By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)
Listen to our Hometowns recap podcast here:[audio http://gettoourgame.podbean.com/mf/web/kmjbhc/2-18-13GTOGPodcast.mp3 ]
If we were making a resume for The Big Kibitz, the first forty-seven bullet points would be devoted to highlighting our accomplishments with respect to breaking down Hometown dates. As we described in Chapter 12 of our Official Viewing Guide, which a lot more people need to download, whether The Blessing is given is often not as simple Yes or No:
Often times, the father will hem and haw about The Blessing to the point that you will be asking yourself, “What the hell just happened? Was that The Blessing? Why does the father keep calling this a Process when he knows it’s a Journey? What is going on here?”
Enter, The Hierarchy of Blessings, the wrecking ball for deconstructing Hometowns.
Now that you’re armed with The Hierarchy, the Viewing Guide, and your own raw emotion, let’s revisit this week’s Hometowns.
Blessing Opportunity #1: Houston, Texas
Sean’s first visit is to Houston to see AshLee’s current family; you’ll recall that when she first brought down her Walls it was by revealing that she was passed over (or maybe taken and then given back?) by at least six foster homes during her childhood. We don’t really know how foster homes work, but we assume that she was like a 52 Wide olive green polyester suit at Nordstrom Rack that no one bought for 6 years and just before the store was about to throw it away, a large mustachioed man comes in on a Saturday afternoon with his wife while they’re killing time between eating lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and going to the movies and decides, “Yes. This is the suit I’ve been waiting for.” As AshLee’s dad recounts, it was love at first sight.
When you’re the first Hometown date of the night, your only play is to not make mistakes. AshLee plays it conservatively, spending a lot of time dwelling on the fact that both her dad and Sean’s dad are reverends and making an extended, potentially still on-going analogy between jumping in an ice cold lake and falling in love with This Man. AshLee pronounces herself completely ready to marry this man; Sean says “love is on the horizon.”
Regarding The Blessing, AshLee’s mother asks Sean if it is his intention to break AshLee’s heart. We zoned out during this part because — not to be sexist, we’re just reporting on what we see — women simply cannot give a family’s Blessing if the father is around. This is God’s, and Mike Fleiss’s, plan.
The father’s response to Sean asking for The Blessing: “If you really think you would love my daughter if it comes to that point, I think we would welcome you in our family.”
Verdict? Caveat City. NOT THE BLESSING.
Blessing Opportunity #2: Seattle, Washington
Catherine is up next for Hometowns and they go somewhere to throw raw fish. Sean is aglow at the fact that Catherine is so goofy and so funny and so fun to be around and just makes him feel like a kid and just brings out the silly side in him and is just oh so fun and silly and goofy and oh it’s just the best.
It’s worth noting, however, that Catherine won’t be as funny to Sean when they are condo shopping 4 months from now in Fort Worth, TX and they are touring a 2-bedroom, 1-bath unit with parquet floors and Catherine says, “This must be a joke, right? I mean, you’re The Bachelor, we can’t live in a place like this! Oh, you’re so funny!” and Sean is like, “You do know that I have never pretended at any point during this season to have employment or any stream of income?” and Catherine is like, “Haha, you’re so funny! This is so you! You’re so goofy! You’re so fun to be around!” and then she tosses a 16-pound tuna at his head.
Catherine’s mom and two sisters serve egg-rolls and the sisters grill Catherine about what she would say if he proposed. She replies, “I would say yeah, I want to try this out,” which is the same thing I said at the hardware store last week when they suggested I buy one of those new eco-friendly light bulbs. Catherine also says that her goal coming into this was to get to know Sean, not to get engaged, which is as mistaken as saying that you watch MSNBC for the news and not because you want to figure out if Christopher Hayes and Rachel Maddow are the same person.
The sisters tell Sean that Catherine needs someone to support her dreams unequivocally AND be willing to call her out regularly when she needs to be called out. Essentially, they describe Catherine’s dream man as “someone who laughs at her jokes, but will punch her in the face when they aren’t funny.”
Sean asks the mom for her Blessing (acceptable only because there is no father) and she delivers one of the all-time best lines: “Well, you’re going to leave, you have to mull it over, there are three other ladies you’re getting to meet. We’ll see what happens.”
Blessing Opportunity #3: Wherever Lindsay lives
You could argue that Lindsay is the most boring Bachelor contestant of all time. Good luck finding someone who would argue against that. “She possesses all the qualities I would want in a wife,” Sean says, which we take to mean that he’s been looking for a woman whose head-growth since the last episode suggests she’s been spending the past week using Pert Plus HGH shampoo. Who is lighting this show and doing the makeup?
(At this point you may be thinking, “Finesse, what the hell are you talking about, she looks fine in that picture?” To which I can only say, “I don’t know what I’m talking about, and you’re probably right.”)
Lindsay’s dad is a 2-star general. Is that even good? Sean doesn’t know what to call the General, but the answer is actually in the question. Sean, you call the General, “Gin-eral.” Lindsay is looking for the night to take her to a point where she can say (to whom, no one knows), “I am falling in love with Sean.” The mother asks, “are you falling in love with her?” Sean says, “Im not in a position to say that right now.”
Sean seeks out the Gineral who responds as follows about The Blessing: “Well that’s kind of tough … umm ..umm…I don’t think I’ve ever been asked a tougher question in my entire life. I don’t know if I’ve got an answer. I’ve been a paratrooper for 21 years. Being a paratrooper is all about managing risk.” At this point, it doesn’t matter if the Gineral presented a nude Lindsay to Sean on a Nambe Handled Platter: NOT THE BLESSING.
Blessing Opportunity #4: Los Angeles
Desiree’s “hometown” was in Los Angeles, but keep in mind the two things we discussed on our podcast: Desiree is super-poor and Sean thanked Des’s parents during dinner for traveling to the house. Putting two and two together: this was not Desiree’s house. Someone brought her parents and brother Nathan from the super-poor place they live to a rental home in the Hollywood hills to have dinner that, incidentally, no one even ate. And as Nathan would prove, you can take Nathan out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of Nathan.
Nathan, in full “bro’d out twitchy weird trailer park guy” mode, starts by scolding Des, “A lot of guys are going to make you happy, that’s not what it’s about.” Nathan also believes (according to footage only we have seen) that “A lot of planes are going to get you safely to where you tryna fly, but that’s not what it’s about, bro, dude, playa, god daaaammmmmmmnn, shiiii.”
He interrupts dinner abruptly: “Sean, you mind if a holla at you real fast?” Who does this guy think he is, Ashley The Dentist’s brother?
Nathan confronts Sean with a new vocabulary word — “I don’t think that reciprocation is there. You think there is reciprocation? Because I don’t think there’s any reciprocation” — and gets Sean all riled up by calling him a playboy. They stare blankly at each other for a few moments, before having a mini-reconciliation by bonding in bro voice. “You tryna go back inside?” … “Yeah, I’m tryna go back inside.”
As discussed on the podcast, there was a hug between Des’s father and Sean, but no explicit Blessing.
Verdict: The Hug is not The Blessing.
Des makes a real strong play during the Rose Ceremony — “It takes guts to interrupt a Rose Ceremony,” Sean says — by starting to cry. It’s too little, too late. He sends her home after a long deliberation about her and Catherine. Des tells Sean he made a mistake. He says that he prayed that morning. We think that Sean did make a mistake sending home Des, but maybe we are just projecting our own desires on Sean. After all, maybe he doesn’t want what we want. Maybe he just wants someone to be miserable at church with. And maybe this whole thing isn’t that hard to figure out. Perhaps the answer has been staring us in the face all along.