Monday, July 7, 2014

Episode 8: Hometown Heroes

Hey everyone! So I am very proud to announce that this week we actually have a sponsor for the blog! They are a big fan of the show who asked to remain nameless in exchange for paying me $5 per word written, so I am really really really really really really really really excited about this post. They also wanted me to voice my concerns about any potential birth control present in the fantasy suite next week. Remember ABC, you have the freedom to deny other people freedom. It's about time you started using it.

I really shouldn't say who the sponsor is.

This week Andi went on four hometown dates, to meet the families of her various lovers. The mere fact that she has various lovers seems like it would be a red flag to the families, but they all handle it surprisingly well. Actually they handle it suspiciously well. It's almost as if they were being watched by some judgmental outside force that decided whether or not they remained in good standing with a larger community. Not like a God figure or anything, but like a large group of people watching who were able to make snap decisions about their likability. Then again, maybe I am just being paranoid.

The first date was in Milwaukee with Nick, and my bias meter goes off the charts. Having spent four years there, I am bound to like whatever happens. That being said, the show does do a good job of showing off some of the non-murdery parts of the city. Had you been watching with me, you would have heard me shouting names of various landmarks, as well as my phone blowing up with texts that read "Milwaukeeeee."It probably speaks to how little I have going on in my life right now that a city is able to elicit this reaction, though I chose to believe that it's actually just said city's awesomeness.

Nick and Andi go to Lakefront Brewery (whom I have personally patronized to the tune of several hundred dollars over the years) which made for a pretty cute date. Lakefront specifically brewed them a personalized couples beer called "Nick + Andi" which also made me rethink my previous patronization. Knowing Milwaukee's hipster attitude though, the beer was probably brewed ironically for the show.

It's like if the Third Ward was a person.

Andi makes fun of Nick for not being a good polka dancer, which is like making fun of someone for not looking cool while drinking Fresca. It's just not going to happen. Nick also claims that the polka is a "Wisconsin dance," which is like saying that America is historically a land of white people. I also am using similes like a person that really depends on them as a rhetorical technique.

I'll get off my Milwaukee crush and move onto Nick's family. Good lord. This family is huge. There are roughly nine kids spanning twenty plus years, which makes me think that every one of them was an accident. It's like they were planning to compete with the Duggars before the mom just got worn out. Nick's ten year old sister Bella (I'm assuming the parents ran out of names) is the only family member who doesn't look completely exhausted by this process. Thank goodness too, because she is just adorable.

It appears the producers bailed on the whole "Nick is a villain" storyline from weeks previous. Either that, or this week was just a reminder that even evil people have moms who love them. Even Hobby Lobby's parents love it.

Oh wait. That's right. Hobby Lobby isn't people.

After Nick's hometown date, Andi goes to Iowa to see Chris. I don't know what kind of farmer Chris is, but he is way richer than any I know. He lives in a pretty baller house and tells Andi that everything the sun touches is his, which is a real Mufasa move. Andi also says that Chris is the hottest farmer ever, which may be true though I'm sure George Washington Carver would disagree.

No. I said "peanuts"

Andi sits on Chris' lap and does donuts in his combine (not tractor) much to her own delight. She also talks about how massive everything is while sitting on his lap, much to my own delight. I'm sure it is Andi. Why wait for the fantasy suite next week when you can spend time in the fantasy combine?

The two then have a picnic and a fairly in depth discussion about what life in Iowa would be like. Chris is very understanding about the culture shock that is moving to Iowa, and really seems concerned about Andi's well being. Their primary concern comes down to what Andi would do if she actually moved there. At one point Andi floats the idea of doing "some kind of law" in a nearby city. I had no idea it was that easy. Apparently all "kinds of law" are the same, much in the way that building a house is no different than building a road. It's all engineering!

It was around this point someone texted me to sincerely ask where Iowa was. I won't mention who it was, but I absolutely love them and will never let them forget this moment.

It's right here.

With Chris' family, Andi makes a valiant effort to show how "country" she can be. At one point she says out loud "I'm not that 'city,' I grew up in the suburbs." Andi really is sincere about this too, which is fairly unnerving. She's essentially picked the only one of those three lifestyles that actively does not prepare you with any life skills from your time there. Suburbs are the purgatory of communities. You go there and just sort of wait to die.


Next Andi goes to Tampa to see Josh and his family. The entirety of this date just confirms that not only Josh, but his family as well have no personality outside of sports. Andi shows up and they play baseball, then Josh's brother talks about football, then they all play football. Here I was thinking it was just Josh that was a dumb jock, but it turns out there's a whole group of them! And they all share the same genes!

Genes. Not Jeans.

During this date is the only real time Andi does anything that actually pisses me off, which may be a new record for the show. Throughout meeting Josh's family, Andi agrees with whatever anyone says without actually speaking her mind. After one commercial break in particular, Andi says that she's concerned that everything would be about football if she picked Josh, then tells his dad that she would be ok with going to all of the family's football games, then complains again about football. The concept of "killing with kindness" seems to be completely lost on Andi, who will say whatever people want to hear in the moment as opposed to being honest and making sure both sides know how the other feels. It's weak and it pisses me off.

Speaking of honesty, when do we finally get to find out what Josh does for a living? He's been claiming "Former Professional Baseball Player" as a career for too long now. Most of America are former atheletes Josh. You aren't allowed that as an identity. We need to know what he actually does for a living if we are supposed to identify with him. Also, while we're on the topic of honesty, can he just drop the whole "I quit to raise a family bullshit?" He played for five years, never made it past high A ball, had a .215 batting average, and spent his last year playing for an independent team. I know not everyone is a baseball fan, so let me make an analogy. That's like spending five years in Jr. High, having a 0.3 GPA, being homeschooled for a year, and claiming you didn't go to college because you eventually wanted kids. Not great.

Pictured: A grown man trying his best.

Oh, and don't worry. Aaron Murray got drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, so the family will soon have two former pro athletes to pretend to be proud of.

Finally there is Marcus' date in Dallas. I don't honestly know why ABC chose to save this for last because it was boring as shit. Marcus shows her around the city (which is something I can use Google Maps for) and then reenacts their first date, which I can use my memory for. It's a little bit insane that Marcus thought it was a good idea to strip for a girl and then introduce her to your parents that same afternoon too. That's like pooping and then immediately leaving for work. You can't shake the feeling that everyone knows what you just did...

The rest of the date is pleasantries between Andi and the family. It's boring and I have nothing more to say on the subject.

So very boring.

So if you've seen any part of the episode, you know what is next because ABC advertised this like crazy. Eric's death is finally announced to the group and though it is rough to watch, I think everyone involved handled it as best they could. There is no way to gloss over death in a show like this, and having an opportunity for the audience to grieve with the cast and crew seemed far more appropriate than the previous tribute. It's blunt and not pretty, but it's the reality around us and I honestly thought ABC did a great job with it.

I suppose what I really took away from this is the importance of treating people well, regardless of what they think of you. Andi's immediate reaction to the news was to break into tears and regret her final words to Eric. That's completely understandable, not only because she was in shock, but because she made a somewhat rash decision to kick him off the show. Having more distance from his death than Andi, my reaction was a little different. We shouldn't treat people well because they might die someday, with the last words you ever said to them being horrible. We should treat people well because they are people. At the end of the day that's all there is to it. Life is a finite resource, and we are doing a disservice to others and ourselves when we act selfishly. Some day every one of us is going to be dead, beyond the time when final words have any significance. Instead of regretting those final words, lets celebrate the ones we have together and leave no room for regret. Lets find our own Eric Hills, individuals we feel so passionately about that we sometimes cannot help but hurt, and make their lives better by treating them with the love they deserve. It's never easy, but it's always right. 

Thanks for reading,

Gossip Squirrel

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