Hometowns! Hometowns! Hometowns! Are you ready to meet the families of the girls of yours and Ben’s dreams? Of course you are! That’s why you’re reading this! And good news! Each contestant comes from a white upper middle class bordering on wealthy family, so we don’t have to look at any gross poor people!
Off to Lindzi’s hometown in central Florida, home of Tom Petty and Limp Bizkit, the two greatest musical acts of the last fifty years. Ben walks gingerly down a hill to greet Lindzi, who is riding a horse because of course she is. Lindzi leans off her horse and over a fence to give Ben the most awkward hug on this show to date. Ben seems confused and apprehensive, as if he thinks he’s hugging a real life centaur.
Now Ben seems confused that he’s only the second guy Lindzi has ever brought home to meet her parents. And now Ben seems confused by the prospect of riding a horse. He gets confused a lot. Ben says he’s sort of familiar with horses because his dad rode a horse as a kid, but that’s not really how being familiar with horses works. Lindzi, on the other hand, says she’s rode horses before she learned to walk, which seems dangerous. What kind of psychopath parents would put a baby who can’t even walk on a horse? We’ll meet them soon.
Lindzi and Ben share a wine picnic. Lindzi goes on and on about how she’s always getting her heart broken and Ben seems confused again. Not knowing what else to do, Ben kisses Lindzi like a goldfish eating a flake that got trapped in the corner of the tank. Or maybe he kisses her like a guy holding an ice cream in each hand, and he’s trying to lick the ice cream that’s dripping down the side of the cone. It’s
Time for Lindzi’s parents. They have matching dogs. Lindzi’s dad Harry is instantly the best guy in the world. He looks like he’s been in the sun for too long and is sort of loopy. When he talks you can’t tell if he’s drunk or Forrest Gump-style retarded. Is it possible that he is both? I hope so. His first words to Ben are, “I’VE GOT SOME WONDERFUL CHILLED CHARDONNAY.” This guy is the best.
Turns out that Lindzi’s parents got married in San Francisco, which Ben takes for a blessed sign from God, for some reason. “What are the odds?!” Ben says. “We were just in San Francisco!” What a doof.
Harry challenges Ben to a horse carriage race, because I guess that’s what wealthy people do to while away the time. They start gearing up, and Harry is in full-on Drunk Forrest Gump mode: “YOU HAVE TO TRASH TALK ME, BEN, LAY IT ON ME!” Ben is like, “Uh, I just met you, sir.”
After a really unexciting montage of horse carriage racing, Lindzi’s parents win. Harry is standing up and cheering, “THE RESULT OF THE RACE, THE CHAMPIONS, THE OLD PEOPLE! NOW YOU PULL US BACK TO THE BIG HOUSE WHERE WE HAVE GROWN UP JUICE AND TALK ABOUT YOU AND THE PRETTY GIRL MAKING KISSES!” And then Ben and Lindzi actually do drag her parents back to the house in their carriage while Harry whips them and grunts. That is weird, right?
Now the four of them pair off for varying conversations. Lindzi’s mom loves reminding Lindzi about her past mistakes with boys. Lindzi’s mom tells Ben, “We kept her away from boys and focused her on the horses and her drill team.” Normal childhood! Ben tells Harry he’s not ready to propose to anyone yet. Harry says, “OUR FAMILY IS LINDZI, AND OUR DOGS AND OUR HORSES, WE WANT LINDZI HAPPY. I LIKE YOU, YOU CAN BE FRIENDS WITH MY HORSES? YOU RACE GOOD!” Ben says he would go to Harry for advice because he seems wise. Ugh.
The four of them reconvene by a bonfire and drink that wonderful chilled chardonnay from before, only the men get to drink out of wine glasses that are mason jars on stems. They are some classy red-fuckin’-necks, ya’ll. Ben and Lindzi say goodbye and Harry is like, “BYE BEN, HOPE YOU LIKED MY JARS!!!” Ben and Lindzi kiss and that’s the end of this chapter.
On to Tennessee for Kacie B.’s hometown. She is wearing a red version of the shirt Danny Devito wore in Batman Returns, and also a full body leotard and some weird boots. Fashion! Kacie B. twirls a baton with a high school marching band to welcome Ben before retreating to the bleachers to drink wine. Just like she did in high school!
Kacie B. says, “One of the love stories that has inspired my life is my grandparents.” We all find that insufferable. She goes on to tell Ben the great story about how her grandfather died and then her grandmother said she wouldn’t make it to Christmas, and then she died around Thanksgiving from a broken heart. She wraps it up with, “I just have these great examples of what marriage is.” Ben: “Greeeat…”
Kacie B.’s dad is a sober federal prison corrections office. Fun sounding guy! Ben gets nervous and tells Kacie B. not to kiss him that evening because of her parents, but also maybe because he thinks she’s gross and tastes like burgers. Regardless, Kacie B. is intent on letting her parents know that this is a real relationship and they need to take it seriously. The only problem is that this isn’t a real relationship, and whatever it is, Ben is having the same deal with three other women.
Here’s the family! Kacie B.’s sister is missing a sleeve. We’ll catch the jerk who stole your sleeve, little sis! Her parents seem like they just hate everyone and everything and are skeptical of everything. Kacie B. and her sister confirm this in their private chat, where Kacie B. just complains that she does everything for everyone else and everything bad in her life is her dad’s fault. Allison says five words in all, all of them, “Totally.”
Now Ben and Kacie B.’s dad sit down for a chat. He just grunts at everything Ben says. Ben has the faintest of praise for this man’s daughter and then he is just like, “Are you OK with all this?” Kacie B.’s dad: “Why on earth would anyone be OK with this?” Fair question. Ben says he believes in the sanctity of marriage, but he probably has a different definition than Kacie B.’s dad since he slipped it into Courtney in the ocean.
At this point, Ben misreads the situation completely and starts confiding his fears about commitment and marriage in Kacie B.’s dad. Ben thinks they’re bonding, but Kacie B.’s dad is like, “What is wrong with you? If you don’t like my daughter, just fucking tell her and don’t hurt my little girl” Fair enough! I’m siding with this crotchety old man!
From there, Ben sits down with Kacie B.’s mom, who CLEARLY has needed someone to talk to all these years. She goes on and on about integrity and how moving to California is for liberals and how she doesn’t want them moving in together right after the show and blah blah blah. Ben assures her he has “traditional values,” but again, he fucked Courtney with a production crew watching and filming for America to see, so… At this point, Ben is worried he’s not going to get Kacie B.’s parents’ approval, which is sort of like worrying that the popcorn may burn if you leave it in the microwave for twenty minutes.
Kacie B. and her dad talk now. Dad is like, “Why don’t you just date him like a normal person? Why do you have to do it on a TV show?” Kacie B. is just like, “I wanna move to San Francisco, dad, be cooooool for once in your life! I’m in love with him!” Dad: “The other three girls are in love too, I bet.” But Kacie B. isn’t hearing it and threatens that if Ben proposes, she’s saying yes. At this point it becomes clear that Kacie B. is using The Bachelor as a way to rebel from her parents once and for all.
Now Ben leaves. Kacie B.’s family didn’t really love him and why should they?
Fort Worth, TX! Everything is bigger in Texas, including Nicki’s butt! (That was Kelvin’s joke. Sort of. Not really, but I’m blaming him for it.) I may be biased because Nicki is my pick, but I actually really like her. She seems as close to a normal woman as possible on this show, and is probably the only person any of us would enjoy hanging out with in real life.
Ben loves Texas. Here is an abridged list of Texas things he loves: Texas horses. Texas steers. Texas queers. Texas Tears for Fears. Texas Cheers and Texas Jeers.
He also likes Texas Nicki. Nicki says the last time she brought a guy home “under these circumstances,” she married him. Oh Nicki, always bringing guys home with camera crews and America watching before she marries them. These are just the circumstances she always finds herself in. What a gal!
Nicki greets Ben with a makeout sesh while families with strollers walk around them. They go from there to get boots, because they’re in Texas. (Ben loves Texas Boots.) Some creepy boot man greets them and says, “Make yourselves at home.” In a boot shop, a place all of us feel comfortable enough to call home. Nicki makes a metaphor about boots, and how every relationship fits like a boot and she’s the best boot for Ben and she wants Ben to be inside of her because she’s a boot. I don’t know, whatever, I wasn’t listening.
Ben puts on a hat and makes for the least convincing cowboy of all time. Nicki says he seemed “very comfortable and confident.” Cut to a bartender sliding a drink down the bar to Ben, who fumbles it and daintily tries to not spill on himself as he says in a nasal voice, “Ooooooookay?”
Nicki and Ben go on a “let’s talk about my divorce” picnic. I’m not interested in any of this. Stop talking about your divorce. Stop it. Nicki talks about how her parents are skeptical of every relationship she gets in because of her divorce, and Ben says, “I hope they are skeptical about our relationship because of your divorce.” Then Ben goes in for a kiss while also saying, “I’m excited to meet your parents.” But he must be nervous because he kind of says it like Latka from Taxi and it actually comes out, “I’m exciting to meet patents.”
Ben and Nicki decide it’s time to go meet the parents, but then stop ten feet later to make out again, spilling wine down each others’ backs and imitating other Andy Kaufman characters. “Thank you veddy much.”
Nicki’s house! There are fake geese out front. That’s fun. Turns out Nicki’s parents have been divorced almost her entire life, which figures. I mean, like parents like daughter, am I right? Nicki’s family is a blank slate, and her little brother is the blankest slate of all. Nicki starts recounting their cowboy shopping spree from before and her parents seem bored. Nicki’s dad: “Ben, do you ever have trouble getting a word in since Nicki talks so much?” Nice question, dad! Not cutting at all.
Nicki and her mom peel off for a heart to heart, and it’s actually very sweet. Or less weird than you’d expect, at least. I might’ve been charmed if I forgot for a second that this was a nationally televised sweepstakes to see who gets to fuck a boring guy who stomps on grapes for a living. Nicki moves onto talking with her dad, which is boooooring. Nicki’s dad blames himself for Nicki’s divorce. That’s normal.
This whole time, Ben and Nicki’s brother have been staring at each other across the dining room table. Ben: “So, you like wine?” Nicki’s brother: “I’m 17.” Ben: “Oh.” Silence ensues.
Cut to a classic Texas dinner: Texas Baked Beans, Texas Ribs, Texas Coleslaw. All the Texas things Ben loves. Nicki is grasping onto Ben’s hand and Ben is kind of trying to wriggle out of it. Nicki’s dad stands up to give a toast that is basically like, “You guys have all the love and support you can get from us.” Ben seems like he wants to get out of there, but can’t because Nicki pulls him aside. She spills her entire heart to Ben, confessing how he’s all he wants and she wants to move to San Francisco to be with him.
Ben’s reaction: “Mm hmm…” To be fair, this is his usual reaction to most things.
As Ben leaves, Nicki tells the camera, “If it could be this good now, it would be this good forever.” That makes sense! That’s how relationships work! No bad things happen in relationships! Remember your last marriage and how great that was, Nicki?
Now what we’ve all been waiting for: Scottsdale, AZ for Courtney’s hometown! Of course Courtney would be from Scottsdale. Who had Scottsdale in the office Where is Courtney From pool?
Courtney greets Ben and takes her directly to her parents place, explaining that her dad calls it, “Casa de niñas, or house of the girls.” Spanish lesson! Courtney’s family is exactly how you’d expect them to be: glassy eyed and overcompensating. Her mother has clearly had work done and looks like Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development meets the lady who did Lambchop. Courtney’s dad is Barry Bostwick Lite.
Ben and Courtney join the family on the porch, which is called “patio de la capilla,” otherwise known as “patio of the girls.” The whole family talks about Ben for a while like he’s not sitting there, and for a second you can see Ben think to himself, “Am I a ghost?”
Courtney and her sister go off for a chat. Courtney’s sister: “You seem as happy as I’ve ever seen you.” Courtney, in a whisper through gritted teeth: “So happy…” Subtext: “I’m not happy.”
Meanwhile, Courtney’s dad pressures Ben into making a “bet on marriage,” but also maybe he’s trying to get him to invest in a business venture? I’m not sure what’s going on with him. Ben doesn’t seem sure either, so he stats hemming and hawing, which causes Courtney’s dad to cut him off and apply the hard sell about grandkids. Healthy family dynamics! A little later, Courtney’s mom lays this bombshell on Ben: “The perfect man would be able to make her happy.” Whoa. People in relationships are supposed to be happy with their mate? That is some deep-dish philosophy pizza right there.
Before we go to commercial, Courtney reveals she hasn’t told Ben she loves him yet because she’s scared. But she has a plan. Cut to… a shot of a golf course? What?
Back from commercial, shit starts getting banans, which is short for bananas but not much shorter. In hindsight, I should’ve just said bananas. Anyways, Courtney takes Ben to the park where she had her first photo shoot, but I’m not sure an old man taking photos of your feet without your permission counts as a photo shoot. Also, Courtney has basically set up a fake wedding to tell Ben she loves him. Which makes sense.
Courtney explains: “If I were afraid of heights, I’d jump out of a plane.” This is not the same thing, Courtney! If you’re afraid of telling someone you love him, the most direct antidote is to just tell him you love him. It’s not a 1-to-1 thing, you crazy magical woman!
Anyways, this wedding seems to making Ben happier than he’s ever been because he has no sort of radar set up for psychopaths. He says, “How far are we going to take this?” as if he hopes Courtney’s answer is, “To the point where we are legally married and I let you touch my butt with your ween.” They write vows and then exchange vows and then oh my God this was sort of painful I can’t even talk about it really.
Ben’s vows, summed up: “You’re pretty, and I liked it when we were in Belize together.” Courtney over praises him. “You just wrote that? Wooowwww.”
Courtney’s vows, summed up: “I’m dancing around saying the very simple phrase ‘I love you,’ and for some reason am having trouble saying it even though I went through all this trouble to get to this point and that should maybe be a warning sign for you. Also, I want to love you.” Ben’s reaction: “Wow, you said you loved me.”
So Courtney set up a fake wedding with fake rings and a fake minister in order to tell Ben “I love you,” but technically she never said, “I love you.” At one point she said, “Ben, I want to love you,” and then closed her vows with, “I want you to know that I’m in love with you,” but she never said the simple and direct phrase, “I love you.” That feels significant for some reason. Or maybe not. Why do I care? Have you guys heard of this Rwandan Genocide? Maybe I should start caring about that more.
So a fake wedding happened. Ben maybe thinks it was real and is clearly head over boners in love with Courtney. Courtney clearly does not like Ben, even as a person.
Next, Chris Harrison and Ben rehash the whole episode. Booooring. Ben does have this to say about making his choice of who to send home: “This is something you have to do to ultimately be happy.” Remember when you had to do a rose ceremony to be happy?
So, cut to the chase, Kacie B. gets sent home. Nicki and Lindzi hug her and say goodbye, and Courtney makes the best face in the history of The Bachelor, a face that basically says, “Um, she just got kicked off, why isn’t she leaving yet? Get this bitch out of here, Ben.” Ben says sorry to Kacie B., and she replies, “It’s fine.” And for a moment it seems like she is fine, but then her face starts looking like Kermit the Frog’s face when the puppeteer makes a fist, and she starts going, “Meeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
Kacie B. has an interesting meltdown in the limo. She whines and screams, “What the fuck just happened?!” But I don’t know that it’s genuine. There are no tears and lots of overacting. I think she’s just upset she doesn’t have a way to piss off her parents anymore. Next Bachelorette, maybe? Fingers crossed!
Ben bounces back quickly and announces to the remaining three that they’re heading to “a place perfect for falling in love, a place full of mountains and snow and magic, a place called Switzerland!” He sounds like Harry. Maybe he’s been calling him for advice?