May I present your Bachelorette 2016 final four, boiled down from the original and completely forgotten 26: Robby, Chase, Luke, and Jordan, the worst line-up of people since the Manson Family reunion. They could form the law firm of Hayes McNary Pell & Rodgers to litigate personal injury cases for people who’ve watched more than one season of the show. There’s not a hint of ethnicity in any of them, but then JoJo is pretty Lunchables-fed herself.
Many fans believe Jordan is set to win, despite the fact that he’s been been a “controversial” contestant, unlike, say, Chad or Alex or Mike Pence. Others among us think you become controversial just for watching the show without throwing a brick through ABC’s window. There have been accusations that Jordan’s just using the show to become famous, a charge even more common then chefs using cooking competitions just to impress people with their use of terms like coulis and gastrique.
What’s more, Jordan’s ex-girlfriend warned JoJo about his selfish nature, which he’s openly demonstrated to everyone else in the western hemisphere. We also know that Robby’s ex spread rumors that he dumped her so he could be cast on The Bachelorette. Adding more confusion for those easily confused, Reality Steve initially claimed Chase got the kibosh after the hometown dates, but now says it was Luke. Ultimately, it appears the final showdown will be a Jordan v. Robby horror movie. Instead of knocking down buildings and scattering terrified Japanese civilians, the two will face off in battle of hair product, tooth whitener, and platitudes normally printed on the base of a Precious Moments figurine.
Hometown visits are always exciting, as they mean we finally get to look at people who’ve had different cosmetic surgery than the regular cast. We begin in Colorado to meet Chase’s family. He likes to stand pensively on clifftops to observe the snowy landscape. His parents were divorced when he was young, he reveals, which may be why he doesn’t know to wear boots in the snow.
JoJo hopes Chase is able to be open and vulnerable during this critical juncture. He explains to her about his parents’ break-up, which included painful lawsuits and probably not as much sex as when they were first married. As a result, Chase admits, his emotions are behind walls, like the Mexicans may be at this time next year.
“I’m so glad to get to see your house!” JoJo cries, since she has yet to learn his middle name. She loves it, apparently unaware they she won’t live there if she marries him. First they meet Dad, who is remarried with several stepchildren who are likely to be cast on one of the franchises, too. after praising Chase, JoJo then asks why Dad’s first marriage didn’t work out. I’ve asked complete strangers questions like that on national TV, and it didn’t go nearly as well as it did here.
After this visit, JoJo understands so much more about Chase not being able to express his emotions, but I somehow missed the part where that happened. Chase tells his dad privately that he’s ready to “dive in” with JoJo, or possibly to JoJo. She is glad she asked him to put his heart on the table, as opposed to pulling his genitals out of his pants like Roger Ailes keeps doing.
Now the couple heads off to meet the rest if the Chase clan, including his mom, stepdad, sister and brother-in-law and baby Everett, who is the most articulate guy on the show. Notice how nobody ever lives in a house that isn’t new construction and decorated by Pottery Barn.
Mom speaks to JoJo privately, who explains to her that Chase shows his love by actions, not words. She’ll be able to confirm that for certain in the Fantasy Suite. Meanwhile, Chase talks with his sister. She asks how he sees relationships. Basically, his plan is not to get divorced. To their family, she tells him, love is more than just a word. The rest of us think it’s just for enjoyable YouTubes and Valentine’s Day candy hearts.
Chase tells his mom that JoJo is the one, which she wholeheartedly believes as well. They shed tears together, foreseeing the day that JoJo will attend their Thanksgiving dinner wearing too much make-up and pick a fight with a cousin.
Next we arrive in California to meet Jordan’s family. She squeals hysterically as some deer run behind her, since she’s accustomed to the director controlling all the action. Then she makes out with Jordan, which was definitely in the script. They’re going to visit his high school, apparently the most significant location of his life. He’ll change his tune by the 10th reunion. The JV coach comes out to greet them, as well as some teachers. The couple check out the library. Back in the day, when he was drawing penises in the margins of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Jordan never expected to be pawing his girlfriend in the stacks.
JoJo notes that Jordan doesn’t want to talk about his brother Aaron. She wonders where things went wrong in that relationship, but Jordan refuses to address it. This is the plot of a Harlequin romance I read in the 70’s, only if Jordan were a duke and JoJo a ship captain’s lively daughter. Ominously, JoJo says she wants the upcoming family meeting to be perfect. Either Aaron will show up uninvited or a tornado will flatten the neighborhood.
A big tacky fountain is in Jordan’s family’s front yard. JoJo can’t wait to meet the uncontroversial brother, Luke, and his mild girlfriend, as well as the equally uninteresting parents, Darla and Ed. Darla calls Jordan her “spicy” child. She must use canned parmesan, too. As a child, he would threaten to run away a lot, she tells JoJo, which bodes poorly for a marriage.
But there are two empty chairs at the table. JoJo presumes the family misses Aaron filling one of them, although it just may be that they own service for 10. She asks Luke about it. He’s impressed Jordan told her about even vague hints about the mysterious Aaron. Luke also reassures us that Jordan earns his accomplishments on his own. If only he had any accomplishments.
Luke and Jordan discuss how awesome JoJo is, despite her unnatural obsession with Aaron. She talks with Ed, who insists Jordan looks super-happy, which is what he as a parent wants, in addition to not being put into a nursing home.
Mom tells Jordan he looks “all lit up.” Jordan tells her that she and her husband set the bar so high for what love is, which apparently includes raising sons who don’t talk to each other. The couple departs the family “home,” satisfied with the results of their relationship review. Jordan tells JoJo he’s in love with her. She wants to know if he means forever or just until he gets a sportscaster job. She is afraid of heartbreak, as are we all, but not when we are dating a total doofus.
Time to meet Robby’s family in Florida. His feelings for JoJo grow with each passing episode, and she’s really excited to see him. He asks her to whistle, and a horse and carriage appear to sweep them away on a tour of the city. Early on, JoJo reports, she felt the most emotionally connected to Robby, just as I felt emotionally connected to Greg early on in season one of The Brady Bunch. Even the horse feels that way about the guy with the whip.
But JoJo is concerned about the fact that Robby and his ex only broke up a few months ago. She has conveniently forgotten that Ben dumped her a few months ago, too, but he’s enjoying whoever the hell he proposed to. She brings up the topic. Will that chapter in Robby’s life truly be over when she decides she loves him? Considering this whole thing plays out like an Archie comic, he should be over the ex after three more panels. He reassures her that the ex is as good as dead to him, until she gets interviewed by People.
Robby feels his family’s opinion is important, although apparently he didn’t care what they thought about that idiotic hairstyle. He wants to see JoJo interact with his parents, brothers and sisters. Things start off well, as they laugh gaily together while ignoring enormous plates of food. His one brother tells Robby that JoJo is awesome. Both brothers can tell he’s in love, which he agrees with–but he will be heartbroken if it doesn’t work out, especially now that Andi is dating someone else.
JoJo enthuses to his mom about Robby being so in touch with his feelings. She knows, because apparently, he tells his mom about everything. That’s much more of an issue than the ex, but JoJo shares her fears about that woman. What an obsessive she is. Mom ensures her that with Robby, there’s no turning back in love, especially if JoJo refuses to sign a prenup.
Yet Mom is concerned about what people are tweeting about her son, and not just those drawing devil horns on his picture. She tells him privately that the ex’s roommate is suggesting he broke up with her just to go on the show. The shame of it!
Mom asserts “we know it’s not true,” but Robby threatens to get really upset. “This just sucks so much,” he sighs, reminiscent of Byron’s immortal lines about love and loss. Will JoJo have more doubts about their relationship? Does this development threaten their happiness? Has she ever asked what the hell he does for a living?
Robby sends away his wine-swilling sisters to tell JoJo privately about the distressing news. “People think I’m not here for the right reasons,” he explains in parlance she can comprehend.
Night falls over the House of Robby. Mom tells the sisters about the evil ex’s roommate’s plot to destroy him, as Robby is grilled yet again on the topic by JoJo, who also believes Hillary killed Vince Foster and jackalopes actually exist. She would rather know now if he honestly isn’t over the ex. He says the two of them were done long before they actually broke up. In fact, after a big fight, she slapped him, which certainly sounds believable.
JoJo is not convinced. What does she want, he should hire a hit-man to blow the ex away? Robby begs her to trust him. He won’t disappoint her, he says, although we can’t yet say that’s true for the Fantasy Suite. JoJo has decided to trust him for now. He’s beyond excited for the future for them. But he’s also scared it could all end, and he’ll miss another paycheck from ABC.
Luke’s home visit to Texas is heralded by a rusty pick-up, a chugging train, and some cows. They meet up in what appears to be a Hopper painting. They go off in his truck, and when they arrive at his house, JoJo asks why there are so many people. They meet his mom and dad, sister, and 50 of Luke’s closest friends. JoJo thinks it’s both wonderful and overwhelming. They stare at her critically as everyone is introduced. Luke is impressed at her cut-off shorts and cowboy boots, which fit right in with the rest of the Dukes of Hazzard extras.
Mom feels that JoJo loves people and family and Luke, in that order. Dad thinks she’s engaging and beautiful. Luke wants to know when his dad knew for sure his mom was the one. It was the day he realized she wasn’t dating three other guys on TV. Luke thanks him for his counsel, which sounds wise mostly because it’s delivered in a Sheriff Andy Taylor accent.
An excess of denim, plaid, and wooden beads is showcased as the family gathers for a picnic-table barbecue, because that’s all that people in Texas consume besides moonshine and chewin’ tobacky. They have shown JoJo how much love they have to give, as well as how much pork they have to smoke. But now the war veteran has another surprise for his beloved, such as whether he was honorably discharged. They mount horses and clip-clop away.
“We’re on a really good path,” JoJo remarks, which is funny because they are literally on a path at the moment. Luke hopes she enjoyed the day, which she did. So did he. Everyone is on the same page of the script. Sitting on a haybale sofa in the middle of nowhere, he tells her he’s falling for her, and that makes him excited for the future.
“I want us,” Luke says, gazing into her eyes. “I want Jordan,” her eyes reply silently. He then leads her down a candlelit path to a giant heart made of flowers. Country music plays as he declares his love and embraces her. As they part, he murmurs that he will miss her so much after today. Little does he know.
Back in Los Angeles, everyone is meeting at an airport hangar for the Rose Ceremony, so Sun Air can get product placement. Robby, Chase, Jordan, and Luke are all claiming to be concerned about getting a rose, and also about spending the night having sex with JoJo even if she doesn’t want to marry them. JoJo arrives clad in three-quarters of a blue satin dress. She tells Chris she does not know what she is going to do. It’s hard enough worrying that the double-sided tape will hold.
She tells us in advance that she will have to say goodbye to Luke, which means she will not, at least tonight. She enters the hangar and somberly regards the line of men. This is the hardest ceremony for her yet, mostly because the first 20 guys were of zero appeal to her. She picks up the first rose, then heaves a big sigh as she hesitates to present it.
Suddenly, Luke asks to talk to her. The others sneer and fidget. Outside, Luke tells her he needed to tell her that he loves her, which he didn’t in Texas. He didn’t? How did she feel that night, he asks. In reply, she thanks him for telling her how he feels. But instead of going back into the ceremony after him, she wanders off onto the tarmac to reconsider her decision, while crying prettily.
Which guy will be the best husband for her, she asks the key grip rhetorically. In agony, she wonders what would happen if she makes a mistake. I’m sure Chris can recommend a good divorce lawyer. The dramatic crying continues until 9:58 p.m., when the “to be continued” chyron comes up on the screen. On Monday, she’ll let us know her decision, while on Tuesday we’ll hear from Chad and the assortment of other losers we forgot existed.
The two-day “dramatic event” will drain us of our last reserves of dignity and hope, just as the Republican National Convention will before it.