Bachelor Brad: Not Ashley, Not This Time

"Second time isn't really a charm, is it?"

Ashley.

That was my fearless prediction for who, heading into an episode full of Brad making the rounds of the four remaining women’s hometowns, meeting their families and seeing who and what he would force them to move away from to live with him in his tiny bachelor’s loft in Austin TX, needn’t so worry. Sure I was wrong, but not for all time.

Also, heading into the episode, everyone familiar with the footage of Emily’s daughter* running up the stairs, away from the grownups at the bottom, was keen to see what actually transpired there, as opposed to what was offered up in the edited footage.

But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We need to talk about what happens when one person who’s dating another person, or four other people, goes to where that person, or those people, live to meet their families for the first time. What does everyone hope for at a bare minimum? What makes for a good experience? What keeps a person awake the night before, praying?

If there’s one thing that all the ladies say outright, it’s that they hope that meeting their families will give Brad the insight he needs into why they are the way they are. Wait – I don’t think Emily said that, though it hardly matters what Emily says or does anyway because Brad already looooooves her so much, she could pull down her pants and show him her penis and it wouldn’t matter. Or actually, probably it would, though it also reminds me that they didn’t make one mention this week of how this is the most controversial season of The Bachelor, ever.

Obviously enough, seeing as they’re all falling in love with this fellow, the women are also really hoping their families like Brad as much as they do. Chantal’s family in Seattle certain seems to like him, whether it’s her sleeping-on-the-counters pet menagerie or her human relatives. Her dad especially seems to like Brad, to the point where he takes him to where he keeps his favourite statue and tells him all about it and then they snuggle together on a love seat while Chantal’s dad reads Ayn Rand to his new favourite guy who’ll ultimately disappoint his daughter** and practically offers up his daughter for marriage before he’s even asked. For his part, Brad really appears to enjoy the fact that he’s got a new person to tell about his bad dad and he’s probably also fairly happy to see that Chantal’s mom has kept her looks.

In Madawaska, Brad gets to eat poutine (not a euphemism; he eats poutine) for the first time in the restaurant where Ashley had her first job. Then they go and buy gigantic lobsters for supper and then they go and buy some fruits and vegetables from a roadside produce stand that doesn’t seem to have anyone watching over it. They do it on the honour system in Maine, the morons! If ever there was a time to spend the whole night before a date awake, praying, it would have involved Ashley praying that Brad didn’t find setups like this too weird. Or the fact that the show has been saying she’s a dentist when, according to her family, she’s still got some school to finish before she actually is a dentist, and they expect her to finish school. Grrr, families are always so embarrassing!

But expectations like theirs are nothing compared to those of Shawntel’s family, who are all pretty convinced that she will carry on the family undertaking business after her father retires. Man, who didn’t feel for her at the dinner table when, after a lovely date of showing Brad the cremation oven and laying him down on the embalming table and showing him ‘how it’s done’ (not a euphemism; actually explaining the embalming process) when the first truly awkward moment of the episode comes up, where Shawntel has to reassure her whole family that if she leaves Chico CA, it would be for love, and if that’s how things went, she’s taking a leap of faith and everything would ultimately work out. Her dad says “succession” a lot while pointing to his chest. It probably means more than we really know. So, did anyone else think that, when they were saying goodbye at the end of the date, Brad suddenly seemed a little cooler to the overall idea of Shawntel?

Which leaves the date with Emily, who he loooooooves so much that he needs to make a good impression on her daughter, er, Little Rickie, which makes us susceptible to any blatant lie of a story the producers want to present to us in advance, such as Little Rickie running from her mom and her mom’s friend. To go to her room to play like any Little Rickie might do, as in, no story here. Not to say the date didn’t start out awkward, though. Overburdened by the weirdness of being reunited with her mother in front of the cameras and then introduced to Mommy’s “friend” in front of the cameras and Mommy’s obvious need for her daughter to come across well in front of the cameras, Little Rickie came across as excruciatingly shy. She got better as the day went on, then she went to bed and Brad and Emily got to act shy and awkward with one another for no reason at all, partly because Brad is a 38 year old man who has apparently no experience whatsoever with dating women who even know children. So he tells Emily he wants to kiss her but he’s not going to because Little Rickie is upstairs, asleep, and she just kind of smiles and looks at him like he’s an idiot which, of course, he is.

No bones about it, Brad and Emily make a very weird couple. I staunchly believe that Brad likes her way more than she likes him, and at least part of the reason why he likes Emily so much is because of how obvious it is that she likes him but she doesn’t like him. All this is going to have to eventually come to a head, but not tonight. Tonight, it is Shawntel’s turn to get her heart broken. And so she does, and then Chris tells her to say her goodbyes and she hugs all the other ladies, all of whom lean in and whisper something to her as they’re saying goodbye. My guess: “He’s a stupid prick. You’re better off,” but if that’s it, it doesn’t stop her from being way too complimentary things about Brad after he makes it abundantly clear that it wasn’t her family, it was just her and the way she didn’t make him feel when she told him she loved him that’s driven him away. She’s never been treated as well by someone she’s dated before***, etc, etc? Yeesh.

And, I didn’t think this would happen, but I sort of miss Michelle.

*We’ll call her “Little Rickie” from now on, each and every time we have the opportunity.

**Partly true.

***Brad or no Brad, considering this, maybe she OUGHT to move away from Chico.

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    • Karen
    • February 22nd, 2011

    Brad’s begging at the end to hold Shawntel’s hand and begging to talk to her a minute to explain why he rejected her must have been really hard for him. I mean, obviously it’s better for him to explain that he has no feelings for her than to let her go graciously without having to listen to the bullshit that spewed from his mouth. He *just* realised he didn’t feel anything for her when she said she loved him? Really? He’s stupider than I thought.

    I really, really hope he winds up alone. This guy should also get sterilised while he’s at it because the world would be better without his DNA in the gene pool.

      • 68comeback
      • February 22nd, 2011

      Like the old Elton John song goes, “Sorry (I’m letting you go because you are far too complete a person, which I wasn’t really expecting at all and which, my life coach says is for the best if I just come out and admit it, scares the shit out of me) Seems To Be the Hardest Words.”

        • Karen
        • February 22nd, 2011

        I find it somewhat pathetic that someone who is 38-years-old has never had to think about death before. Which means either A) the only people he knows are vampires who live forever or B) he didn’t learn a damn thing about loss and emotions in counseling all those years.

    • Rachel
    • February 22nd, 2011

    This episode was so full of squirm-inducing awkwardness. First the embalming table stuff and then the kid. Man, did he ever suck at talking to that kid. And the embarrassing scene at the end of the date where he talked about respecting her and her daughter too much to kiss her. He came off so weird, as if he was getting all tied up in knots about her being a mom and how you’re not supposed to want to make out with moms or something.

    Poor Shawntel is better off, yes, but what exactly did she mean when she said she’s never had a guy treat her so well? If it was the Vegas shopping sprees and the glamourous international travel that impressed her, she might be cruising for some serious dating disappointment. Unless they make her the next Bachelorette, that is. Which I wouldn’t mind mostly because of her unusual career. Other than that, she seemed a little boring.

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