A mere two weeks ago, I looked at my television screen, unable to recognize some of the contestants still vying for Ben’s affection. And now, here we are, with only four women remaining, eager to reintroduce themselves to their families as the future Mrs. Higgins. I’d be willing to bet my life that none of the women remaining can name the literary reference.
First Hometown: Amanda
Ben heads to Laguna Beach
in hopes of spotting LC, Kristen, Steven and Talan to meet Amanda’s two babies. Ben finds Amanda frolicking on the beach in some shorts she borrowed from her two year old daughter, and a shirt (a word I use in the loosest way possible) that is missing essential elements such as a back, support, structure, and straps. The shirt threatens to expose her womanhood with every step she takes towards Ben. The ABC staff is on standby with double-sided tape and a black box. Right as I’m about to be horrified by Amanda’s shirt with wings, I see Ben’s shorts (?) that look like they were pasted on. Boxer-briefs are so the new shorts.
As the photo illustrates, the absurd outfits extended to the toddlers too. Gladiator sandals at the beach, on babies = totally practical.
The family of four spend the day idyllically running around on the beach. But, like all good things, they must come to an end. And they come to an end quickly during the car ride home. The ABC producers sit in the back of car with the two little girls and pepper them with questions about their dad’s lack of involvement and their mother’s failed marriage. As the girls cry the duration of the car ride home, Amanda looks like she needs a Xanax. She secretly curses the girls for acting their age as she tries to secure them a new daddy. Ben reminds himself over and over again that next week is the fantasy suite date. He can do this.
Back at Amanda’s house, Ben meets Amanda’s parents and sister. Amanda ditches the littlest one in her crib as soon as possible. Ben wonders if it’s acceptable to have a beer. Amanda’s fam asks Ben the expected questions, like can you be a dad, blah blah blah. They are all very nice people. And the answer is no, Ben is not ready for this.
To end the hometown date, ABC exploits the situation just a tad more by making Ben read a fairytale to the children about his relationship with their mother. Way to secure these children therapy for the next 25 years.
Second Hometown Date: Lauren
Ben travels to Portland next to visit Lauren B. Ben, as an aspiring hipster, is thrilled with the opportunity to visit such a hip city. Lauren does everything right: she takes him to the trendy part of town where they gorge on food truck delectables, including grilled cheese, which Lauren B pretends is a regular part of her diet; they hit up the coziest, coolest whiskey library (which Lauren improperly pronounces as “libary” like one of Amanda’s children); and last but not least, Lauren’s date does not include any screaming children. Lauren is winning.
When they are appropriately boozed up, Lauren and Ben head to Lauren’s house to meet her father-clone, mother, sister, two little brothers, and 18 year old dog (adorable). They look like they just stepped out of a Vineyard Vine’s photo-shoot. Lauren’s family calls her LoLo. Just leaving that out there.
LoLo’s sister takes the first opportunity to nab Ben and grill him about their relationship.
- LoLo’s sister: LoLo is smart, beautiful, funny, hardworking, super skinny, bottled blonde, etc. A million guys could easily fall in love with her. Why do you think she’s so special?
- Ben: Um. For all the reasons you just said?
- LoLo’s sister: Um hm.
- Ben: I don’t know. [starts crying].
LoLo’s sister wants to hear straight from the horse’s mouth, what said horse is thinking. And no I’m not calling Lauren a horse. It was a cliche gone wrong. LoLo tells sister, “I feel like Ben is my person.” Dear god, LoLo, please refrain from quoting Gray’s Anatomy. K, thanks.
Dad tells Lauren, “I don’t want my baby LoLo hurt.” I throw up a little in my mouth.
Third Hometown Date: Caila
Ben meets Caila in her current hometown, Hudson, Ohio. It’s a slice of sweet midwestern charm. Caila takes Ben to a swinging bench to make out and fulfill her high school wishes. Ben happily obliges.
When Caila’s lips get chapped, she takes Ben to her father’s toy company where they design their own house. When the designing is done, they actually build the house in the factory. It’s adorable. Also, Caila, free legal advice: make sure you get a prenup. As Ben carries Caila out of the factory, Caila says she knows Ben is the one. She knows she is going to marry Ben. Hope you just knocked on wood, girlfriend.
Back at home, Ben meets Caila’s adorable mother (you rock those braces, momma!), CEO dad, and younger brother. They are such a sweet family. Also, I would kill for homemade Filipino food.
Caila’s mom steals Ben away to get to know him. I can’t get over her youthful glow. She has no wrinkles. Ben should definitely procreate with Caila–their children will be beautiful! Meanwhile, Caila tearfully tells her dad that she knows, “this is it.” Caila’s dad tries to stifle his laughter. “Sweety,” he says in a tone which translates to get a grip, you are better than this. Caila tells her dad we all make mistakes, just like you and those orange pants.
Caila’s mom has a totally different reaction to the news of Caila’s recently discovered love. She instructs Caila to jump on Ben and tell him how you feel. Like all the ladies before, Caila chickens out and can’t get the words, “I love you,” out of her mouth.
Fourth Hometown Date: JoJo
The first three days were so normal. ABC had to do something to spruce up this episode with the last hometown date. They pull out all the stops – a reconsidering, desperate ex-boyfriend, drunk possessive brothers who verbally abuse Ben, and a mom who drinks straight from the bottle. Let’s dive right in.
In Dallas, JoJo arrives at her apartment to find flowers outside her door. Aw, she muses, my sweet Ben is so thoughtful! She starts reading the accompanying love-letter, feeling her love for Ben grow. The note references the fact that JoJo has been gone for 39 days.
Wait. Hit the breaks. These people have only been on this show for 39 days and yet, YET, they are actually contemplating MARRIAGE. Pump. The. Breaks. Someone. PLEASE.
It takes JoJo reading at least half the letter before she realizes it is from the evil Stephano (Legally Blonde anyone?), I mean Chad. JoJo recoils in horror, “no!” But yes, JoJo. This is all part of ABC’s plan. They get JoJo right where they want her- crying, emotional and dialing her ex Chad. Chad keeps up his end of the bargain, answers her call, and pretends to be interested in her. It’s the easiest $500 Chad has ever made.
JoJo fanatically hangs up the ABC iPhone when Ben pulls up to her house. At first Ben thinks JoJo is crying at the sight of him, but soon realizes that makes no sense. JoJo fills Ben in on the drama. Ben looks annoyed. JoJo pretends like she’s done with Chad. 10 bucks says Chad and JoJo are back together at this very moment.
As though this drama wasn’t enough, ABC has agreed to pay JoJo’s brothers to treat Ben like total dirt. Bring it on!
Ben and JoJo roll up to JoJo’s mansion, which I assume JoJo’s mom’s botched plastic surgery medical malpractice suit paid for.
Ok. Guys. What in the world. JoJo’s brother Matt basically tries to make out with JoJo upon her entrance into the house. She can’t get him off of her. It’s really bizarre and creepy. JoJo’s other brother, Ben, is her step-brother, and appeared on his own dating reality tv show “Ready for Love,” not that I watched the entire canceled show or anything. He also appears to be in love with JoJo.
JoJo and her mom retreat to one of the 22 bedrooms to have a conversation about JoJo’s feelings for Ben. It becomes very obvious that the mom has no idea what this show is about, how it works, or how to register emotions properly anymore. JoJo tells her mom she’s falling in love with Ben. “I just don’t want to get hurt,” says JoJo. Mom replies, “you’re not going to get hurt, you’re beautiful!” Let’s take a moment and dissect that. In the legal world, we call that a non-sequitor. It does not follow, lady. “But mom, there are three other girls involved.” Oh, says mom, completely clueless.
Before I can even say Chris Harrison, the whole family unravels and I feel like I’m watching a scene from the Godfather.
Brother Ben walks into the kitchen and accuses Bachelor Ben of brainwashing the women. Apparently JoJo is incapable of thinking or feeling for herself? There is no way she can have any emotional investment in Ben unless he brainwashed her? But no sooner can I answer these pressing questions when mom picks up a champagne bottle and DRINKS STRAIGHT FROM THE BOTTLE.
That actually happened.
Dad leans over to Mom and gently reminds her the cameras are rolling and they have plenty of available expensive stemware.
Brother Matt accuses Ben of coached answers and basically calls him a phony. Is this dude for real? The mom tries to defend Ben by saying JoJo has been holding back, and Matt tells his mother, “you need to take a step back.” To your own mother?? Apparently no women in the house are allowed to have opinions.
And yet, JoJo stays. I assume it’s because of her red dress and sparkly earrings (which I must have). At the rose ceremony in LA, Ben sends home pint-sized mom, Amanda. I feel for her – she handles the rejection like the sweet lady she is. I have no doubt that Amanda will do alright in this world. But why keep JoJo??! What do you guys think? Was anyone else disturbed by JoJo’s bros? Are they in love with her? Were they drunk? Did they just want to have a little fun? Is Chad in on this!?