“The Bachelor” Season 18, Episode 8: Can You Take Me Hy-er?

Hour 1: Carly 

This week, we have a two day Bachelor event, because Chris Harrison is maybe actually trying to kill me. Tonight, hometowns. Tomorrow, sex dates. Let’s do this thing.

Nikki is up first, so she and JP are in Kansas City, MO. Juan Pablo is unlike anyone she’s ever met, probably because she’s never met a living breathing scarecrow before.

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For their date, she’s decided to treat Juan Pablo to some “gas station barbecue.” Maybe a different marketing strategy is worth considering? “I just had a blast eating with Nikki,” says Juan Pablo, perfectly encapsulating the level of emotional investment he is capable of.

Next, as repayment for making her dance in front of a mall of confused teenagers, she’s taken him to an empty bar to ride a mechanical bull. Sure, that’s the same thing. There’s a really great angle on Juan Pablo as he grinds his teeth while he attempts to ride the bull, giving Nikki a good look at the view she’ll be treated to if she can make it to the fantasy suites.

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Nikki interviews that she’s for sure in love with Juan Pablo, and wants to tell him. But later, as she’s staring into the shallow pools he calls eyes, she chickens out. “It looks like you want to tell me something,” Juan Pablo says, noticing something for perhaps the first time in his life. “…Maybe later,” she replies.

At Nikki’s family home, Juan Pablo is meeting her dad Tom, brothers Eric and Alex, her sister-in-law Kayla and her mom Jennifer.

“When you sit down to dinner, you become family,” says Nikki’s dad in welcoming. That’s a pretty low standard for welcoming someone into your family, Tom.

Nikki and her mom sneak away for some alone time, and she asks if there is a “mental attraction” between Nikki and Juan Pablo. LOL she already can tell he’s stupid. Nikki goes on and on about being in love, and her seemingly skeptical mom says she’s there to support her no matter what.

Tom and Juan Pablo are off for a man talk. Dad says its great to have someone who understands what a dad is feeling in this situation. UMM is there something we don’t know about Camila’s romantic life? because while he might be able to relate to being a father, he probably can’t relate to a maybe homophobic sleaze ball trying to date his daughter and a couple of her friends simultaneously, right?

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JP wants to know if the family would accept him and Camila if he decides to move forward with Nikki. Dad says he hopes that he wouldn’t propose unless he’s SURE (doubtful), but that whatever happens, the family will support Nikki’s decision.

Alone with Nikki, Tom wants to know what Juan Pablo has done to make her think he could be husband material, considering he has the IQ of an area rug. The last part might have been implied. She says that she’s had a great example in her parents, and she knows what to look for and what she wants. He calls her smart like 5 times, presumably to subconsciously make her evaluate the intellectual disparity between her and the idiot she’s dating, but she just smiles and hugs him.

Nikki and JP hug and say goodbye, but instead of saying she loves him she just shoves her tongue down his throat a bunch.

Andi’s up next, so JuannyPabs has traveled to Atlanta. “There’s definitely something going on between the two of us,” he says about a woman who he could be proposing to in a week. Andi has a surprise for JP… she’s taking him to the shooting range. Juan Pablo carrying a semi-automatic weapon is truly one of the most terrifying sights I have ever seen. Andi tells him that she can’t bring him home unless he gets a bullseye. He’s terrible at shooting, comically losing the clip at one point, but after firing about 45 rounds, he manages to get one.  Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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Andi’s parents have put a sign welcoming “Pookie” home up on the door. JP is meeting her mom Patty, dad Hy, sister Rachel and brother-in-law Ailey. Andi says she is still “waiting to fall in love.” While I will absolutely concede that it is completely normal to not be in love after this many weeks in the real world, isn’t it kind of weird within the sensory deprived vacuum that is The Bachelor for ladies to not be at least “falling” at this point?

Andi and Juan Pablo tell their history, and they take turns alternating details as if it’s a cute story and not an absolutely depressing tale of always feeling second (or twelfth) best.

Andi’s dad is super incredulous about the whole thing. He says his doubts, which I’m sure are not helped by JP’s inability to construct a complex sentence. Andi’s parents were married within a year of meeting one another, and have been together for 30 years. Andi says it makes her think it could happen for them. Hey Andi, did your dad get freaky with another woman in the ocean during their courtship? Because I feel like maybe it’s a different situation?

Andi’s mom and Juan Pablo talk about how pretty and great Andi is, and then Patty asks to see his dance moves. He calls out Andi for a demo. What’s the over/under on how long it takes for Juan Pablo to be announced as a cast member on “Dancing With The Stars?”

Hy wants to know why JP went on the show. He replies that it meant that everyone signing up would know that he has a daughter and would be there because they want a family. Well, or because they want to be on television, but sure. Juan Pablo wants to know if Hy will accept him and his daughter if he chooses to propose to Andi. Hy all but laughs in his face as he’s like “um maybe ask me when there aren’t 3 other women in the picture, you philandering bozo.

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Andi and her sister are talking about how hot Juan Pablo is. “I’m not quite there yet,” Andi says about her feelings, but she could maybe see herself falling in love with him. Again, this is a woman who, in theory, could be getting proposed to in DAYS. Rachel says she isn’t sure that she saw TRUE LOVE today, and that maybe Andi should think twice about an engagement. Andi just wants someone to tell her they “see it” so that she’ll be convinced to love him. I just want Andi to admit to her long con and take the role of next season’s Bachelorette already.

When her dad is asking the tough questions, Andi has cool answers like “we have a good time together!” and “he’s fun!” Andi’s dad is like “ok sure,” because even he knows that JuannyPabs is going to be out of the picture in a hot minute. See in the finale next season, Hy!

“I’m very close to falling in love with him” Andi says in an interview. Sure seems like you’re working hard to convince yourself, girlfriend. They kiss and say goodbye. And with that, I pass the torch to Sarah for the final two hometowns.

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Hour 2: Sarah 

I think at this point it’s pretty safe to say that the bloom is off the Juan Pablo. So far we’ve seen JP charm Nikki’s family the bare minimum amount and ignite a feud between Andi’s father and the entire nation of Venezuela. Also notable: while past “Bachelor” seasons have featured contestants falling all over themselves to declare their everlasting love for The Bachelor by the time hometown dates roll around, both Nikki and Andi fail to do so. Maybe subconsciously they can tell that Jape is basically the personification of this music video, and they’re not so eager to help him get wifed up?

(No disrespect to Enrique. Still love you, Enrique. All disrespect to Juan Pablo, and to Pitbull while we’re at it. All respect, however, to Pitbull’s dogged (get it?) insistence on always dressing like someone’s “cool” uncle regardless of the environment he finds himself in. Where was I.)

We get off to a great start when Renee calls Florida her “favorite place in the entire world.”

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She looks pretty, though. She and Juan Pablo hang out at a park waiting for her son Ben, who gets out of a car wearing a baseball uniform. He is cute as a button. Juan Pablo offers him a dignified handshake, in keeping with his courtly manners in the name of protecting the innocence of small children (LOLOLOLOLOL). For his part, Ben won’t look at JP, staring instead at his mom with concern because she’s so happy to see him that she can’t stop crying. It is ADORABLE.

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Sidebar: why is Juan Pablo in EVERY goddamn commercial on ABC? Kyle Richards is more restrained.

He heads home with Renee. Her parents are sweet. Her brother is a fox.

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Mama Renee settles in to deal with Juan Pablo accompanied by a healthy pour of white wine. A woman after my own heart. He passes muster, sort of, although when she sits down with Renee afterward, she draws a weird analogy between loving Juan Pablo and loving a pet (…on second thought, excellent shade, Mama Renee). Renee’s dad seems to find him inoffensive. Their backyard is super cute. At the end of the date, they make out a bunch but Renee doesn’t tell Juan Pablo that she loves him. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. 3 for 3!

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Clare’s hometown comes with about 45 minutes to go. Juan Pablo meets her in a park and says he can’t wait to see “why you are the way you are,” which makes two of us. Poor Clare is so happy to see him, and so vulnerable talking about her late father, but all I can think of is whether the duck pond they’re making out next to means this counts as inappropriate water-based sexual activity. It’s just that the rules, they are changing all the time!

Clare has five older sisters, so that’s one thing to file away in the “why you are the way you are” column. She has also clearly been clinging to the mythology of her parents meeting and marrying after three weeks, and I hope that her dad’s mysterious engagement DVD includes a segment about how INCREDIBLY LUCKY but MOST OF ALL HOW RARE that kind of thing is. How great/prescient would it be if the mystery DVD was just Papa Clare being like “PUMP THE BRAKES, DAUGHTER OF MINE, I KNOW HOW YOU GET.”

Clare sits down with her super-judgmental sister Lara and her silent mother. Lara is immediately like “Yeah, so, what if he doesn’t pick you?” and Clare is like “blah blah inner strength!” They start talking about her mother in the third person as she sits between them, staring silently back and forth, and I am loving it.

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Clare eventually begins asking her mother direct questions and Lara stands up in front of the two of them and kind of gets in Clare’s face, like we all just traveled through a rip in the space/time continuum to an episode of “Bad Girls Club.” This family dynamic is bizarre. Later, Lara sits inside with another sister and evilly strokes a tiny white dog while she talks about the “tough questions” she wants to ask JP. In other news, someone please tattoo a GIF of Clare’s mom whipping her shawl around her shoulders onto my lower back.

Juan Pablo makes a risky play, comparing himself to Clare’s late father before rapidly switching gears and saying that her family stories are what drew him to Clare. Lara and Mama Clare are won over. Juan Pablo sits back and folds his arms in satisfaction, having successfully proved yet another woman wrong.

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Ugh, longest hometown ever. I hope Clare wins so that I can feel like the time I’ve spent watching this family be completely insane was worth it. Sidebar the second: I CANNOT listen to Juan Pablo moaning while he kisses girls any longer, I mean it. ENOUGH. Turn his mic down.

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We spend eternity watching Harrison bring all the girls to a wind tunnel in Miami for the rose ceremony. He picks up a briefcase containing his weekly fee in small bills, opening it so that a sudden gust of air showers the ladies with Andrew Jacksons, flips everyone the bird and then grabs on to the ladder of a waiting helicopter, disappearing into the Miami night.

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Anyway, the order breaks down thusly: Nikki, Clare…and since we know from previews that Juan Pablo is going to try to murder Andi in the fantasy suite tomorrow, it comes as no surprise that he gives Renee the boot. Thanks for confirming everything we already know about you, Jape!

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Renee is a class act. And then, as she leaves, right before she gives a gracious and kind exit interview, something amazing happens.

Neo dodges the bullet

Whoa. See you tomorrow!

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