The Bachelor — Season 18, Episode 1812 — Live Blog and Discussion

Rumblings abound of another bachelorette practicing some pre-emptive dumping during this week’s dramatic filler-bloated two-night television event. Poor Juan Pablo just cannot make a good impression using any body part above the neck. To avoid spoiling the show for anyone here, I won’t reveal which of the girls apparently hands JP his walking papers–which were likely printed with words he doesn’t understand–sometime after the hometown visits. But it was probably a huge disappointment for him, since she must have a nice pension plan.

Tonight, JP travels around the country so the four remaining girls can enjoy, or endure, dates with him in their hometowns, after which their families pronounce, Fiddler on the Roof-style, whether he’s worthy of their daughter’s dowries. If they have any brains, the fathers will all reenact the scene where the daughter tells Tevye she wants to marry the Russian cossack. Tomorrow night, whoever hasn’t had a better offer from Survivor or an MSNBC talk show producer will have a “fantasy suite” overnight visit with JP in St. Lucia.  Camila ought to be asking a few questions about that. I just want to see the “after” shots of the suite.

“It all begins,” intones Chris at the outset of the show. He tells us there will be shocking moments we never thought we’d see on The Bachelor. Like someone dressed in loose clothing or thoughtfully discussing current events?

Nikki’s hometown visit is first. She lives in Kansas City, where there are cows and barbecue and wide open spaces. JP has apparently never eaten ribs before, and gleefully squirts sauce all over everything like a terrible foreboding of Nikki’s fantasy suite experience. Is Kansas City actually considered the Southwest, or do the producers just lump in all of the middle section of the United States and call it Texas? Nikki also takes him to ride a mechanical bull, too, which seems unwise if you want a successful fantasy suite night.

She is “super excited and super nervous” to tell JP she loves him. I’m “super tired” of the limited vocabularies of these dimwits. In that mood, they go to meet her family, who live in Tara. In the middle of dinner, while they still have full plates, Nikki goes off with her mom to discuss how she feels about JP. “There’s a physical attraction, but also a mental one,” Mom confirms happily, apparently indicating her own priorities.  There certainly isn’t an intellectual one, lady. Dad, who quickly proves he’s Mom’s kind of man, brings JP to the wood-paneled library to determine if the semi-literate, barely employed former benchwarmer will break his daughter’s heart in some way other then by being a famewhore and a parasite.  In any event, notes Dad affably after JP jabbers incoherently, they’ll accept Nikki’s decision to marry someone she met a few weeks ago on a TV show and has only actually dated twice in between a bunch of other girls.  This guy didn’t get rich by asking a lot of pointless questions, you know.

“There’s just something about him that’s awesome and magical!” cries Nikki when questioned about why she loves JP.  That’s exactly how Leopold Bloom described his feelings for Molly. But right now, Nikki can’t manage to summon the Taylor Swift song lyrics to tell her potential life partner that she loves him. Maybe next week, she says, as if remarking on remembering to pick up the dry cleaning.

Next on the round-robin of freakish family encounters is Andi’s in Atlanta. She’s Jewish, so the man doesn’t stand a chance with this ferkokteh mishigosh.  She first wants to get revenge for the crazy date he dragged her on, so they go to a shooting range. Unless she plans to point the gun at his face, I don’t see how this is payback for being forced to squeeze through a rocky crevice in a bikini. But maybe she can shoot at a target in the shape of Clare. JP cannot seem to hit the bullseye, a poor indicator of how their fantasy suite night might go.

Andi thinks meeting her family is going to be rough going. It’s one of the scariest feelings she’s ever had, she says. Scarier than considering that she might not be the first one to get a go at the fantasy suite, even. Bearing flowers and chocolate, JP arrives with Andi at the family’s McMansion to find a sign on the front door welcoming Pookie home. Now I’m scared.

Dad does look forbidding, like a suburban Mr. Blofeld. He keeps asking how many girls were left before these two finally had a one-on-one date. Clearly, Dad has watched the show, and he’s pissed, probably mostly about the fantasy suite. I bet he thinks Chris is a shmuck, too. Andi describes their date in the rocky caves, judiciously leaving out the part where they made out under the waterfall. A dubious Dad points out that JP might be just as infatuated with one of the other girls, “infatuated with” being a euphemism for “very interested in getting into the pants of.”

JP sits with Andi’s mom to talk next. She titters over what Andi has told her about his salsa prowess, then asks him to teach her to dance. Koo koo ka choo, Mrs. Dorfman. Then it’s Dad’s turn for an interview, which is missing only the hot lights and the good cop. He leads off the questioning with what compelled JP to go on the show in the first place. As he blathers about being on the same page and what is right for his little daughter, Dad regards him like he’s a semi-literate, barely employed former benchwarmer. With leprosy.

Meanwhile, back at her grandma and grandpa’s house, Camila is asking why Daddy is visiting all these ladies’ families and explaining why he wants to marry each of them.

JP appreciates that Andi’s dad was honest. It appears he recently learned that word and enjoys using it in conversation. Dad has used the time while JP talks about his honesty to take out a restraining order on him. As Andi tells her father about her feelings, he’s trying to figure out a way to lock her in her bedroom until her contract runs out. But she’s close to being in love with JP, she enthuses. The heart-stopping romance on this show! It’s like being read a love sonnet in a rose garden under moonlight while a string quartet plays.

Now it’s Renee’s turn in Sarasota. He rushes down a path into her arms in his jogging shorts and wrinkled t-shirt. All these joyful reunions of the girls with JP are so peculiar, since they are treated like each woman is his one true love whom he hasn’t seen for weeks. This time our hero has to meet Renee’s young son. Can Camila be allowed to see him shake another child’s hand?

Ben arrives dressed for his Little League game and is embraced tearfully by Renee. JP discusses sports with him. Finally, common ground is found; we are moved as two strangers connect through round objects that are thrown to achieve scores. That night, JP meets the rest of the family, who consist of mom, dad, and slacker brother. They are overshadowed in their living room by the staircase from the Brady Bunch house. Is this a positive harbinger that Renee and JP will successfully blend their families and live happily ever after, or an omen that their own series will be canceled as soon as their personal Cousin Oliver is introduced into the cast?

JP goes off with Renee’s brother to talk. He agrees with JP that Renee knows what she wants, which  doesn’t appear to be any kind of hair product. Mom asks JP if there’s chemistry between them. Ick, Mom. What happened to just showing the boyfriend adorable naked baby pictures?

Privately, probably while JP and the brother are knocking back some beers, Mom tells Renee that she needs to be in love. Man, they have some ugly lamps. Renee assures her she is madly in love, but hasn’t told JP yet. We’re developing a theme here. Her dad thinks JP is a good guy, if not a good soccer player. Renee agrees, and says she would not have brought him there if he were not. Like she had a choice. As she escorts JP outside at the end of the evening, she wants to tell him she loves him but “it didn’t come out.”  With all the workouts these girls give their tongues, you’d think uttering a one-syllable word wouldn’t be so difficult.

In California, Clare is excited about bringing JP into her world.  He can’t wait to see why she is the way she is, but that might require deep Freudian analysis rather than an ice cream date in downtown Sacramento. She tells how when her father died, she shut off all the parts of her that were sensitive and vulnerable, except the parts below her waist.

Off they go to meet her family. She can’t wait to hug them and hold them and tell them everything! Even about shtupping JP in the ocean. Clare’s the youngest of six daughters; none of the others have had work done, though. They have no coffee table because there’s no room for one with all those daughters.  One sister asks to visit with Clare privately. She wants to know what Clare would do if JP asked her to marry him. She would say “yes” in a hurry, replies Clare, in case he decided Nikki was better. Someone else in the crowd meets with JP, who says he was physically attracted to Clare first, but then he found he liked how much she adored her dad. Now he knows he wants Camila to feel that way about him. What a catch this guy is.

But another sister isn’t ready to sign off on JP. Clare bristles. She is following her heart, she insists, toward the great love of her life, the one man who calls her a hot piece of ass who inspired him to want to be worshiped by his daughter when he’s dead! This stalemate is untenable. And also like a mini-series from the ’80’s with Swoosie Kurtz.

Now JP wants time with Mom. The pushy sister butts her way in, explaining that Dad isn’t there to guide them. Mom looks confused, probably because she’s not sure which sister is which either. Then she and JP speak together in Spanish so he can understand all the words. She tells him that he seems like a stable man, which isn’t surprising since a lot of people mistake him for someone who cleans out horse stalls for a living.

Clare blubbers that she wants him in her life as the man who gives her support. She would love to marry him, she smiles through her waterproof mascara. Not that she loves him, but that she would love to marry him. And his future paychecks from DWTS.

Back in Miami now, Chris escorts all the ladies to wait together for the Rose Ceremony, lined up like so many novelty coffee mugs at a Spencer Gifts. He tells them how meeting their families made a huge impression on JP, as it offered him the opportunity to size up how generous each of their inheritances would be.

JP now must give out the roses. The first goes to Nikki, who was associated with the largest plot of real estate. The second goes to Clare, whose sisters can babysit Camila for free, and the third and final one to Andi, who has an excellent benefits package. JP immediately tears up that Renee, with her annoying extra mouth to feed, must leave. “This is horrible,” he says, recalling the hideous sofas in her parents’ living room. He bids her goodbye with “I respect you,” the parting words every girl longs to hear.

In the limo, Renee laments that she had fallen in love with JP, but acknowledges that he had obviously shared more meaningful moments with the other girls, at least one of them in the ocean. “There are actually men who exist like him,’ Renee marvels. As do we all, but while shuddering.

Tomorrow night brings the shocking drama of the fantasy suite visits. Mr. Roark is turning over in his grave.

About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.