Welcome back to night two of The Bachelorette! Well, it’s not so much a “welcome back” as it is an intense feeling of being held in a hostage situation by ABC producers and their sick talent for manipulating plot lines out of literally nothing. But at least Hometown dates are finally here! That means the end is in sight. Praise be.
This is usually one of my favorite episodes of every season, because by meeting
their families the psychopaths who raised them it allows me to really get to know the guys on a more intimate level. On Monday night Tayshia narrowed her hunt for a husband down to the final four: Ivan, Ben, Brendan, and Zac. Normally, if we were living in a world that didn’t double as some nightmarish hellscape, this would mean that Tayshia would be traveling to each of their respective hometowns to get an up close and personal look at the origin of each of their deep-seated emotional issues, or at least the start of their steroid addictions. But in quarantine times obviously that format has to change. So, I have a lot of questions.
For one, are they going to travel to said hometowns in full-on hazmat suits? Or is ABC truly expecting all of their families to quarantine before filming this? Like, they are fully expecting parents in their 60s to just hop on a plane and risk their safety during a public health crisis… for this? I already learned back in March that my mother wouldn’t even share her Costco bulk orders of toilet paper with me, let alone fly across the country and potentially expose herself to droplets and small talk with any of these idiots. That said, I suppose they must quarantine because it would be terrible press if The Bachelorette was a super-spreader event. Super-spreading of venereal diseases is always cool with them, but not COVID, that’s for sure.
And indeed they are quarantining! Within the first few minutes of the show Chris Harrison tells us that there will be no traveling to hometowns. Instead, ABC is bringing the hometowns to the La Quinta Inn. I for one cannot wait to see how these guys decide to cobble together their own hometown dates with whatever spare objects they packed and loose trash they can find around the hotel’s premises. This should be interesting.
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Brendan has the first hometown date of the week and I’m truly interested in seeing more of Brendan’s connection with Tayshia. I felt like they had a moment at the beginning and then we never saw him onscreen with her again. Case in point: I didn’t even know how to properly spell his name until this episode. That’s a problem.
As it turns out, Brendan was unable to secure any adult members of his family for the hometown date. Instead, they pulled up curbside and deposited their district’s tribute—in this case a small child named Aliyah. “Aliyah” is supposedly Brendan’s niece but until I see A) a birth certificate or B) a legal guardian or parent, I will remain suspicious that this is even a member of Brendan’s family at all and is not actually just a random kid ABC found walking around the hotel’s property line and paid $20 to be on this date.
Brendan sets up a carnival date for himself, Tayshia, and “Aliyah,” which is cute but represents his home state of Massachusetts… not at all. I guess Brendan was thinking if they could handle a totally unsupervised day (minus the film crew, ABC producers, and probably a CPS caseworker) of watching “Aliyah”, then the two of them are ready to get married and start a family. I’m not 100% sure I agree with that logic, but I will say Tayshia handled “Aliyah’s” withering stares like a f*cking champ.
Despite all of this, I don’t see any chemistry between the two of them. I think at one point one of them says something like “listening to music is something I can see us doing outside this” and it’s like, I SHOULD HOPE SO. Were they planning on sitting in silence the rest of their lives? Is that what they imagined marriage to be? I’m seriously questioning how they’d describe their ideal person. Apparently it’s something like “likes music as a concept and does not immediately spit in a small child’s face.” The foundation of all great love stories, people!
Eventually we learn that “Aliyah” does have parents and in fact those parents are related to Brendan. What a relief. I know this to be true because Brendan’s brother looks exactly like him. Except his brother looks like he drank all of the whole milk growing up.
Brendan’s brother seems to think Brendan is mature enough for marriage and approves of Tayshia. It’s weird that he phrased it like that because Brendan is 30 f*cking years old and has definitely been married before. Whatever. I’m sure Brendan’s brother really meant that and isn’t just saying that as a precautionary CPS measure, since he did leave his child with these two all day.
Zac’s hometown is up next, and again there seems to be a bit of a stretch when defining one’s “hometown.” He says he’s going to bring New York City to La Quinta, and he says that with all of the confidence of someone who most definitely spent his formative years in suburban New Jersey. This feeling is reinforced when Zac hails a cab like he’s an extra on the set of Mad Men instead of calling an Uber like a normal person.
He takes Tayshia to a “true New York” bagel stand that has more fresh fruit than a Dole farm, and not one single browning banana or apple covered in a fine layer of dust like the New York bagel stands I’m accustomed to. Then there’s the New York-style pizza he offers her, which was most definitely cooked in California, if not the CiCi’s down the street. Quick question, Zac: have you ever actually been to the city before? Because I’m not convinced, buddy!
ZAC ON THIS DATE RN:
It’s clear Zac knows absolutely nothing about New York culture when the final stop on his city tour is to hop into the hotel’s fountain and dry hump Tayshia to completion. If this was a true NYC date there would be a homeless person mumbling vague threats under their breath right next to them, and they would be moments away from getting a citation from a disgruntled police officer.
Eventually, Tayshia gets to meet Zac’s actual family, and it’s fun watching her explain this date to his parents who are also supposedly from the New York area. “How did he show you New York?” “Well, we walked around in a cardboard box and made out in a fountain.” Actually, you know, that might be a more accurate New York experience when described that way.
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Even though Zac’s brother is just as skeptical of this relationship a as I am of Zac ever having spent an actual day in NYC, the rest of his family seems to be on board with Tayshia. His mother especially looked grateful that she might actually get some grandkids out of this, or at the very least spend an afternoon in the same general vicinity as Chris Harrison.
Let’s all just take a moment to feel grateful that we finally get to have some uninterrupted Ivan time on our screens this week. Truly, watching his adorable, normal face on my screen is putting years back on my life. *takes deep peaceful sigh* Okay, moving on.
Their date is very cute and down to earth. They cook a meal picked out by his little niece, whose cuteness is no doubt being closely monitored by Aliyah. If she rushes their date with a piñata and some sassy one-liners we’ll know she’s feeling upstaged. Honestly, the whole thing feels very normal. At one point Tayshia even says that this date feels like something that they’d do in the real world, and it does. I actually feel like I’m watching a real, fully-formed romantic relationship on my screen, and not just some gimmicky sideshow that makes me feel better about my personal life but worse about the human condition.
Ivan lets it slip that Tayshia is only the second girl he’s ever brought home to meet his family. This is good intel to have so that after I slide into his DMs and charm him with my
nudes sparkling personality I won’t be surprised to learn that I’m the third girl he’s bringing home to mom.
I have a very real connection with this face oh my goddddd.
As far as meeting the family goes, Tayshia shows up in the exact same dress as his mother and Ivan’s dad brings up Tayshia’s divorce. So, like, it could have gone better. The real heartwarming moment from this date is when ABC brings out Ivan’s brother who’d recently been incarcerated. It’s unclear whether ABC commandeered his freedom specifically for ratings this purpose or if he’d been released prior to this episode, but either way it’s a moment. It even made me tear up a bit. Honest! My dog looked so alarmed she started barking and knocked over my wine, and I wasn’t even mad.
Though Ben is from Indiana, he decides to make his hometown where he feels at home most: Venice Beach. Okay, that’s not how this works, Ben. I feel most at home on a rooftop in Miami drinking rosé by the bottle dancing my face off in a crop top, but that doesn’t mean I can claim it as my hometown!
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You’re right, Ben. This feels just like Indiana!
Honestly, what’s more shocking is that Ben’s idea of an authentic good time is something straight out of any romantic comedy montage reel. Like, I would not be surprised if he presented ABC producers with the storyboard from Billboard Dad and was like “no, this is how I grew up, honest!!” They go rollerblading, take wellness shots at a juice bar (shudders), stumble upon their couple caricature, and spend the day at the “beach.” By “beach” I mean another pool date that’s masquerading as something exciting. Is anyone surprised?
Ben doesn’t have a great turnout with his family for this date, but he does bring his sister and a famous-adjacent friend who just seem excited to get sh*t faced on The Bachelorette. Relatable.
They both seem over the moon that a human woman is willing to put up with Ben’s sh*t, and that feels like a giant red flag to me. Perhaps what’s most disheartening is that despite all of the chemistry Ben and Tayshia definitely have, Ben’s friends have to coax an “I love you” out of him like I have to coax my blackout friend to drink water after 1am. It doesn’t go great. In the end, he isn’t able to admit his feelings for Tayshia. He resolves to be honest with her after he makes it through the next rose ceremony, and he says this with all of the confidence of an emotionally unavailable f*ckboy who girls have picked time and again at the loss of their own sanity.
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Sure enough, Ben’s downfall is that he never said “I l love you.” Tayshia sends him home at the rose ceremony and, honestly, she doesn’t even seem sad about it. At one point Ben says “Don’t worry about me, I’m always alright”, which is definitely something I’ve said before eating three gallons of ice cream and sending a “do u ever miss us?” text to my ex. I do actually feel really bad for Ben. Even though he is absolutely stone faced during this conversation, I think that’s a defense mechanism more than anything else. That’s something I do when I’m upset or, like, read through any of the comments section of these recaps.
And on that note, fantasy suite dates and the finale (??) are next week! I’d say it’s a holiday miracle but I know no one would every willingly ask to spend their holiday season with the vultures at ABC. Until next week!
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