midwest hard in this segment. Probably the best guy here, but the lack of attitude and limited marketability on the coasts make him a long shot.
Nick – who’s wearing a salmon coat, so you know he’s feeling extra-super-confident tonight. 19 minutes on his date – the shortest by far. It’s a forgone conclusion that Andi is choosing him, and the producers wanted to focus on the other 3 as much as possible. Prepare for some rehearsed sit-downs between Chris Harrison and the other guys when the Men Tell All episode airs in a couple weeks.
That means Marcus is moving on. And we see Andi’s fifth and final face of the night: the I’m-Sad-Because-You’re-So-Nice-But-I’m-Dumping-You-Anyway face:
They talk for while. Andi tries to make peace, but Marcus is kind of a dick about it. She just found out a guy she argued with the last time she spoke to him died this week. In light of that, you have to let her off the hook and tell her that there are no hard feelings. But he goes the guilt trip route instead, and I think he shows his age a little by doing it. They spent 23 minutes on him tonight, so he must have a big following. I just think he’s too young and too sensitive for this show. Let the Bachelor lottery begin.
Next week: Dominican Republic. Chris rides a horse, Nick mauls her on a beach, and Josh plays baseball! I forget – has he played before?