The hometown dates are, historically, my least favorite episode of the Bachelor/ette. You see, when it comes to the contestants on the Bachelor, I don’t really care about their backstories. I’m not particularly interested in seeing where they live, or how they spend their days. And, if I’m being completely honest, the families almost never turn out to be as outrageous as their offspring.
Except for Corinne’s family who nailed their audition for the next Freeform spinoff: Corinne Ever After.
P.S. I’d watch.
With the unexpected departure of Kristina last week, the remaining four women vying for Nick’s heart are in chaos. Nick is unpredictable. In fact, the only two thing you can know for certain is that Nick will be wearing skinny jeans. So, when he arrives unannounced through the back door of their beach house the women are shook. I worry about their safety (why isn’t this door locked?) but they’re more concerned about how many roses are in his tiny hands. Then Nick pulls and Oprah and gives roses to everyone, including Raven who already has a rose. I wait in anticipation for Corinne to mention how unfair this is, but the moment passes without conflict.
The first date is Raven’s hometown. It’s where she was raised. It’s where she lives. And, judging from her past relationships, it’s probably where the bodies of her ex-boyfriends are buried. This is all but confirmed when Raven and Nick sneak up to the top of a grain bin before being accosted by the Hoxie PD for trespassing. Nick has no ID, save for People Magazine articles he carries around in his back pocket. But before he can say “I know Chris Harrison,” the police officer confesses that he’s Raven’s brother.
And now we know why no charges were pressed when she put a stiletto in her ex-boyfriend’s head.
After evading the law, Nick is on top of the world. And on top of Raven in the middle of a grassy, muddy field. Oh to be young, in love, and unbridled by the fear of unsanitary waterborne diseases.
The two learn that Raven’s father is cancer-free. If there’s a time to ask a guy for his daughter’s hand in marriage, while still dating three other women, it’s now. So, Nick goes for it. Raven’s dad confesses that he wasn’t expecting to like Nick. America nods in agreement. “I could live with that,” he replies to Nick’s ambiguous proposal intentions.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Then we’re off to Dallas, home of the Cowboys, Sean and Catherine Lowe and Rachel, our future Bachelorette. Their date begins in Rachel’s church, a raucous, joyful, musical house of worship that only serves to illuminate their mutual respect for faith and Nick’s complete lack of rhythm. After a series of amens (and a reminder that Rachel is black) Nick learns that Mr. Lindsay won’t be attending the evening festivities due to “work obligations.”
It may be the first time in Bachelor history someone decided not to blow off work just to be on television.
The theme of the date is “Does Nick know that Rachel is black.” And the answer is yes. Like Nick, I hope that America can acknowledge that our next Bachelorette is a woman of color, and then focus on the fact that she’s smart, successful, confident and beautiful. And leave it at that.
I have been unapologetically pro-Corinne from the beginning, but her family date sealed the deal for me. See, despite all her mean girl, gaslighting, narcoleptic ways, I can’t be mad at a girl with a full-time nanny who’s always down for shopping and day drinking.
Corinne takes Nick to the mall, where she encourages him to wear $1400 ombre sweat suits and sparkly shoes, so he’ll be ready at a moment’s notice if that Dancing With the Stars call ever comes. Corinne drops $4000 and the “L” word before bringing us into her home to, finally, meet the fabled Raquel.
Mr. Olympios is a national treasure; a Jon Lovitz lookalike who marinates his own olives and loves his money, scotch and daughters fiercely. You don’t run a multi-million dollar business without knowing a few things. And one is that his eldest daughter just brought home an unemployed actor with three other girlfriends who doesn’t seem all that uncomfortable wearing $600 cashmere sweatshirts.
Eat the olive, Nick.
Up to this point, I haven’t understood the appeal of Vanessa (looks notwithstanding.) But when Vanessa brings Nick to her school, her students are moved to tears in her presence. Seeing her interact with her students, reveals a funny, playful and empathic person that we haven’t been privy to, thanks to creative editing and the sideshow that is Corinne.
In the history of the Bachelor, I am not sure I have ever seen a family ever turn a hometown into a shitshow quite like Vanessa’s. The Grimaldi family is not here to make friends, especially not with an American with a penchant for shawl cardigans and dating multiple women at the same time.
It’s hard for the family to ignore the unemployed grifter seated across the table for Sunday lunch, and before Nick can dig into Nonna’s famous manicotti, Vanessa’s mom spirits Nick away for a quick tete-a-tete. (That’s French for “chat.) Nick tells her he liked Vanessa from the moment she got out of the car, which she dismisses as a superficial connection, before essentially telling Nick that her daughter deserves more than an out-of-work actor who uses network television as his wingman.
Her sister and brother echo Nick’s concerns, but it’s Vanessa’s dad who’s the real hero of this date. The couple crosses town for a final stop at Vanessa’s father and stepmother’s pad. After an awkward exchange of pleasantries, Vanessa’s father pulls Nick aside to understand his intentions with his daughter. Nick begins one of his famous monologues about connections and journeys, but Mr. Grimaldi interrupts,” I just want her to be happy.”
For some inexplicable reason, Nick sees this as the perfect segue to ask for permission to propose to Vanessa.
“Did you ask this of the other women you visited?” Mr. Grimaldi asks, looking for spoilers along with the rest of us. “In a way,” Nick stammers. With Nick’s balls in a metaphorical vice, Mr. Grimaldi halfheartedly agrees to give Nick his blessing, before skipping down the hall to tell Vanessa that Nick has asked for permission to propose to her — and his three other girlfriends.
New York, NY
With everyone on edge, what better place to hold the next rose ceremony but New York, the anxiety capital of the world? Everyone is filled with apprehension, including Nick who is still worried about being dumped on television for a third time. He leans pensively against his hotel balcony, when there’s an “unexpected” knock at the door.
“Hello, Nick,” drawls his ex, Andi Dorfman.
In the words of Monica Geller: It just got interesting.