Things are getting serious on The Bachelor.

Ben seems really drunk in his opening camera confessional, if I’m being honest. His eyes are so glossy that he looks like he might not know his own name, so instead he just says “four girls” 50 times over until they captured enough content to fill a two minute episode introduction. Good job, Benny, you got it…yes, there are four girls left. Four. 4. For. You. Go to sleep now.

First hometown date is to Laguna Beach to visit L.C. Kristin Lo Steven Amanda the Mom. Before we jump in, take note that the reason Amanda wasn’t on Laguna Beach: The Real O.C. is because she was in middle school when it was filming. Just sit on that for a minute.

Amanda runs to meet Ben on the beach Baywatch style, except instead of wearing a sexy red one piece, she’s wearing her staple off-the-shoulder top that doesn’t want to stay on her body because IT’S NOT A SHIRT AMANDA. If I had to watch her yank that droopy cloth up one more time to keep it from revealing boobs that have breastfed two children, I was going to scream. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually know if she breastfed. And breastfeeding boobs aren’t offensive, but that’s just not what I signed up for on a casual Monday night episode of The Bachelor.)

amanda hometown shirt

She would’ve been better off using that hanging ribbon as straps.

Shortly after their not-so-graceful reunion, Amanda’s adorable little girls show up to meet Ben and Amanda for a family playdate on the beach. Both the teeny tiny one and the slightly older tiny one were wearing light pink sundresses, floor length cardigans, and metallic gladiator sandals. Just your average toddler beachwear.

I cried when Amanda reunited with them for the first time since she started filming the show (about seven weeks of separation, I believe), because if anyone cries in front of me– including people on T.V.– my emotions go haywire. Each little girl did her best to pull off Mommy’s shirt, but neither succeeded.

Ben was completely at ease playing with them, which isn’t surprising because he can do no wrong. Nonetheless, all four of them look exhausted before the day portion of the date is even halfway over, especially Ben, whose only sure-win tactic of entertaining the toddlers is to pretend like he’s running away from them. Good thing his Chubbies gave his legs a wide range of motion. #skiesoutthighsout

On the car ride to Amanda’s parents’ house, Charlie, the littlest nugget, cries the whole way home. Amanda is obviously distraught that she’s forced to sit in the front seat with Ben instead of climbing into the back to comfort her child that she hasn’t seen in two months. I hate producers a little bit in that moment.

Amanda’s dad wasn’t lying when he said that Ben looked worn out by the time he arrived to meet them, but I don’t think that’s because Ben isn’t ready to be a father. I think it’s because anyone who just spent six hours on a beach with kids would be a little wiped.

All in all, the night portion of Amanda’s hometown went well. The parents liked Ben, but everyone was still worried about their beloved Amanda falling in love with a guy who is still dating three other women. Valid.

Next up, we find ourselves in Portland, Oregan.

Honestly, I thought Lauren B was from Southern California this whole time. She doesn’t seem crunchy enough for the likes of Portland, but come to find out, Portland offers more than just free-range chickens.

Lauren and her lacy navy blue bra can’t contain themselves as they greet Ben with a five minute make out session by a bridge. From there, Lauren takes Ben to some really cute food trucks to chow down on every combination of cheese and bread known to man. Lauren, while I salute the fun laid-backness of this date, I know for a fact that this isn’t how you spend your weekends because otherwise you’d weigh more than 86 pounds.

After the food trucks, Lauren leads Ben to the Whiskey Library. I’m not going to lie, she’s absolutely killing it with the hometown date. What better way to entertain a man than with food trucks and whiskey? They talk and kiss for a while, then take exactly one sip of their whiskey drinks before heading to her parents’ house. Major party foul.

Lauren’s home is giant and beautiful, plus I really admire the fact that they drink all beverages out of wine glasses, water included. Lauren’s sister is quite possibly even prettier than Lauren and probably needs to be on the next season of The Bachelor. She takes Ben aside to grill him, and he begins to cry when he tells her how much he adores her sister. It’s actually quite touching.

Lauren’s pretty sister then has some one-on-one sister time with Lauren, and they’re everything sisters should be. She asks Lauren the hard questions like “How is this different than the last five guys you fell in love with who ended up crushing your heart?” Lauren’s like, “Because we’re on national T.V., duh.” JK, she tells her sister that Ben is “her person.” Honestly, I thinks so, too.

Ben tells Lauren’s dad that the world stopped the first time he saw Lauren, and Dad approves because that’s how he felt the first time he saw Mom. But he quickly points out that he and Mom dated for a while before getting engaged. We all know how I feel about forcing timelines on things since I got engaged to Aaron in less time than it takes to film a season of The Bachelor, but I guess there’s room for concern when your daughter’s boyfriend is dating three other women at the same time. If any dad isn’t slightly concerned during hometowns, then we have a real problem.

By the way, Lauren’s dad calls her “sweetie” whenever they talk, and it melts my heart. Such a solid family.

Ben and Lauren make out in front of his ride to the airport for a long time before Ben heads off to Hudson, Ohio, where Caila awaits him in a puffy vest and high-heeled boots…two things I never thought would or should go together, but somehow look great on her.

Ben’s quarterzip with a blazer also looked amazing, but that wasn’t really a surprise.

Unlike Lauren B, Caila has no idea what guys are into, so first she takes him to a random bench swing to talk about their feelings beneath a maple tree, then to her father’s toy warehouse to build a Barbie Dream House.

Her dad is the CEO of a toy company, in case you were wondering. Caila was the first to admit that she didn’t think this date (that the producers obviously came up with) would be very fun, but she and Ben legitimately looked like they had a great time constructing their “dream home.” The house was as tall as Ben’s chest, which is actually the perfect size for any bachelorette on this season, all of whom are miniature people.

toy house

When Caila starts drilling the roof on, Ben has to look away because his fantasies clearly include a girl in nothing but a hard hat with a power drill, and he doesn’t want to get too excited on national television.

When they finish up the house, Ben in a hard hat carries Caila like a baby through a tunnel of factory workers who clap for them, including plenty of old men, a Fabio lookalike, and a pregnant woman. Although subtle, that factory exit might have been one of the most well-constructed pieces of cinematic awkwardness produced in the show’s 15 year history.

Caila’s sly warning about her dad’s CEO status should’ve prepared you for the fact that Caila and her family live in a castle. Round grey bricks and all. The inside looks strangely similar to a normal upper class home, but the outside is 100% storybook material.

Her mom has amazing hair like Caila and wears braces. She and Dad are madly in love. Her opening question to Ben was, “Have you ever met Filipinos before?”

I giggle and remember my Filipino friend from high school attending all sorts of cultural functions every single weekend, including but not limited to potlucks, ballroom dancing, and speed dating.

Caila’s very white dad immediately assures Ben that marrying a Filipino woman is really fun. At first I was worried that her dad would be a little creepy since he’s a tiny fellow who owns a toy company, but I quickly changed my mind. He was so calm and loving in his one-on-one times with both Ben and Caila– his only quirk being a small obsession with Ben’s “microwave fame.” I think he was slightly starstruck.

Faith is obviously the center of their household, as Caila’s parents constantly mention that they’ve been praying for her. It’s very nice to see.

Caila and her mom say “Yeah??” fifty times during their private conversation as they assure one another that Ben is the greatest. Caila still calls her mom “mommy” which should concern me, but instead I found it endearing. Mommy encourages Caila to tell Ben how she feels. Caila amps herself up to tell Ben she loves him, but gets too nervous to follow through before he drives away. She says she can’t put her finger on why she doesn’t fully trust him yet. My guess is that it has something to do with the fact that he’s meeting three other families in the same week as hers. Just a hunch.

The final hometown is Dallas, Texas, where JoJo proves that everything really is bigger in Texas, including her boobs. I can’t stop staring at her shirt that is barely held together by a single shoe string.

JoJo skips up to the stoop of her apartment…I think it’s her apartment? What does she do again? Is she rich enough to live by herself in this fancy place? Honestly, I don’t know where she is, but there are flowers and a card waiting on the doorstep. She assumes they’re from Ben and hurries inside to read the love letter.

PLOT TWIST!

The love letter isn’t from Ben– it’s from her ex boyfriend! JoJo immediately stops reading once she figures out that it’s not from Ben, and literally yells at the producer standing next to the camera man, saying “Why is that here??? I don’t want to read that!!”

Producers aren’t really your friends, JoJo. Remember that they will do anything to make you cry, including calling your ex boyfriend that crushed your heart to get him to mess with your head one last time, this time while you’re being filmed. Repeat after me: Producers are not your friends. Producers are not your friends.

After she finishes yelling at her producer, she starts crying and decides to call her ex to tell him that he needs to stop being such a psychopath. While they’re talking on the phone, Ben “happens” to pull up to her apartment and walk inside.

Producers are not your friends.

He finds JoJo crying, which is not exactly how he saw this hometown unfolding. Oh, this is just the start, Benny Boo.

She pours herself a giant glass of wine and fills Ben in on everything that happened. He comforts her like the gentleman he is, saying he wishes he could’ve been by her side during the phone call with her ex to make sure she truly ended things was okay. JoJo and Ben then go straight to her parents’ house. I’m confused…did JoJo even plan anything? No toy houses? No whiskey libraries? No chasing seagulls on the beach? Something’s fishy.

Ben and JoJo arrive at her family’s ginormous home to be greeted by the two most obnoxious brothers on the planet. Neither brother is married, yet they immediately start judging Ben’s character and acting like relationship experts.

I need to fill you in on a little secret. JoJo’s most obnoxious brother– also named Ben– was on a T.V. dating show himself and dated twelve women at one time. So who are you to talk, buddy?? Brother Ben was on that show called Ready for Love, which was taken off air after one episode because it was like The Bachelor on steroids and impossible to follow. The only reason I know about it is because I spent a romantic afternoon in Bryant Park with one of the “love coaches” on the show (yep, love coaches were involved), so I felt compelled to watch. This was years before I met Aaron, for the record, but feel free to read about my afternoon with Matthew Hussey HERE. You can buy his book at any major bookstore, or see him on The Today Show every week. Or listen to his radio show. Or text me if you want his private email address. (Kidding.)

I don’t know why I know so many people from reality television, but it certainly provides excellent insight for this blog.

Back to JoJo’s hometown. Her brothers are jerks who basically tell Ben that he’s a bad person for being the Bachelor. Ben looks completely annoyed and frustrated, but tries to put on a patient face when he tells them that his answers to their questions are not “coached,” as they so accused.

While Ben is dealing with her d-bag brothers, JoJo is upstairs chatting with her mom. I can’t quite get a read on her mother because she’s had so much plastic surgery that her face barely resembles a face anymore, but she seems very sweet and tells JoJo to jump in 150%. Maybe a little concern for her daughter would’ve been nice, but I appreciated that all she wanted was to see JoJo happy.

While JoJo is off taping a confessional with producers somewhere, the brothers attack Ben once more in the kitchen. This time, in front of their parents. JoJo’s dad looks defeated as his two unruly sons (both in their late 30s, possibly early 40s) berate their house guest. JoJo’s mom takes a different approach to watching this unfortunate scene unfold.

jojos mom chugging

I repeat, JoJo’s mother did this on national television:

jojos mom chugging

God love her.

Ben tries to calmly convince the d-bag brothers that he’s doing the best he can in an unconventional dating situation, immediately wishing he was back in the car with Amanda’s screaming child. After JoJo’s dad gets his wife to put down the champagne bottle, he finally steps in to say “I believe you Ben. I think you’re doing the best you can.”

How did JoJo turn out so normal. HOW.

Things end on an awkward note, because Ben has no idea how the day went so very wrong. He and JoJo kiss goodbye, and most people think JoJo’s family just sealed her fate.

All four girls fly to L.A. for the rose ceremony back at the Bachelor Mansion. JoJo looks like an absolute bombshell in her little red dress. Amanda the Mom doesn’t wear an off the shoulder dress for once, so I barely recognize her. Caila and Lauren B look just okay.

The roses go to:

Lauren B

Caila

JoJo

Sadly, we say goodbye to Amanda the Mom. I knew this was coming, since her chemistry with Ben wasn’t as strong as the others, but I still wish she could’ve stayed around longer. I’m going to miss her chipmunk voice of reason. Even in her final conversation with Ben, she was completely level-headed, and kindly told him “I’m going to miss you.” She also added, “I wish you would have told me in my hometown that you didn’t want to move forward, instead of making me fly all the way to L.A., only to send me back home.” Her maturity amazes me.

Her limo cry is just as dainty and pretty as you’d expect, with no signs of bitterness towards Ben. She sweetly says that she just wants a man to accept her and her daughters into his life, but she knows that’s not easy. I hope so badly that she eventually finds that person, because I think she really deserves it. Some guy out there is bound to love her ever-bare shoulders and Disney princess voice.

When Ben begins his camera confessional time to talk about Amanda’s departure, he begins to cry and then steps away saying, “I can’t do this right now.” It’s obvious that he really cares about Amanda, and feels horrible that he hurt her. This is why The Bachelor is such a good show. You’re rooting for a guy who is technically cheating on all of his “girlfriends,” but at the same time, you know he’s actually a great guy. It’s so weird, but I love it. And I love Ben.

Next week is Fantasy Suites! Gulp. I expect to need a lot of wine to get through all of the half naked kissing and morning after scenarios. And it looks like Ben tells TWO different girls that he’s in love with them. Probably not a wise choice for our dear Benny, but no one can be perfect all the time. I can barely wait to see what happens.