Inside Pulse 12

The Bachelor 2016 – Ben H: Episode 8 Recap

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Another Monday, another episode, another step closer to Ben having a complete and total mental breakdown because he is legit in love with two women and is about to tell them both – gasp! – before the final rose is handed out.  Isn’t that like, a Bachelor federal offense?!?

I’ll be honest with you – this week’s episode kept my attention just as much as last week’s did, which is not so much. There are a variety of factors to consider:

  1. Let me go on record and say that it’s not for a lack of caring. I do actually care about Ben and how this all ends up, probably more than I’ve cared about a season since Andi Dorfman gave her flower to Josh Murray (so not over that one yet). I certainly care more than I did when Prince Farming chose Whitney and obviously more than when Desiree chose Chris (aka the biggest sham in Bachelor history).
  2. Again, there isn’t much going on. By now, we pretty much like all the girls Ben could potentially choose. It’s not like we’re in a Courtney Robertson situation where we’re all violently screaming and throwing our empty wine glasses at the TV because Ben Flajnik is too much of an idiot to see that he’s about to marry Cat Woman. I mean sure, there’s something about Caila that rubs me the wrong way, but I wouldn’t say I dislike her.
  3. The episodes just aren’t super-exciting at this point. Most of the previews for this week’s episode showed every hometown visit riddled with angst and drama (like every preview, every week), and except for JoJo’s man-eating brothers, everything went mostly smooth.
  4. I’m distracted. Now that some of the work madness has died down it’s time to focus on the things that really matter. Things like sunny graphic print fabrics for roman shades, and convincing yourself that an apron front sink is totally the way to go in your new kitchen even though reviews tend to lean towards chipping and staining (it’ll be fine, right?!?). Yup, I’m in full-on kitchen planning mode, which means that me + Pinterest + Houzz is about as hot as a threesome gets, and I’m pretty much as obsessed with these sites as an 18 year old who just found YouPorn.

So you get what I’m saying. It’s not for lack of love.  It’s just that I love other things more.  Like myself.  And yellow as an accent against smoky blue.

Nevertheless, we’re here, so let’s do this, right?

Ben’s date with Amanda began with a truly miraculous revelation – you can now buy shirts that are literally made only of sleeves!  How did I not discover this already?  I don’t know what Amanda was thinking with that top.  She could barely do her slow-mo Baywatch run to Ben without turning that thing into a belt – how she thought that would be a good choice for a reunion with her daughters is beyond me.  That’s like wearing a mini-dress to a wedding when you know your little kids will be clinging to you all night, alternating between popping your boob out from having to hold them on your hip, or displaying your vaj all night when you crouch down to deal with them every five minutes.  The struggle is real.

Nevertheless, Amanda made it through the tearful reunion with her girls (who were adorable, despite their matching outfits and gladiator sandals which I’m sure are a bitch to deal with in the sand), just in time to observe Ben breaking the ice by offering…a firm hand-shake?

Really, Ben? I had such high hopes from you, what with the barrettes and the whole community centre hero thing last week.  Surely you’d have better instincts than to offer the girls a handshake!  A fist bump, even?  Poor Amanda immediately tried to course-correct the situation with the suggestion of a high five, but at that point, the damage had already been done.

Does it matter though? What’s a bit more tail to chase, when you’re The Bachelor, right?  These girls want to be chased?  Oh, he’ll give them a chase.  And besides – how can you critically judge a tall, handsome man (fine, he has the worst laugh) frolicking on the beach with two squealing little kids?  You can’t.  It’s friggin’ adorable.

Even with the heavily built up moment that tried to pass Amanda’s kids off as horrible monsters, because – heaven forbid – her youngest needs a nap after a day in the sun, it seemed that Ben’s date with her family went as well as it could.

I’m sort of surprised that they didn’t give Amanda a day to be with her kids prior to Ben coming to meet up with her, so it wasn’t a totally overwhelming scene for them to a) be reunited with their mom after a long time apart and b) then have to put on a show for the new guy, but whatevs. I get it – they didn’t want to miss out on the reunion cry (which of course made me cry, and of course I pretty much kept crying their entire date, because really, what is more hard core than a single mom?  Answer: NOTHING IS MORE HARDCORE THAN A SINGLE MOM.)

The next hometown went to Lauren in Portland, where they celebrated their reunion by eating various types of bread with cheese before visiting a Whiskey Library that would make my husband wet his pants and moved onto the final stop where Ben needs to decide if he should hold out for the prettier sister. At this point, I realize that every home in Bachelor Hometown date history has some form of decorative screen in the living room.  Coincidence?  Strategic prop used to hide awkward camera guys?  Perhaps.

Lauren can’t wait to introduce Ben to the fam, because to quote the once great Grey’s Anatomy, he’s ‘her person’. In the meantime, he looks totally, completely, utterly, progressively exhausted on all of his dates.  He basically admitted to Lauren’s sister that he’s hanging on by a thread and I’m not sure if he started crying to distract her from the fact that he couldn’t name any specific things about LoLo that stood out to him, or he was actually just totally emotionally overwhelmed.

Either way, her family seemed mostly on board with Ben – not enough that Lauren could confidently put on her big girl panties and use her words to tell Ben she loves him, but good enough.

Next we go to see Caila in Hudson, Ohio, which is most similar in feel to Ben’s hometown, so there’s no surprise that he is enamored with it immediately. Ben tells us, surprisingly, that his relationship with her is deeper than any others so far, and she tells us that she wants to make out on a front lawn with him.  Clearly they’re getting different things out of this relationship.  Caila takes all her cues from Ben’s hometown and takes him to her high school where she reminisces about hiding behind trees and watching couples with envy on benches, just waiting to be noticed so she can have her chance to swing to and fro, and then we get to go to some sort of toy prototype room which pretty much looks like a daycare that needs a visit from the cleaning crew.

Finally, Caila dons a hard hat so that any boyfriends and/or husbands forced to watch the show can turn to their girlfriend/wives on the couch, and tell her that the leather pants + hard hat combo are hot while she shushes him with her wine-stained teeth. We watch them pour chemicals into a mould to fashion a plastic dream house that will one day envelop a child in its toxicity and then, once complete, the euphoric love coursing through their veins inspires an entire warehouse of workers to stop what they’re doing, applaud, and bask in the glory of young love and cropped sweaters as the boss’s daughter frolics off into the sunset.

Even with her adult braces, Caila’s mom is adorable, and her dad, well, he tries too. It’s clear that they’re thrilled with their daughter’s happiness and hold Ben to pretty high standards based on their own marital bliss fuelled by Filipino dance parties.  I can’t really confirm if Caila said ‘I love you’ or anything significant to Ben before they parted ways, as by this time, I was well onto subway tiles.

So now we move into the only slightly interesting portion of the episode, with JoJo. I think I went through all the same emotions as JoJo did when she got the roses and letter only to realize they were from her very old-sounding ex partway through.  I totally held my breath as she admitted what had gone down to Ben and watched his face drop as he expected to get the boot.  And of course, I rejoiced when she confidently told Ben that part of her life is over and she only wants to be with him.  Phew!  Dodged that bullet!

So Ben and JoJo stroll up to her ginormous home straight off the set of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and within minutes of meeting her fam, we know shit’s gonna go down. I can’t even describe the moaning/yelling/tackling welcome scenario that occurred with her brothers without offending several groups of people, so I won’t go there, but I will say, what the fuck?

The sister seems normal – like out of place normal. The mom is…well…we’ll get to her.  The dad is just silent and her brothers are, well, her brothers.  Are they single?  Where are the sisters-in-law when you need them, to tell their boys to shut the fuck up and let the pretty Bachelor talk?

I don’t even know how or when it all started to go downhill. But it did.  And quick.

JoJo and her mom go up to snuggle with their shoes on, on the bed and that’s when we get a really close look at the disaster that is JoJo’s mom’s face. Maybe JoJo got her boobs done the same day her mom got, oh, I don’t know, everything else done in some weird plastic surgery mother daughter bonding day?  The woman barely had eyes and her lips stretched across her whole face like a fresh canvas.

I’m sorry, but what is wrong with people? If this is the quality of work your plastic surgeon delivers, time to go shopping for a new one, okay?  Or better yet, keep your friggin’ face the way it is and buy a new eye cream or something.  I’m getting really sad watching celebrities I grew up with just destroying their faces with no turning back (yeah, I’m talking about you, Courtney Cox on the James Burrows tribute this week that was promoted as a Friends reunion so people would actually watch.)  Don’t you realize how beautiful you were?  Monica wouldnot approve.

Seriously – maybe I’m naïve and in a few decades, I’ll want to go in for a tune-up, but really, I see random friends and they look just a bit pinchier than last time I saw them and it makes me sad. Are we really there already?

Anyways, back to JoJo and her mom’s heart-to-heart, which consisted of JoJo trying to share her feelings and her mom ensuring her through very distressed slurred speech that it will all work out, because JoJo is beautiful and that’s what matters.

In the meantime, downstairs, her brothers are murdering Ben with their eyes and awkward necklines and words. Good times for Ben whose body repels meanness because he’s probably never truly experienced it before in his life.

As the brothers tear Ben a new one, JoJo’s mom searches desperately for coping skills and finally finds them in the bottle of champagne, which she literally picks up and drinks from in the middle of the chaos as JoJo’s daddy quickly wrestles it away from her like this ain’t his first rodeo. Who knows – maybe her lips are incapable of wrapping themselves around cups anymore.  Surely, this was the best moment of the episode, if not the entire season.  In fact, it even warrants me posting a photo for those of you that didn’t catch it, which I think you know is a pretty friggin’ big deal.  What am I, some sort of blogging genius posting an image!?!

Then, like the mustachioed cheque-signing angel that he is, JoJo’s father, who hasn’t said a word all night, randomly comes to Ben’s rescue, puts the brothers back on their leashes and says with confidence, that Ben is a good guy and has appropriately answered all of their questions.

The brothers are left to fight over a steak on the floor while everyone else sees the happy couple to the door in mass confusion. And with that, home towns are done.

I cannot imagine the awkwardness of the rose ceremony, as the ladies, mostly looking smokin’ hot exit the limo and await their fate. Ben gives his first two roses to Lauren and Caila, and then Chris Harrison enters for the most awkward moment of every single rose ceremony where he points out there is one rose left as if it’s not the one thing in the world the remaining women are burning a hole into with their eyes.  Oh, there’s a rose?  I hardly noticed!  Thanks, Chris!

The inevitable happens and the single mom is sent home. True to form, Ben is in rough shape saying goodbye to Amanda, and I must say, it’s nice to spend a few moments seeing the impact the goodbyes have on the other side, rather than just the chicks bawling in the limo every week.  Way to shake things up.

Like I said in an earlier post, I can totally see Amanda being the next Bachelorette and basically repeating Emily’s season all over again with her tiny voice, cute little outfits and skype sessions with her kids. We’ll see if I end up right on that one.

Next week, Ben gets busy with the remaining three and commits the cardinal sin of using the L word (or so editing is leading us to believe – it’s probably his mom that he’s talking to.) Pretty sure Caila will be sent packing, but per usual, only time will tell!

Before next week, though, I’m days away from turning 38, and you know what – a few more wrinkles on this babe’s face are just fine with me (who are we kidding, I just dropped half a paycheck at Sephora on skincare – what?!? It’s an investment in my future, right?!?).

Till next week!

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