It’s Hometown Week! Ben has to take his show on the road and work on impressing others rather than just sitting back and letting others impress him. He gets to see the remaining girls in their own element, but it’s a wild card. Will the family approve of Ben? How will Ben feel about the home-cooked meals? Will Ben love or hate the family dog?
First up, Ben heads to Ocala, Florida to visit Lindzi’s horses. There were ALOT of horses. Lindzi spends a long time talking about her ex-boyfriend. Like a LONG time. I think Secretariat could have won the Kentucky Derby twice in the amount of time she spent talking about him [that is the best horse joke I got]. Then they go meet Lindzi’s human family, who challenge Ben to a carriage race.
Lindzi’s parents seem pretty laid back and very supportive of whatever she wants to do, you have to respect that. It’s annoying when parents intervene with restraining orders or annoying questions about your propensity for Hitler jokes. Overall, Lindzi and Ben had a great time, the parents were impressed, and the horses got oats. That’s as good a hometown date as you could hope for.
Next up is Clarksville, Tennessee for Kacie B, who greets Ben with a marching band and twirling performance. Remember on their very first date, Kacie kind of embarrassingly admitted she was a baton twirler in high school? Seeing her break out the baton again kind of makes me think that she isn’t so embarrassed about her twirling and that it might be more of an addiction.
Ben finds out that Kacie’s dad is a cop and that he is a tee-teetotaler. Definitely two of the top three things you don’t want to hear going into meeting Dad, along with “he has a speech impediment that he doesn’t like people to laugh at.”
Kacie’s parents are skeptical of Ben and this whole process. It seems like a big deal, but let’s be real here for a moment- you are asking these people to accept that their daughter is getting engaged to a guy they’ve known for less than an hour. Their request that Ben and Kacie continue to get to know each other before jumping into an engagement and marriage seems reasonable. But events in The Bachelor don’t always exist in the real world. Then both of Kacie’s parents express strong disapproval of the idea of her moving in with Ben before marriage. Again, probably not that unreasonable to be hesitant of your daughter moving in with a guy she just met, but when other parents are being supportive, this could cost Kacie her shot.
On to Forth Worth, Texas to meet Nicki’s family. Nicki takes Ben to get some Texas apparel. He tries on cowboy boots, large belt buckles, and ten gallon hats.
The term “ten gallon hat” actually has ambiguous origin. Some say it comes from Stetson’s claim that their brand of hats were waterproof, others think it is an Anglicization of a Spanish term. Either way, Ben looked really stupid in that hat.
I give Nicki major points for her date idea, the whole theme of The Bachelor is adventuresome dates. Instead of just taking Ben to see horses or baton twirling, Nicki tested Ben a little bit to see if he’d be down to step out of his comfort zone and into Texas, and to his credit he did.
Nicki has been married before so her parents are obviously cautious about her rushing into anything, but they wind up being very supportive. They also served one of the most stereotypical Texas dinners I’ve ever seen, and I’ve had dinner in Texas. On the plate I identified large slabs of beef, black beans, and Texas toast. This visit by Ben went very well, Nicki made up a lot of ground this week. But will it be enough?
Finally is Scottsdale, Arizona to visit Courtney’s family. Courtney’s dad and his sweater vest are very welcoming to Ben. Courtney’s mom is a little more skeptical. Courtney’s dad and his sweater vest have definitely had their will destroyed by 28 years of dealing with Courtney, so she knows he has no choice but to be supportive. Ben gets votes of confidence from the family, nothing exciting happened other than Courtney’s dad’s sweater vest so I am a little disappointed because I was hoping for fireworks.
Courtney and Ben leave her family to go on a picnic. Courtney has a “surprise” planned for Ben, which is arranging a mock wedding. In
episodes of The Sopranos organized crime circles, they do a mock execution to send a strong message to someone that has strayed too far that they are on thin ice. I think a mock wedding is probably even more dangerous. Ben jumps into it head first, though. Any guy who doesn’t run for the hills at the sight of a mock wedding is clearly smitten.
-Kacie gets the boot at the rose ceremony. In front of Ben she takes it very well, practically thanking him for the experience. She melts down a little in the limo, but I think that is understandable, especially because that thing has one hell of a mini-bar. You have to think Kacie’s parents were a major factor in her elimination, which should make for some awkward family functions in the next few months.
Best Moment: I don’t know why, but Courtney’s dad wearing a sweater vest and dad jeans really cracked me up. It just somehow exemplified the fact that he is powerless.
Worst Moment: The mock wedding. While it was going on, Courtney actually seemed to show a softer side that we haven’t really seen before. For the first time she appeared genuinely nervous and vulnerable. She seemed terrified that Ben wouldn’t react positively to her “vows.” BUT IT WAS A MOCK WEDDING! ON LIKE YOUR FIFTH DATE! HOW CRAZY CAN YOU GET??
3. Nicki (Dental Hygienist, 26)
Nicki had a really strong week. She opened up to Ben in a way she never had before and her family clearly impressed him. Before this week I thought she was well behind the top 3 of Kacie B, Courtney, and Lindzi but she stepped up her game this week in a big way and has made it to the next round. I still think Ben sees her as a cut below Lindzi and Courtney, but she has some momentum and still has a shot to win.
Lindzi had a great week. Ben mentioned that in previous weeks he thought she had her guard up but this week she finally let it down. I think she had the strongest connection with Ben on the actual hometown dates. And he definitely loved her family. It’s only by a slim margin that I have her at number 2.
1. Courtney (Model, 28)
Ben definitely enjoyed their time together again this week. And the fact that he not only went through with the mock wedding but seemed to embrace it means he thinks a great deal of Courtney. It is her race to lose at this point.
Bold Prediction: Next week should include the infamous “fantasy suite” dates. I think that even though he clearly likes all three girls and they clearly like him, that some sort of awkwardness or fighting will keep him from going three for three on fantasy suite invites.