On episode 8, season 20 of The Bachelor, Ben Higgins wracked up the frequent flier miles as he traversed the U.S. to meet the families of the final four women: Amanda, Lauren B., Caila and JoJo. A playdate at the beach, a day filled sampling a variety of food-truck cuisines and libations and constructing a toy house were all on the itinerary, but whatever the women had planned in the way of one-on-one dates, the main event was constant, Ben meeting their families. Armed with flowers and gifts, Ben worked double time to win over mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, and nobody took it easy on the handsome, affable Bachelor, resulting in some very awkward conversations. Here’s a rundown of some of the more uncomfortable moments viewers had to endure from episode 8.
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1. Ben Pulls Step-dad Duty
We all knew it was coming. If Amanda made it to the final four, Ben was going to have to meet her daughters in the most inorganic, forced and contrived way possible. What made the whole thing worse is Amanda hadn’t even seen the girls beforehand which would have seemed like a good idea, so maybe mom could prep the girls on what the hell was going on. Introducing a man to your kids just to confirm your own feelings is disturbing. True, the girls are young, and it’s doubtful Ben made much of a lasting impression, but the girls felt like props as Ben went through the motions trying to bond in the most photogenic way. The worst part of the date was when Ben read the girls a bedtime story, a tale about a man named Ben who was dating their mommy. Whatever happened to Good Night Moon?
2. Lauren B.’s Sister Reduces Ben to Tears
Ben may have almost charmed the pants off Lauren B.–they’ll be fully off on their overnight date, I’m sure. But Lauren B.’s sister, Molly, remained skeptical. After ticking off a list of all of her sister’s wonderful qualities (beauty, brains, good values), she then asked Ben what made Lauren stand out to him? Uh, I think you just answered your own question. Even more oddly, Ben couldn’t come up with an answer. For the second time during their brief chat, he said he felt lucky, and after a few “Uhs,” he broke into tears. Blame it on stress, blame it on male PMS or blame it on Ben being a mama’s boy. Whatever the reason, Molly’s questions didn’t warrant tears. Let’s hope Ben never gets vetted for public office.
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3. Lauren B. Gets a Reality Check from Her Dad
It’s all roses, fireworks, champagne and romantic interludes until the Bachelor meets the parents. That’s when the crushing reality of how monumentally silly it is to think you can fall in love with someone over the course of a month is called to the attention of everyone involved. Lauren B.’s dad wasn’t especially moved by his daughter’s declaration of adoration for Ben, and he let her know that nobody is perfect. Lauren B.’s response that she’s pretty positive she’s in love didn’t sway daddy, and she grew tense and a bit defensive when he reminded her there were three other women in the mix.
4. A Manufactured Movie Moment
Caila and Ben spent the day at Caila’s dad’s toy factory which is just too precious for words. When you thought things couldn’t get any cuter, Ben swept Caila into his arms and carried her out the building the same way Richard Gere did Debra Winger at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman. The differences between that fictitious love story and this one are too numerous to count, other than the fictitious part. Onlookers applauded, and Caila took Ben’s hard hat off and plopped it on top of her chestnut locks. Maybe I’m too cynical, but the whole re-enactment had some producer’s grubby little hands all over it.
5. Caila’s Dad Predicts Heartbreak
Caila’s dad grilled her about her love affair with Ben, and she got very emotional when she told him Ben was the one. Watching each of these women profess their love for Ben was brutal, not only because we know three of them are going to get dumped, but also because the “winner” is likely to end up heartbroken as well. Caila kept claiming “This is it,” and her father was “genuinely surprised” to report he believed his daughter to be head-over-heels. I don’t think dad really bought it. But no father wants to call out his offspring for being emotionally off the rails on national television. However, Caila’s dad’s final prediction was that his daughter was in for a huge letdown and likely to get crushed.
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6. JoJo’s Ex Makes a Bold Gesture
JoJo arrived at her Dallas apartment to find a two dozen red roses and a hear-felt letter. There was just one problem-they weren’t from Ben. After watching his ex on national television, JoJo’s ex-boyfriend had an epiphany. He was in love and wanted her to know it. Curious timing to be sure, all of this drama going down just minutes before Ben was to make his appearance, JoJo called the guy up, and the two rehashed their ill-fated love affair. Ben knocked at the door and was greeted by an emotional JoJo who proceeded to tell him about her blast from the past. JoJo claimed to be the happiest she’s ever been, but she looked completely miserable. Not an auspicious start to their hometown date.
7. JoJo’s Brothers Rake Ben Over the Coals
While JoJo confessed her deepest, darkest fears about her feelings for Ben to her adequately-preserved mother (much Botox), Ben was put through the paces by JoJo’s brothers, Matt and Ben. Ben served up his usual platitudes, but what he was selling, they weren’t buying. Fearing their sister’s self-esteem had taken a hit, and that Ben just wasn’t emotionally invested caused the two to warn their sister to keep her guard up. If that wasn’t enough, they accused Ben of brainwashing JoJo and being disingenuous. Ben left his balls in the car and came up short in convincing them otherwise.
8. Everyone Says “I Love You”
It was a big night for proclamations of love, except it wasn’t. Three of the women almost simultaneously came to the conclusion they were in love with Ben Higgins. They may have been flirting with the idea or dancing around the notion previous to Ben’s hometown visits but had one obstacle standing in the way. Amanda needed to see him with her kids to know, Samantha had to get the okay from her family before she could confirm, and all it took for Caila was a walk in the park. In addition to their shared self-actualization, none could utter those three little words to Ben, even though they had zero trouble telling everyone else, including the camera. An odd and orchestrated coincidence that these women had their “Aha” moments at the same time, and I predict the “I love yous” will come fast and furious during the overnight dates, another happy coincidence.
Which moment did you find the hardest to watch? Think you know who Ben Higgins will send home next? Play The Bachelor Fantasy TV by making your pick here.>>>
The Bachelor season 20 airs Mondays at 8pm on ABC.
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