Episode 9, Hometowns

This week, Emily reunites with little Ricki back in Charlotte in the house of mint green walls... and ceilings. It's such a beautiful house. Who thought it would be a good idea to paint the walls the color of infection? Anyhoo, her baby comes running out to meet her, and so did... well... nobody. Was Ricki there alone? I'm certain she wasn't but it would've been nice for ABC to confirm that for us. Based on the cornrows, I'm thinking her sitter might have been Willow Smith. Out of nowhere, don't ya think?

Ems finally gets to meet the parents in this episode. She reminisces about her time so far. For me, it is a reminder of happy times, men in kilts, Chris' lack of athleticism, Arie's uncanny ability to make out, flesh-colored brows, and the fact that she and Jef didn't eat those danged desserts! Bring on the hometowns.
Chris - Chicago
As Chris sits and waits, Ems runs up behind and "scares" him. As if we hadn't seen enough castles to last us for 27 more seasons, Chris begins this date where? Outside a castle. Strike one. He has a theme prepared for the day. Oh goody. Themes are fun. They then stroll up Michigan Avenue, making their way through construction, until they reach the Chicago River and gaze down at a tour boat. Could the theme possibly be My Best Friend's  Wedding? Or maybe The Breakup? I vote MBFW. However I'm pretty sure nobody asked for my vote because on a scale from one to Polish, he's Polish. I get it. THAT'S the theme. I'm a movie enthusiast, so I choose to go the MBFW route.
Next stop, a vaguely named restaurant apparently specializing in Polish-American cuisine. I'm hoping it doubles as a karaoke bar where Emily will get up and terribly sing "I just don't know... what to do... with myself. Don't know just... what to do... with myself." Instead, Chris talks seriously about last week. He regrets how he acted and he really only wanted her to pick him so he could show her Chi-town and take her to one of his Dad's White Sox games, while his kid brother flirts with her. He preps her to meet the family. His Dad is the nice one. No worries there. His Mom is overly emotional but very loving and nurturing, as a matter of fact he is a self-proclaimed Mama's boy. Strike two. His sister is gonna be the tough one. She'll throw the curve balls. Although Ems won't get a chance to meet them, I'm assuming he has two debutant cousins who are partial to ice sculptures.
They travel out to the suburbs to see the family. They have a nice enough house, but every room has a framed piece of floral wallpaper hanging on the wall... not to mention the floral curtains. Now I see where he gets the theme tendencies. Dad pulls Ems aside to talk to her. He hesitantly assures her that Chris is ready to be a Dad. Little sister is next. Only, she is a little more assertive. She encourages Emily to dump him now rather than later if he's not the one. Well that was ballsy. Strike three. He gets her alone and stumbles over his words to sorta-kinda tell her he loves her, then they dance the polka and call it a night.
Jef - St. George, Utah
Wow. The landscape. Just wow. The Holmstead Ranch is the place to be. And a dune buggy ride, too? Whoa. Scorin' some major brownie points here, Jef with one F! And he takes her skeet shooting. Seriously, what can't this guy and his skinny jeans do. He gives the the rundown about who she is going to meet today. The parents are away doing charity work. Mystery solved. She will be meeting siblings, siblings-in-law, nieces, nephews, 12 horses, 3 dogs, 2 cats and a partridge in a pear tree. Modern day Brady Bunch, this family. Brother Steve has a sit-down with Ems. It was a bit intense, but productive I think. Next, the sister ambush. They put her on the spot about some things and then ask her if she is falling in love with their brother and if she is ok with his name only having one F. Just then, as if out of nowhere, the sweet little niece hops up in Emily's lap and shows her future aunt some love. I'm positive that wasn't scripted or anything. Nonetheless, nice touch! Again with Steve's intensity. This time he brings his seriousness to his little brother. Cool it, mister. Lighten up or Ems won't be back!
Jef caps the date by taking Ems to a little spot with breathtaking scenery. He reads her a letter he wrote while on the plane from Prague back to the states. This letter was a FAR CRY from Ryan’s boring novel. I do not know how Emily sat through Jef's sweet letter without shedding tears. I sensed that she wanted to tell him she loved him. He has stepped up his kissing, I’ll tell ya that!
Arie - Scottsdale, Arizona
Fittingly, Ems is dropped off at a racetrack where Arie is lapping in anticipation. He hops out of his car, grabs the sides of her head and plants one on her. It wasn't as passionate as we've seen in the past, but still yummy! Ems describes him as looking stupid hot. Yeah, I'd have to agree. Stupid, yo. He takes her for a ride around the track. Then a picnic where he preps her to meet the fam.

Arie: So my Dad is very laid back, funny, charming...
Ems: Just like you huh? Is he also crazy stupid sexy?
Arie: Well I prefer not to look at him that way. My Dad won the Indy 500 in '90 and '97. 
Ems: Yeah yeah yeah, when are you gonna kiss me?
Arie: Patience, woman, patience. My parents are very happy, just like we could be.
Ems: Tell me about your Mom. Is she going to like me?
Arie: She might be hard to win over. She has a tough outershell. But in all fairness, she is over-Botoxed and over-tanned. That'll do it every time.
Ems: Does she also have veneers and implants? We can compare stories!
Arie: Ok this is getting weird.

They arrive at Arie's parents' stucco mansion in the desert. At first glance, his Mom appeared very pretty. Then we get a closer look at her facial enhancements. Try pretty...ish. The family gathered for stories about how the elder Luyendyks met. Then something happened. Probably the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed. Maybe not EVER, but it's close. These people started speaking Dutch. Carrying on a conversation while Emily sat there in sheer disbelief. Rude. That's all I know to say. Rude. Arie's Mom pulls her aside and quizzes her about why it didn't work out with Brad. Emily is too polite to tell her it was because Brad was a total horse's ezel. Turns out both parents are supportive of this union. One of the twins loves her accent. The other twin and the sister have very little to say, but I assume they like her too. Who wouldn't? Another smooth hometown.

Sean - Dallas, Texas

Sean walks his pooches at White Rock Lake, looking snazzy in a yellow/white striped v-neck tee, grey shorts and matching Toms. Sitting down with a glass of wine, Ems wants to know how many girls he has taken home to meet the family. Then Sean discloses that he won't allow a girl to give herself to him if he can't reciprocate. Huhh? Then he gives her the grossest kiss in Bachelorette history. Seriously. Gag-worthy. By the way, where did the dogs go?

Sean takes her to his parents' place in an obviously affluent neighborhood. They enter through the front door and the first thing I notice was yet another framed piece of wallpaper. What's with this? A trend that hasn't reached Arkansas yet? Not exactly a trend I would follow, anyway. So they hit the back yard to meet the fam. Little Kensington and Smith. Adorable kids with last names as first names. But they are so darn cute, they can pull that off. Sister-in-law encourages little Kensington to go show Emily the playhouse. Convenient. If Ricki were a boy, would they be chomping at the bits to show Ems a backyard baseball field? Whatever it takes to win her over, though. The rest of the family seems very nice.... AND they have eyebrows that contrast with their skin tone.

And boy oh boy, the moment we've waited for since last week's previews... the moment when Sean tells her he still lives at home. The moment where women everywhere let out a collective gasp. LIVES AT HOME?? Another Mama's boy? And what's worse that that. That filthy room. The cookie crumbs, the stuffed animals, the cracker box, the glass of milk, oh dear. Just as Emily was rehearsing her goodbye speech for Sean, he tells her he was kidding. He doesn't live at home. That filth was staged. Ok, well that sure was an elaborate trick to play on her. Couldn't they have just told her a knock knock joke? This was just weird to me. Sean and his Dad sit by the pool for a deep talk. Sadly, I start to notice where Sean gets the creepy eyebrow gene. I hadn't noticed it at first. But now. Yep, mystery solved. Dad displays his feminine tendencies as he sits with Ems. I believe the family really liked her. This was a Mayberry hometown if ever I've seen one. He walks her out, and just as I say out loud, "Sean keep that tongue in that mouth!".... bleck. He does it again. Peeks that nasty tongue out to disgust the viewing audience. Then he chases her down the street for one last kiss. Luckily, the camera wasn't up close and personal for that one. Gross.

Predictably, Ems chooses a gorgeous gown for the rose ceremony. Royal blue with a blinged-out midriff. Beautiful.

First rose goes to Arie. Yay, more beautiful kisses.
Next, Jef. My definite number two.
Lastly, Sean. He is pleased. Chris is not.

Wow, one of the most bitter exits ever. Chris' arrogance is so very apparent. He has shown glimpses of a darker side in the past few episodes. But this time he didn't hold back. I'm thinking there are underlying anger issues. He thinks he is ten times the man any of those other dudes are... but on a scale of one to gone, he's gone.

Next week, fun times in the Caribbean. The island of Curacao. Nice. I'm ready. Ready to find out who the final two will be. I feel confident - and hopeful - it will be Arie and Jef.

PS - The armadillo at the end. I have no words. None at all. Now please excuse me while I go do something about the gag reflex spasms I'm having.

My wish....


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