Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya: A Pre-Hometowns Assessment

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I know I’ve missed a lot here. The last time I checked in with The Bachelorette, Rachel was dating the entire “Hoodies” section of the Urban Outfitters in Times Square, and now her boyfriends couldn’t even make up an intramural basketball team without recruiting someone off of the elliptical machines. I know it doesn’t make any sense to come back in with commentary on what is notoriously the most boring episode of any Bachelorette season—the one right before Hometowns where Rachel cuts every guy she knew she was going to cut from the very moment she met them but kept around because they gave good hugs and always had gum—instead of any single other upcoming episode.

Ahead of us we’ll be meeting the families who inspired these bros to seek love and/or protein gummies Instagram sponsorships on television; dropping in on date specifically designed for sex at Chris B. Harrison’s invitation; and Rachel wearing a truly bomb ass silver dress in which she will be proposed to shortly before making the much more important decision of either going back to being an attorney and retaining the public’s respect and adoration, or becoming the next host of Do You Want to Build a Tiny House Filled With Poltergeists: Weekend Edition? in which case we will turn on her in the swiftest of fashions, despite all the good she’s done for our dear, awful, corrupt ABC franchise of choice.

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With all that tantalizing drama waiting ahead of us, perhaps I should also briefly glance back at the carnage in the rearview mirror. I nervously avoided the Lee/Kenny drama for weeks, and now that I’ve watched, it simply must be said…

You guys. The Bachelor isn’t racist! We’ve all been so wrong all along! The Bachelor’scontestants may be racist, and the world around it may be racist, but The Bachelor isn’t racist. No, no, no. It’s just Lee. Lee is the problem! Lee is racist and since The Bachelor chose him and put him on the show, and were aware that his blatant, dangerous, toxic racism was, indeed, racism, they’re totally in on it. It’s meta!

Not buying it? Okay, watch this—name all the times Lee was racist on this season of The Bachelorette: That time he kept telling Eric he “loved him to death” while demeaning him every chance he got; that time he called Kenny aggressive for (initially) fussing at him calmly about interrupting him with Rachel twice; that time he kept calling Kenny aggressive while openly explaining to the cameras that his main hobby is riling people up and then smiling at them or saying sociopathic shit like “Jesus loves you” or “I’ll pray for you”; telling Rachel that he was scared of Kenny; lying to Rachel about Kenny throwing him out of a van or whatever while actively sporting Cameron Diaz’s jizz-hair from Something About Mary.

Okay, now name all the times The Bachelor WASN’T racist: that time it picked Rachel, a black woman, as The Bachelorette after 30 seasons of not doing that!

But for real, screw The Bachelorette for giving Lee a platform and putting Kenny in that situation which was, by the way, a storyline they pilfered directly from Unreal season 2—not even the good season! And let it be known that any goodness that comes from this season is a direct result of Rachel and any badness seeps from the pores of this franchise which was one step away from having Lee wear a Confederate flag swimsuit and be all, Whaaaa I’m just proud of my heritage?!

But Rachel, whose only human flaw seems to be that she has absolutely no self-control when it comes to large, statement rings—even when wearing winter gloves!—has somehow managed to live up to our absurdly high expectations. Heading into Hometowns, she has four dudes and what I imagine is a world of emotional trauma that is utterly not worth it lying ahead of her. Let’s briefly assess their odds before they take us into their childhood homes and adult male psyches.

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Matt (Who?) is only worth noting because of the sobs that overtook Rachel when she told Matt (Who?) she had to send him home. Every season the Bacheor(ette) sends home some man or woman that I while professing them their rock, their best friend, their damn Jiminy Cricket that I have literally never heard of before in my life. [Ed. note: The Bachelorette—the one place in the world the friend zone DOES exist, men. Because this woman IS contractually obligated to date you!] For JoJo, I seem to recall it was Vinny the Barber, who went on to a prosperous life in Paradise where he acquired a much more reasonable hairline. I can only hope the exact same for Matt.

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I would wager that Dean is as cute (and tear-inducing) as the kid in the kid in Lion, while simultaneously making me want to put my face on his face as much as the grown-up kid in Lion: my boyfriend Dev Patel. Dean looks like the 26-year-old actor they’d cast to play the high school sophomore having an affair with his AP English teacher on The CW. Indeed, we’ve got a real Hot Archie on our hands here, and he is going to get his precious, fragile, surprisingly woke heart shattered into a million pieces by our resident Veronica-meets-Josie.

Rachel knows Dean is too young for her. Rachel knows she’s not going to marry Dean—how else do you explain his first date being a blimp ride and his second date being…going to Catholic mass? But I think Rachel would be quite pleased to make a man out of Dean in the Fantasy Suite, and also, probably just wants to see if she can make him grow up a little in their time together. Yes, it will be awfully traumatic for him when she breaks up with him very soon after meeting the family that he’s so self-conscious about. But one day, he’ll look back fondly on Ms. Lindsay and all that she taught him about Fahrenheit 451 and the importance of clitoral stimulation.

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Eric’s weird. Aside from the initial challenges he faced with Lee and Lee’s general dickish-ness, I was pretty bored by him. That probably comes from the fact that he’s always seems like he’s falling asleep in his interviews and his fashion sense rests somewhere between Season 1 Michael Scott and Blake Shelton on The Voice. But when he’s with Rachel, all the sudden he appears to be quite a fun person. Eric has never been in love or brought a girlfriend home, so this all seems very, very real for him—and he will probably be very, very scarred when it all ends.

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Peter is highly handsome and seems highly normal; he apparently has access to a unending supply of nice sport coats, and he is really easing into the salt-and-pepper thing nicely. If Rachel chose Peter and married him, I think they would be very happy together and have a lot of beautiful, athletic, well-dressed children who would one day compete on The Bachelor(ette)and talk about how their parents have been married for 35 years. So it’s too bad…

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Rachel’s going to pick Byan because Rachel is absolutely in love with Bryan. I mean, maybe it’s not too bad? Maybe Bryan is fine. But this relationship just feels so Andi-and-Josh circa 2014…and we all know how that ended up circa 2016. It could just be that Bryan resembles a cross between Aaron Murray’s brother and Aaron Rodgers’ brother, but something about Bryan’s constant charm and dedication to telling Rachel exactly what she needs to hear feels a little off. Perhaps Bryan is exactly what Rachel needs…or perhaps he has a half-brother named Aaron somewhere and this will all be yet another strike against the good name of chiropractors.

See you in Hometowns—hope everyone was telling the truth about being sure their parents would be cool with them bringing home a black woman even though they’ve never done it before and that is actual dialog pulled from the year’s most acclaimed and terrifying movie about race!

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