July 17, 2017
I’ve done the math, and before this episode, I have blogged 13 of the dreaded hometowns, which equals 52 hometown visits. Hometown visits, as those of you who have read me before know, are my least favorite episodes. There are only so many ways to wander around some local park; there are only so many conversations to have with either welcoming or skeptical parents and siblings; there is only so much dramatic tension in waiting to see if the hometown host will tell the Bachelor or Bachelorette that they love them as they are putting them into their SUV back to the airport. 52 of these, you guys. 52.
Then there was Parumrup. Where have you and your gong and your mung beans been all my life, Parumrup?
But before we get to my new favorite reality character of all time, we have to wander the country, beginning in Baltimore.
We start the dreaded hometowns with a visit to Eric the Good Dancer’s Baltimore, which he assures us is full of the “realness.” And by that, Eric the Good Dancer means “it is full of crime and drugs and y’all know The Wire was set here, right?”
And to remind everyone of Baltimore’s realness, Eric the Good Dancer drives Rachel through one of the sketchier parts of town, pointing out drug transactions along the way, and allowing the production crew to get a couple of shots of homeless people. Much realness! Good realnessing!
Eric the Good Doctor then takes Rachel to a basketball court where they shoot some hoops and visit with Eric’s old friend Ralph. Ralph! I genuinely didn’t know that people were still named Ralph! I’m not making fun, I just don’t know that I have heard of someone named Ralph since … well, I don’t know when … ~runs off and checks the Social Security Administration’s Baby Names Database~ And in fact, in 2016, only 204 babies were named Ralph in all of America. Also, this is a prime example of my ADD and why it takes me so long to post these entries.
Anyway, Ralph goes on and on about what a positive and smart person Eric the Good Dancer is and how he’s proud of him. He also reveals that the last — and only — time Eric the Good Dancer brought a girl home was for prom, a fact I’m pretty sure we’ve already covered about a thousand times, but sure, let’s stress out about it all over again as if this is new information.
We then head to Eric the Good Dancer’s aunt’s very nice, very not realness apartment overlooking the Baltimore harbor to meet the family. They are adorable. I MEAN, JUST LOOK AT THIS:
I LOVE THEM. I OFFICIALLY AM DECLARING THAT THEY ARE MY FAMILY NOW.
And let’s just agree that when Eric doesn’t win this — and he’s not going to win this — that we make him the next Bachelor and we fly all of his family out to the McMansion for the entire season.
Rachel first visits with Aunt Good Dancer who, curiously enough, looks more like Eric than either of his parents:
And Auntie Eric asks something that I guarantee no other family that Rachel visits will ask: “How is it being the first Black Bachelorette?” GOOD QUESTION. Rachel explains that it’s a lot of pressure being judged by so many, and worries that no matter who she picks, she’s going to disappoint some group of people. But that in the end, Rachel declares, “love has no color.” So, basically, she just admitted that she’s going to choose a white guy. Sorry, Auntie Eric!
In the next room, Eric the Good Dancer tells his mother that it’s her fault that he’s never brought a woman home before this because she was emotionally withholding or something, but she’s like, “Are you in jail? No? Then I raised you right. Stop complaining.”
Eric also has a conversation with his father who suggests that maybe he wasn’t the greatest father or role model, what with the maybe committing the unspecified crimes and maybe spending some unmentioned quality time with the state, but that maybe it made Eric the Good Dancer a better person? And Eric the Good Dancer is like, “Yeah, thanks for ruining my childhood. Maybe it somehow led me down a path where I ended up on a reality dating contest and sitting in street hot tubs in Copenhagen. If that makes you feel better, sure.”
When it’s time for Rachel to leave, Eric the Good Dancer tells Rachel that he “really cares about her,” which is not at all the same thing as saying that he’s in love with her, and something she definitely notices.
Next stop: Miami.
Of all of the hometown dates that I have ever been dragged along on, all 56 of them (including the ones in this episode), this is the one I’d most like to actually go on: I want to play dominoes with the old Cuban hombres, I want to drink all of the mojitos, I want to eat all of the arepas, I want to do all of the awkward salsa dancing. Esta es una visita a la ciudad natal que puedo conseguir detrás.
But all the diversión y juegos are over because it is time to meet la familia, most notably Lengua del Amor’s madre, Mamá del Amor who is a walking Latina mother stereotype. As soon as they walk in, Mamá del Amor is making a toast to Lengua, “the most precious thing in my life,” and narrowing her eyes in desconfianza when Lengua explains that there was an instant spark between himself and Rachel when they first met.
Mamá del Amor asks Lengua if he can really see una futura with Rachel. When he assures his mother that he knows Rachel is la una, Mamá del Amor declares this “HARD TO HEAR,” reminds him that there have been muchas, muchas muchachas in the past, SO MUCHAS MUCHACHAS and hisses that she is his MADRE, and that they are SANGRE.
Meanwhile, Rachel visits with Lengua’s prima who basically is like, “don’t mess with Mamá del Amor, she will cut you.”
So then Rachel has to talk with Mamá del Amor one-on-one, where Mamá del Amor reminds Rachel that when you get married, you marry the entire familia, and warns Rachel that if she doesn’t make Lengua del Amor happy, “[she] will kill [her].”
And with that, it’s time for Rachel to leave before things become any more dangerous. Lengua del Amor tells Rachel that he is in love with her which makes Rachel tell the producers that she’s “feeling all the feels” and one of those feels should be outright terror.
Next stop: Beeville.
Rachel returns to Madison, Wisconsin for Diastema’s hometown where he promptly introduces her to His Imperial Majesty, The Emperor of Bees.
After paying proper tribute to the Master of Honey, they go to Diastema’s favorite restaurant where they meet Diastema’s Black friends.
Rachel informs the group that Diastema has claimed that he has “10 close friends, 8 of which are Black,” but that he has never dated a Black woman before because of reasons.
Diastema takes his Black friends aside to ask their advice on the whole “proposing in 3 weeks to someone he’s met on a reality television show” thing, and they’re like, “DO IT,” mostly because it would be hilarious.
Diastema then takes Rachel to meet his nice Midwestern family who are very nice and very Midwestern.
While Rachel is being told by Diastema’s sister that he’s ready for marriage and baby-making, Diastema is sharing with his mother some of his hesitations about proposing. So when Rachel chats with Mama Diastema, and she hears that maybe Diastema just wants to be boyfriend and girlfriend indefinitely, it comes as something of a worrisome surprise.
Then Diastema puts Rachel into the car without an “I love you,” all the while yammering in an interview that he’s “not there yet,” and half-worrying that this might be one of the last times he will see her.
And let me just pause here to be the Voice of Reason: IT’S OK TO NOT TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM WHEN YOU HAVE ONLY KNOWN THEM FOR TWO MONTHS AND WITH WHOM YOU HAVE ONLY GONE ON THREE ALONE DATES. THAT IS NORMAL. THIS IS NORMAL BEHAVIOR. THE GUYS WHO ARE TELLING HER THAT THEY LOVE HER AFTER SPENDING MAYBE A GRAND TOTAL OF 24 HOURS WITH HER ARE LYING AND THEY ARE FRAUDS. /Voice of Reason
Next stop: Boulder.
Finally, Rachel goes to Colorado to meet Kewpie Doll’s all-kinds-of-fucked-up family. But first, they ride around on ATVs for a boring amount of time and have a picnic, where Kewpie gives Rachel some advanced warning on what she is about to walk into.
So, if you’ll remember, Kewpie’s mother died when he was 15 years old, and in the aftermath, his family just sort of fell apart. According to him, his father wasn’t good at doing parent things, and Kewpie was left to pretty much raise himself. What Kewpie left out was that six years ago, his father became a Kundalini Yogi, grew out his beard to his waist, renamed himself Parumrup and married a woman named Santantar whom Kewpie has only met twice.
Oh, and she’ll also be meeting Kewpie’s sister, Skye, and his brothers Brad and Ross.
Kewpie adds that this is going to be the first time the entire family has been under the same roof in eight years, and when Rachel pushes him on why he hasn’t reached out to his father more, Kewpie demands to know why it’s his responsibility to maintain that relationship. Exactly. Also, too, sometimes it’s just best to cut toxic people from your life and not allow reality show producers to drag them back into it just because it makes for good TV.
And it makes for good TV.
When Kewpie and Rachel walk into his father’s house, they find everyone sitting on the floor on pillows, because there is no table, duh, obviously. Parumrup then orders everyone to lie on the floor with their heads pointed towards the gong in the corner, because he’s going to perform an energetic cleaning on them.
Kewpie is understandably mortified.
Parumrup then presents Rachel with a feather, meant to symbolize Kewpie’s mother, which is a lovely gesture and is received as such. But then when Parumrup passes out the dinner, which is some sort of pile of sprouts and mung bean, Kewpie rejects it, claiming that he ate before he arrived and just doesn’t have much of an appetite for their hippie slaw.
Rachel then goes outside to talk to Kewpie’s sister, Skye, who immediately bursts into tears thinking about how much Kewpie has been through, and what a good person he is. Fun talk!
Inside the conversation is even more fraught between Kewpie and his father. Parumrup notes Kewpie’s “positive energy,” adding that he must have been a pretty good father for Kewpie to turn out as well as he has.
When Kewpie replies that actually Parumrup was a terrible father who left Kewpie alone when he needed him the most, Parumrup has the gall to grouse that HE WAS HURT AND ANGRY BECAUSE HIS WIFE JUST DIED.
Kewpie tries to explain that he needed more from his one living parent, that he needed his father to do what he could to keep their family together and that he felt abandoned, which is the moment when Parumrup just shuts down altogether and refuses to talk about it anymore. Parumrup announces that if that’s how Kewpie feels, there’s nothing left to say, even after he’s opened up his house to whatever bullshit this thing that Kewpie is doing, even after he gong cleansed them. And with that, Parumrup gets up and storms out of the house in a purple huff.
Rachel decides that this would be a great time to talk privately with Parumrup, who is all, “NOPE,” making Parumrup the most honest person who has ever been on any of these shows ever. You want “realness” Eric the Good Dancer? Because Parumrup has got some realness for you.
Inside, Kewpie is a damn mess AND WHO COULD BLAME HIM, MAYBE WE SHOULDN’T BE FILMING ANY OF THIS RIGHT NOW, GUYS. When Rachel checks on him, he tells her that he loves her, and they roll around on the floor together, all the while Parumrup stares at them through the window, wondering when they are going to leave so that he can get back to his mung beans already.
And thus ends the most surreal hometown visit ever.
We go to Dallas for the rose ceremony, before which Rachel whines to Chris Harrison for a good ten minutes that this is SO HARD and fake crying for a while.
GOD, JUST LINE THEM UP ALREADY.
Rose #1: Lengua del Amor
Rose #2: Eric the Good Dancer
Rose #3: Diastema
Oh, poor Kewpie Doll. It’s bad enough to take the Bachelorette home to your crazy family; it’s worse to have your crazy family be even crazier than you had prepared her for; it’s the absolute worst to then be immediately dumped after showing the Bachelorette and all of America just how crazy your family is. You deserved better, Kewpie, but the good news for you is that you are young and cute and if you can survive getting a gong cleansing on national television and not actually dying of embarrassment, you can survive anything.
The men who have been eliminated:
Below are the men still in the running for Rachel’s affections.
The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Mondays at 7/8 p.m. and GONNNNNNNNG.