I know I’ve said it before, but given the nature of the quote I’m fine with repeating the quote: “Time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do we’re gonna do over and over again.” That felt especially true during tonight’s hometown date episode of The Bachelor. We watched Ben go on four identical dates with four nearly identical women. At a certain point, it’s impossible to not feel like you’ve gone completely insane. So with that in mind, I present to you This Is Brutal: Am I That Evil?
You're not evil, Ben. This man is evil.
The hometown dates begin swiftly and mercilessly with Amanda who greets Ben wearing the same shoulder-less shirt she's been wearing all season. Does Amanda own other clothes besides shoulder-less shirts? I know being a single mom is hard, but unless she's using that missing shoulder material to clothe her daughters, there is no excuse for a wardrobe to be so consistently devoid of shoulders.
Eventually, the shoulder-less, Botox-using, single-mother (I know more than I thought about Amanda) and Ben (…) meet Kingsley and Charlie, Amanda's daughters. Ben tries to win the daughters over and is moderately successful with the older of the two, Kingsley. However the younger daughter, Charlie, may be the only woman from this season to not be completely infatuated with Ben. She refuses to answer any of his questions and barely acknowledges Ben's existence even after he picks her up. Her disdain was not reserved solely for Ben, either. This was Charlie's face after noticing the cameras for the first time.
I wouldn't touch that hand either.
After a short morning of forced fun, Ben and Amanda pack the children up and return to Amanda’s house. Charlie screams and cries the entire way back and why wouldn’t she? She’s being forced to leave the beach and spend time with a strange man who is trying to fuck her mom. That’s terrible by anyone’s account. I get that fussy when I have to go to a job where I get paid and no strangers are even trying to fuck my mom.
Once the children are put to bed, Ben has a short moment of reprieve before he is assailed again by more people he must pretend to like. Both of Amanda's parents question Ben's readiness to be a parent. It's a fair question, since he had not met the children before today, and has only known their mother for a month. Ben responds to their fears by saying he hadn't even thought about kids before meeting Amanda. He now had been considering the option for almost a full month now. Wow, almost a full month huh? And you've never cared full time for a child before? Tell me, Ben, are there any other clueless, borderline insulting things you would like to say to the other three parents in the room?
The night ends with Amanda chickening out on confessing her love to Ben. So far he is 0/1 on confessions of love.
Is there something about the attractiveness of shoulders that I'm missing?
Next, Ben travels to Portland, Oregon to meet Lauren B. He and Lauren walk around downtown Portland before eating at a local food truck. After enjoying a variety of gasoline infused foods, Ben and Lauren make a quick stop at a nearby "whiskey library" (which Lauren hilariously pronounces “libary”), which is exactly as Portland as it sounds. Several ounces of liquid courage later, Ben was ready to meet Lauren's family.
Continuing tonight’s theme of skeptical families, Lauren’s sister expressed her concerns for Ben’s feelings. “How do we know you love her?” she asked, after pointing out that there are three other women remaining in this competition. Ben takes a long pause and says, “If I propose, I’ll love her,” before tearing up. Lauren’s sister inexplicably took this as an appropriate response, despite the fact that all Ben really said was, “I suppose you don’t know if I love her, but if I start crying maybe you’ll stop harassing me.” To his credit, it worked.
"Is crying all it takes? Please! I'll do anything!"
With the sister’s concerns quelled, the rest of the night went relatively easily for Ben. Lauren’s father went mildly insane when he said, “You’ve talked with three other fathers.” Is Lauren’s father jealous that Ben is seeing other dads? I was unaware it was possible to cheat on your fake-girlfriend’s father, but given Mr. B’s reaction, it apparently is. Sensing trouble, Ben pulls out a classic line, saying, “If I’m down on one knee, it’s because it’s real.” Apparently that line works on anyone. The next time I’m late on an assignment at work I’ll have to try that out.
The date ends with Lauren trying to tell Ben that she loves him, but never manages to say the words. In case you are keeping track, that’s 0/2 on the night.
"Please don't ever cheat on my dad."
Ben next traveled to Hudson, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, for a date with Caila. In a desperate attempt to make Ohio seem interesting, Ben and Caila walk by a local school and even sit on a bench. My God, Ohio is a boring state.
After sitting on a bench, Ben and Caila visit her father’s toy factory where they design a playhouse together. Honestly, I’m just surprised the factory was open. This brings the total number of things I know about Ohio up to an astonishing 2. I now know they have benches and factories. Unfortunately the list of things that actually interest me about Ohio remains at a solid 0. Better luck next time, you boring, flat, flyover.
Ohio: A state so boring only this guy could govern it.
Where was I? Oh right, the toy factory. Ben and Caila’s date consisted of mostly manual labor when they built a playhouse together in Caila’s father’s factory. Ben manages not to do what most couples do when assembling complex furniture and call Caila a “bitch,” so at least he accomplished that. In fact, the date went so well Ben carried Caila out of the factory to the sounds of sarcastic applause from the underpaid employees.
Ben meeting Caila’s father may be the funniest thing that happened in the entire episode. Three minutes after Ben walks in the front door, Caila’s dad (a white man married to a Filipino woman) asks, “Have you ever met a Filipino before?” I was genuinely surprised that the next words out of his mouth weren’t, “No? Well, check out this shit! I’ve got a Filipino wife!”
Apparently forgetting that he’s known Caila for a over month now, Ben says, “I don’t know if I’ve ever met a Filipino person before.” Jesus Christ, Ben. She’s standing right next to you.
Really, Ben? You've never met a single Filipino person?
The rest of the date went relatively smoothly. Ben tells Caila’s parents about all the reasons he likes their daughter, while Caila tells her parents about all the reasons she likes Ben. While talking to her mother, Caila asks if she thinks Ben loves her. Her mother responds that yes, she does think Ben loves Caila. While that may seem like an impossible question for Caila’s mother to answer, given that she’s only spent three hours with Ben, Caila has only spent about 12 hours total with Ben. It’s not like there is some great discrepancy here.
As Ben goes to leave for the night, Caila tries to tell him that she loves him but can’t seem to get the words out. 0/3.
It's like disappointing a puppy.
The final date of the night took Ben to Dallas, where he met JoJo and her family. Minutes before Ben arrives, JoJo receives a dozen roses and a handwritten letter that she mistakenly assumes is from Ben. In reality, the letter is from her ex-boyfriend Chad, who is trying to win back her heart. “That’s really fucked up,” yells JoJo angrily before calling Chad to tell him off. She’s right too. Roses and letters aren’t how you win back an ex. You win back an ex by getting drunk and texting, “U up?” at 3AM followed by a picture of your penis. Get it together, Chad.
Ben arrives shortly after JoJo finishes yelling at Chad. JoJo tells him everything, including the fact that she’s only upset because she feels so confident in her relationship with Ben. Wow. Chad must be a real piece of shit if she feels more for a guy dating three other women than his lonely ass. That is harsh.
What I imagine Chad looks like.
After Ben and JoJo finish trashing her ex, they go to JoJo’s parent’s house. Immediately her two brothers are skeptical of Ben and his motives. They question JoJo about how she can possibly be in love with a man she has only been on two real dates with. The brothers also declare that they are just protective of JoJo because she got hurt in her last relationship. Keep in mind that JoJo is still an adult woman capable of making her own decisions, not a child. While I may agree with the brothers’ views, their devotion towards their sister creeps me out.
The brothers finally hit their breaking point when they tell Ben he has brainwashed these women into thinking they love him by making them compete over him. You know that feeling you get when someone you hate makes a really good point? That’s how I felt here. For as obnoxious as these two are, they just described this show perfectly.
I'm not even mad. That's amazing.
Ben tries to defend himself by saying, “I care about JoJo a lot,” and saying if he proposed to her it would all be real. Seriously, Ben? You’re Marco Rubio-ing out there. Stop saying the same thing over and over. Apparently sensing Ben’s robotic commitment to a single idea, the brothers accuse Ben of being coached in his answers. Ben says he is not, but then repeats everything he has already said about JoJo and the three other women on the show. Somebody find his off switch.
As JoJo says goodbye Ben, she considers telling him she is in love, but cannot. That’s 0/4 everyone. Literally every date tonight had a skeptical family, Ben’s avoiding questions of his intentions, and failed confessions of love. And you all wonder why this season is slowly driving me insane…
Every. Fucking. Week.
Finally, we come to the rose ceremony. The contestants all arrive and Ben declares this the toughest week yet. In the end this tough decision sees Amanda go home. Apparently Charlie’s stink eye finally got to him. Thank goodness. At least one woman was able to stand up to his nonsense.