‘The Bachelor’: Home field advantage

The Bachelor
March 13, 2023

It’s the Dreaded Hometown Week, wherein four (un)lucky families who did not sign up for this shit are dragged on screen to pass judgment on some random himbo their daughter/sister has been “dating.” And if you’ve been reading me for any amount of time, you know that second to the “Women Tell All” special, this is my least favorite episode of the season because:

BUT FIRST, TURN ON NIPPLE CAM, ZACH’S IN THE SHOWER. AGAIN. And I would like to know what these men are doing to or with their chests that they need to spend five minutes washing them every time they get into the shower. Sir, you do not need to individually wash each chest hair, I’m certain there are other areas of your body that require some attention.

Our first dreaded hometown is Houston, TX Pittsford, VT, home to Maple Syrup. Quite literally. Things in Vermont according to the welcome montage: covered bridges, farm silos, piles and piles of leaves. Maple Syrup greets Zach in the woods somewhere, explaining that she’s going to give him the “full maple experience.” DO NOT LOOK THAT UP ON URBAN DICTIONARY.

Also, Zach didn’t care for the maple syrup shot she greeted him with on Night One, so making this entire date about maple syrup is … a choice.

To this end, she brings one of those tree screwdriver things to tap a tree for maple syrup, but they get bored with screwing the tree too quickly, and start molesting the tree hole to see if they’ve found the “wetness.” The entire thing is one long filthy double entendre.

They then have a maple syrup tasting, because if one shot of maple syrup grossed Zach out, then why not make him drink four more? Anyway, Zach picks the only non-maple syrup syrup as his favorite, and Maple Syrup is devastated.

Zach burbles about what a great date it’s been despite being force-fed maple syrup like a goose being fattened up for pate, and claims that it’s “more and more easy” with Maple Syrup. The word you’re looking for, Z, is “easier.” It’s easier and easier” with Maple Syrup, the more you spend time with her.

That evening, they go to Maple Syrup’s palace of syrup to meet her parents who are a pair of maple trees, her brother, and her sister who looks like Maple Syrup, but also like Raven from Nick Viall’s season. And THAT’S who Maple Syrup looks like, it’s been driving me batty this entire season.

Alright, maybe they don’t look exactly alike, but they definitely have the same vibe.

ANYSYRUP, after some small talk with the family, Zach speaks with Maple Syrup’s brother who seems skeptical about all of this, and reminds Zach that it takes more than just being on a TV show to fall in love. Zach assures him that Maple Syrup is someone he could see a future with, and Brother notes that his sister seems to like Zach, and is putting herself out there, which is a big deal.

Meanwhile, Maple Syrup chats with Sister, whom she tells she “could be falling in love” with Zach “soon” which is not exactly the same thing as being in love with him, now is it? Sister hopes that Maple Syrup gets the ending that she wants.

Zach visits with Maple Syrup’s mom, and he asks a shrewd couple of questions: Does she have any advice for him about her daughter? How can he best support her as her partner?

Can they do that? Can … The Bachelor ask emotionally intelligent and sensitive questions and not make it about themselves all the time every day? I didn’t think they had permission to do this?

Mom starts talking about how what Maple Syrup needs is security and trust, and Zach assures her that he has respect for her daughter and that she’s special.

Maple Syrup visits with her father, who she tells that she thinks she could be falling in love with Zach. This man, this big softie of a man, tells Maple Syrup a story that it seems she’s heard a thousand times: that the moment he saw her mother, when she walked into the school lunchroom, he knew right away that she was the one. And so yes, he does think you can fall in love in two months — hell, he knows you can fall in love in one day. And then he starts becoming weepy and MY GOD, EVEN I THINK WE MUST PROTECT THIS MAN AT ALL COST. Wrap him in bubble wrap and put him in a vault, he’s too pure to be out wandering around in this awful world. 

With that, Maple Syrup walks Zach outside where instead of telling him that she is falling in love with him (or could see falling in love with him), she starts crying at how long it’s going to be before she sees him again, and asks him to not forget her.

Next stop: New York City, a rare stop for hometown visits despite being the biggest city in the country. (Because, I’m guessing, New York City women are too busy, too educated, and too self-sufficient to want to play these retrograde princess fantasy games.) Bored meets with Zach in Washington Square before taking him to a West Village pizza joint, to a Jewish deli for a tongue sandwich and some gefilte fish, and finally to a speakeasy hidden in a coffee shop. She is far too cool and sophisticated and New York for this putz, but here we are.

She also explains that later he’s going to meet her parents who immigrated here from the Soviet Union to flee the antisemitism, but that the person he should really be scared of is her protective older brother.

And she wasn’t lying: upon arriving at a Brooklyn winery to meet her family, Brother almost immediately asks to speak with Zach. He and his wife take Zach into a backroom and the grilling begins with one of the best questions I’ve heard a family member ask one of these bozos: “Why should my sister pick you?”

And Zach, he doesn’t have an answer for this, because of course he doesn’t have an answer for this. This entire time, it’s been about his “journey” and his “heart” and what he is looking for. From the moment the producers anointed him The Bachelor, he no longer had to consider what made him such the catch or why anyone — much less 30 women — would want to marry him. It was just assumed they would. Because he’s The Bachelor.

Zach: “Uhhh …”

Bored’s Brother then goes on to ask Zach some more questions: When is Bored’s birthday? What’s her middle name?

Zach: “Uhhh …”

Bored’s brother asks how Zach and Bored are going to reconcile their very different backgrounds and lives?

Zach: “Uhhh …”

Bored’s brother:

Zach then talks about having a big heart and being a good cook. Brother and I are skeptical.

Brother takes his sister aside and is like “Do you really like this guy?” And speaking for all of America, I’d like to know the answer to this question, Bored, because … I mean … look at you … and then look at him …

Zach is then interrogated by Dad, who after worrying that this show was all about orgies, was none too happy to learn that Zach had, in fact, taken his daughter to a nude spa. Zach admits to being nervous to Dad, who replies, “You should be.” Dad then demands to know how Bored is different than the other women that he’s still dating and Zach mumbles something about “kindness.”


Zach also talks about how he can only tell Bored’s family how he’s feeling at the moment; he can’t give them a guarantee for something that might happen two weeks from now.

Dad is unimpressed.

Bored speaks to her father where he expresses some doubt that Zach could be her “forever person,” but promises to support her in whatever decision she makes. With that, Bored walks Zach outside where she tells him that she’s “falling” for him.

Onto Columbus, Georgia, where Love Charity is going to skip the whole “hang out alone” part of the date and just throw him into a backyard barbecue with every single person she knows. YES, MA’AM, I AM FOR THIS, GIMME SOME OF THAT CHICKEN. Her adorable parents are here; her handsome brother is here; her future bridesmaids, they are all here and ready to meet this man who is not nearly good enough for the likes of one Love Charity.

After meeting everyone, Love Charity chats with her father who asks if she and Zach have exchanged “The L Word” yet. She tells him that they have not, but that she thinks things could quickly become serious between them. She also talks about how her parents’ relationship is what she hopes for one day, and he replies that it is about taking care of one another.

She also talks to her best friends, who are clearly concerned but trying very hard to not shit on her happiness. One of them asks if she’s prepared for the outcome she doesn’t want, and she admits it won’t be easy, but that he is worth the risk.

Zach is being grilled by yet another protective brother, but Love Charity’s brother seems to be coming from a place of love and concern. Brother asks where Zach is with the other women and he explains that he’s doing his best to compartmentalize his relationships. That said, Love Charity is an incredibly special woman and from the moment he met her, he felt comfortable with her.

Brother then visits with Love Charity, and wonders what’s so different about this slope-browed yokel, and Love Charity claims that he’s “confident” and “emotionally intelligent.”

I mean, I guess. If the spectrum is made up of only other Bachelors, then yes, I can concede that Zach is among some of the most emotionally intelligent of the mesomorphs we’ve encountered in the past.

Love Charity’s Brother just worries about her being heartbroken, and that he never wants to see her hurt that way again. Brother begins to become a little teary talking about how he’s glad she’s ok, and that she deserves the world.


Love Charity also visits with Mom who asks her daughter if she is falling in love. Love Charity says that she is in the “process” and then wonders if she’s not scared of saying the words again. Her mother reminds her that it’s a pretty important thing to express to someone, and Love Charity agrees that it could be a game changer. Love Charity reiterates that her parents are an amazing example of love and now everyone is crying again.

After everyone says their goodbyes, Love Charity takes Zach to some line dancing bar and there, of all cursed places, she decides to tell him that she is falling in love with him.

Finally, Austin, TX: both our Bachelor’s hometown and, as the nickname suggests, Austin Nurse’s hometown. Except apparently Austin Nurse only moved to Austin a few weeks before filming began? So she decides that for their “date” they are going to run some shopping errands, and then she’ll bring him back to her house where she will have him assemble furniture and move her mattress.

And honestly? Genius move. Queen shit. No notes.

And I’m going to pause here for half a second to talk about another reality dating series, because I think about this particular show a lot, and this tweet in response to this episode set me off again:

Yeah, they could have. And that probably would have been fine.

There’s a Netflix series that I’m sure you’ve heard of even if you haven’t actually watched it, called Love is Blind. The concept is that they take 30 single men and women, separate them by gender and then have them date in individual pods where they can not see one another. After 10 days of “dating,” they can, if they choose, propose to someone. This tends to widdle the pool down from 15 men and women to five or six couples. The couples leave the “pods” as they are called, where they go on vacation with the other engaged couples for a few days. After this, they all move into the same apartment complex together for another four weeks while they meet each others’ families and friends and plan a wedding. Finally, there is a wedding ceremony where, at the altar, they decide whether or not to really say “I do.”

Gimmicky? Yes. But here’s the genius thing that this show does that no other reality dating series does: they pick their pool of 30 contestants from the same city. The first season was set in Atlanta, the second in Chicago, and the third was in Dallas. None of these contestants (with one specific exemption that ultimately did not work out) are dating long distance when the cameras go away — they don’t have to upend their lives, leave behind jobs, family, friends, homes — or fight about who is going to be the one to leave behind a job, family, friends, a home — to be with some schmo they met on a soundstage a few weeks earlier. It’s a small thing, yes, and maybe it obliterates some romantic notion that your “soulmate” is out there somewhere in the world and you need some big serendipitous way to cross paths with them, and that ultimately love will conquer any obstacle. But the truth is, real life ain’t that easy, and sometimes love just doesn’t conquer giving up a career or being close to family. And it works: Love is Blind is much more successful than The Bachelor, if success is based on couples getting and staying married. Love is Blind has 4 still married couples out of 17 potential married couples, compared to 1 — and only 1 — married Bachelor couple out of 26 potential couples.

What I’m saying is, Zach is going to pick Austin Nurse.

As for meeting the family, Austin Nurse reminds us that she and her mother and brother are very close having been abandoned by not one but two father figures in her life. They meet her mom, her brother, her aunt, and her grandmother at … somebody’s house. They don’t specify whose, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess it’s Airbnb’s house.

Mom notes that she has never seen her daughter be so physically affectionate with someone, before taking her aside and asking her how it’s going with this guy. Austin Nurse tells her mother that Zach is “genuine” and “down to earth” and not the typical guy that she’s usually attracted to. As for him dating three other women, yeah, that’s a thing, whaddya gonna do? Austin Nurse wants her mother to talk with him, see what she thinks and get back to her with a yay or a nay.

To that end, Zach goes outside with Mom where he tells her that he is at a point where he can 100% see a future with Austin Nurse, and that he could see himself falling in love with her. Of course “see [yourself] falling in love” and “being in love” are two different things but whatever.

Meanwhile, Austin Nurse sobs to her aunt about her toxic past relationships and her daddy issues and, for the umpteenth time, what this girl needs is therapy, not a dating show.

But a dating show’s all we got, so once her mother comes back and gives the thumbs up to Zach, Austin Nurse feels confident enough to tell him that she is falling in love with him before he leaves to go home and sleep in his own goddamned bed for a night.


And then it’s rose ceremony time:

Rose #1: Bored
Rose #2: Austin Nurse
Rose #3: Maple Syrup

Which means we must say our goodbyes to Love Charity …

… but not for long as she was chosen to be our next Bachelorette. See you soon, Love Charity! Hope they find a good pool of men for you, Love Charity! Because God knows you can do a lot better than this walking nostril!

Here are the ladies who have been eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:

Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Zach:


The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m and streams on Hulu.

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