Wednesday, February 22, 2017

the bachelor & the BLOW OFF: episode 8

If this season had a theme, it would be: rose ceremonies are super sucky and we refuse to film them. Slick Nick pays the remaining four contestants a visit at their hotel in Bimini and SHOCKS them by casually giving them each a rose. Why is this treated as a huge twist? I have no idea. We all know there's always four people who get hometown dates. The show has never wavered from its narrative structure.

Nick's first stop is Hoxie, Arkansas which is a made up place. This entire sequence was actually filmed on the Disney studio lot in Burbank. Raven picks Nick up on an ATV, because she wants to show him a different (ahem, white trash) side to her. There's apparently nothing to do in Hoxie, but play in mud, ride an ATV, and tell your secrets to grain tins. Shit gets crazy when Nick and Raven are about to dry hump next to a grain tin and the cops show up. I've watched enough episodes of The Bachelor to spot a set up, and I'm fairly certain these two will not end up spending the night in jail. It turns out, the cop is Raven's older brother, Weston. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of crime in Hoxie, because Weston has a beer gut and I'm not sure he'd even be able to chase a turtle down on foot. While it's never confirmed, I'm pretty sure Weston is also Raven's ex-boyfriend because only three people live in Hoxie.

After nearly getting arrested by her brother/ex-boyfriend, Nick and Raven make out in a swamp and play in the mud. I couldn't decide if I was turned on or grossed out by this segment. I think mostly grossed out. There are for sure leeches in that swamp, and it's entirely possible that one made its way into Raven's vazhean. Don't picture that-- it's disgusting.

Nick and Raven end the date at her parents' house where we learn that her dad, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, is now cancer-free. Raven's like, "awmahgosh, really?" the whole time. I don't know how this show manages to make good news about cancer so painfully awkward to watch, but it does. It doesn't feel like anyone (especially Nick) is having a normal human response to this news.

In the end, Raven's family seems awfully nice in that "not everyone who voted for Trump is racist" kind of way. Who am I kidding? Hoxie may as well be called "RacistVille." Nick leaves and Raven kicks herself for not revealing that she's falling in love with him. Rookie mistake!

The next stop on the hometown express is Dallas, Texas where Nick is going to meet Hot Rachel's family (AKA the next bachelorette). To set up a sharp contrast from RacistVille, the date kicks off with Nick and Rachel going to a black church together.

The only time that I find religion non-annoying is when it involves a black church. I would totally believe in God if worshiping him meant getting to dance for an hour. Maybe I'm racist against white people, but if one of the white girl contestants took Nick to church, I'd simultaneously be barfing and fast-forwarding and rolling my eyes.

BUT I would like to take a moment to point out that the cycle of religion will never go away on The Bachelor. As long as they keep casting from the previous show's pool of contestants, we're always going to have a religious Bachelor/Bachelorette. I guess atheists can't pretend it was God's will for them to end up on a terrible reality show?
Nick at church
I'm super disappointed when we learn that Rachel's dad (the Federal judge we've been hearing so much about) will not be appearing in this episode. WTF? Apparently he had a work obligation, but I think deep down I knew all along that he wasn't going to show up for this lame shit. Ugh, I was waiting all season for Nick to meet Rachel's dad. I imagined it would go exactly like this:
You might think I'm kidding, but that trailer is not too far off from Nick and Rachel's hometown date.
We get it, ABC. She's black, he's white. I know they're the first interracial couple that's ever been on the Bachelor, but this episode treated them like they were the first interracial couple that ever existed. They're not even the first interracial couple in Rachel's family! Her older sister's husband is white. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been discussed. I respected the fact that Rachel's family asked Nick if he's dated black women before, but I wish it didn't seem like race was the only thing that mattered on this date. Rachel's family even asked Nick if he could name all the food on his plate-- um, it was chicken, mac & cheese, beans, and okra.

The biggest takeaway from this date is that Rachel's not into Nick. She kept using language like, "I could see myself taking the steps to fall in love with Nick." You could literally say that about anything and it means basically nothing.

"I could see myself taking the steps to fall in love with houseplants."
-Me

None of this matters at all, because Rachel is the next bachelorette and does not end up with Nick. 

It's no surprise that my favorite hometown date belonged to Corinne. I'm getting to like her more and more. I'm not being facetious, guys. She actually seems genuinely into Nick and she's not boring. Plus, I enjoy watching people shop for clothes. Nick arrives in Miami and Corinne takes him to where she feels most at home: the mall. What's not to love about a girl who's on a first name basis with every sales clerk and will spend thousands of dollars buying you sweatpants? I want to marry Corinne!
Corinne's family also seems to be the most fun. They don't understand why any of the girls gave her a hard time for having a nanny. And I don't either, because Raquel seems pretty damn fantastic. She cooks, serves food, loves Fraggle like a daughter, and doesn't want to see her get hurt. Instead of asking Corinne's dad for his blessing, Nick should have asked Raquel the nanny, because she is the most important person on this show. MORE IMPORTANT THAN CHRIS HARRISON.
raquel is my ride or die chick.
The most suspenseful part of this hometown date was when Nick took a bite of Corinne's dad's marinated olive and we all waited to see whether he liked it. It took about twenty minutes for Nick to chew the olive and... drum roll please... announce it was the best olive he ever ate. Phew! That had me on the edge of my seat.

A recurring theme on this date was... what exactly does Nick do for a living? (Does future contestant on Dancing with the Stars count as an answer?) Guys, Corinne's dad even asks her if she'd be okay with being the breadwinner. You kind of have to be a huge loser to need Corinne to pay the bills and take care of you, especially since she has no emotional intelligence! But Corinne is okay with supporting him, because she's on "cloud nine."

The strangest part of this date is when Corinne's entire family watches from their window as Nick/Corinne make out and say good-bye.

The most dramatic hometown date belonged to Vanessa. Nick visits her in Montreal, Canada and she takes him to meet her special ed students. I loved this. I'm not as cynical as you guys think I am. I thought it was so sweet how much Vanessa's students loved her, and I felt SO bad that she abandoned them in an attempt to be famous. I think Vanessa's job is heartwrenchingly difficult and I have all the respect in the world for it. THAT SAID, is it a form of special ed abuse to force your students to make a scrapbook of you and your "boyfriend's" best moments together? Scrapbooking is already the worst-- imagine being forced to scrapbook for a gorgeous reality TV couple when you are special needs. What else does Vanessa make her students do? Fold her laundry? Massage her feet? Whiten her teeth? She's obviously a monster.

First, Vanessa and Nick meet her mom's side of the family for a big Italian dinner. There are a lot of people here and they all seem a tad overbearing. There's no better way to scare a guy off than to invite him into a room that says: Welcome to a lifetime of family obligations.

Vanessa's family members are all terrified that she's going to get hurt again. It's all a bit intense though I do love that her adorably small brother cries over his fears that she'll get dumped. Here's the deal-- whenever people say they don't want to see you get hurt again, what they really mean is: holy shit, you were so fucking high drama and i can't deal with having to make you feel better every second of the day, you unstable human.

Even though they are Italian and Nick is not, they do not ask him to identify the pasta on his plate. 

In the end, it's Vanessa's scary dad who wins the award for most intense family member. He's (understandably) suspect of this entire process and when Nick asks him for his blessing to marry Vanessa-- he point blank asks if Nick asked the same thing from all the other dads. Nick has no choice, but to tell the truth. Later, Vanessa's dad reveals this detail to her and she starts melting down. CUT TO:

New York City where everyone anxiously awaits the rose ceremony. Vanessa says she needs to talk to Nick. We see someone walking poorly in high heels to his door. Nick opens the door to find...

ANDI (AKA BLANDI!) 

I did not see this coming. Do you guys think she's like, I don't know, there to like... give him advice? Probably. Until next week!

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