Bachelorette Emily: “I’m Ten Times The Man That Any Of Those Fucking Guys Are.”

“…And then get in that limo and get the hell out of here!”

“Hometown dates are important because it’s a turning point in every relationship.” This statement, made by Bachelorette Emily as she’s about to embark on a week of traveling around to each of her four current boyfriends’  hometowns in order to meet the people they call their families, is exactly right. After all, if you like a person alright, but maybe you’re dating somebody else at the same time who you like a little bit more, you can break up with that first person and blame it all on their family for being a bunch of losers, or you can say his father or his sister tried to feel you up or something.

Conversely, if you’re dating somebody you like just fine, like, maybe even more than the other person or people you’re dating – you think they’re totally great and all that, and then they introduce you to their family and their father or their sister tries to feel you up or something, then you can decide right then and there whether you want anything to do with that kind of scene, and if you don’t, well, thank gods somebody tipped their hand before it was too late.

Up front, I have to say, these were four pretty nondescript hometown dates. Each had its moments which the producers tried to milk as much as they could, but if you were hoping for some of the excitement from last season where whatserhead set up the entire mock marriage thing for whatsisname, you should know better than to hope for things.

Of the four men remaining on the show, if Emily called me up on the phone and asked, “Proposals of marriage aside, is there any one of these guys from whom I should turn and run in the opposite direction?” my answer would be Chris. This is because his perspective on the world is unreliable, and he sulks when things don’t go his way. He’s icky. Because she didn’t ask me, Emily shows up in Chicago, but she and I are basically on the same page anyway. Chris shows her around a bit, takes her to a place called Polish American Restaurant where they have a beer and then go off to meet his family, where Emily has the opportunity to say perfunctory things like, “Thank you for having me. I’m so excited.”

They have dinner, there are the obligatory interviews between each of the happy-ish couple and members of his family. Apart from Chris’ sister Rene, who begs Emily, “If he’s not going to be the one, end it sooner rather than later,*” nothing memorable is said, so cut quickly to the Polish Party they have in the back yard and then get that Bachelorette out of there!

After all, she’s got to get herself dressed up for a trip to Jef’s family’s ranch in Utah, for some dune buggy riding and some skeet shooting and wondering what the deal is with Jef’s family. On last week’s episode, Jef told Emily that he broke up with a girl once because his family didn’t like her, so now, for no reason, I find myself hoping that 1) they will communicate with each other in real time through an elaborate system of gestures and hand signals, and 2) they won’t approve of her and will so direct Jef to escort her to the gate and send her away, which 3) he will do**.

No luck. With the parents not there, it falls to Jef’s older brother, Steve, to point out that he’s a little bit skeptical of The Bachelor(ette)’s process for matching people up and to allude to Jef being a bit of a wild one*** who’s never shown the same inclination to procreate as the rest of them have. At some point, Emily sits down with the hens for some serious girl talk about whatever, and then later, Jef reads her a letter he wrote on the flight back to the New World, listing all the things he loves about her. Emily’s very impressed, but she can’t stay, of course.

After all, she’s got a date with Arie and his family in Scottsdale AZ! He takes her for a ride around the track in his fast car, triggering some comments about trust, and then they sit and drink for awhile as Arie tries to explain how weird it’s going to be with his Dutch immigrant parents.

As promised, there is an awkward moment when Arie’s mother starts speaking Dutch, and then everybody starts speaking Dutch – except Emily of course****. Soon after that, Arie’s mom takes Emily off to quiz her about what happened with Brad. It seems to Emily that she didn’t ask Brad the right, fundamental questions, which she is doing now, like for example who makes her laugh? Arie. Who’s down to Earth? Arie. Then the two ladies talk about what it’s like to be married to a race car driver, while dad and son hang around out back, chatting about the hot chick one of them is dating.

They could go on and on, and I suppose father and son might just do that after Emily’s left, but Emily does have to go, for she’s got a date in Dallas TX to witness for herself the perfect life and the perfect family of the fourth man she’s dating, Sean. He is walking his dogs when she arrives, and so they continue walking, making bouquets and talking about a girl Sean dated once who was so great, but who Sean couldn’t give himself to completely*****.

They head off to meet his family, who are quite rich and play an eccentric rich people trick on Emily where they tell her that Sean still lives at home and then they show her his messy room and see if her Southern belle facade cracks at all. It doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t look and sound freaked out by this. Sean opens up to his dad about opening up to Emily, then Sean’s dad opens up to Emily about Sean opening up to him and it’s all quite touching if a bit convoluted and also a little mysterious – has anyone asked why Sean is as private as he is? Doesn’t matter. That would have taken up too much time in the segment anyhow, and there might not have been time for Sean to run through the streets yet again, bellowing Emily’s name after her car has driven away so that he can stop the car and show her what she means to him by demanding another kiss.

And then they’re all in a hotel in Beverly Hills for the rose ceremony, and then Chris is in the back of a car, offering bile and curses as his famous last words. But why? Why Chris? Why now? Because given a choice between a guy she’s probably got nothing to establish a long-term relationship with and guy she’s definitely got nothing to establish a long-term relationship with, a girl’s going to reach for what little hope there is on offer almost every time, and let’s face it, this whole thing could just as easily have gone down last week.

*Which is going to be THE topic of conversation between Chris and Rene for Christmases and Thanksgivings thirty years from now.

**Just because that’s not something you see every day, that’s all.

***That hairdo! Only one ‘f’!

****How excellently awkward would it have been if, in the middle of all of them treating her like an outsider, with Arie’s dad weirdly telling her in English that they’re talking about her and offering to translate, Emily smiled and advised him in perfect Dutch that there was no need?

*****Which might be a euphemism, but I’d rather not think about it too much.

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