Tonight on The Bachelor: HOMETOWN DATES! And it’s Presidents Day. Happy birthday, George Washington! Isn’t this the America you dreamed of?
Last week the show aired on Valentine’s Day, which was obviously bad enough for those of us unlucky enough to be sitting at home alone that night watching this cliche-ridden, antiquated courting ceremony. Watching The Bachelor on Presidents Day isn’t quite as blatantly depressing, but it’s still sad to think about what our nation’s greatest leaders might say if they found out that this cheesy monstrosity of a TV show is how millions of us choose (thanks to our awesome FREEDOMS!) to spend our Monday nights:
Before he embarks on his cross-country trip in search of a wife, Brad is “thinking a lot.” But apparently not thinking enough to reconsider that hat!
“It’s my thinking cap! LOL get it? … If you do, please explain it to me, because a producer told me to say that and I don’t actually get it.”
We recap Brad’s final four and what he likes and does not like about them. I have taken the care to condense these lengthy speeches into a short pro/con summary for each woman. You are WELCOME.
Chantal: Fun and fearless … when she’s not being overly dramatic and crippled by fear.
Ashley: Bubbly and happy … except when she’s making herself miserable by second-guessing everything.
Shawntel: Easygoing and confident. They have an “unsaid connection.”
Emily: An angel of whom he desperately wants to be worthy, but deep-down knows he is not.
Brad declares “one of these women is going to be my wife.” You hear that, America? We just got promised. There’s gonna be a weddin’! Yeeeehaaaw!
Date #1: Seattle, Washington with Chantal
Hey, that’s where I live! Weird I’ve never run into Chantal before. Also, a sad realization just hit me: No more date cards, which means no more writing what the date cards should have read. It was fun while it lasted, you guys.
Chantal greets Brad at Alki Beach, which has a great view of the gorgeous Seattle skyline. And that’s the first and last we’ll see of the actual city of Seattle. Too bad.
“My friend Jason lives here. We met in a Post-Bachelor Protection Program. Do you know him?”
Brad says he likes Seattle, at least what he saw between the tarmac and this table, but he isn’t willing to move away from Austin. Chantal’s OK with that, but she jokingly (?) tells Brad that if her parents don’t like him, he’s “out.”
She then takes Brad to her house and introduces him to her little puffball dog, who is wearing a hoodie at first. That’s questionable. What’s not questionable is that he is PRECIOUS.
Adorable puppy who’d never hurt anybody, will you accept this rose?
Then Chantal introduces Brad to her cats, who are like, “Meh.” Chantal is a “package deal” with her furry friends, and Brad pretends he’s OK with that, but he’s already plotting a Pavelka, at least to get rid of her cats. They talk moving-in logistics like it’s a done deal. They decide they’ll have to buy a bigger place with more closet space for Chantal because YOU KNOW WOMEN AND OUR CLOTHES LOL!
Suddenly Brad and Chantal are in the car on the highway again, but I thought she only lived four blocks away from her parents! CONTINUITY ERROR ALERT. Maybe they had to drive because the driveway to Chantal’s parents’ MANSION is that long? No, it’s not a mansion … it’s more like a castle? Brad meets Chantal’s mom (total coug), her dad (Mike O’Brien, local car-lord) and her little brother (cute). Brad tells Chantal’s parents about her infamous SLAP, and Mom proves that she can actually move her botox, which is how we know that it’s some QUALITY WORK ($$$):
She slapped me, but I was into it. I guess you could say I’m slap-happy!
Chantal and her dad have some private time, and she drops the bomb that she L-U-V lubbs Brad. Dad is all, “Um, I’ll talk to him?” So he talks to Brad while they admire the huge-ass bronze statue in the courtyard and bond over how they both bootstrap-pulled themselves up to their respective mansions/condos. How sweet.
Meanwhile, Chantal sits down with her mom, who tells her to trust her heart when Chantal admits she’s scared of loving Brad TOO much. Little does she know that Brad’s heart lies with another: He’s now in love with her dad instead! They totally connected over how Brad never knew his father but Mike knew his, and how they both think Chantal is just OK. Brad asks Mike for his blessing. Mike misunderstands and thinks Brad is asking about marrying Chantal, and t’s too awkward for Brad to admit he was actually asking for Mike’s hand in marriage, so Brad just rolls with it and probably tells himself that if he marries Chantal, at least that will keep him close to Mike forever!
Chantal walks Brad out of her family’s castle, because he has to leave now. He kisses her goodbye a few times, pretending it’s Mike or the bronze naked man statue. Brad then departs Seattle before he even got a chance to watch the fish throwing at Pike Place Market, or take a daytrip to Forks, WA (Brad’s a BIG Twilight fan!), or come visit me at my apartment, where I don’t have any cats but I DO know a freakish amount about him and his life. We could have had a great time!
Date #2: Madawaska, Maine with Ashley
Ashley lives in Philadelphia, but she’s taking Brad to her tiny hometown in Maine that I cannot pronounce. They go to the one (?) restaurant in town, where Ashley used to work. Brad says he could see himself living here, because he likes “slow” places. (Because that’s what he is. BOOM. Had to do it!)
Ashley explains that, since they’re so close to French Canada, it’s a heavily French-speaking town, and Brad is like, “Huh? But France is like, in, Europe … right?” He’s visibly puzzled. Brad, you’re what the French call “les incompetentes.” Lucky for you, Ashley is too sweet and bubbly to be particularly picky:
Then, as if on cue (because she is!) the waitress comes over and says something to them in French, and Brad says “si” because he’s a big dumb lug who can’t do anything right (AKA the perfect specimen, a total keeper, the man of all our collective dreams). Then, just to drive the point home, he accidentally kills a puppy by petting it too hard and repeatedly asks Ashley to “tell him about the rabbits.”
Brad has also never heard of poutine! POUTINE IS AMAZING, YOU GUYS. If you’ve never had it, go out right now and GET SOME. French fries plus gravy plus cheese … what’s not to love? If there was a reality dating show where I could compete to win the love of an eligible plate of delicious poutine, I’d sign my dignity away this SECOND.
This is the sexiest thing I have seen on The Bachelor all season.
While they stuff their faces with gravy-covered goodness, Ashley and Brad talk about how they’re always talking about their feelings, which is the most boring kind of conversation to ever eavesdrop on. But things get more interesting when Ashley takes Brad to the town produce “store,” which is a tiny shed where you can pick out stuff and pay into a box using the honor system. Cute! Quaint! Honorable! Then they take photos in front of the city sign.
“Bienvenue. That’s Spanish for ‘good venue’!” – Brad
You guys, there’s a new frontrunner: Brad totally wants to propose to Ashley’s hometown!
Ashley is “feeling as close as she’s ever felt to being in love with Brad,” which doesn’t sound as romantic as she seems to want it to sound. They go to Ashley’s family’s house, and Ashley is so jacked up that she screams and jumps into his arms for no reason! The whole family is into doing things for no reason, so they gather excitedly and sit on the floor at Brad’s feet, barely refraining from washing and kissing his toes as he impresses them with his fawning adoration for their daughter.
Ashley’s dad pulls Brad aside, and asks him about how Ashley’s dentist schooling would fit into their life together. Brad is like, “I don’t know about all that, but I have a more important issue to discuss…”
“Do I have your blessing … to borrow that shirt?”
Meanwhile, Ashley reassures her brother and sister that she’s not *quite* ready for a proposal just yet. Her mom says “If he’s the one, he’s the one,” and Ashley is “starting to think that she and Brad are meant to be,” and I think, “UH OH” for both of them. I’ve seen enough hometown dates to know that hearing such superlative words don’t usually bode well. Some weird, unromantic synth-y music plays as Brad kisses Ashley goodbye, says “Adios, senorita!” and drives off into the cold Maine night.
Date #3: Chico, California with Shawntel
First, they show a clip of a commercial for Shawntel’s family’s funeral home, which is SUPER WEIRD. Not the commercial. Just that they showed it, with no introduction or explanation. Shawntel of the Dead has officially been pigeon-holed. Cue the creepy organ music, because now it’s time to watch as she gives Brad a tour of her family-owned Death Factory.
“Death has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. Which, I think, is healthy.” – Shawntel. I’m loving this already.
Shawntel says she hopes Brad comes to her hometown date “not being afraid of death,” which I think is the first time I’ve ever heard THAT hope expressed on The Bachelor. I dig it. Brad meets Shawntel inside the mausoleum, and he’s instantly freaked out. She asks if he wants to be buried or cremated when he dies. Since he’s technically a cyborg who’s programmed to “feel” but can never actually die, Brad expresses anxiety and confusion: “I haven’t even thought of death.” I continue this sentence in my head: “… but, and I’m just spit-ballin’ here, but I’d really like to be stuffed and mounted to a set of wires and manipulated by a puppeteer so that, even after I die, they could bring me back for a third installment of The Bachelor. Do you guys do that kinda stuff here?”
Shawntel shows Brad the crematorium. Do I even need to point out the humor in how unromantic this date is? I think you get it. BUT IN CASE YOU DIDN’T, HOW ABOUT BRAD LIES DOWN ON SHAWNTEL’S EMBALMING TABLE? And how about Shawntel puts on a FACE MASK for no reason? And then how about she explicitly explains the entire embalming process to him while waving a scalpel in his face?
Normal date stuff. (For DEXTER.)
Unfortunately, we don’t get to see any dead bodies, but Brad’s dead eyes as he watches Shawntel explain her work is close enough. It turns out Brad doesn’t handle death well, and he doesn’t think he could do what Shawntel does. She tells Brad that it seems like her job is creepy, but actually there’s a lot of love involved with the families she helps every day. Brad weakly attempts to convince himself that he likes how excited and invested and “full of life” (*COUGH*) Shawntel is about her job.
It’s time for Shawntel and Brad to rejoin the world of the living, so they go to her parents’ house, who thankfully do not look like the Addams family. In fact, the opposite: Shawntel has two hot blonde younger sisters that Brad has force himself to refrain from hitting on out of habit. At dinner, Shawntel’s dad takes the wind out of the happy couple’s love-sails by saying he is not happy about the idea that Shawntel might move away with Brad and not take over the business.
“Let’s toast! To LIFE!”
“That is offensive.”
“Our plans have been destroyed,” Dad says, and now I think he might kill Brad with a scalpel and put him in the crematorium if Brad gets in the way! (THE PERFECT CRIME.) Shawntel is basically like, “Let’s deal with that if he proposes,” which, statistically speaking, he won’t, so who cares.
Dad eventually gives Brad a halfhearted blessing, and Shawntel seals the L-word deal with Brad: She was “falling in love” with him last week, but this week she is definitely “IN love.” I wonder what changed? Do you think it was seeing his lifeless body on her embalming table? I bet that’s what did it.
Date #4: Charlotte, North Carolina with Emily
Before Brad shows up, Emily reunites with her daughter Ricki (Ricky? Rikkee?) and it’s the sweetest thing ever. She explains to Ricki that she made a “new friend” who’s coming to Charlotte just to meet her, and I die because it’s just so precious, and Ricki has cute little fake suspenders on her shirt! The stakes are high: “If Brad and Ricki don’t mesh, it would be just like Brad and I not meshing,” says Emily. And now I hope that Ricki hates Brad, because I want Emily to jump right over Brad and straight into The Bachelorette, where she might have the chance to mesh with men worthy of meshing with!
And my hope comes true: Ricki is shy around Brad at the beginning, and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. But he gives her a present, which is a good start! Oh, but it’s just a kite.
“You steal my amazing mother for two months and all I get is a KITE?”
Emily is trying to get Ricki to talk to Brad, but, in Emily’s words, “She is NOT havin’ it. She is not even making eye contact.” I have a feeling it’s less about Brad as a person and more about being followed around by a bunch of cameras and TV producers. And also being five years old and knowing about stranger dangers. But it’s also kind of about Brad as a person, because his attempts to make Ricki feel comfortable are making even us adults feel put off. He bellows at her like a cave man (poor Brad, it’s one of his only modes, besides “asleep”). Luckily, the kite ends up paying off, because Ricki finally shows a smile when she flies it with Brad. Probably because he’s running around chasing it like a dummy because he still doesn’t know how to fly it.
When they get to Emily’s house, it finally seems like Ricki’s coming around on Brad. They play Candy Land together, and Ricki is being less of a Princess Frostine, even though Brad is still being a total Gloppy the Molasses Monster. After tucking in Ricki and going downstairs, Brad tells Emily the whole day was “perfect,” and she agrees and is ready to seal it with a big, fat smooch. But Brad is like “I don’t want to kiss you with your daughter sleeping upstairs,” and Emily is like, “Uh. That’s sweet?” But her face says the truth:
“Are you f***ing kidding me right now?”
Emily tells Brad she likes that he’s respectful, but C’MON MAN. She’s disappointed. And Brad is an idiot. Brad: “What in the hell is my problem?” Don’t ask me that, Brad! You don’t want to know the answer!
Eventually Emily has to FORCE Brad to kiss her in the doorway before he leaves, which is so freaking embarrassing for him. “See, that wasn’t so bad?” the woman who is way too good for Brad tells him. DUH. He doesn’t deserve to sweep her doorway, let alone kiss her at it.
Sidenote: Good grief, ladies! Last week the news teased that thing about dangerous fake butt implants, and this week I’m seeing a teaser for a segment about something called a “vampire face lift,” where women are injecting their own blood back into their faces to look younger. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS/GET TREATED LIKE NORMAL HUMANS, YOU GUYS! Stop injecting your faces and butts with stuff.
Unnecessary Chris Harrison Interlude:
After the hometown dates, Brad heads back to New York and meets up with his fifth date of the week: Chris Harrison! Chris and Brad then recap everything we just saw. Either they think we are too stupid to understand the explicit, overwrought voiceovers that we just watched Brad do throughout the last two hours, or Chris Harrison threw a fit again about how he has no role in this show anymore and they had ten minutes to kill, so they appeased him. I bet it’s a little of both. If you looked up “pointless” in the dictionary … you’ll see the definition of pointless. But that definition would also perfectly describe this segment. MOVING ON.
Chris leaves to welcome the women one by one, and Brad looks at photos of his final four, because even though he’s in love with them, he can’t quite remember what they look like.
“No, seriously. Who is that?”
Brad tells the women he doesn’t want to say goodbye to any of them, but he’s here to find his wife, so “thanks again” (“but no thanks!”) to the woman whose dreams he’s about to crush.
And the roses go to…
Uh oh. It’s a Chantal VS. Shawntel SHOWDOWN! Who’s the final C/S-ha(w)n-tel/tal, and who’s about to cha-cha-cha-wntel her way out of here? The final rose goes to…
🙁 Oh no. That means Shawntel got dumped. For a guy who doesn’t deal well with death, Brad sure had an easy time killing their relationship!
This is why I prefer dead guys.
Brad walks her out and wants to say goodbye where “no one can hear” (except us, and the camera guy). He tells her that he thinks highly of her, but he didn’t feel the way he should have felt when she said she loved him. Shawntel handles it well, and says Brad has “set the bar” for her, and he assures her that she’ll find the right guy in the future. Besides eerily-perfect Emily, Shawntel was my favorite, but I guess Brad is into needy girls, not badass girls who can drain his blood without batting an eye.
In the limo, Shawntel says she definitely didn’t see it coming, and she thinks Brad is “so perfect,” which only makes me think slightly less of her, because I know she’ll learn better once she gets home and remembers there are other (living) men in the world. Ones who are smarter than Brad. Who have actually bothered to ponder the concept of death before. So don’t cry, Shawntel! Death becomes you, but crying over this guy does not.
Next Week: Brad and his final three are going to South Africa, where Brad will probably say a bunch of offensive things about the local culture. He and Chantal are going on safari, Emily gets to ride an elephant, and Ashley is going to cry in a hut! And guess what, it’s fantasy suite tiiiiime! Bow-chicka-wow-barf.
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(Images courtesy of ABC)