Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hometown visits: Miss Emily is loved by all

Hang tight, we're getting there.
It's hometown visits this week and that can only mean one thing: We can see the light at the end of this long, boring tunnel! Actually, I don't quite mean that. I, for one, am glad it's been a relatively freak-free season. We want what's best for the young lady, don't we? She's not a monkey who will dance at our command for our pleasure; she's there to find a husband and father to her daughter. Personally, I think the real drama is better than all that faux stuff we usually get because now she's forced to choose a good man among other good men. There isn't a clear-cut leader. And as we saw in the upcoming highlights at the end of this episode, there'll be lots of tears. So it's a win-win.

Before the visits, Miss Emily gave a little rundown of each guy. The only thing that stood out to me was when talking about One-F Jef she said, "I want a guy with a bit of an edge and Jef has that." That, right there, will tell you what kind of season this has been when cuddly little Jef passes as the guy with edge.

Each of the hometown visits went well, but I get the feeling the southern belle would put on a brave face no matter what the situation. We saw a couple iffy scenes and she grinned and beared it with the best of 'em.

First up was Chicago, Illinois, where Creepy Chris was in his element. Last week, he told Miss Emily that he was falling in love with her. This week, Em responded with, "I could totally see myself falling in love with Chris." Catch the difference? She's not falling in love with him but could see that happening one day... maybe... in Bizarro world. Here's hoping Chris was paying attention while watching at home this week. Poor sod.

Chris revealed he's a first-generation Pole and takes Miss Em to a bar for a beer where she tells him that his little trick of pulling her aside at the rose ceremony last week was "so sweet." Note to every future contestant in this series: If you're on the bubble, ask to speak privately with the rose-bearer before the fateful decision. It's only worked every other time in franchise history!

A re-enactment of dinner at Chris'
At his folks' place, they sat Last Supper-style at the table, with one side completely empty. Maybe it's a Polish thing. Papa Pole told Emily they didn't want to see their son heart-broken. Well, what parent would? But why bring that up? Isn't that an inherent risk in any new relationship? No risk, no reward. But maybe they know something about the volatile Christopher we've only seen glimpses of, and that's that he takes things pretty personally. So his older sister told Emily that if he's not the one, it's better to end it sooner rather than later. This is what's known in the business as foreshadowing.

The meeting goes so well, Chris is on cloud nine. He tells her outright that he is in love with her. Twice, even, for emphasis. She responds by kissing him. There's nothing like that first time you tell your new partner you love them and not hearing it echoed back. I wanted him to pull away from the embrace and say, "Uh, is there anything you'd like to say?"

Back at the house, a Polish polka band plays and there's much dancing and gnashing of sausage.

Not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Next up was Utah for One-F Jef's hometown visit. I get the sneaking suspicion young One-F is a devout LDS'er. Now hear me out, Mormons. I have nothing against you. I've even been to one of your services. I only mention this because they're not quite bringing it up on the show and it might be a factor in Miss Emily's decision. Granted, my first inkling was that Jef is from Utah. I know there are plenty of non-Mormons there, including the entire roster of the Utah Jazz. But there's more. His parents weren't around on the hometown visit because they were away in South Carolina doing "charity work." I wonder if that charity involves knocking on strangers' doors. Otherwise, why not mention it? Charity is wonderful. Then there was the mammoth family, seemingly kept on a commune in the mountains behind a fence. And his sisters cryptically wondering if the two lovebirds had matching "goals and values."

Again, I want to stress that it doesn't matter at all if they are if it doesn't matter to Miss Emily. But if it does, we should know about it. I'd like to see her diplomatically tiptoe around that.

Before meeting the extended family, One-F took her for a ride in a jeep, stopping only to shoot guns. He tries to show off what a good shot he is at skeet, and in fact manages to hit them all, but Miss Emily one-ups him. She pretends she doesn't know how to hold a weapon, then proceeds to connect on all the shots, too. To me, the activity looks damn-near impossible and here's a skinny-jeaned kid and a fake-boobed vixen making it look like the easiest thing in the world. She says she takes gun lessons at home. For those outside the United States, that's a bit alarming, but I guess it's a pretty common thing down there.

Then they head to the commune... er, ranch. Miss Emily said, "Jef surprises me all the time." Turns out he didn't tell her about the ranch. What happened to never keeping secrets? Huh?

They greet the fenced-in family members, and they keep on coming. Then I had to wonder how many wives Daddy One-F has. But we'll never know. The older brother cheers the visitor with lemonade (another clue) and then asks his younger brother if Emily's life is built on "sound principles." Another clue?

When they leave, he tells her he wrote down some thoughts on his plane ride back from Prague. There was a lot there but it boiled down to the fact their union was "meant to be." Also, "I'm completely in love with everything about you." He then went on to itemize an endless list of what exactly he loves. Yeah, yeah, we under the concept of "everything," Jef. Nuff said.

After that, Emily told the camera, "I love so many things about Jef." Again, did you catch the difference? Everything vs so many things. Here's where an itemized account would be instructive. But it was not forthcoming.

Next up was Scottsdale, Arizona, to meet up with Speed Racer Arie. Turns out speed racing runs in his family. His dad actually won the Indy 500. Twice, even. See for yourself at the always-reliable (read: sometimes reliable) Wikipedia.

How do you spell Arie?
The "stupid hot" Arie took Miss Emily for a spin around the track. She wouldn't have done that with anyone else, she said, but she trusts him. And she trusts him, presumably, because he's "stupid hot." Anyway, they survived.

Arie tempered Emily's expectations by describing his European parents, saying his mom would be the "least open-minded" one there. It worked. Emily was nervous: "I'd be crushed if his parents didn't absolutely adore me." She's a pleaser, that Emily. I can't imagine she's ever met anyone who didn't absolutely adore her. It would probably send her spiraling into an existential crisis if that happened.

Not to worry. Though there was a tense moment when Arie's Dutch mother had the nerve to speak in Dutch to Arie, and Arie dutifully responded in kind, it all resolved itself. Arie said later it must have been awkward for Miss Emily, but it didn't stop him from carrying on in a foreign language in front of his future wife. But it was all good. They were only saying nice things. At least that's what they told Miss Emily.

Arie Sr., the old jock (if you accept the idea that race car driving is a sport), sounded like one in his heartfelt talk with Arie Jr.: "I hope you make it to the end, buddy."

Finally, Miss Emily flew to Dallas to meet up with Sean. One commenter on last week's post predicted Sean would be the last man standing. I bet they were sweating when he pulled that little prank on her. The "wholesome, well-rounded guy," according to Emily, took her to his parent's gorgeous house that housed a separate gorgeous house for Selective Sean's niece. Seriously, if you didn't see it, you won't believe it. I guess it's a dollhouse, but Miss Emily could stand fully upright in it. And, frankly, it looked nicer than my own regular house. These people are well-to-do. That might seal the deal for Miss Emily, who needs to be well taken care of.

So the joke was that Sean told Emily he still lived at home. Miss Emily went right along with it as if it were perfectly fine. But of course she knew it wasn't true. Earlier in the day, he took his dogs and her for a walk somewhere in Dallas, saying he lives "two minutes away." Then they take a 40-minute drive (according to Google maps) to Colleyville. I hope, if anything, it tells her that his sense of humour is hokey and ill-formed. If she can live with that, fine, go ahead and choose him. I guess if she can't, she can always go sleep in the dollhouse.

He keeps the gag going by showing her his "room", which is a pig sty. He says, "I wish my mom would have picked up a little bit." I guess that was part of the joke. If not, he can at least pass it off as one. Not that Miss Emily seemed to mind. She said, "That's alright, I can clean." What an angel. I hope she was just going along with the joke. He then introduced her to all "his" stuffies. They never did reveal whose room it really was and why it was so messy.

(If you stuck around till the closing credits, you'll have seen where Sean gets his "sense of humour" from. His dad brought out a gag armadillo as the entree. Again, the joke backfired because Miss Emily ain't some Yankee. She's from North Carolina. That's regular Sunday dinner where she comes from.)*

*Southern readers, chill out. Remember, I'm one of you. Southern Canadian, but still. I studied your ways for years by watching Beverly Hillbillies.

Outside the home, they smooch, with Selective Sean unselectively ramming his tongue into her mouth. She hops in the gas-guzzling SUV and is driven off. But wait. Sean loves to yell. "Emily! Emily!" Then he runs after the vehicle. It stops and he gets one last kiss. What a sap.

Back in Los Angeles, Miss Emily feels pre-emptively bad for whoever gets sent home. She doesn't want them thinking the decision was a reflection on the family, when it's clearly a reflection on the dude.

I got caught up in the blur of visits and forgot about Chris's sister's plea to send him home sooner rather than later, so my prediction was One-F Jef. But no. The roses went in order to Arie, Jef and Sean. Chris was seething, as expected. But what was he thinking? Didn't he learn anything from last week? When he was standing there with Sean, both rose-less, he should have asked to speak to Emily alone. Boom! Automatic rose.

They sat down outside and he said nothing until she spoke. At first I thought he said, "I'm not too shocked." But he followed it with, "Do you have an explanation?" So I rewound it several times and eventually concluded it must have been, "I'm actually shocked." Anyway, he couldn't understand her decision. She explained that their relationship just wasn't moving at the same pace as the others. He held himself back as best as he could, but he couldn't help showing definite signs of rage: "How much faster could it have possibly moved? I told you I loved you!" What he failed to notice at the time in the heartfelt kiss that followed was that she didn't say anything back.

In the limo ride of shame that followed, he couldn't even bring himself to mention this girl's name: "I loved this girl. Thought she loved me back. It's gonna be weird waking up tomorrow and there's no future with this girl." (Okay, he did say her name once but that doesn't fit the narrative I'm choosing so I'm editing it out.)

Despite the rejection, his youthful cockiness wouldn't die: "I'm ten times the man [bleep] of all those dudes that are still there." Well, then, it should be no problem finding a mate. And with those piercing, evil-looking eyes, he can make a fine living as a villain in action films. Not to worry about Chris. But if I were his older sister, I'd hide out for a while.

In the upcoming highlights, we see Miss Emily crying, saying she's scared and doesn't want to hurt anyone. But surely she knows every single rejectee from seasons past gets over it in a matter of weeks. In fact, the ads for Bachelor Pad (airing July 23) already show the smug visage of Kondescending Kalon prancing into the mansion, and that was probably filmed within weeks of him being dumped.

Alright, so we're down to the final three. One reader weighed in last week that Sean would win it all. I've been leaning towards Arie, but I could honestly see any one of these guys winning. Who you got?