Every Terrible Lesson I Learned About Love While Watching ‘The Bachelorette’: Hometowns
Some of these psychopaths have families, and Ali got to meet them.
Welcome to our Thursday Recap of The Bachelorette — you can read Rebecca Shaw’s upsettingly funny recap from Wednesday here. We’ll be recapping every episode because we are very passionate about love or TV or whatever.
The Bachelorette teaches us that love rarely happens in isolation — for better or worse we don’t just date one person, we date their extended circle of people.
I mean, maybe you’re lucky enough to find an emotionally healthy orphan hermit who somehow has a robust social life with no significant relationships, but that’s gonna be rare. You’re most likely to awkwardly infiltrate a friendship circle, be nice to someone else’s parents, flake out on a whole new group of people.
But seriously, a lot of people are close to various people in their lives, and getting along with them is an important part of romance and dating. Why does every line in these articles sound like I’m writing a report to send back to my alien overlords about how humans live their awful lives?
So, this week we had “Hometowns” where all the terrible men take Ali home to meet their families — or do they?????
We’re going to spend this article combing through the scattered detritus of these hometown dates and see if we can find something useful amidst all the ocean garbage. Hooray! Here are all the terrible lessons I learned from this episode.
#1 Be A Smooth Motherfucker
Todd, the most charming and smooth of all the contestants for Ali’s heart gets our first hometown date.
He introduces her to his mum and dad and two sisters, and the show does a decent job at making it look like Ali is going to get grilled by the sisters. There’s a formula here, and you can, unfortunately, tell that everyone is prompted to act suspicious — unless everyone in this family speaks like an under-rehearsed high school play.
“I. am… worried? About? *checks script* my brother Todd?”
Anyway, the dinner goes super well, and Todd is just a weirdly perfect Disney dream the whole time — except that he’s 26, so his life is slightly out of match with Ali’s insane timeline. I get the urge to over-plan things, I really do, but apparently, Todd has to go become a policeman before he can have babies?
I dunno. Personally, I find wanting to be a cop a bit of a red flag, but I guess Ali is a wealthy white person so she’s safe? Whatever, I still like Todd, he’s the least psychopathic of them all, although I’m aware that I’ve been lowering my bar every day, as has Ali.
“He would always make himself known by asking ‘how are you?’ or getting me a bottle of water, that kind of gentleman you don’t get a lot these days,” says Ali. Christ. Men are a nightmare.
So, after all this, he just busts out some great lines.
“I’ve got you,” he says, stabilising her as they wander around a waterfall. “For as long as you’ll have me.”
Later on, as they stand on his front door after dinner with his family, he says:
“I’m falling for you, Ali, and my heart is yours if you want it.”
Fuck! The lesson is saying nice things and be vaguely nice.
#2 Be Gentle And Confused Like You Are Waking Up From Surgery?
Taite gets the next date, and honestly, I just feel like maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on anymore?
First, he took Ali to feed some ducks and then to meet his family, and it all had an air of unstructured confusion.
“What’s been happening?” he asks his parents.
“Not much, what’s been happening with you?” they ask back, and there’s a horrifying pause when we start to realise that maybe… nothing has ever happened for any of them.
This date was so boring that I forgot to take pictures, btw.
Anyway, afterwards Taite doesn’t really say much to Ali, and she’s a bit disappointed. The narrative here is that Taite is too emotionally repressed to share his feelings (big mood), but personally, I think he is too dumb to realise he is having any.
The lesson here is to seize the fucking moment, say something nice when you can.
#3 Treat Your Date To A Smorgasbord of Red Flags
Right, so Bill has always been a sneaky bitch. This has been his problem.
So, he brings Ali to the dog park first, which is such a good move. They play with Bill’s extremely cute puppy named Arny, and I actually found myself wondering if even regardless of his thin bloodless sociopath lips and blank shark eyes if maybe I liked Bill the most. Such is the power of puppies.
But then, they tie up Arny when they have a park picnic as if lounging around with a dog isn’t the greatest feeling in the entire world? Is that even his dog? Does he even feel love?
But then Bill reveals that none of his family is in town (probably code for “I burnt them alive when I was 9 because I was curious about death”). Already so many red flags, this is beginning to look like what I imagine might be a golf course? Sport?
Instead, he takes her to dinner with two of his friends (one of whom wears a hoodie like he didn’t realise this was TV, honestly men are a nightmare) and also “Amy, a girl he met here at the dog park.”
Did he literally round up the only people he’s ever known and not murdered?
But the plot thickens. Amy from the dog park isn’t just attending.
“And she’s cooking for us, at Amy’s Dad’s house, where she lives.”
Ali is not impressed and eventually discovers that Amy is not the casual dog-park girl she pretends to be, but actually dated Bill. I genuinely believe that Arny isn’t even his dog, it was probably Amy’s and he borrowed it to make him look more like a human being.
The lesson here is to not be an actual sociopath.
# 4 Do Not Be A Terrifying Psychopath
Finally, we get to Charlie.
First, he takes Ali paddleboarding.
“How’s your paddleboarding?” he asks, patronisingly.
“Really good actually” answers Ali.
Almost immediately Charlie gets psychopathically intense, his swollen melon head pulsating with frustrated feelings and anger. He reveals that he is NOT going to take Ali to meet his family, but instead “turn the tables” on Ali and “get some answers and let her know how he is feeling”.
This is 100% about control, and it’s gross and frankly terrifying. He has chafed the entire time about the agency and choice that Ali has, and now that he has the smallest amount of control back, he is wielding it as a weapon. I hate Charlie.
Basically, as they chat, he tells her that he will NOT introduce her to his family or profess love unless they are exclusive — showing that he basically misunderstands the entire show’s premise.
He spends a bunch of time telling Ali how she feels, and then that she should “do what she does best and go away and think about it.”
Ali takes it super well: “Seriously,” she tells us “Do what I do best and go away and think about it? Oh, THANK YOU for allowing me to go do that. I’m pissed off.”
Later at the rose ceremony, Ali storms in to confront him, and Charlie fucking digs his stupid grave.
“I know you don’t get it, and that’s a shame,” he says, in a classic manipulative move, making Ali feel like she doesn’t get the situation here. “Not everything is a fairytale. Did you go away and think about this properly?”
In probably the most real moment of this entire show — nay the entire franchise — Ali looks at Charlie sideways, scornfully and says in a tone dripping with derision:
“Oh, I KNOW that not everything is a fairy tale.”
She then tells him to leave, and thank fucking god. What a nightmare that man is.
The lesson here is DO NOT DATE STRAIGHT MEN.
The Bachelorette is on every Wednesday and Thursday night, and Junkee will be recapping every episode like idiots.
Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.