One Sentence Summary: The ladies put their families on best behavior during Hometown Dates as to ensure some Fantasy Suite time next week.
Melissa: It’s Hometown Dates Week!! This is the best week of the entire show… Well, provided there are some crazies in the family gene pool. If I ever did something like this, my Dad would be ALL OVER the Hometown Date. Picture Bad Boys 2: Marcus and Michael – when Reggie comes over to pick up Marcus’s daughter Megan for a date… Yeah, my dad would have the whole family (second cousins and all) in on something! He would roll up to the door in a belly shirt or pink leggings just to F with the poor guy. THAT is what I want from a Hometown Date!
Rachel: Oh boy, hometown dates! Time to meet the parents and watch them pretend to take this process seriously. I just love that so many parents play along with this charade. Judging from the previews, it seems some of the parents aren’t exactly charmed by Ben & this situation, but we know how they like to play us on the previews. The odds of my parents agreeing to even be on TV are slim, let alone getting them to play along while some guy who is dating three other women and talking about getting engaged to me after 4 weeks of dating. Pretty sure that would go over like a ton of bricks. I would pay money to have just one parent sit down to dinner and tell them they were out of their minds. Cash.
A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course
What Happened: Lindzi gets the first hometown date and welcomes Ben to lovely Ocala, FL. As per her usual M.O., Lindzi gallops in on a horse and Ben is taken back to their first meeting all those days ago. It’s Lindzi’s turn to teach Ben something and it’s how to drive a chariot. Would have been great if she pulled the “danger factor” Ben loves so much and made him mount the horse from a height of about 15 feet as proof of his trust of the relationship. He could then spend the evening nursing his family jewels while talking to her parents about theirs – Lindzi, of course. Because we need more “share time”, they settle in for a picnic afterwards. Over a glass of wine, Lindzi tells Ben that she is ready to let her guard all the way down and tell him that she’s falling in love with him. Ben says he feels her walls coming down slowly and knows they have a special connection. Yeah yeah, all this is well and good, but let’s meet the folks, shall we. It’s what we’re here for.
Ben & Lindzi make their way to her house on their horse and chariot… Seems there’s quite a lot of property out there at the ol’ parents’… and Lindzi’s dad offers Ben a glass of Chardonnay before he can even shake a hand – a good sign for Ben, no doubt. Seems he’s looking for someone he can turn to as a surrogate father. Cue sentimental music. After dad challenges them to chariot races (because that’s what we all do when we meet someone’s parents), Lindzi & Ben find out that her parents got married at City Hall in San Francisco, the site of their first date. What a coincidence! There’s no way that was planned!
Ben spends some time with Lindzi’s mom. She tells him that Lindzi hasn’t dated much, but she’s ready to be in a real relationship. Then it’s dad’s turn and Ben says he has strong feelings for Lindzi, but he’s not ready to propose. This is music to dad’s ears and he’s clearly relieved to not have send Ben to the glue factory. They finish the evening with more wine and some s’mores by an open fire, but it’s really the shine coming off of Lindzi’s unnaturally white teeth that lights up the night sky. Ben leaves feeling really positive about his visit and Lindzi.. and by Lindzi, he means his new daddy.
Melissa: OK, is this where she lives… FOR REAL? I hope she brings it for the date… I like this girl. She’s been my girl since day 1. Oh, it’s kismet: Ben and Lindzi had their first date at SF City Hall where Lindzi’s parents were married. How cute are they to challenge Ben to a race… AND WIN! Ben is winning the family over. They’ve won me over… And then they finish with s’mores? I love these folks!
Rachel: Ocala Fl, yeah that’s Lady Hogger land, I believe. Maybe. Actually I’ve lived in Florida for 3 years and couldn’t pick Ocala out on a map if my life depended on it. I will say it’s prettier than the part of Florida I live in… Alright, I have to admit that I’m so bored with these “deep thoughts” dates already. We know the script: Contestant… er, bachelorette says she’s in love or falling in love to which Ben smiles & uses it as an opportunity to get a little first base action. Can we just get to the family? Thank you. Wow, not even off the chariot and wine has been offered. I like these people. Mom lets it out that Lindzi doesn’t have much experience dating. Scary news for a boy. I gotta say that I’m glad to hear Ben say he’s not ready to propose. It’s ridiculous to pretend otherwise. Seriously, they really are having my most perfect evening; a roaring fire, wine & s’mores. Shit, I’ll marry Lindzi.
What Happened: Time to get down to the heartland and meet Kacie B’s family in Tennessee. Ben arrives on a rainy day to be greeted by a marching band and Kacie showing off her majorette skills on the local football field. Pretty sure this is the same date a teenager would go on. Wonder if they’ll get nominated for Homecoming King & Queen. Afterwards, Kacie & Ben sit in the bleachers and she wows him with the story about her grandfather who was a city councilman and a sporting goods salesman. He was such a pillar of the community that the field where they are sitting is named after him. This is where Ben says “Golly gee, Kacie B!” and asks if Goober is working at the gas station today too. She also tells him that her grandfather & her grandmother passed away 6 months apart because her grandmother couldn’t live without him. She died of broken heart. That’s the kind of love she wants. The kind that kills you? Whatever floats your boat. Ben is drinking it all in until he hears that’s all he’ll be drinking today. Seems Kacie’s Prison Guard father doesn’t drink. As she reminds him that they’re in the Bible Belt, you can see the light go out in Ben’s eyes. What is a winemaker going to have in common with a man who doesn’t drink? We don’t know but we’re dying to find out…
Ben & Kacie join her parents & sister for dinner where everyone sits on the same side of the table. Awkward. After Ben has had as much juice as a man can handle, it’s time to face the firing squad. But first, Kacie pulls her sister aside and whispers (no, really) that she’s ready to marry Ben and move to California no matter what their parents say. Are we sure Kacie’s not really a teenager with a room full of Justin Bieber posters? As Kacie & her sister giggle over Kacie’s cute boyfriend, Dad tells Ben to please cut his daughter loose if he’s not really in love with her and Mom tells him that she won’t approve of Kacie living with him before marriage. Anyone else see the panic on Ben’s face? You can actually hear his heart beating out of his chest. He spent the rest of the night in his hotel room making love to a bottle of wine and muttering, “Only you understand me, Cabernet.” We’re gonna venture to say that this Hometown Date didn’t go quite as well as the last one.
Rachel: Well, now that’s a welcome – an off-tune marching band in the rain. Seems this date isn’t going to be quite as, um, casual as his date with Lindzi. Going from wine-drinking horse wrangler to sober-as-Job prison guard… Yeow. Talk about taking the party down a few notches. I’m thinking this all might be a little too podunk for Ben and that Kacie’s dad is probably not what he’s looking for as far as fill-in daddies go. Hmmm anyone else think Kacie is digging rebelling against her parents as much, if not more, as she’s digging Ben? I feel like I’ve dropped in on the middle of “Footloose 2: Tennessee Tango”. Are we a moment away from Kacie telling daddy she’s not a virgin anymore? And boy oh boy does her father not give Ben an inch. I think Ben keeps picturing him with a semi-automatic rifle as Dad urges him to let her loose soon if she’s not the woman for him. I know I am. Mom also is not down to let her daughter move in with Ben before marriage. Now I’m picturing her with a semi-automatic weapon. Don’t let the practical haircut and Dress Barn sweater fool you. She’s not messing around. Dad tells Kacie to make every decision prayer-fully … Has he ever seen this show before? They spend half the show in hot tub. The only praying that happens is the morning after. Yeah, I think this Bible Belt is a little too tight for Ben. Kacie’s in trouble.
Melissa: She greeted whim with a marching band? Way to bring it! Oh snap, Dad doesn’t drink. Yeah, that won’t be an easy conversation – So, son, you make the hooch, huh? Did I tell you hooch almost ruined my life! Then he pulls out the shotgun and chases Ben from the house. OK, maybe that’s just what I would like to have happen. Side Note: Are the camera operators drinking because these conversation scenes are over the place… Come on, drag a chair over or something to stabilize the shots!! I’m getting motion sickness over here. Whoa… Back up the bus… Mom doesn’t like the living together before marriage? Um, OK. Ben is not winning over the family it seems, but then again it’s hard when you don’t have the booze buffer.
What Happened: Two down, two to go. It’s time to meet Nicki down in Ft. Worth, TX for a half Lindzi (horses) half Kacie (southern) date. Will this be the lucky combo? Since we’re in Texas, we have to go shopping for cowboy boots and cowboy hats before we can meet the family. How many times does this cliché need to play out? Luckily, they find a hat that fits over Ben’s ears and they saunter down a dusty road for beers at the local saloon in this one-horse town. Um, when did they step into a time machine and end up in 1865? Perhaps the stark sobriety of Kacie’s home has made this saccharin sweet skip through town all that more hard to take. It’s about as painful as staring at the sun. Wait… Nicki starts talking about her divorce again and how hard she tried to make that work for two whole years. OK, now it’s officially as painful as staring at the sun. Her ex is the last person she brought home to meet her parents which is slightly scary for Ben to hear. Sometimes Ben forgets that he’s supposed to be pretending to be in this for the ring.
At Nicki’s home, we meet her parents who are divorced but agreed to play nice for this little experiment. There’s a brother there but he doesn’t utter a word and we have to wonder if he’s the neighbor’s kid rented out for the day so as to present us with a nuclear family. Nicki & Mom head off to the bedroom to talk about Ben. We’ll assume from the squealing & hugging that Mom is happy for her. Out in the living room, Dad tells Ben that he thinks he let Nicki down by allowing her to get married so young. He gets a little misty, which Ben isn’t sure is a quality he’s looking for in his search for a surrogate father… er, true love. We’ll give this date a solid mediocre. Better than Kacie but not as good as Lindzi.
Melissa: So the last guy she brought home she married… Not too much pressure there, sweetie. Ben gets his first cowboy boots and hat… And looks like a complete idiot. Sorry Ben, you’re not rocking that look. More sharing and warnings about the family and how much they love Nicki and don’t want her hurt (you know, since the first marriage didn’t end well). Her parents really seem to love her and want her to be happy, and completely support these two crazy kids. Another tender moment (eye roll) for Ben and Nicki and they are really starting to grow in their feelings for each other.
Rachel: Wait, now we’re comparing finding the right cowboy boot to finding the right partner? Seriously, I love me a metaphor but this is getting out of control. Nicki says that with her first marriage she leapt into something she wasn’t ready for and she was sure they would grow together. She’s tired of people telling her she gave up. She gave her marriage a solid two years. Really, two years? A solid two years? You loved this person enough to marry them after 3 years of dating and you gave it two years? I have a feeling her ex’s story would be rather interesting. How can we make that happen? Dad is getting teary over his little girl. Aw, who’s a sweet dad? I want to hug him. Well, first, I want to kick his ass for thinking this is real, and then hug him after.
When In Doubt Plagiarize
What Happened: Well, it’s no surprise they saved Courtney’s Hometown Date for last. It’s like the 4th quarter of a football game. The first three quarters were fun & exciting, but now the real drama happens. Some will like the outcome. Some won’t. But either way, it will be painful.
We skip a tour of Scottsdale, AZ and spend a few moments learning that Courtney is suddenly worried about her behavior with the other girls. Guess this is the part of her script that says “pretend to have a conscience.” No one’s buying what she’s selling. Well no one other than Ben. He does tell us that he is worried about her rubbing people in his life the wrong way. How can he live with someone like that? See: skinny dipping in Puerto Rico. We think as long as she continues to rub him the right way, it will trump any wrong way rubs.
At least we get the band-aid ripped off right-away on this date and go straight to meeting the two people that spawned Courtney and unleashed her on the world. At dinner, Mom openly doubts this relationship and lets Ben know that she has the final word on who Courtney ends up with. Dad tells Ben that marriage is a gamble with 50/50 odds and wonders if he’s ready to take that bet. Does Dad hang out with Kenny Rogers? Should Ben know when to fold ’em, know when to hold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run? Pssst, Ben… now would be the time to run. But none of this phases Ben since he’s so deep in the fog that her parents sound a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher to him.
After a short visit with the parents, Courtney takes Ben to a park that “coincidentally” is the place she’s always wanted to get married. Wait, what’s that? Can it be? Yes, it can! There is an actual wedding set-up that just happens to be right behind them. Surprise Ben! It’s time for your mock wedding! Because nothing says, “I will boil your bunny” like a surprise mock wedding. She tells Ben he needs to write his vows as she pulls a bow tie out of her purse. Too bad Ben didn’t notice the heads of all of her ex-boyfriends in there. Is the theme to Psycho playing in the background? Ben actually goes along with this farce, which extinguishes any lingering bit of respect we had left for him. After he reads her his vows, she lays a little plagiarized love on him. Yep, Miss Courtney rips a few lines from Sex & The City and throws in a dash of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” to tell Ben how she feels. But Ben’s so far under her spell that she could have sang Kung Fu Fighting and he would have thought it was Shakespeare. Seriously, whatever juju she put on him in that ocean in Puerto Rico should be bottled and sold. Courtney makes Ben feel like a natural woman. Are we actually still watching this show with any question about how this ends?
Rachel: So, marriage is life’s greatest gamble. Are you ready to make that bet, Ben? What is this a game show? Ben are you ready to make that bet or would you like what’s behind door #3?!?! Take door #3, Ben! Seriously, a year’s supply of Spaghettios would be a better option than a life waking up next to Courtney! OMG, baby talk is genetic! Mom does it too! Wow, this is a lot of exclamation points! Sorry, I’m just astounded by the ridiculousness of it all. I mean we’re really supposed to be rapt by the romance of having a fake wedding sprung on Ben as if it’s something any man on the planet would be stoked about? Uh, holy freak show. How has he not taken off running with his hair on fire? I want to fast forward through this because I’m so uncomfortable, yet can’t seem to turn away.
Melissa: Wait, Courtney feels bad for the way she behaved? What? Since when? Did she have an epiphany in the week she’s been home? Her date seems to just kick right off with the family, no buffer time or anything… Baptism by fire I suppose. I’m glad at least mom is skeptical… if only short lived. They’re all on board for Ben. Now we move into the “date chat” and Courtney is ready to move forward and get married… Literally. Are you kidding me, you crazy ass woman?! With an L-bomb and all! Now he’s hooked, and rings are exchanged. What he doesn’t know is that it was a real fake wedding and he’s actually married to cray-cray.
In Case You Missed It The First Time
What Happened: Ben sits down with Chris Harrison to share and feel and emote like men are known to do. Ben tells Chris about the dates which serves as a vehicle for us to relive what we just saw. Now, we’re the ones hearing Charlie Brown’s teacher.
Melissa: Ben’s thoughts are that Hometowns went well, and they will make his next decision difficult. Yeah, didn’t see that coming. Now let’s see the dates again in case we weren’t really paying attention earlier. Well, truth be told I might have zoned out once and a while. Tell me again how these ladies are making you start to have very strong feelings.
Rachel: I cannot tell a lie. I fast forwarded through this entire scene. What? A girl can only take so much when she’s sober & not allowed to drink the night before a doctor’s appointment.
Staying: Nicki, Lindzi and Courtney.
Going: Kacie B.
Melissa: Sorry Kacie B., but really, you’re on the Bachelor. It’s probably not going to be where you find your soulmate. Sorry sweets, but that’s the way it is.
Rachel: Poor Kacie B. can’t understand what happened. Your family happened, darlin’. Your family. I think he likes you better than Nicki, but your dad made his manhood turtle up and cry for help. And if that keeps happening, how’s he going to continue to get to know Courtney on a “deep” level?
Melissa: You know what I would love? I would love to see one of these girls at a rose ceremony – after Courtney (or some other equally horrible person) gets a rose – hold up their rose and say, “Wait, I can’t. If you’re the kind of person who considers spending your life with someone like that, you are not the person I think you are and you can have this back.” Now THAT would be the most shocking rose ceremony ever!!
Rachel: Lord, Ben is stupid.