It’s normal to think that your family isn’t normal. No matter how not normal you think your family is, though, you have to show them to the world if you stick around long enough on The Bachelorette. Monday’s episode brought the beloved/dreaded hometown dates — beloved, by the fans, because for the first time in months we get to see people who didn’t volunteer to be on TV; dreaded, by the contestants, because each of them thinks their family is going to ruin everything.
Bryan, who is perfect — too perfect, as we’ll discuss later — feared that his overbearing mom would ruin this relationship like she ruined his last one. Peter, who isn’t sure that he wants to propose to Rachel, fretted that this meeting would make that fear of commitment apparent. Eric, who had never brought a woman to meet his family before and discussed his lack of close relationships with both his mother and father, worried that the whole thing would blow up.
Things turned out fine for all three. Bryan’s mom played nice; Peter’s mom’s admission that Peter might not be ready for marriage didn’t scare off Rachel ; and Eric’s family was more than welcoming to Rachel.
But for the fourth contestant, Dean? The hometown date didn’t go so well. He’d mentioned earlier in the season that his mother died when he was in high school, and that his family structure had disintegrated after that. And on last week’s episode, Dean stressed how uncomfortable he was with the premise of introducing Rachel to his family; in fact, he wasn’t even sure who he would visit. A normal partner would probably say, “Hey, that’s OK — I don’t need to you to introduce me to your estranged dad right now.” Not Rachel! When Dean expressed his angst over the potential hometown date, she smiled and treated it like a breakthrough in discussing serious topics with the normally lighthearted Dean.
“I want to meet the people who made you the amazing person sitting in front of me today,” Rachel said, apparently forgetting that a few minutes earlier Dean had said his father was “not a person who has any bearing on my emotional experience.” It was as if Rachel — who throughout the season has been filled with social grace and empathy — wasn’t allowed to agree with Dean that this was an awful idea.
Last week, Dean also noted that his father had “become quite a bit more eccentric” than he was in the past. What Dean seemed to mean was that his father, who spent most of his life as a guy named “Chip Unglert,” has since taken on the name “Paramroop S. Khahsha” and converted to Sikhism. Sikhism as a religion should not be classified as “eccentric.” For reasons totally unrelated to faith, though, it’s fair to say that Dean’s dad is.
In Monday’s episode, Dean and his dad’s forced reunion starts out sweetly enough, with Paramroop speaking emotionally about his love for Dean’s late mom and soothing everybody by playing a gong. (Side note: Gongs are soothing as heck. More of us should have gongs. They don’t have to be big. Everyone should have a mini-gong.) But things quickly deteriorate. The two yell at each other, with Dean’s father repeatedly casting blame on Dean. When Rachel attempts to talk to Paramroop, he begins to have an earnest conversation with her, notices the bevy of cameras filming him, and walks away, briefly pausing to say that he honors the love she’s found with Dean.
Rachel cuts Dean at the end of the episode. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t envision herself fitting into Dean’s family. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t see herself, a 31-year-old lawyer, marrying a 26-year-old “startup recruiter” who giggles constantly, struggles with serious conversations, and — lest we forget — tried a “once you go black, you never go back”–themed pickup line the first time they met. Either way, it seems like the show just made Dean and his estranged dad scream at each other on national television for no particularly good reason.
Most Boring: Peter
Peter’s hometown visit is uneventful, mostly because Peter is uneventful. He takes Rachel to the farmer’s market, where he says he goes every Saturday. Peter is 31. I’m 27. Am I four years away from going to the farmer’s market every Saturday? Jesus.
He then proceeds to bring Rachel to a bar and reveals they’re going to meet his friends. Things are about to get out of hand! The boys are back in town!
The boys quietly nurse drinks in an empty bar. They tell Rachel that Peter is normal, and tell Peter that Rachel seems normal, too. The only interesting moment happens when Rachel explains that Peter had previously told her how many black friends he has. But I remain unconvinced that these people are actually friends with Peter.
Why is there no music playing in this bar? Can somebody please log into TouchTunes?
Do these seem like people who enjoy hanging out with Peter?
Peter’s friends don’t seem to enjoy his company, don’t have stories about Peter to tell, and don’t have insights into Peter’s life that might be useful. Either Peter is too boring to have friends, or his friends are really boring.
He will probably win this show.
Biggest Upcoming Lawsuit: The Person in Charge of Writing Music For ‘The Bachelorette’ Kickers
This is just “Time of Your Life” by Green Day. Green Day definitely has good lawyers. You’re going to lose so much money, my dude.
MVP: Bryan’s Mom
Bryan brings Rachel to Miami, where she learns about his Colombian heritage. I’m Jewish Cuban, so between Corinne taking Nick to the mall in Bal Harbour last season and Bryan taking Rachel to Calle Ocho to play dominos, this show is speaking to my entire understanding of Miami.
But for as much as Bryan’s gaming habits appeal to me, I’ve turned on him. I think that feeling started in last week’s episode, when he spent a few seconds fantasizing about what Rachel looked like as a teenager in a schoolgirl outfit. It made me realize that Bryan hasn’t had any negatives thus far: He’s been constantly charming; he hasn’t squabbled with anybody; and when asked about tough periods in his life, he said that he was such a good boy that the one time he did something wrong his family couldn’t handle it and sent him to boarding school. In this episode, he became the first of the remaining four contestants to confess his love to Rachel. Perfect, single 37-year-olds show up in romantic comedies, but not in real life. Either Bryan isn’t real, or this isn’t real.
Bryan’s mom, Olga, seems to have a theory. “You have gone out with so many girls, and you go on a show, and you fall in love with the girl on the show?” she cackles. “I’m in shock!”
Olga speaks English, but much like ABC has a policy of censoring people’s clothed butts to imply that something scandalous is happening, the network uses subtitles when Olga talks to make her seem harder to understand than she really is. It’s weird, but at least it gives us this moment:
The death threat comes in the context of Olga telling Rachel, “I hope you make my son happy!” Rachel laughs it off. I wouldn’t. That is not the look of a joking mom. Bryan has made clear that his last relationship ended because his ex-girlfriend didn’t see eye to eye with his mom. Uh, can someone please check on Bryan’s ex?