I hope you were seated and buckled in while watching The Bachelor Monday night when the episode shockingly pivoted from Arie’s hometown date with Tia in Arkansas to his meeting with Becca’s family in Minneapolis. You need to take every form of safety precaution available in order to avoid the kind of trauma caused by rapidly changing accents. Luckily, I was wearing a mouthguard.
But other than that, the episode itself wasn’t much of a roller coaster: It was about as drama-free and conventional as any rendition of the annual “hometowns” episodes of The Bachelor I can remember. Arie walked into four homes with four decent families with parents who thought it was weird their daughter was considering marrying a guy from reality TV, but also thought Arie was nice enough and trusted their daughter enough to make the right decision for herself.
Arie also told the same thing to all four families—that he was “falling in love” with their daughters, a conversation hack that allowed him to seem serious about his relationships, but also didn’t quite force him to commit to saying he was in love with anybody. The linguistic magic trick also meant Arie technically wasn’t lying to Tia when he eventually dumped her later in the episode, which caused the highest-pitched crying I’ve ever heard on this show.
Closest Apple to the Tree: Lauren B.
We’ve been marveling for weeks about Arie’s apparent love for Lauren in spite of the fact that the two seem to spend much of their time together not speaking. It was clear Monday night that Arie’s visit to Lauren’s home was different from his visit to anybody else’s home—he mentioned how extremely nervous he was to meet Lauren’s parents after being relatively chill at all the other houses. “At a scale of one to having a complete freakout, I’m at about an eight,” he told her (I’m presuming that “complete freakout” is worth 10 points on Arie’s scale). He compared his emotions to the way he felt before the biggest race of his life, the Indy 500. That’s a pretty bad omen—the only time he actually qualified for the Indy 500, he had to drop out of the 200-lap race after just 54 laps.
At one point, he needed to leave the dinner table to pat sweat off of his face—much like he left Lauren alone at a dinner table to compose his thoughts during their date in Italy. He literally can’t speak around this girl.
She can’t really speak around him either, and that appears to be a genetic trait. Arie’s entrance to the B. family residence began with communal silence.
Lauren’s dad tried to break the ice by asking if Arie had met any military families; Arie has not met any military families. Her dad then asked if Arie plays golf; Arie does not play golf. Arie has nothing in common with the woman he loves the most nor her family.
This was a great preview of the one Thanksgiving dinner Arie will spend at Lauren’s family’s house in between his accepted proposal at the end of this season and their guaranteed breakup sometime before 2020. How many months is the relationship equivalent of 54 laps in a 500-mile race?
Biggest Surprise: Kendall
Kendall’s introductory montage in the season premiere featured her taxidermy collection. I figured it was like so many other season premiere montages, when contestants display exotic or quirky traits that have little to do with their real lives in an attempt to make the first episode of the show memorable.
But then came Kendall’s hometown date, in which she brought Arie to a taxidermy lair and asked him to help her mount dead rats. As it turns out, her season-opening montage actually undersold her passion for taxidermy. She doesn’t just like having dead animals around her home, she actually knows how to stuff them herself. A trip down Instagram Lane reveals Kendall actually owns several pieces of taxidermy.
She and Arie eventually mounted a couple of rats and pretended they were normal stuffed animals that didn’t used to be alive, playing with them and making them kiss. The rats did not deserve this.
For years I have doubted that Bachelor contestants actually love the super-weird things the show claims they love, but now I’m starting to doubt my doubts. What if Alexis from last season really was an aspiring dolphin trainer? What if Brandon from two seasons ago on The Bachelorette really did consider “hipster” his full-time job? What if some parts of reality TV are real?
Most Unfortunate Naming Decision: Kendall’s Parents
My heart dropped when Kendall introduced Arie to her family: Her mom, Michelle, her dad, Bob, her brother, Colton, and … her twin sister, Kylie. Her name is Kendall, and her twin’s name is Kylie.
Kendall is listed as 26, meaning she and Kylie were likely born in 1991, four years before Kendall Jenner was born and six years before Kylie Jenner was born. There is no way her parents could have known their cute decision to give both daughters matching “K” names would backfire so dramatically.
I feel for people whose names get usurped by more famous people. You don’t need to change your name—they’re the ones who suck. Anyway, here’s Arie with Kim Kardashian in 2010:
Most Awkward Seating Arrangement: The B. Family
Kendall’s family awkwardly piled into one side of a table which could clearly accommodate guests on all four sides:
Awkward, but this shouldn’t fall on Kendall’s family. This is how people eat on sitcoms, so nobody’s back is to the camera, and it was probably forced by Bachelor producers. That said—why is there no room for anybody’s legs under the table? Is this a kitchen island in the middle of a living room?
Still, I think the most awkward set-up goes to Lauren’s family, the B.’s. (Their last name is Burnham, but if the show insists on calling her “Lauren B.,” I will follow suit.)
By all sitting on one side and forcing Arie and Lauren to sit on the other, they turned Arie’s first visit into a job interview for an entry-level position in their well-off white family.
“I Love That” of the Week
Arie took the traditional step of asking each contestant’s parents for permission to marry their daughter. Oddly, none of them were really into it nor opposed to it. The predominant answer was “Well, I trust my daughter, so if she’s into this, OK, I guess.”
Even after several months of realizing Arie can slip “I love that” into any conversation, I was stunned to hear him reply to multiple parents’ half-blessing his potential union with their daughter with an “I love that.”
But we learned Monday night that Arie does not always “love that.” When Becca’s uncle explained how the death of her father affected her life, Arie responded with his first “I hate that” of the season.
The world is filled with “thats”—places, things, emotions, successes, tragedies. Rest assured: Sooner or later, we will find how Arie feels about each of these thats.
Best Death Threat: Tia’s Dad
It’s not a hometowns episode without a male family member threatening to kill the reality TV man in their house. Generally, this threat is followed by a laugh, revealing that the previous death threat wasn’t fully serious; but some men opt to forgo the laugh. Two men threatened Arie Monday night. Lauren’s dad, a former military pilot, said that he got good vibes from Arie and that if he was wrong, “I’ll fucking kill him.”
But I think the best execution goes to Tia’s dad, who quipped, “If you hurt my daughter, I’ll find you on Google. It’d be bad for you.” Arie giggled in response and said, “I’m laughing, but I’m a little scared.” But then, in the conclusion of the episode (and from the safety of The Bachelor mansion), Arie did hurt Tia, breaking up with her and launching her into a virtuosic weeping performance.
Somewhere in Arkansas, this man is furiously Googling right now. Honestly, he doesn’t really need to—I’m pretty sure I could find Arie without much trouble. Just go to Scottsdale, Arizona, find a store that sells skinny ties, and wait.