Tonight, on The Bachelorette! The Producers coax a 26 year old kid that lost his mom to cancer as a teenager (subsequently devastating his entire family) to air his dirty laundry on national television! And then they send him packing! Why? ‘Cos ratings, baby! Yay, Bachelor! But first, let’s go through 3 relatively uneventful Hometown dates before we exploit young Dean, shall we?
Eric – Welcome to Baltimore
Didn’t this jump-hug thing start during Farmer Chris’s season? Do you think Rachel actually planned to do this, or The Producers made it a permanent ‘feature’ of the show, and she’s contractually required to jump into every guy’s arms? Stay tuned – we’ll find out!
– The general theme of Eric’s date is that he grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood in Baltimore. His dad and uncle were mixed up with the wrong crowd, and mom was tough on him. Eric tried to walk the straight and narrow, and here he is today.
– Rachel talks about the pressures of being the first black Bachelorette, how she’s being judged by both black and white viewers, and how she’ll be criticized no matter who she chooses. She has to balance that with trying to be color-blind and treat this like any other season – after all, it’s just about a girl trying to find love, it shouldn’t have to be bigger than that. It’s a tough position to be in, and so far she’s been faultless.
– Ralph wins the Wingman of the Century Award. That was one helluva sales pitch. I want Ralph to come to my house and explain to Lovely Better Half why I’m such a great guy.
– Honestly, I don’t have any jokes here. It’s a nice family, great date, everything was smooth. I like Eric a lot after this episode. The front he put up earlier in the season disappeared and he seems like a really nice guy. Rachel loved it, and more importantly, she likes him more every week – almost like a natural relationship. Lovely Better Half is convinced he wins it all. I still think Bryan’s in the lead, but Eric’s definitely in the Finale.
Speaking of Bryan, Bienvenidos A Miami!
Two for two, this is how streaks start….
Welcome to Calle Ocho in Little Havana. A little dominoes, a little dancing, try on some hats, and then a scouting report on the parents. Dad is calm and reserved. Great! However, Bryan is an only child and his mom is on-fire-crazeballs protective over him. Rachel says, “Who cares?” and inhales Bryan’s face.
Hi Bryan’s family and Random Girl Who’s Presence is Never Explained. Mom gives a toast in Bryan’s honor and has a nervous meltdown at the table.
Mom’s a drinker…
Rachel asks Random Girl Who’s Stalked Bryan Since Junior High about his ex-girlfriend and why everything went sideways. Random Girl, momentarily overcome by raging jealousy, explains, “She was jealous of Bryan’s relationship with his mother! DUH, SHE’S HIS MOM! And whatever happened to that skank – and I’m not saying I had anything to do with it – it was her own demise! I would never come between Bryan and his mother. Because I love him. I loved him before you, before her, and I’ll love him long after you’re both gone…”
Wait – who are you again?
Next, Rachel talks to mom, and once again, The Producers are playing it up. Mom’s not crazeballs, she’s just overemotional and loves her son (Lovely Better Half was making fun of Mom, and I told her, “just wait until The Boy brings a girl home. You’re gonna lose your mind”). Everyone hits it off, everyone’s happy. Than Bryan tells Rachel he’s in love with her:
I think I just had an orgasm! Can you say it again, but this time in Spanish?
Rachel is in L-O-V-E, and I’m sticking with Bryan as the winner. You know who definitely doesn’t win, though?
Peter – Madison WI
Two is a coincidence, three is a pattern…
Peter and Rachel walk around a farmers market while teenage girls with cell phones scramble to get a picture.
Well, teenage girls and THIS guy…
What’s up with him? He’s like 65 years old. What’s he going to do, post it to his Instagram account? “OMG!!!! I just saw Rach and Peter looking TOTES HOT!!! I almost wet my Dockers!!! #thebachelorette #dying #relationshipgoals #hotdogonastick #farmersmarketfridays” People are nuts (says the grown man and father of two currently writing 2000 words about the Bachelorette). Next up, a surprise visit from some of Peter’s friends. The guys give Peter some advice (“Don’t fuck it up.”) while the girls tell Rachel…actually we don’t know what the girls talked about because The Producers decided not to film it. You know, because it’s not like this show is about Rachel or anything.
Time to meet the family. Everyone gather around the couch while Peter shares romantic stories about their journey so far.
Peter: So THEN, I grabbed Rachel’s ass!
Everyone: HAHAHAHA. Oh, Peter, you’re so silly!
Rachel: Why are you telling your parents you grabbed my ass?
Rachel talks with sis-in-law.
Hey, when Peter says that he’s a ‘business owner’, do you think that’s his business? Making miniature theater marquees that can be programmed to say anything? Nice product. I bet Rachel wants one that reads “Don’t tell your 3 year old niece that you grabbed my ass.”
Let’s talk to mom. So, Mom, do you think Peter is ready for commitment? “Well, if you mean ‘he won’t cheat on you’, then yes. If you mean a ring and a proposal and marriage and making it official in the eyes of the government and the good Lord above, well then, no.” Great! The emerging narrative here is Peter does not act like he wants to marry Rachel. Could be for any number of reasons, but mostly it’s because Peter does not want to marry Rachel. No desire. Peter wants to be the Bachelor. Don’t believe me? Well then, let’s take a trip through the way back machine to Peter’s senior yearbook photo.
Yeah. Again, it’s a race between Eric and Bryan at this point.
The Main Event – Dean & co in Aspen CO
Yeah, it’s officially a ‘thing’ now…
Alright, Dean’s mom died of cancer when he was 15, and it wrecked the entire family. Dean hasn’t even spoken to his dad in 2 years. The entire family hasn’t been under one roof at the same time in 8 years. Do the math – Dean was in high school the last time his family was in a room together. Remember this picture of the film crew from earlier in the season?
That’s a lot of people…
Trust me, bringing all of those people and a new girlfriend is not a healthy environment to mend any fences. Which leads to this interlude:
Lovely Better Half: Maybe that’s what The Producers are thinking. With the cameras around, people will be nicer and they can talk without it getting out of hand.
Me: That’s not what they’re thinking. They’re thinking it’s going to be a complete shitshow and they can get the whole thing on tape.
Which isn’t exactly what happens, but I still feel like I need a shower after watching it.
You and me both, Dean. You and me both….
Everyone watched it, you don’t need details. Dean’s dad is weird, with the gong and the chakra and the sitting on the floor. He and Dean argue, but there are no bad guys here; they’re both right and neither one of them is wrong. Dad lost his wife and was left to raise 3 kids on his own. There’s no script for that. There’s no ‘better way to handle it’. That’s like saying there’s a better way to handle getting hit by a bus. You’re not in control of the situation and you deserve some leeway in how you react.
Think about it. This is a show built around showing you what True Love looks like, right? Two people meet and they find True Love, and it’s a magical fairy tale! You know what True Love really looks like? Dean’s dad. A guy that loved his wife so much, that he still cries when he talks about her a decade after she’s gone. A guy that had to change everything about himself – his religion, his look, his clothes, the food he eats, the way he lives – because he couldn’t bear walking through his old life without Her. So yeah, he’s a little wacky and he says weird shit, but Dean’s dad is a guy that loved someone for real, and I’m not passing judgment on how he copes with that kind of a loss.
For his part, Dean was 15 years old, and his dad clearly wasn’t emotionally equipped to help his son deal with things. That sucks, and Dean has every right to be angry about it. Having to deal with the death of a parent with no one to lean on? That’s brutal. But Dad didn’t withdraw out of malice, he just couldn’t handle it himself, and Dean needs to let it go. As crazeballs as Dad is, he’s at least trying to process things, albeit in his own weird way. Dean is still holding on to this bitterness and it’s going to eat him up. Dude needs some therapy, and I don’t mean that as a joke or to be rude. He needs to work some things out, because you only get one family. He already lost his mom, it would be a shame if he lost everyone else, too. However Dean and his dad eventually build that bridge – and I hope they do – going on television is the absolute wrong way to do it. Yeah, I know, no one put a gun to his head. But, unlike ‘Mr. Senior Year I’m Gonna Be Famous One Day’ Peter, I don’t sense that Dean was eager to publicize this part of his life for one shot at fame.
Eventually, Rachel and Dean decompress while Dad waits outside.
Aren’t you guys gone yet?
Dean tells Rachel he’s falling in love with her. She tells Dean he’s a great guy. (LBH: “Rewind that and listen to it again.”) Rachel tells Dean, “I’m falling in love with you, too.” Whoa! Do we have a dark horse for the Finale, or is this another Bachelor Ben Slip-o’-the-Tongue? Let’s find out!
Rachel: Wow! Chris Harrison! What are you doing here?
Chris: I was in Dallas visiting my mom, thought I’d stop by. How was this week?
Rachel: This week was really hard.
Chris: What was hard about it?
Rachel: Well, showing up for the production, number one…
Chris: Hey. Easy there, smart ass. I can still have you replaced before the Finale. Josh Murray is always waiting in the wings.
Rachel: But he’s a guy…
Chris: Doesn’t matter. He’ll step in for anyone.
And there’s a big discussion about who said ‘I’m in love with you’ vs ‘I’m falling in love with you’ and I think they’re the exact same thing, and Lovely Better Half says they’re completely different. She says you can say ‘I’m falling in love’ to anyone; it’s like saying ‘I like you’. I think LBH is nuts because there’s a Grand Canyon sized leap between the two of those statements. There’s a lot of people I ‘like’ that I’m not ‘falling in love’ with. Whoever’s right, I’m positive I don’t say ‘I love you’, or ‘I like you’, or both, enough. Let’s line up the boys.
Your life is about to get suite:
Bryan – obvious first pick
Eric – LBH has a theory about 2nd pick from this week winning overall.
Peter – whatever
So, thanks Dean, for pouring your emotional baggage all over the floor for America to gawk at. Now fuck off. This feels wrong. If Rachel wasn’t interested, she should’ve sent him home last week. Whatever. LBH thinks he’s the next Bachelor. I don’t know. I hope he goes to Paradise and hooks up with Taylor; she’s a psychiatrist, might help him work through some stuff. And I DO mean that as a joke, by the way. Jesus, can you imagine that self-righteous know-it-all trying to help anyone? You’re better off paying her $200 an hour to shut up. Dean should hook up with Kristina, get a little perspective on life. “You think your father is bad? In Russia, my mother send me to orphanage after I get hungry and eat lipstick.” All kidding aside, Kristina and Dean would make a great couple. They could actually relate to each other, and they’d have the hottest kids in the world. Like if Dave Franco and Anna Kendrick had babies.
Next week, Viva España! Fantasy Suites, drama, et al. See you then, my friends…
And now, Mom thinks Bryan is too skinny and has a bad haircut.