‘The Bachelorette’: Home is where the hate is

The Bachelorette
August 22, 2022

EVERYONE ABANDON SHIP! After three weeks and about 325 nautical miles (I’m just guessing here, folks, save your outrage if I’m wrong), we are officially done with the Virgin Voyages Valiant COVID Incubator Lady, and the Bachelorettes and the remaining men are headed back to the United States for the Dreaded Hometown Dates.

And y’all. Some math. In a typical one (1) Bachelor/Bachelorette season, there are four (4) Dreaded Hometown Dates. But because we have two (2) Bachelorettes this season, somehow, someway we are expected to get through SEVEN (7) Dreaded Hometown Dates in one (1) episode.

Dreaded Hometown #1: Motherboy and Gabby in New Orleans

Somehow, this is Gabby’s first time in New Orleans, despite the fact that there has never been a person more suited for New Orleans than one Gabby Windey. She and Motherboy tour the French Quarter and spend an unfortunate amount of time walking around Bourbon Street, dancing VERY awkwardly, and throwing beads at people from some balcony even though Mardi Gras was a good four months earlier. (Seriously, folks, the only time it is appropriate to throw beads is between January 6 and whenever Mardi Gras day is. If you’re out throwing beads from your hotel balcony in July, you’re just embarrassing yourselves.)

At one point on the balcony, Motherboy confesses again that he almost left the show early on, but stayed for her. Seriously, though, how did this guy end up on this show? I don’t blame him for thinking about quitting, but he’s so clearly not cut out for this show to begin with, that I have no idea how he managed to get through the entire application, interview, and pre-screening process.

Motherboy explains that his parents are separated, so they first meet his father in a park, where he brings flowers, beignets, and ALL OF THE EMOTIONS. Motherboy Dad seems so sincerely happy to see his son and Gabby, and he becomes choked up when telling Gabby that Motherboy is a good man with a good heart.

Motherboy chats with his father privately, telling him that Gabby is one of the funniest and most genuine people he’s ever met. Later, his father assures Motherboy that he supports him no matter what and demands to be the best man if there is a wedding. Finally, he offers a sweet toast that I’d never heard before: “May the best days of your past be the worst days of your future.” Cin-cin.

Gabby and Motherboy then meet the rest of his family that evening: his mother, his sister, and her boyfriend. Again, everyone seems very lovely and VERY emotional: there is a LOT of sobbing. Gabby chats with his sister, and the two are soon laughing like old friends. Sister assures Gabby that Motherboy is 100% ready for a serious relationship, he just hadn’t met the right person yet.


Gabby also visits with Motherboy’s mother who insists that Gabby’s more outgoing personality is a nice balance to Motherboy’s more reserved one and that she sees something good between them. Motherboy’s mother then adds in an interview that the “best case scenario” is that her son is truly in love with Gabby and they live happily ever after.


Howmsever. Motherboy’s mother should have maybe checked with Motherboy before picking out her mother of the groom gown because when she chats with her son, he drops a bombshell: he’s not ready to be engaged in two weeks. It’s not Gabby, it’s the unrealistic expectation that in the span of 8 weeks you can meet and be ready to marry some stranger you have barely said five words to it just doesn’t feel right.

Now, look. I obviously think Motherboy is well within his rights as a sane person to not want to engage in an insane plan just to make some insane TV producers happy. No one should get engaged on this dumb show, full stop. But! If that is how he feels, what he needs to do RIGHT THIS VERY FUCKING SECOND is go tell Gabby that he’s not ready for an engagement in a fortnight, and not drag this whole thing out any longer than necessary.

Ask me if he does this. Go on, ask me.


Instead, as Motherboy says his goodbyes, Gabby is gushing in interviews that she could see herself with him forever and she is excited about the future and that she is “falling in love.”

Dreaded Hometown #2: Goose and Rachel in Anaheim

Rachel meets Goose in Anaheim, California, where he is prepared with a pair of bicycles. The two ride through town — which looks very charming, I’ve only been to Disneyland, I know nothing — and eventually end up on the roof of some warehouses? near an airport so that they can watch planes take off and make out in the contrail fumes. Romantic.

They then go to his parents’ house, where they meet his parents, sister, and his Uncle Pat. Uncle Pat being Patrick Warburton.

And here’s the generation gap that I am dealing with: Patrick Warburton has my undying love for his portrayal of David Puddy, Elaine’s idiot boyfriend on Seinfeld.

Meanwhile, everyone on Twitter knows him as Kronk:

I am one thousand years old.

Rachel first visits with Goose’s dad who has all the typical worries: he’s worried that his son is falling hard for her and that it’s easy to think you’re falling in love when you’ve been traveling to the most romantic places on earth. But Rachel assures him that they actually made a deep emotional connection on their first date and they learned so much about each other’s families and values. And to be fair to Rachel, it was one of the most intense dates I’ve ever seen on this dum-dum show.

Goose tells his mother that he is falling in love with Rachel, who turns around and tells Rachel that her son is falling in love with her, and wonders if Goose is someone Rachel can see herself spending forever with. Rachel makes a bunch of generic noises about how their relationship is different from the others, as if that is reassuring or insightful at all. But it’s good enough for Mom who says that they will embrace her as family if this all works out.

Then, horrifyingly, Rachel, Goose, and the entire Puddy family go outside and watch their dates on an outdoor screen. And by “dates,” I mean they all watch as Rachel and Goose full-on tongue chew in a hot tub in the middle of a field of tulips.

Dreaded Hometown #3: Vanilla Ice and Gabby in Palm Beach

Gabby meets Vanilla Ice in his Palm Beach, Florida hometown, and he announces that they are going to go meet his family first and then go out on their date. I’m here for it! Get that awkward part over with first and then go get much-needed drinks after!

Vanilla Ice introduces Gabby to his parents, his best friend (who looks an awful lot like him?), his actual brother, and his girlfriend. They ask how night one went, and Vanilla Ice claims that he rapped (“rapped”). Gabby, God bless her, says that she was going to call it a poem.

I love her.

Gabby first visits with Vanilla Ice’s father who says that he sees that she and his son have a connection even after such a short period of time. Gabby talks about having chemistry with Vanilla Ice, and adds that she can really be herself around him. Dad asks if they’ve talked about being engaged, and Gabby admits that they have not. Which! Considering a proposal is TWO WEEKS AWAY it’s maybe something you should talk about!

Anyway, Dad is all in and gives Gabby his full support.

Gabby then talks with Mom about Vanilla Ice’s confidence and charisma coming out of the limo. Gabby asks if Ice is ready for a long-term relationship and Mom is like, “Well, he doesn’t give his heart to anyone …”

“But if he does commit, [she’ll] be very lucky.”

Vanilla Ice then visits with Mom who presses him on whether or not he’s ready to get married, and he’s like, “Yeah, we haven’t talked about it yet.” His mother urges him to not commit to marriage “haphazardly.”

Don’t worry Mom, he won’t.

Because once he’s alone with Dad, he admits that he’s not ready to be engaged in two weeks.

Dad, for some reason, tries to encourage his son to consider getting engaged. He can see their chemistry! He thinks his son is ready emotionally! He thinks Vanilla Ice and Gabby can eventually get there together financially! (Wait, does Vanilla Ice have a job? Hang on a sec … OK, he’s a realtor. That’s a job. It’s not “meatball enthusiast” for instance.) Anyway, Dad gives his blessing even though Vanilla Ice clearly does not want it, thankyouverymuch.

And obviously the mature thing to do here would be for Vanilla Ice to spend the rest of the evening that he has alone with Gabby talking to her about his reservations about being engaged in two weeks.

Ask me if he does this. Go on, ask me.


Instead, they tool around the lagoon in his boat while Gabby narrates that she thinks she could be falling in love with this fool.

Dreaded Hometown #4: Boardwalk Carny and Rachel in Wildwood

Rachel heads to New Jersey to meet her sweet Boardwalk Carny in his natural environment: the completely abandoned — because it’s way too damn cold for this — Jersey boardwalk. They play games and eat corn dogs and ride rides and it looks gross and damp and cold. But still, it seems fun! In fact, it’s all fun and games — literally — until Boardwalk Carny introduces Rachel to some friends and cousins who work at a pizza stand. Suddenly, Rachel has doubts.

While Boardwalk Carny locks up his stand, Rachel begins crying to one of the producers that her connections with the other men are much stronger, that she just didn’t really get a chance to really get to know him, and she doesn’t feel like she can meet his family.

So. When Boardwalk Carny returns, Rachel sits him down to break up with him, and he starts burbling about how incredible the day has been, how he wouldn’t have it go any other way, and how he didn’t expect to see all his pals at the pizza joint, but it was great seeing her in that setting.

Rachel begins to tell him that he’s a great person … but he interrupts her to talk about how he knows that she is the reason he went through so much pain before. Every moment he spent with her, it just gets better and better, and she knows how important it is that he is introducing her to his family, that they told him not to bring anyone home unless she was special. To that end, he’s not falling in love with Rachel, he is in love with her.

Rachel’s face. Literally.


She finally stops him, and in tears explains that while she’s never met anyone like him, that he’s open and loving and wonderful, she doesn’t know that she’s ready to meet his family. She just feels like something is missing, and that she doesn’t know that she’s able to get there for him.

Boardwalk Carny handles being dumped in the most nauseating way with grace, and thanks her for “letting [him] love again.”

Boardwalk Carny then puts her in the van so that she can cry about how he was comforting her after she stomped on his heart on national television.

MEANWHILE, because the producers of this show are actual Hellspawn, we still go to Boardwalk Carny’s home where his family has set out an antipasto plate and are SO EXCITE to meet Rachel!

Boardwalk Carny walks in, and everyone is SO EXCITE to see him … without noticing that he’s alone.

Boardwalk Carny sits down and tells his family that he spent the day with Rachel at the boardwalk … and y’all … they cheer.


When they calm down, Boardwalk Carny is finally able to explain that Rachel dumped his ass and that he loved her. He still does. He just wanted someone who felt the same way.

The producers are literal monsters.

Dreaded Hometown #5: Mullet and Gabby in Bedminster

And if you weren’t already feeling bummed after watching Boardwalk Carny get his heart ripped out and fed to his family on national television, JUST BRACE YOURSELF.

Gabby heads to Bedminster, New Jersey — home of the Trump National Golf Club, saints preserve us — to hang out with Mullet and his family. Upon arriving, Mullet explains that he wants to go to the family hang-out first, before reminding Gabby that his father has been battling aggressive cancer for the past three years. This, if I’m not mistaken, IS NEWS TO US, and seems like one of those things we might have learned earlier if we hadn’t been forced to split our time between two women.

Anyway, Mullet “reminds” us that his father has nearly died three times from cancer, and that his mother’s being his father’s primary caretaker and her loyalty to him has been truly inspirational.

This visit is brutal and emotional, y’all, almost to the point of bordering on unethical. If you have recently lost a loved one or have seen a loved one suffer through a terminal illness, it’s particularly painful; I speak from experience.

They go to Mullet’s home and they meet his parents, sister, and grandparents, Grandpa tells Gabby that he saw her on The Bachelor. He’s adorable. Mullet informs the family that Gabby is an ICU nurse, and his father tells Gabby that he has nothing but admiration for the ICU nurses that took care of him for 40 days. He explains that he has a rare appendiceal cancer, and has endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy, one of which nearly killed him. Dad praises Mullet’s mother for hanging in there with him, noting how hard it is to be a caretaker. Mullet and Gabby confirm that his parents’ relationship, and how hard they fight for each other, has been deeply inspiring.

Mullet then visits with his mother and assures her that he wouldn’t put her through all of this — you know, bringing cameras into their home, broadcasting her pain on national television — if he wasn’t serious about Gabby. AND I SHOULD HOPE NOT. They talk about his father’s health, and Mom says, “I keep watering that flower, and he keeps coming back,” which was the exact moment my heart broke in half. Mullet notes that he wants what his parents have, and she tells him it’s important to find the person you feel like you can’t live without, and then you marry them for life.

Gabby then chats with Mullet’s mother and tells her that the way Mullet loves his parents and sister, it’s what she is looking for in a partner. They delicately touch upon Mullet’s father and his health, and how he has an incredible will to live. Mom stresses that commitment in their family is important, and they don’t give up on each other. Gabby assures his mother that she cares for Mullet very much and that she feels lucky to have been there that day.

With that, Gabby and Mullet ride off on his motorcycle to have dinner where they discuss his family and their love for one another, and what a big deal it is for Mullet to bring someone home. More than that, Mullet stresses how difficult it was for him to not be with his family for the past few weeks, and to be completely out of contact during that time. (Frankly, I don’t know that I could or would do it myself, but it does explain why he seemed so distant and removed on their first one-on-one date.) He tells her that he is falling in love with her, and in return, Gabby tells him that his family has raised a good man and that she is falling in love with him too. 

Sooooooo, between this and Gabby’s other two dingdongs talking about how they aren’t ready to be engaged, can we just wrap this up already? I think we’re done here.

Heartbreakingly, Mr. Schwer passed away in July.

And now I’m crying, Goddammit.

Dreaded Hometown #6: Bob the Builder and Rachel in Santa Clarita

Rachel meets Bob the Builder in some park in Santa Clarita, California, where Rachel expresses how nervous she is to meet his parents: are they going to give her a chance? Bob the Builder insists that she doesn’t need to worry about a thing.

Friend, she needs to worry about all of the things.

Before Rachel and Bob the Builder arrive, his parents are already talking about how Rachel is still seeing three other men, and what if she likes one of them more than their son, and how will he deal with that? Off to a positive start!

Rachel and Bob the Builder arrive, and she is introduced to his wild-eyed parents and younger brother who clearly can’t believe he’s stuck in the middle of all this.

Right out of the gate, Bob the Builder’s parents are asking her about the other men, and wonder what the next two weeks will be like. Bob the Builder handles that one: Rachel will send the others home and he’ll propose. “AFTER TWO MONTHS?” Bob the Builder’s incredulous father asks, before demanding angrily that they go talk.

Alone, Bob the Builder’s father asks him how on Earth he thinks he wants to be engaged to this girl after only five weeks (well, seven, but who’s counting?), what does he even know about her? Bob the Builder argues that he knows “the important stuff” and that they have connected on “different levels.” Dad is NOT BUYING IT and insists that being on a “whirlwind fairy tale trip” does not prepare one for marriage.

And yo! I get it! I agree! And for many years, I have argued that I would murder my sons if they decided to go on this dumb show and then have the NERVE to be chosen for the Dreaded Hometowns and put us all through this nonsense.

But … now that my oldest is literally the age of some of the youngest contestants on these shows — and now that I have watched and recapped countless seasons — my tune has changed. Somewhat. I still think this is a terrible show that sends a terrible message about relationships. But if my son came home from being a contestant on The Bachelorette after seven weeks and was like, “I might be engaged to this woman in two weeks,” my response would not be pulling out my hair and yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU BARELY KNOW THIS PERSON THIS IS ALL A LIE!” Instead I would be all, “LOL, OK. Sure.” Because while Momma might not be good at math, the fact that there are only 4 Bachelorette couples still together out of 18 seasons doesn’t seem like particularly strong odds to me. “Get back to me when you need me to plan the rehearsal dinner, sweetie.”

What I’m saying is that there is no reason in the world for Bob the Builder’s parents to be freaking out so hard on him and even less reason to be the jerkasses they are to Rachel as even if their son becomes engaged to this woman, it’s unlikely to last. And if it does last … isn’t that a good thing?

ANYWAY. The point is, Rachel is interrogated by Bob the Builder’s mother. “WHAT ARE HIS BEST TRAITS?” she demands. And Rachel comes up with “He gives blood,” which is a hilariously terrible answer. “WOULD YOU STILL LIKE HIM IF YOU MET HIM OUTSIDE OF THIS? BECAUSE NONE OF THIS IS REAL.” And Rachel is like, “Well, it is real …” which only makes Mom more argumentative. “I NEED TO KNOW IF IN TWO WEEKS I’M GOING TO BE MENDING A BROKEN HEART OR PLANNING A WEDDING,” Mom snarls.

First of all, somehow it doesn’t strike me that Bob the Builder would be going to either of these two lunatics for comfort in the event of a breakup, but second of all, it’s a lot.

But it’s not as much as Bob the Builder’s Dad who demands to know from Rachel how she and his son made a “connection” so quickly. Rachel tries to explain that the show expedites the trajectory of relationships; they’ve discussed what they want from their futures, and how their morals and values align. Dad demands that Rachel “convince [him] that [she] knows Bob the Builder,” and Rachel goes on about his positive outlook, how humble and caring he is, and how people gravitate towards him. Bob the Builder’s Dad sighs that she’s saying all the right things, but it doesn’t matter — he and Mom think this is just a “fairy tale thing,” and it’s his job to make sure Bob the Builder makes the right choice.

And then this asshole, he goes for the jugular. Dad asks Rachel what she wants at the end of all of this, is she expecting an engagement? And Rachel is like, “I mean, that’s the whole concept of the show, so yeah?” She concedes that Bob the Builder is a little slower with his feelings, but that he has told her that being engaged is something he thinks he’s ready for. Dad replies with a sigh, “I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the hardest part of this is that it is your second go-round. And I am just worried that you’re just looking to get married.”

Rachel, who is on the verge of tears now, insists that she wouldn’t do that to Bob the Builder and that she is looking for a partner in life. But Dad is like, “Exactly, you’ve got your mind set on an engagement, and I just want you to be honest with each other.”

After complaining to a producer that his parents hate her — and make no mistake, they hate her — Rachel puts on a brave face and thanks them for welcoming her, hitting her with the hard questions, and hopes that they can see how seriously she is taking all of this.

They do not see how seriously she is taking all of this.

Outside, Bob the Builder insists that his parents “adored” Rachel.

Bob the Builder’s parents:

Rachel is like, “Yeah, I really don’t think so.” So Bob the Builder is all, “I’m falling in love with you?” And Rachel is like, “I’m falling in love with you, too, and have apparently developed a rare form of amnesia that has allowed me to completely forget the waterboarding your parents literally just put me through. Yay!”

As for that seventh Dreaded Hometown, we get to save it for next week, yay us.

The Men Who Are Soon Going to be Dumped by Gabby:

The Men Who Are Soon Going to be Dumped by Rachel:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Gabby:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Rachel:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Gabby and Rachel:

The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 7/8 p.m.

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