Thursday, November 01, 2007

Judge Not the Bachelor in Your Hometown

"Chad says family is most important."

Ah, it’s that glorious time again on The Bachelor when we get to take a tour of America via four lucky bachelorettes and their hometowns. Tonight we zig zag all over the map covering Kansas, California, Georgia and Washington D.C.! It seems like there are always girls from California and Washington D.C., doesn’t it? Oh ABC, can’t you expand your casting net a teency little bit? It would be nice to tour Delaware, or maybe Montana. Anyway…

We join Brad this week hanging out at the ABC rental house in Malibu thinking really hard about the upcoming hometown dates. He takes a shower and ponders over wanting to feel comfortable with the family of his future wife. Then it’s off to the airport where a big purple and orange Southwest jet is waiting for Brad to board with the C group and choose one of the few remaining center seats for his journey to Wichita, Kansas.

Perky Jenni is waiting for Brad outside of the Mary Jane Teall Theater because this is where she danced every single day of her entire life growing up and where she won her first dance competition. I guess this means I should start taking dates on a tour of my elementary school where I used to go every single day of my life and I did win a couple of prizes for writing poems. Jenni does her high pitched giggle about 400 times and tells Brad she’s going to show him what she does every day. She makes him go sit in a chair in the empty audience while she stands in front of what looks like a portion of a set for some sort of production. The giggling continues as she announces over and over how embarrassed she is. Please don’t feel pressured, Jenni. None of us would feel bad if we didn’t get to see you dance. And if you’re embarrassed, let’s move on to other activities. Nope, she’s gonna do it. She does what looks like a cross between a tap dance and one of those time-out booty shakers you watch at basketball games. Hey! Aren’t the Phoenix Suns a basketball team? It’s all coming together.

"Oh, this is so humiliating!"

The little spaz/dance is peppered with exclamations of how embarrassed she clearly is not, and Brad sits there laughing like this is the most adorable thing ever. Jenni keeps saying that she does this every day. Yes, we get it – you’re a dancer. We’re very impressed.

This blatant show-off routine causes Brad to worry that Perky Jenni might actually be serious about staying in Phoenix to dance for the basketball team. After all, she does this every single day. It seems that Jenni hasn’t found out yet if she has made the dance team for the upcoming year, so it might not even be an issue, Brad hopes. Jenni insists that a long distance relationship wouldn’t weaken her feelings, and would, in fact, show her that Brad is willing to compromise for her. Excellent point, Jenni, even though I hate to admit it. She is so lucky this isn’t Mayo. After the very next Rose Ceremony she’d be on the next Southwest flight back to Kansas.

The next stop is a hair salon where Jenni’s mom works and Brad has come prepared with an enormous vase of flowers for her. Jenni is still wearing the booty shorts that I thought were just for her dance routine. Well, why not? I guess half-time spandex dance shorts are quite versatile. Jenni explains that her mom’s house is a bit small for today’s festivities, so when they walk into the salon there is a table set up with lunch waiting. Brad gets to meet Dad Richard, Mom Vicky, Sister Tiffany and Grandma Betty. Right off we can see that Grandma Betty is feisty. She immediately announces that she is the one Brad will have to fight with. Over lunch Brad tells about his brothers and their bar business which causes Grandma Betty to ask if Brad’s a drinker. Just wait until you see Jenni putting them away when the season airs, Grandma. Brad says he’s the most boring bar guy ever, which I have no trouble believing. Dad Richard asks if Brad has any nieces or nephews and Brad tells him not yet, but that he and his brothers are all excited to have families and lots of babies. Grandma Betty goes, “That little lady ain’t a walking baby factory.” Right on, Grandma Betty! Brad immediately panics. Back pedal, back pedal! He insists that isn’t what he meant, but Grandma continues by threatening that Brad will have to hit the road if he doesn’t treat Jenni right.

Mom Vicky decides to give Brad a shampoo while she questions him on not being able to meet girls – he does work in a bar, after all. We’ve all seen the high quality clientele hanging out at the Dizzy Rooster, so I’m not surprised when Brad says he doesn’t meet the right kind of girls at his bars. Well Brad, at least you’re providing them with alcohol and a dance floor. Wife material can’t be found everywhere, and that’s why going on a marriage game show is such a great idea! Brad switches topics quickly and starts talking about how wonderful and accomplished Jenni is. She dances every single day.

"Is this hot enough for you?"

Elsewhere in the salon, Sister Tiffany is straightening Jenni’s hair and wanting to know about Brad’s kissing abilities and whether Jenni can see herself kissing him forever. Jenni says that this whole experiences makes her feel like she’s falling in love with him. Operative phrase to remember: “makes her feel like.” We’ll see what actually becomes of all this.

Dad Richard sits Brad down to find out about his future goals. Brad says he’d like to maintain his current prosperity and also get into real estate. That’s fascinating. He promises that Jenni would be well taken care of. Richard tells us that Brad fits in very well at the salon and he would be 100% supportive if Jenni wants to be with Brad. Back around the lunch table Richard makes a toast to… finding out that Jenni has made the Phoenix Suns dance team for the upcoming year! Brad silently curses fate but publicly holds up his glass for the toast. Jenni tells us that the news is bittersweet but she’s not going to think about a long distance relationship because she doesn’t want to. Good plan, Jenni. An attitude of denial could get you through the entire basketball season! Jenni sits down with Brad to reiterate to him how much she loves dancing. (She does it every single day.) She tells him though, that if he chooses her, she will be devoted to him a million percent. Brad says if she’s okay with the long distance, then so is he. Jenni says she wants Brad in her life and then she tells us that she can picture him watching her dance at a game. I wonder how often Jenni dances…? We’ve spent way too much time in Kansas.

Our next stop is Walnut Creek, California, where Sheena is anxiously awaiting Brad’s arrival at some sort of marina. She is so excited for Brad to meet her family because they are a package deal and she hopes he can keep up. Just then a boat floats past with both of Sheena’s parents waving to the precious couple.

"All aboard, love birds!"

Mom Beverly is all decked out in yacht-wear, meaning a bathing suit with matching cover-up pieces, a grand bubble hairdo and lots and lots of jewelry. The first activity will be Sheena’s parents driving the boat and pulling Brad and Sheena behind on a ginormous inflatable inner tube. It’s water skiing for people who can’t water ski. After that, the foursome perches on the bow of the boat to have some discussion time. Mom Beverly tells Brad that she and her husband have been married for 24 years and they keep things fun by continuing to date each other. Sheena’s dad is like, “We do?” and her mom just brushes him off and keeps going. In fact, that’s the last we hear from Sheena’s dad. I didn’t even catch his name. Mom Beverly wants to know what Brad’s sign is. He’s a Scorpio – just like Sheena’s dad, which is obviously a huge cosmic signal. Sheena is an Aries, and has no idea what that means. Beverly doesn’t clarify, but tells us that she feels an amazing cosmic connection with Brad, and feels like he is already her son in law. Well, as long as she doesn’t jump the gun.

Later at the house Mom Beverly and Brad have a chat, or rather, Mom Beverly gives a monologue and Brad politely nods. I think Beverly may have overdone it on the boat with cocktails because she is going on and on about the big dipper and Scorpios and that she is absolutely positive that Sheena is The One. Maybe not Brad’s One, but someone’s One. Uh, Beverly? That goes for just about every human being alive. But she says this with such conviction that I almost buy it and make an appointment with a local astrologist. No more cocktails for you, Beverly. I can’t afford a personal reader. Brad tells us privately about his chat with Beverly and it’s clear that he finds her a bit insane. He’s envisioning future Thanksgivings complete with palm readings for the babies and Tarot cards for the toddlers. Beverly goes on, against all common sense, and tells Brad that both she and Sheena are so ready to commit to one man and be his everything. Both of them? Brad’s poor eyes get bigger and bigger, but bless his heart, he maintains composure and continues nodding.

"Excuse me, Ma'am, are you insane?"

Just now Sheena walks in and wants to know what they’re talking about. Oh Sheena, don’t ask. Beverly starts naming off checklist items for Brad and Sheena’s wedding: a ring, flower girls, bridesmaids… Sheena is not nearly embarrassed enough and Beverly tells us that all these in-between steps are a waste of time because she knows that these two are meant to be. Ding dong. I’m now actually amazed at how comparatively normal Sheena is after growing up with this woman.

Sheena and Brad decide to take a hot tub and Sheena asks if her mom was annoying. Do you really need to ask, Sheena? You know your mother. Brad tries to find something nice to say and he settles on being able to see where Sheena gets who she is. Sheena mistakenly thinks that this is a compliment and tells Brad she’s so happy that he fits in so well with her family. She confessionals that she wishes he could just stay forever, but you can tell that Brad can’t get out of there fast enough. Let’s move on, shall we?

We jet cross country (Southwest style) to Canton, Georgia, home of DeAnna’s southern drawl and her big fat Greek family. She meets Brad with a basket of peaches – get it? Georgia. – and Brad tells us that he loves the fact that DeAnna doesn’t need him. Wait, I had to rewind that a couple of times. He loves the fact that DeAnna doesn’t need him. Take note, Hillary. This one doesn’t like clingy. He’s excited to see how DeAnna is around her family because that will help to determine if she is right for Brad for the rest of his life. Yes, yes, that’s what this episode is all about, Brad. We know. We meet Dad Greg, Brother Thomas, Sister Chrissy and Stepmother Rebecca. Brad tells the family that he’s excited to be there because he was born and raised in Atlanta, so he feels just like he’s coming home. He also tells Dad Greg that because his parents were divorced at an early age, he takes marriage super cereal – ha ha, serious.

Dad Greg takes Brad outside on the patio for a sit-down and Brad wants to know if Dad Greg believes that this could be real. Dad Greg is quite the optimist and says that he absolutely believes this could be real. He sees that sparkle in his daughter’s eye. Brad says his eyes sparkle around DeAnna as well. Oh gag. Dad Greg mentions that DeAnna has been through a lot, including losing her mother. Oh, that’s sad. I had no idea. DeAnna didn’t mention that 30 times per episode like Gloomy Danielle from last season with her deceased boyfriend. Just now DeAnna interrupts Guy Talk with a gargantuan photo album she describes as small. Lucky Brad gets to look through it. They relive DeAnna’s childhood and DeAnna tells us that this is her way of introducing Brad to her mother. Aw, that’s sweet.

"Ha ha! You had braces!"

Next DeAnna and Sister Chrissy get comfy on someone’s bed to hash things out. DeAnna says she’ll be crushed if Brad doesn’t pick her because she feels like she’s found exactly what she’s been “waiting on.” Chrissy says that no matter what happens Mom will be watching over and they are all very proud of DeAnna. This is kind of turning into a big fat Greek bummer. When’s dinner?

As the family hangs around chit-chatting, suddenly an entire passel of extended family arrives on the scene. This includes grandparents, and aunt and uncle and a sister in law. DeAnna addresses her grandparents in the Greek terms, but I can’t be expected to remember all that. Suffice it to say they start taking shots of Greek liquor and dancing around in a circle holding hands and shouting “Opah!”

I know I've seen this somewhere before.

Does this remind anyone of a certain movie? What a coincidence! Brad tells us he felt like he and DeAnna were husband and wife at a family reunion. Hmm, that’s a little weird, but it could be all the liquor talking. DeAnna walks Brad out to his car and tells us that she is completely falling for him even though she just met him. Big fat Greek mistake!

Our final hometown date takes place in Washington D.C. where Bettina’s family lives. Bettina greets Brad in workout clothes. Nice day at the gym, Bettina? Brad tells her she looks beautiful and I cough. They head over to Bettina’s dad’s house where we meet Dad Robert, Stepmom Anne, Sister Alexa, Mom, and Dog Scary. Bettina tells us that her dad’s opinion is terribly important because she and her dad think alike. Somehow I doubt that, but okay. Everyone sits down in the living room and the grilling begins. Brad’s lack of education is immediately discovered and then we learn that Dad Robert is a professor. Uh oh. I’m not so sure that someone who had devoted his entire life to higher education is going to get on board with the “college wasn’t for me” theory. Bar or no bar. In fact, Dad Robert tells the camera that Brad’s level of education is a “great disappointment.” The family asks about Brad’s business and when they find out he owns a bunch of bars you could hear a pin drop. Stepmom Anne announces that it’s time to eat, but then she says this to the camera: “Do I like the idea of my stepdaughter being hooked up with a guy who runs a bunch of bars? No.” Oh-ho! Bettina’s family is NOT impressed with the Bachelor. Not impressed at all. And you know, I kind of like it. I appreciate that education is a priority in their family and that they are looking at the situation from a practical angle. Golden Boy no more, Brad. How does that feel?

Over dinner Mom asks if running a bar means that Brad has to work late hours. When he admits that it does, there is another round of dead silence. The family all kind of looks at each other and passes the corn. Snap!

Cricket, cricket.

Brad tells us that when Bettina’s family asked about his career he felt like he was being judged. Well, shake this man’s hand for figuring something out. Of course you’re being judged, Brad. Bettina is important to these people and she’s already been through the marriage wringer one time. Don’t you think they are going to carefully take stock of the guys she decides to bring around from here on out? They’d be irresponsible not to judge you. Next Dad Robert tells us that this isn’t the way he’d prefer to have Bettina choose a husband and that she’ll never find anyone better than her first husband. What? That’s awkward. The Dad is still in love with the ex-son in law? Brad doesn’t stand a chance.

Dad Robert sits Bettina down and says that he’s none too pleased and would prefer it if Brad had a PhD. Bettina says that some of the most successful people she knows don’t have college degrees, including her father’s own daughter. Wait, is that Bettina or her sister? Interesting. And I hate that theory. Yes, I know that Bill Gates dropped out of college, but that, ladies and gentlemen, is a fluke. Brad is not Bill Gates. The Dizzy Rooster is not Microsoft. Inside Stepmom Anne and Mom No Name have Brad cornered and they want to know just what he thinks he’s doing stringing all these girls along like this. Brad says he’s not stringing girls along and that he didn’t come into this feeling lucky that he got 25 girls to choose from. Yeah right on both of those counts. Stringing girls along is precisely the point of this show and how many times did we hear about how lucky Brad has been to have all these girls? Please. The Moms warn Brad that he can’t just mess with people’s hearts like this and I am really liking these moms! I love people who call a spade a spade. Nice guy or not, this process is ruthless and everyone knows it. At least these moms are saying it. Back outside Dad Robert is cautioning Bettina on three things: moving to a city to be with a man, Brad’s choice of business and his lack of education. I can not disagree with him on any of those. He is exactly right. As much as everyone wants to believe in fairy tale romances, this situation is fraught with difficulty. Bravo to Bettina’s family for keeping both feet on the ground about all this. Brad is still mad that Bettina’s family isn’t taking him seriously as a person. Come on, Brad. Look at the circumstances. You really can’t blame them.

Later on Brad and Bettina sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to go over her family’s reaction. Bettina admits that her family’s questions have caused her to begin questioning Brad’s choices as well. Too bad she couldn’t have done it on her own, but here we are. Brad pretty much whines that he wants to feel welcome in someone’s family and at least he’s intelligent enough not to judge anyone. Um, Brad? You are contractually obligated to prudently judge each of 25 young ladies competing for your attention. No high horses for you! Bettina’s ever-so-comforting response is, “Well all I can say to that is I don’t look that great on paper, either.” Ouch! That stings. Brad reels backward in stunned silence. Not great on paper? He’s the Bachelor! ABC thought he was good enough on paper! Brad tells Bettina that maybe he’s overly confident, but he’s worked really hard and he doesn’t like people questioning him as a person – least of all some random family he is considering marrying into. His pride has really been hurt and as he continues his speech in defense of himself, Bettina just sits there looking confused. I’m pretty sure this is all going right over her pretty little head. Brad tells us he has no clue what he’s going to do. I have one suggestion and it involves not giving Bettina a rose.

"So you're saying you loved them..."

And now it’s time to return back home to the sanctuary of the ladies’ mansion. Chris Harrison makes his first appearance of the evening, reminding the ladies that they each took Brad home to meet their families. Thanks, Chris! I had already forgotten! There are four girls and only three roses. Whose dream of becoming Mrs. Brad Womack ends right here, right now? Brad comes out and says that he’s had an amazing week and each girl has made an impact on him. It’s breaking his heart to say goodbye to one of them, but here come the roses. DeAnna (no surprise), Perky Jenni (no surprise) and… Divorced Bettina and her judgmental family! I guess Brad isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Either that or Sheena’s crazy Mom Beverly was too much for Brad to handle.

Brad takes Sheena outside to explain himself and he tells her that she is completely deserving of a perfect guy and a perfect life and he wishes he were that guy for her, but he doesn’t think he is. That’s actually a really nice thing to say, instead of telling her that she isn’t right for him. I have to continually admit that Brad has a sensitive heart and I do appreciate that about him. Poor Sheena bursts into tears and cries on Brad’s shoulder before telling him he’s amazing, and then she goes immediately into past tense about how she felt and thought. Gracefully done, Sheena. Especially after last week’s exit extravaganza.

"But my mom already bought the bridesmaid dresses!"

In her ride of shame, Sheena continues in past tense, saying she loved everything about Brad and that she was falling in love with him. She says she’s never had her heart broken like this, but she would do it all over again because that’s how much she liked him. Don’t worry, Sheena. The stars will align again and remember, you’re the One.

Next week it’s time for the Fantasy Overnight Dates and all three finalists get to go to Cabo San Lucas. DeAnna bears her soul, Perky Jenni has trouble voicing her feelings so she does an interpretive dance, and Divorced Bettina goes into emergency damage control after her hometown debacle.

So what do you have to say about the hometown dates? Any faves?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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