Last night we visited the four remaining women's hometowns and all their craziness. You know, like Andi and her no-nonsense and unsympathetic dad, and Clare and her no-nonsense and unsympathetic sister, both of whom turned out to be fine. But them's teasers for ya.
We started off in Kansas City, Kansas, home of Nurse Nikki. Boom, right off the bat we're hit with:
LITERALLY count: "I have literally been around the world." – Nikki. Verdict: 'Around the world' is a figurative phrase meaning you've been to different continents. I suppose it's correct, if odd, to say that she literally has figuratively been around the world, but the literally cancels out the figuratively. Unless she circled the globe, which wouldn't happen unless you had a horrible travel agent, I've got to mark this one as WRONG.Nikki is in love with Juan Pablo, only she won't admit it to him. And why would she? A potential husband doesn't need to hear such frivolity. Let him wonder. Not that he wonders as long as he's got lips on his lips. That's all that matters.
Nikki took JP to a barbecue joint and then to a bull-riding bar. She thought he looked "pretty hot" as he gyrated back and forth on top of the mechanical bucking bull. She was "pleasantly surprised at how much of a cowboy he is." And no doubt she was even more pleased when they attempted it together, with his gyrating hips grinding into her backside.
Her parents, Tom and Jennifer, were pretty chill and open. In fact, one just needs to sit down to dinner with them and they "become family." Nikki considers her mom her best friend. Don't know what her dad does for a living, but if he were a minister, it wouldn't surprise me. He has that look. But maybe that's how everyone looks in the midwest, I don't know.
Not much to report here. Everyone was nice and normal. It was kind of fun to watch JP force his man-hugs on everyone when they would have been happy with a handshake, but that's about it.
Outside, there was more intense kissing. Nikki said "it didn't feel right to tell him" that she's totally in love with him. "I don't know why," she said. Maybe because it's hard to talk with an extra tongue in your mouth.
Next up was Atlanta, Georgia, to meet Andi's clan. Ooh, this was going to be a good one. We all saw the teasers. Her dad is a bad-ass, right?!... Not so much. I think the editors were on loan from Central Casting. They saw a bald-headed round man with a dry sense of humour so they cast him as the bad guy.
First, though, Andi took Juan Pablo to a shooting range. That's a red flag for me, but I'm Canadian. JP enjoyed himself, though. Andi was a pro, hitting the bullseye on the first shot. It took JP a while longer, as empty shells spewed out on the ground all around him, but he eventually got one.
LITERALLY count: "He is, like, literally ecstatic about it." – Andi. I forget now what he was ecstatic about, but I think it was about going to the shooting range. Verdict: 'Ecstatic' means feeling or showing overwhelming happiness. She couldn't know how he felt, and he didn't exactly show overwhelming happiness. Still, I'll give this one to her. I don't like it, but she can have this one.Andi called the excursion a "fun little stress reliever." I'd be scared living with her. But he's a cool customer. He wasn't even nervous about meeting her ball-breaking father. Maybe the "Welcome home, Pookie" sign on their door gave him a false sense of ease.
Or maybe it was because the dad was actually a decent guy. Hy and Patty were the parents. While Andi and JP joked about all their group dates, the dad was alarmed that it took Juan Pablo so long to ask her on a one-on-one. At this early juncture, I thought he was what the producers portrayed him as in the teasers, but I can now see he was also being funny in his own wry way.
It turns out Hy and Patty got engaged after knowing each other six months and have been married for 30 years. Andi said, "It makes me think it could happen to us." Math clearly isn't her strong suit. Six months seems like an eternity compared to how long she's known JP. In fact, six months constitutes a very successful Bachelor relationship. They'd make the cover of Us magazines if they lasted six months.
A good example of Hy's sense of the ha-ha. At dinner he said, "We have three wonderful children, a good son-in-law... and a visitor." Classic!
Patty took JP outside for a little talk but I think she really wanted to hit on him. She took offence that her daughter would sell her out as a bad dancer. She asked JP if he was a good dancer, then said, "Show me." Juan Pablo called in Andi so he could – literally! – show Patty how he danced rather than taking the mom by her hand and showing her the old-fashioned way. Oh yes, they eventually danced, but in front of the others, not as Patty had yearned for.
When JP sat down with Hy, he asked the older man if the time came, would he accept JP and his daughter into their family. Hy wisely said he wouldn't answer. "When and if that time comes, we'll have that discussion," he said.
Then Mr. Six Months said he was concerned with things "rapidly unfolding this fast." He told his daughter he didn't want her to get hurt. You hear this a lot on this show. But getting hurt is implicit in any relationship. She could have met JP anywhere on her own, fallen for him, and then been hurt by him. Hell, even if they agree to marry, there's no embargo on hurt feelings should one decide to leave said union.
The next hometown visit was to Sarasota, Florida, to visit Renee and her son, Ben.
LITERALLY count: "I'm going to literally eat my son when I see him." – Renee. Verdict: Yes! Finally someone gets it right!Renee just seems so grounded and cool, I can't say enough good things about her. Well, except for the cannibalism part. But that's really nitpicking.
They spend the afternoon at Ben's little league game. Poor little fella had to greet his mom with cameras in his face and a new man acting like he was best buddies with him. The longest Renee had been away from him before was 3 or 4 days. Where's she going that she's away from her kid that long? Ladies weekends in Vegas?
JP really liked Ben, saying, "He's such a cool kid. He's so nice." It made him realize, "Oh my gosh, I really want a son." Just not somebody else's, I guess.
Brenda and Tom were Renee's mom and dad. The family is very easy-going, so Renee comes by it honestly. Not much to see here. And that's a good thing. Outside, Renee was bursting at the seams, wanting to tell JP that she loved him, but "it didn't flow, it didn't come out." Too late now.
The final hometown visit was in Sacramento, California, home of Clare. JP would be the first guy Clare has brought home since her dad died. She talked some more about her father as they sat amongst some Canada geese at a pond.
Clare introduced JP to her mother and four of her five sisters. Clare is the youngest. By a long shot, it would appear. Her sister Madeline has been married "twenty-something years." I'm not even sure how that is mathematically impossible but it's a safe bet that Clare was her daddy's darling little mistake.
Hey, you thought Andi's folks got engaged quickly after only six months. Clare's parents knew each other only three weeks!
Her sister Lara was a bit of a control freak. She sat with Clare and their mother seeming to be the mother's spokesperson. The shots of the mom's eyes darting back and forth between them made me wonder if she had some sort of disability. "I'm not gonna let Mama be manipulated," Lara said right in front of Mama, who said nothing. But Clare wanted some alone time. So Lara got up and stood about ten feet away, arms crossed, listening in like her mama's lawyer.
All this talk of Mama-this and Mama-that was unsettling. I thought maybe it was Vicki Lawrence in her white wig.
When Juan Pablo sat down with Mama, Lara made sure she did, too. That didn't sit too well with Clare, but the calm, cool and collected JP told her not to worry. Sure enough, he sweet-talked his way into some alone-time with Mama.
Turns out Mama speaks Spanish. So they had a bit of a conversation about Venezuela. Ah, that was it. She couldn't speak English, I thought. That's why she wasn't speaking earlier. But then, when given the chance without her meddling daughter around, she spoke. And was quite smart and lucid.
Mama liked JP. So did Lara, I think. "If he can look past my crazy family, I would love to marry him," said Clare. "I would absolutely love it."
Going into the rose ceremony, I had no idea who he'd send home. As I've said, I like each one of these women. Yes, Renee is my hands-down favourite, but the others are all okay in their own right.
The first rose went to Nikki. Okay. Fair enough. We know, from weeks of upcoming highlights, that Andi had a problem in the fantasy suite, so she had to be picked number two, right? Wrong.
Clare was picked second, leaving no suspense whatsoever for number three. Only a giant thud from my heart dropping. How is it possible he'd send the best person home? It made no sense. Each of the three – Nikki, Clare and Andi – had shown signs of being a drama queen in certain situations. You got no sense of that with Renee. She was as calm, cool and collected as JP himself, and a loving mother to boot. But maybe he needs some South American fire to keep him on his toes.
Renee, as usual, was all class. She smiled. When they sat down, she told him she'd never felt this way about anyone and revealed that she did fall in love with him. She said he opened up her eyes to a whole new world. But no tears. Not even in the limo. She was more thankful than anything, admitting that "it sucks" but saying, "You can't force anyone." And "He's as good as they come." She was happy to know that men like him actually exist.
Renee for the next Bachelorette! Yes, she's 32 (if she's not lying about her age), and yes, she has a kid. So what? She's a catch. And failing her, let's have that season of nerds with Sharleen. That would be so much fun for all the wrong reasons.
Tonight I guess we learn if it's all over. Everyone was crying. They're trying to make us think JP did something very inappropriate in the fantasy suite with all three women. Can't wait to find out what it was. I hope it ends tonight. Go out with a bang (so to speak).