Bachelorette: Home Invasions

Oh, the dreaded visits home. These are always kind of awkward. I mean, if my sister brought home some guy she’d met on a reality TV show with the intention of proposing, should she beat out the other three girls still kicking around, I would find it weird. I would find it very, very hard to wipe the smirk off my face. I would make Jim Halpert-like faces and shrug at the camera a lot.

Seriously, are these people’s families really so cool with the whole situation? Have they Googled The Bachelor(ette)? Do they know the track record? It always shocks me that more family members don’t say things like “Why don’t you wait to propose, and see how you get along in real life?” or “She seems nice, but cameras are rolling and she’s still dating three other guys”. Anyway, on with the recap – Ali visited Roberto, Chris, Kirk and Frank at home this week.

Don’t Tampa With His Heart

First Ali met Roberto in Tampa, Florida. He gave Ali a tour of his old college campus and then took her to the baseball field where he used to play – the baseball uniform was a nice touch. Someone is playing to win. And according to Ali, a baseball uniform is, like, the hottest thing a guy can wear! Perhaps Ali has never seen, oh, any other uniform. Is a baseball uniform hotter than the uniform Frank probably has to wear at his retail job? Yes. Is it hotter than if Roberto himself was donning a fireman’s uniform? Doubt it.

At this point, I’m starting to wonder if Roberto is like Will Smith in the movie Hitch – a professional dating coach. That guy has smoother moves than a speed skater. From the salsa dancing to the classic “I’ll just stand right behind you and help you swing the bat” move, the guy does everything right. He even gave Ali one of his own baseball cards from when he played on her hometown team!

I loved hearing about Roberto’s family. There’s his dad Roberto, his mom Olga, his sister Olga…and some dude named Peter. I wonder if Peter ever feels left out. Or maybe he just thanks his lucky stars every time someone says “Peter, the phone is for you!”

The problem with these hometown dates is that every time someone does a camera confessional, it sounds like they’re answering a direct question. Like “Do you want your mom/dad to like Ali?” The answer inevitably includes the phrases “important”, “future daughter-in-law” and “very important”. I mean, what do they expect these people to say? I’d love to have seen one guy say “You know, I don’t really care if my family likes Ali. Screw ‘em. Their opinions have never mattered that much to me anyway, and to be honest I’d rather be at a movie right now.”

Papa Roberto definitely took the lead with questioning Ali and commenting on the situation, and he came the closest of any family members when it came to scoffing at the whole situation. “It’s hard not to have a good time when you just came from Portugal,” he said. In these shows, so much focus is put on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette as “the prize”, as the one everyone else should be working for. I liked that he said Roberto was “a very big prize” and that he was sure Ali would be happy, but his main concern was that Roberto would be happy.

Things got awkward, though, when Roberto’s Sr. quizzed Ali on her career goals. Apparently her silly little woman’s career shouldn’t interfere with Roberto’s great big man career. He wanted to know what she’d be willing to sacrifice in order to support Roberto and his career. Ali answered well, considering I’m sure she was thinking “Jeez, I dumped Ty last week just to avoid crap like this!” Ali’s answer of “For me to make him happy, I have to be happy. So I would need something that fulfills me, too. For me the question would be first and foremost what’s best for our family,” was probably the best thing she could have said.

Then the family salsa-danced the rest of the night away. Overall, it seemed like a pretty good hometown date.

Puppy Love
Next, Ali met Chris in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I’ve always felt that even though Roberto is basically anyone’s dream guy, Chris is actually a better fit for Ali. Watching them hang out in Cape Cod really solidified that – they seemed like a real couple for a while.
First Ali and Chris took a stroll down the beach that Chris grew up going to while it rained. They played with his dog and talked, and it was so simple and completely un-gimmicky. That vibe continued as he took her to his house where she looked at photos of his late mom, and they hung out on the porch pretending to be a married couple home from a long work days. It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Chris told Ali that “I wouldn’t bring you back here unless I was sure they would like you, and I was sure I liked you. Because meeting my family’s big, and I haven’t been ready to bring anyone back since my mom died…” Come on, you all said “Awww” too when he said that.

Chris’ whole family seemed great. He lives in the house with his father, one of his younger brothers is married and the other engaged. I couldn’t help feeling sad for Chris, as he said to his dad that it hurt that his brothers had had the chance to introduce their future wives to their mom, but Chris missed that opportunity. Chris’ dad was incredibly charismatic and funny, but still told touching stories about meeting his wife and the family’s words to live by, “Love is the only reality” – scarily appropriate, right?

Overall, Ali seemed to fit in really, really well with Chris and his family. While I think Roberto is too good to be on a reality TV dating show – couldn’t he find a nice girl in Tampa? – I think Chris is too genuine. There’s too much at stake for him. If Ali hurts him, I think I’m actually going to be angry with her.

Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!
For her third hometown visit, Ali met Kirk in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As soon as I hear Wisconsin my mind automatically goes to Laverne and Shirley. I kind of expected his mom to have a large “L” on her sweater and waited for Lenny and Squiggy to drop by for a visit.
As soon as Ali arrived in Wisconsin and they cued the hick music, I knew the hometown date would be a doozy. Kirk explained that his parents were divorced, so they’d be making two visits to two homes. Ali couldn’t believe that Kirk’s parents no longer spoke to one another – someone has led a very sheltered life.

First Ali met Kirk’s dad, stepmother and little sister. Not long after Ali arrived at the house, Kirk’s dad said “So, Ali, would you like to see my basement?” And, for the record, I thought he said it in a super creepy way. No one ever says “Would you like to see my basement?” unless they’re either going to kill you down there or show you something unpleasant. Otherwise they say things like “Ooh, come see the basement – we just got it redone!” or “Oh you want to throw those jeans in the wash? Come down to the basement”. Otherwise, anyone who has ever seen a cheesy horror flick will not go down to the basement.

Kirk’s dad didn’t kill Ali in the basement, but death was definitely a theme. The place was packed with stuffed animals – is taxidermy his profession or his hobby? I find it hard to believe that anyone but a museum would want a stuffed bobcat to display. There was also a freezer full of dead animal parts, which may or may not have contained Popsicles and ice cream as well.

The overwhelming theme of Ali’s visit to Kirk’s dad’s house, other than stuffed dead animals, was that Kirk almost never brings girls home.

Next Kirk took Ali to meet his mom, grandmother and sister. His mom had a Snooki poof, which may or may not be worse than the dead animals. I couldn’t decide. They talked some more about the geeky scrapbook that Kirk gave Ali on the first night, his battle against mold, and the fact that he almost never brings girls home. If the promos for next week’s show hadn’t already spoiled the outcome, Ali’s trip to Wisconsin made it painfully clear that Kirk would be crying in his childhood bedroom rather than jetting off to Tahiti.

Frank-ly, my dear, I don’t give a damn

Finally, Ali visited Frank in his hometown of Geneva, Illinois. Or as Frank calls it, “Chicago”. Is that kind of like how he says he “lived” in France, even though he just vacationed there? Or how he says he works as a “screenwriter” instead of at a Target or something?
Ali’s hometown date with Frank was basically building us up for what will happen next week. Frank showed “nerves” and “hesitation”, which was basically just a cover for whatever jerky thing he’s going to tell her next week. Once again, Frank isn’t quite telling the truth. Ali had come into the hometown date with a positive attitude, saying “‘What’s so great about Frank is he’s at a point in his life that he can go anywhere and do anything,” and that since she was in that situation too it was a match made in living-in-a-cardboard-box heaven. She quickly sensed Frank’s insecurities, though. Or, should I say, “insecurities”.

Frank’s parents seemed to like Ali, but overall I found their hometown visit really, really boring. His family was just too positive, and they accepted the situation too easily. They were more confident in Frank’s relationship with Ali than Frank himself was.

Rose’s Turn
When Ali spoke to host Chris Harrison before the rose ceremony, she seemed more conflicted about the whole Bachelorette process than she did about the guys. It was obvious throughout the whole episode which guy would be going home, so I’ll cut to the chase – she tearfully eliminated Kirk. Kirk left with his head held high, saying “It hurts a little more that I gave all of myself to you and it’s just not what you’re looking for. Thank you, I guess. You’ve been my first real shot at doing this.”

“Thank you, I guess”. That was the best.

So next week Ali takes Roberto, Chris and Frank to Tahiti, and since The Bachelorette likes to give absolutely everything away in the teaser scenes, we know that Frank will drop some sort of relationship-killing bomb on her. I think I know what the deal is (but please don’t post spoilers!), but it would really fulfill my wishes if it was something super-scandalous, like he just found out that he fathered a child in Iceland.

Are you looking forward to next week’s show? How many buckets of tears do you think Ali will cry?

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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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5 Responses to Bachelorette: Home Invasions

  1. randi says:

    Are they not going to meet HER family this season? Don't they usually go to the hometowns of the "contestants" then to the hometown of the Bachelor(ette)? Maybe I haven't watched enough seasons to know for sure…I am starting to think that if Frank hadn't dropped a bomb to kill their relationship (or whatever happens next week. I don't know 'cause I avoid spoilers) she may have actually picked him at the end. I don't know what it is about him that drives her insane but she really, really seems to like him a lot. A LOT. I've never really been a fan of Frank and I think it's especially evil of him to allow the show to take him to Tahiti to break her heart! I hope they brought a TON of tissue for her. She's going to be a snotty, snorty mess after whatever happens next week!I will be very surprised if she gets engaged at the end of all this.

  2. Jill Mader says:

    Yeah I wondered that as well. Maybe in Tahiti, or after Tahiti? I agree, and I have no idea why she's so infatuated with Frank. He's annoyed me from the beginning. I hope she still picks someone. She can pick someone without getting engaged – I always think it's ridiculous for people to get engaged after this.

  3. randi says:

    You're probably right…they met Jake's family in St. Lucia (or wherever they were last season).

  4. Mr. Sarcasm says:

    Hi Jill, good plug on the Baltimore Sun!In regards to your questioning the families, family cooperation is surely part of the decision process at ABC, and in more recent seasons, I think families have to be supportive of the show as well. (Obviously, strained family issues aren't an deal-breaker since we've seen hometown dates sans family, but if you're family is important to a contestant, then they have to be cooperative.)I was a bigger fan in earlier seasons where there was invariably one family of serious doubters, and they'd grill the star with the quetsions you'd expect them to ask. I'm guessing those parents still exist; ABC just isn't letting their offspring participate.Will be reading all your entries on this season soon, that just popped out at the beginning and I wanted to address it.

  5. Jill Mader says:

    Thanks! I haven't seen a lot of the previous seasons, but I was a casual viewer and remember what you're saying, that at least one family would usually grill the bachelor/ette. Now it seems like they're all a bit star struck.Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy all the posts!

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