“The Bachelorette” Season 9, Episode 8: If you like it then you should not put a ring on it and try not to like it so much

Hour 1 – Carly 

What a special night! Not only do we get to meet the gorgeous, singing family that spawned my BFF Zak, but Sarah is back to cover hour two of this hot mess.

Whatchu know about art?

Whatchu know about art?

We’re starting the episode off in Dallas to visit my main man Zak, who is busy sketching a circle (HE’S SO TALENTED!) as Des arrives. He tells Des that he had a dream, and they were on the beach, and then they started melting, and then there was snow, and then there were kids, and UGH ZAK. Never change.

So then, naturally, Zak has to go pick up the snow cone truck, because OF COURSE, Zak’s family’s business is running a god damn snow cone truck. They’re bombarded by children at the local elementary school. Des doesn’t murder any of them, so Zak knows she’ll be a good mom. And Zak wears a giant penguin suit, so Des knows he’ll be a good dad. It’s that easy, guys!

Today Des is meeting Zak’s mom, dad, sister and brother. They relive Zak’s beautiful, shirtless entrance, and everyone is appropriately horrified. Zak’s mom, Maryann, takes Des aside first, and she’s convinced that she and Zak are soul mates, which is just too bad since my sweet, sweet prince Zak has no chance of winning anything besides my heart.

Then it’s Zak’s sister Carly (LIKE ME! IT’S A SIGN! ZAK WE SHOULD BE HANGING OUT) turn to take Des aside, and she asks whether or not Zak has broken through the friend zone, which is a fair question. Des lies that he has.

Ughhh. Now mom’s crying because she thought Zak had given up on love, and she’s so happy that now he’s found it. Maryann. First of all, I want to congratulate you on making a perfect human. But It’s just not going to happen for Des and Zak. Please prepare yourself.

I can wear a bright pink shirt and statement jewelry too. LET ME IN YOUR FAMILY, ZAK. A Carly for a Carly.

I can wear a bright pink shirt and statement jewelry too, Zak. LET ME IN YOUR FAMILY. A Carly for a Carly.

Family song time! FAMILY SONG TIME! Zak’s on guitar. Carly’s singing. Unnamed brother is singing. Des is crying. I am dying. Just dying. This family. I can’t.

So apparently at some point in Atlantic City Zak bought a ring. I didn’t get a good enough look to see if there’s a diamond, but it’s still a ring, and she better give that thing back when she dumps him. Oh, also he tells her he loves her, which is sad. All I want to do is guard and protect Zak’s heart.

Now it’s Drew’s turn. Look, I’m just going to say it. He’s gay, right? He’s gotta be. So he’s beginning this sham romance in Oldtown Scottsdale. I recognize this neighborhood! Sarah and I hypothesize where he’ll take her. So far our best guess is The Buzz, Scottsdale’s hottest 18+ club. Unfortunately, a quick Google search tells me that The Buzz permanently closed it’s doors in 2009. So sorry for your loss, Scottsdale. Drew is also apparently sidelined by this devastating loss, as he ends up taking Des to sit in a random park, and not one of Scottsdale’s many other nightmarish clubs.

First things first, Des is going to meet Drew’s severely handicapped sister. Drew explains that her reactions are very intense and can sometimes be perceived as aggression, so I’m sure she’s THRILLED to have a giant camera crew getting right in her face.

3Once they’ve picked up the sis, it’s off to Drew’s house to meet the rest of the fam. There are straight up one million people in this house. Drew gays I mean says that he started falling in love with Des right out of the limo, partly because of her gorgeous dress. Anyway, Drew’s whole family is so precious that it makes me want to barf because I’m a terrible person. At the end of the date, Drew says I love you to Des about 17 times, and it breaks my heart a little more each time. Check out BS West, Drew. I bet you’d like it.

Hour 2 – Sarah

Hey guys. I wish I could say that it’s good to be back, but it’s not. No matter how boring the current season of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette is, I always, always finish every episode. But last week I just turned off the TV with half an hour to go and never looked back. I feel like a sociopath, so unmoved am I by Desiree’s journey to find forever love. To make matters worse, this is the hometown date episode, in which the Bachelor/ette inevitably gets all “Can I keep them alllllll?” about the four people they’re stringing along.

Anyway, it’s Chris’s turn to show Des around his hometown. He takes her to play baseball, a smooth move straight out of the Roberto Martinez playbook. I thought Chris blew it last week with one too many poems, but Des still seems into him. She gives him a piggyback ride, which I hope is followed off camera by a re-imagining of the “Footprints” poem because what this program needs is MORE POETRY.

Even his shirtless glamour shots are so "Chicken Soup For The Soul." What the hell, Chris?

Even his shirtless glamour shots are so “Chicken Soup For The Soul.” What the hell, Chris?

Des and Chris go on to have a serious talk while still wearing eye black. The last girl Chris brought home was his previous girlfriend a scant year and a half ago, who presumably fled the country and changed her name to escape the endless barrage of poetry. I can never tell if it’s better to be the guy who never brings girls home (SHE’S FEELS LIKE A SPECIAL PRINCESS!!!!!/HE’S EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE!!!!!), or the guy who is bringing ladies home left and right (HE’S PROVEN THAT HE’S READY TO COMMIT!!!!!/BUT PROBABLY NOT TO HER!!!!).

Chris talks about feeling ready to propose to Desiree and my stomach drops at the thought of the Homeric epic poem that will entail. Chris mentions that his family members are in the habit of shading his girlfriends if they don’t think they’re right for him, so I see a cage match with Desiree’s brother in the near future over who can be the most disapproving. At dinner, Chris’s dad does a toast. It rhymes. So it’s genetic.

Chris’s father is also a chiropractor. He offers to realign Des’s spine, and I start seething with jealousy. All I want is for a chiropractor to take me apart like a LEGO figurine. I’d appreciate it if any one of the many chiropractors reading this recap would shoot me an email. After the realignment Des and Chris’s dad hang out in the…chiropract-ing lair in the basement? That is so Criminal Minds, as is Chris’s dad’s inquiry into Des’s physical health/eating habits. Does he want his son to marry her or breed her?

"I AM DRUNK WITH POWERRRRRR!" - Harrison

“I AM DRUNK WITH POWERRRRRR!” – Harrison

Side note: the “Bachelor Nation” social media tie-in is ruining my life. I’ve tried MORE THAN ONCE to get a super funny tweet (that’s indisputable) to show up on there but they’re always just RT-ing Jennifer Weiner. When will I get my moment in the sun?

The newly realigned Des has a serious convo with Chris’s scary mother, who says she notices that Chris is “smitten” with Desiree in the same tone of voice someone might use to describe someone who has recently been lost to a cult. Chris’s sister talks about how much she hated Chris’s last girlfriend, and he seems very surprised, so I guess he was too busy getting his trochees and spondees in order to be a perceptive boyfriend/brother. Des and Chris’s mother bid each other a cold, stiff-armed farewell.

Chris heads out to the backyard to do damage control. His mom is harping on whether or not Des is an insecure person, since apparently that’s been a problem with Chris’s ladies in the past. Well, NOW she probably is! Chris’s mom points out that it’s easy to be in love when you’re not worrying about normal life things and going on awesome vacays all the time. Chris points out that when they hug it makes him feel things, so I feel like compelling arguments were made on both sides. Chris’s mom signs off on Des and the hopeful music starts swelling in the background as the camera does its best to keep Chris Harrison out of frame, who’s holding up a yellow legal pad over Chris’s shoulder with “GIVE HIM YOUR BLESSING OR THEY’LL NEVER FIND YOUR BODY” written on it.

Now we’re in Salt Lake City, and there’s a shot of the temple. Is Brooks Mormon? Des runs into his arms and VOs that she loves Brooks so WHAT ARE WE ALL BEING HELD HOSTAGE FOR? Sorry, Chris’s mom just got hold of my keyboard.

Someone went to the Jef Holm School of Winning The Bachelorette. Hey Jef. Miss ya.

Someone went to the Jef Holm School of Winning The Bachelorette. Hey Jef. Miss ya.

Brooks hems and haws a bit about the state of their union and Des makes excuses for him about how hard it must be to just let go and fall in love since she’s also dating other dudes. Brooks has the tightest game of the season. You cannot lose a season of The Bachelorette by alternating distance and aloofness with mackage. It looks like the “ambiguously Mormon and reserved dude” winning streak continues apace. Des has made a list of things she likes about Brooks, which includes the time he broke his finger playing dodge ball and cried like a baby. Brooks takes Des for a spin in a canoe and almost capsizes it, characterizing that as a “typical Sunday afternoon,” so I guess Des should invest in life preservers. Also, canoeing = typical Sunday? That’s God’s day, Brooks.

Brooks’s family home is pretty nice. They walk in and a thousand people are in the living room wearing nametags. Mormonism: confirmed! As two people who went to grade school with a ton of Mormons, Carly and I immediately start screaming about how every member of Brooks’s family is “SO MO[rmon].” But really, they are — so smiley and clean cut.

Des sits down to dinner without flipping the table over when she realizes there will be no wine, so good for her. Afterward she sits down with Brooks’s mom, who seems pretty cool about this whole situation. Meanwhile, Brooks has real talk with his brother in the backyard, who seems to be trying to bully him into admitting he wants to marry Des, so clearly the family did not get the “Brooks is playing hard to get; this is how you win” memo.

When Brooks sits down with his mother she suddenly seems a bit more hesitant about the situation, so maybe everyone else deleted Brooks’s email about the “hard to get” offensive thinking it was just going to be another LOLCat forward, but his mom opened hers because she just found out what LOLCats were like two months ago, and the LOLs have not yet grown stale. Brooks doesn’t seem so sure about this whole marriage thing. Brooks. Please bow out now! Save us all from Chris’s chapbook of sestinas when he gets thrown over for the dude who played it cool.

So. The hometowns are over and there’s a half hour to go. I have to sit on my hands to keep from turning the TV off. And then — it’s DESIREE’S BROTHER! WHO IS EVIL! Why is she still talking to him?

I'M A NIGHTMARE!

I’M A NIGHTMARE!

Des’s brother strolls in and is looking a lot hotter than he did last season, for some reason. Des immediately reveals that they haven’t seen each other since he read Sean the riot act months ago. Yikes. I immediately hope that Drew doesn’t make the final two because putting him anywhere near Des’s bro would be like putting a fluffy bunny in a tiger’s cage. Des’s brother has a large, colorful tattoo on the back of his hand, and am I a bad person for assuming that given that and his dreadful personality he probably doesn’t have a job? He continues to either be a sociopath or just have been burned by one too many seasons of this show before, and if it’s the latter, I have to say — BEEN THERE. Des seems to think this monstrous performance is her brother being pretty nice, which makes me sad for her family life.

Harrison and Des have a heart to heart. One day I’d like to break down what Chris Harrison is paid per word, and then spend the rest of that day weeping. He reaffirms that Brooks is the only guy who has not declared his love for Des, while he is also the only guy for whom she has declared her love. Brooks, you are ice cold. Now I’m more attracted to you.

It’s rose ceremony time, and the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet with Des’s brother, so, like, is he going to be the one giving out the roses? I am suddenly feeling very anxious, because ultimately I think all of these guys are pretty nice, and this is where the show gets so very dark. Des VOs about how the dude who gets eliminated is going to be taken by surprise with a disturbing lack of emotion in her tone, and then gets kind of crazily intense-sounding about how “there is nothing stopping [her] from finding [her husband].” Jeez, no one said there was.

The sad piano is really getting whaled on this week, as is the sad acoustic guitar. Des starts crying almost immediately, then loses my sympathy when she says, with classic Valley Girl inflection, “This is hard.”

Brooks gets called up first, and another 10,000 copies of The Game are sold. Next is Chris, who refrains from accepting the rose with a couplet. Atta boy.

AAAAND THE FINAL ROSE GOES TO DREW. DES YOU ARE GOING TO REGRET THIS. THERE IS NO WAY DREW IS A BETTER FANTASY SUITE CHOICE THAN ZAK.

PLEASE let Zak be the next Bachelor. Who am I kidding, we all know it's going to be Chris. Suicide pact?

PLEASE let Zak be the next Bachelor. Who am I kidding, we all know it’s going to be Chris. Suicide pact?

Zak puffs out his cheeks in disappointment. “HIS MOM IS GOING TO BE SO SAD,” Carly whimpers, projecting (Carly loves Zak).

Zak decides to go with “gentle disappointment” for his exit convo with Des, which is the classy choice. Des decides to go with the “I don’t want you to leave, but my hands are tied and this show does not allow for polyamory, UNFORTCH” defense, which is the weeniest possible thing to do. Brooks is with the other bros pontificating about how hard this must be for Des, and I think it’s time for him to dial down the confidence just a skosh. Des cries about how she never wants Zak to lose his greatness and stumbles over an explanation about how his “expressiveness” made her like him less, and coupled with her brother’s behavior I think we’ve figured Des out. CAN SOMEONE GET BRAD’S THERAPIST ON THE LINE? I’m sure he’s available.

Zak doesn’t all seem that broken up in the limo, initially, though eventually a producer pinches him really hard or something and he starts to well up. Seriously, keep your chin up, dude. Zak throws the ring he gave Des out the window, and I really hope a PA circles back to grab that sucker.

Next week: the men tell all. This is not the usual episode order! Did Des’s brother maim someone and he needs extra recovery time, thus delaying the sexy dates by a week? Or, more likely, does Des tell Drew and Chris to take a long walk off a short pier so she can be with the emotionally withholding man of her dreams? Only time will tell what makes Desiree cry SO. MANY. TIMES. In SO. MANY. DIFFERENT TROPICAL LOCATIONS.

“I just want to go home,” she sobs.

“THIS VACATION IS ABOUT ME, TOO,” Chris Harrison screams. JKJKJK. See you in two weeks!

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