‘The Bachelor’, Season 20, Episode 8: Hometown Dates

Welcome to Episode 8 of The Bachelor: Ben Is Sweet!

It was Hometown Dates this week, you guys, which is historically one of my least favorite episodes. I just hate hometowns, you guys. I just think they’re so boring and the fakest part of the entire season and I honestly could give less than a shit about which family likes the Bachelor and which family gives him a hard time because all I wanna do is get to the dramz of the Women Tell All and then start speculating on who Ben boned in the Fantasy Suites and then get to the Final Rose so I can win my bets and then go buy a latte and a Bachelor-themed People magazine the next day and start planning what to do with my real life now that the season is over.

And even though Ben and Lauren had a hometown date in Portland and even though I know there was some straight-up dramz during JoJo’s date, I still couldn’t bring myself to sit down and watch the entire episode because it’s TWO GODDAMN HOURS on TV and THREE GODDAMN HOURS when you watch it on demand (because they fill that shit with at least SIX COMMERCIALS during each commercial break) and I’m going through some major life changes this week and they’re all good life changes but let’s just say that spending three hours of my life meeting families of girls I don’t care about when I don’t even like meeting the families of people I DO care about was not high on the list.

So! For this recap I’m going to institute my wild card of the season, where I don’t actually watch the episode but I just base the recap on what I bet happened or can surmise happened from Twitter or would like to imagine happened.

Ready?

Let’s Pretend Some More That Dating a Single Parent Instantly Makes You A Parent, Too

Unlike like previous seasons, ABC decided to not waste 20 minutes of our precious lives with boring “here’s what already happened just in case you haven’t been watching all season or have developed a troubling case of amnesia” filler, and we get right into it with Ben sitting on a beach and gushing about how there’s now only “four women. Four out of 28 women…I’m excited about these four women. I hope they’re excited about me.”

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Like, again…most of the time I can ignore the polygamy stuff on this show, but sometimes it’s just SO overt that it skeezes me out. You know? Like this guy is literally gushing about how he hopes ALL FOUR WOMEN are excited about him. When he says stuff like that, I just can’t help thinking that this literally could be a show where a hot Mormon (who, incidentally, totally looks like Ben) looks for all three of his sister wives, and ABC literally would not have to change a single thing (except maybe have the Fantasy Dates chaperoned by a parent or something? I don’t know how Mormon stuff works. Pretty pretty pretty pretty sure that you don’t go skinny dipping and slip the tip in – just a little bit, just to see how it feels! – in the ocean and stuff before marriage when you’re a Mormon, though?)

So anyway, Amanda runs up to Ben on the beach while wearing a shirt that mystifies all of America –

And it does look like black magic but not TOO much black magic because she literally has to pull and tug on it every 5 minutes which looks really uncomfortable and not sexy.

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I mean, she basically looks like she’s topless in these screen grabs (which I took purposefully in a way to make her look like she was topless, because hobbies):

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But she’s not the only one who’s rocking a mystifying fashion sense – Twitter also goes ablaze with speculation about Ben’s pants, which is notable mostly for this amazing gem courtesy of Becca:

They gush about how happy they are to spend the day together and then we find out that Amanda hasn’t even been able to see her kids yet, so when her girls arrive it’s legit touching mostly just because seeing a mom being reunited with her kids is always kind of magical even if that mom left those kids for three months to be on a reality TV show which usually I’m like, “you do you, girl” but with Amanda I find it annoying mostly because she keeps trying to rationalize that she’s actually doing it for them even though hahahahaha you’re really not so shut up.

Also, her girls show up wearing robes and gladiator sandals to the beach, which is, like, NOT appropriate beach wear but considering Amanda’s outfit I guess someone had to compensate for the lack of material for that shirt.

You're breaking the fourth wall, kid.

You’re breaking the fourth wall, kid.

Amanda’s girls are named Kinsey and Charley and the older one is friendly but the younger one is like, “Yo, get outta MAH FACE, BEN!” whenever he tries to play with her and then the OLDER one is giving him the straight up glare face –

…which is kind of hilarious until Ben picks the younger one up and holds her and then it’s like a punch to the ovaries because you can actually see him be a really great dad and also hot guys with little kids just does it for me every time.

But when Amanda starts talking about how she can really see Ben be a good dad to her kids I start to zone out because I once dated a single dad and it’s like all of the responsibilities and drag duties of a parent without any of the credit and everyone always wants to know if the kid likes YOU even though, yo, maybe YOU don’t like the KID because maybe he’s a real spoiled jerk who gets everything he wants just because his mom decided to make out with her coworker on the sly and so now every weekend is like DisneyWorld where he gets to pick what we do and what we eat and where we go and what we watch on TV and he has no idea how good he has it because like YOUR parents gave a shit about what YOU wanted to watch when it came to TV time and every time you whined about it they were all, “When YOU’RE an adult, THEN you can pick what we listen to in the car” and so now that you’re an adult you want to listen to what YOU want to listen to because unlike HIM, YOU fucking EARNED that fucking privilege and even when the kid isn’t there you still don’t even get a goddamn adult date anymore because all your boyfriend does is spend all of his money and time and energy on his kid and so when it’s finally your turn for some attention your boyfriend’s like, “Yo, sorry, I’m just going to spend the rest of the week lying on the couch and watching cartoons, maybe you should try being the 7 yr old kid of divorced parents and then maybe you’ll get some attention from me but until then peace out” so yeah, I guess I don’t have any interest in hearing about how you think Ben would be as a stepdad because HAHAHAHAHA GOOD LUCK BEN.

And so then here’s the part where I just stop watching the show but I can tell from Twitter that Amanda and Ben bring the girls home and one of the girls is cranky and crying in the car which is a thing that happens with kids, and then there’s more crying, and then the in-laws are all, “Are you ready to be a dad, Ben?” and “He seems pretty young” even though HELLO your daughter had TWO KIDS and got married AND divorced by the time she was 24 so let’s cool it with pretending like your good judges of anything. And then I’m pretty sure there’s more boring talk between Ben and the parents and then Amanda and the parents about how Amanda feels about Ben and how Ben feels about Amanda and how Ben feels about the kids and whether or not the girls liked him and it’s probably super boring and totally worthless because we all know that either Amanda or Caila are going home at the end of this episode so I’ll keep that part of my life for stuff that actually matters to me, thanks.

The End!

Lauren’s From Portland Even Though She Lives In SoCal Now

Welcome to Portland, Oregon, where Lauren grew up! In case you didn’t know from the 550 times ABC shows that building mural next to a parking lot, Portland’s a weird town and wants to stay that way, so of course it only makes sense that Ben and Lauren go eat the food truck court –

…(but somehow mysteriously bypass all the homeless who hang out there. Did you know that Portland has a lot of homeless people? It does. Like, A LOTTA homeless people. They also go to VooDoo Doughnuts, even though they don’t show that on the show, but there’s a bunch of promotional stills that show them digging into a couple of massive VooDoo Doughnut boxes. If you’ve never heard of VooDoo Doughnuts, it’s a doughnut place that tourists always want to go to but they shouldn’t mention that to locals because locals will just roll their eyes and tell them to go to Blue Star Doughnuts instead. Basically: If you like cereal and weird toppings ON your doughnuts, go to VooDoo – if you like your doughnuts MADE of weird stuff, go to Blue Star. Lauren tells Ben that Portland is known as Rose City, but when pressed about where the roses are, she’s like, “good question” even though, HELLO, THERE’S AN ENTIRE HILL COVERED IN THEM KNOWN AS THE INTERNATIONAL ROSE GARDEN, LAUREN, GOD, HOW ABOUT YOU KNOW SOMETHING THAT THE CITY YOU GREW UP IN.

Then Ben and Lauren hang out at the Multnomah Whiskey Library, which is admittedly a cool place though maybe not the coolest place in Portland.

Did you know that about Portland, that there’s a lot of cool places here? There are. A LOT of cool places. There’s also a ton of homeless as mentioned earlier; you can also often find literal human waste on the downtown sidewalks without even having to look for it, which may or may not be due to the large number of homeless (or maybe just a really lazy person having a bad digestive day?) –

…the traffic is always bad because people in Portland are horribly slow drivers; and it’s becoming the new San Francisco / Manhattan when it comes to how fast and high the rents are rising thanks to combo of tech companies moving to Portland for the better cost of living (which they’re actually ruining, btw) and laws against urban sprawl. And it’s actually nothing like that song “The Dream of The 90s Is Alive In Portland” from Portlandia, just so you know. Like, it WAS like that in the *’90s*, but now it’s the ’10s and so that’s over. So just in case you get any ideas into your head about how cool it would be to move to and live in Portland, don’t! Because another thing The Bachelor doesn’t show you is that everyone who lives in Portland blames all of its problems on any newcomers, which is a convenient way for them to ignore that they were once newcomers themselves (unless they’re 4th generation Portlanders, which they’ll make sure to proudly drop into any and all conversations as if it’s something to be proud of) and that they actually pushed out and gentrified a lot of the poorer and more diverse neighborhoods themselves, but they don’t like to talk about that because that’s in the past and right now we’re talking about all the new people who are moving to Portland NOW and are therefore responsible for ruining their precious city! And you’re probably like, “LOLOLOLOL, why don’t you just build a city wall and get it over with” and honestly if some people could they probably would because that’s just how precious Portland is to them, even though…between you and me? Portland’s great, but it’s also not THAT great. Like, get over yourself, Portland – you can’t win the Prom Queen of cities and then expect that people AREN’T going to want to move into you!

The one cool thing is that, even though none of the smugly pretentious windbags from the worst Portland alt-weekly would even remotely admit to this, the premise of The Bachelor actually fits nicely into Portland because literally every single guy on Portland Tinder is all “I’m polyamorous” which is basically just a really cool way to say “I want to have sex with you and also every other girl who comes along who might remotely be okay with me putting it inside of her but writing all of that out just makes me sound like an asshole so instead let me use this term that makes me sound enlightened and open-minded and also here is my wife that I already proposed marriage to and enjoy tax breaks with so hope you’re okay if she comes along on our first date together!”

Anyway.

So Lauren grew up in Portland.

They go back to her house and we find out that Lauren’s dad calls Lauren “LoLo” but also that he basically thinks she’s an adorable idiot baby. Lauren’s sister pulls Ben away from dinner for a lil’ “chitchat” and it’s totally obvious that the sister would totally do Ben if she had the chance and if Lauren and Ben get married I feel like I’m going to bet some real money on LoLo’s sister banging Ben in the guest bedroom during the holidays during those mid-marriage years when Lolo’s pushed out a couple of kids and is too tired and overwhelmed to do sex as much anymore, because we all know that Ben’s not going to take the second shift when it comes to the childcare and home upkeep but he’s still going to expect that Lauren always looks cute and kisses him when he wants her to and is also super sweet and upbeat all the time especially with their kids and even though he literally does nothing around the house he’s still going to feel resentful and victimized by the fact that Lauren just wants to go to sleep instead of blow him and so her older sister will be totally primed and ready to give him a lil’ tofurkey action when he starts looking at her a little too long over their wine glasses at family dinners. So then LoLo sits down with her dad who does that annoying dad patriarchy thing where he tries to remind Lauren of stuff she already fucking knows, like the fact that there’s three other women in the running right now which I’m sure Lauren forgot all about because she’s just an adorable girl after all and everyone knows that girls think with their hearts instead of their heads and how lucky girls like Lauren are to have dads around to talk some sense into them!

Anyway. Lauren was going to tell Ben that she loved him but then she didn’t and he left, The End.

Caila’s Mom Is Adorable & I’d Much Rather Watch Her On This Show Than Caila

Ben arrives in Hudson, Ohio to meet up with Caila, who’s wearing black leather pants and a navy blue down vest, which really bothers me because hi, the color wheel is a thing for a reason. She takes him around Hudson and shows him a special bench where she’s always wanted to sit with someone just like all the other couples who have sat there before and this is the moment when I decide, hey, I think I’m done watching this because please go get some real goals in life, Caila.

And then according to Twitter and my own imagination, we find out that Caila’s dad own a toy company or a plastic company that helps make toys and so Caila and Ben build a playhouse together and LOLOLOL fuck anyone who tries to make me build stuff on a date because dates are for buying me dinner and slow dancing to power ballads by Chicago and making out at the end of the night and going way too far while I pretend like I never really do this even though I totally do this all the time.

And then there’s a scene that’s straight out of An Officer & A Gentleman and can we talk for a minute about how Debra Winger basically always played the worst female characters ever? Like, they were the opposite of feminist heroes in that she totally played that archetype who stood by her man and forgave him in the end for all of his sexist, cheating, even abusive ways which makes her characters really annoying and also her annoying by default which is perfect for Caila to pretend to be because she is also really annoying.

So then we meet her family and her mom is beautiful and adorable and also rocks the adult braces and her dad is kind of that weird ugly white guy who somehow managed to marry a gorgeous Filipino woman which just brings up a bunch of weird associations that we don’t have to get into right now.

Caila talks to both of her parents about how she knows that Ben is the one –

…and Ben at one point mentions that his relationship with Caila is deeper than it is with any of the other women which is I think is total bullshit because you only think that because she’s confusing and likes to make out a bunch.

Anyway, Caila also wants to tell Ben that she loves him but doesn’t and then he leaves and The End.

Get Out Right Now It’s The End Of You & Me

JoJo comes home to her apartment to find a bouquet of roses waiting for her, and a letter that she at first thinks is from Ben and then realizes that it’s from her ex, Chad, who apparently screwed her over.

First of all, I love the name Chad – it’s such an ’80s teen movie villain name, and it instantly makes me think of Billy Zabka, which makes me want to stare at this photo all the time because OMG LEMME SWEEP THAT (3rd) LEG, JOHNNY.

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20th Season Scarf knows what I’m talking about:

So JoJo calls Chad and he’s all, “I love you” and she’s like “No” and he’s all “yes” and she’s like “it’s too late” and he’s like “no it’s not” and she’s like “you’re the worst” and he’s all “you’re the best” and then Ben arrives just in time to ruin everything! JoJo tells Ben what’s happening, Ben makes it all about him instead of about her –

and then they go to her house.

First, JoJo is RICH, y’all! Like, lives in a REAL mansion rich.

They arrive and her brothers act like JoJo has been missing for 20 years and just now has been found.

Like, seriously…it’s a little weird. JoJo’s mom has had some “maintenance” done on her face, which…I mean…you do you, girl. Her younger sister is obviously used to being the less pretty sister, which is sad for her.

JoJo’s brothers, are like, REALLY REALLY REALLY attached to her, which makes this brother-sister incest story I read the night before this week’s episode all that much more stark and disturbing.

But of course the previews to this show made it look like they got super up in Ben’s face about his intentions toward JoJo and that it was super heated and tense, and it was literally like, 10 minutes of them being, “Yo, don’t hurt our sister” and Ben being all, “I’m not GONNA! I’m not EVIL!” (but secretly is like, “yeah, I’m probably gonna hurt your sister…”).

The best moment of the entire night, though, was when JoJo’s mom won all of America’s hearts and just drank straight from the bottle during the “tense” conversation in the kitchen:

And then creepily stared at them as JoJo walked Ben to his waiting SUV:

Rose Ceremony

The ladies show up for the Rose Ceremony, and each of them talk about how nervous they are about whether or not their hometowns convinced Ben that their families weren’t *quite* so awful that he might still want to do sex with them in the Fantasy Suite:

Lauren and Caila get a rose –

…and there’s a weird look between JoJo and Amanda when they’re the last two left:

Ben sends Amanda home, and she gets pissy and asks him why he didn’t just tell her during their date if he didn’t think he was going to keep her instead of making her come to LA and sending her home during a rose ceremony, and once again I have to wonder – why do these women think they deserve to NOT be sent home during a Rose Ceremony? That’s, like, the whole point of the show?

Ben is like, “I didn’t KNOW then! GOD!” and sends her off into a limo where she cries and then he cries and I don’t cry because GOD FINALLY THIS EPISODE IS OVER.

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But not before we get to see Lauren’s two nerdy kid brothers try to get Ben to tell him whether he’s going to do their sister in the Fantasy Suite!

Seriously, those brothers totally try to sneak a peak at Lauren and her sister when they get out of the shower and we all know it and I don’t know we’re not having a conversation about THAT on Reddit.

Next This week! Ben bones three girls on a tropical island, and tells two of them he loves them!

Even though this was the latest recap in the history of all my recaps (sorry, OKAY, I was TRAVELING and STUFF), I’ll be watching the episodes live from now on, which means we’ll get to close out the season with more timely postings! You can follow me on Twitter, keep up wit’ my Facebook Page, or subscribe to my once-a-week email newsletter instead of hoofing it over here every other day to see what’s up), and I’ll be creepin’ on all your live tweets tonight via my Bachelor Master List, which you can also follow. Until then, bachelor babes, keep it 100 on the hot tubs, bikinis, and wine-soaked tears!

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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