That’s right everyone, it’s hometowns!!! The episode where uncles compete with stepmothers to see who can sabotage a relationship on national network television the fastest. This season we toured the country from White America to White America and everything in between. Whether ABC knew it or not, we got a deep look at the inner workings of Trump country. This intimate illustration of American racism and the narrative of “economic anxiety” among the Middle American “working class” made The New York Times Editorial Board’s knees desperately weak.
So where do we begin our journey to discover how Donald Trump won the United States presidency on this accidental episode of The Bachelor? The suburbs of Los Angeles of course. Reminiscent of its Southern equivalent, Orange County, Santa Clarita is home to a wealthy Republican stronghold lying on the Northern edge of Los Angeles County.
Amid the vegans, pescetarians, gluten-free-ians of Southern California lies a single warehouse filled wall-to-wall with the stuffed remains of departed animals, of which many are quite rare. The producers have been completely lost all season about how to frame Kendall, becauseit’s impossible for them to frame her, as a woman, as anything beyond a two-dimensional entity. Yet she contains multitudes. She is the funny, intuitive, intelligent, philosophical woman we have come to know over the past seven episodes. She also has an unsettling fascination with taxidermy. ABC didn’t give her a one-on-one, yet she has outlasted 92.9% of the other contestants. They clearly did their absolute darnedest to push the envelope with the taxidermy on this date and she still got a rose. The producers and the directors and the editors must have been disagreeing over Kendall all season, because there is no clear narrative for her. She has resisted the narrative; she has beaten the odds. Speaking of odds, she was in the Top 3 in none of the original brackets. She was in the Top 4 in one bracket, Danica’s, which is to say she was in the Top 4 in no legitimate brackets. The farthest she got in any of the other five brackets was Alicia’s Top 9.
ABC’s hottest new show “How Did Trump Win With Host Arie Luyendyk Jr.” then went to the most obvious place, rural Arkansas, to meet Tia in her hometown of Wiener. On their date they drove rust buckets with four wheels and an engine around a dirt track, which, as best as I can deduce, is how these primitive humans choose to entertain themselves. Tia, in classic Tia fashion, was too scared to participate on her own date, failing to exceed 20 MPH in her vehicle as Arie literally drove circles around her.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret, reader. Around this time last year I wrote a scene for senior audition class. It featured two military snipers on a hillside waiting for their target to arrive and, to pass the time, they discuss the last episode of The Bachelor. On Nick’s season I was astoundingly bearish on Raven’s chances. Beginning in Week 3, I bet on her to be kicked off every single week going forward. So when it came down to whether or not she will make the Top 4, I wrote this for one of the characters to say: “The only reason she’s still here is because she was the first girl to tell Nick that she was in love him, and the only reason she's in love with him is because she's from a town in Arkansas with a population of 200 and she's never met a boy her own age who isn't her fucking cousin. She's not making the Top Four, especially not over Danielle. Raven in the Top Four, get the fuck out of here.” I’ve kept my reservations about Tia to myself this season because my bracket got seriously burned by Raven last season. But this applies to Tia. Kristina said it best at the watch-party: “I really do believe that she’s never dated a guy as good as Arie.”
Also, Tia’s family toasted with miniature wieners. So that doesn’t help their cause. I will say that my favorite part of Arkansas was Tia’s father. He was like Santa Claus if Santa Claus had a handlebar moustache and a deep Southern accent. The interrogation technique of mediocre-cop-mediocre-cop that the dad and brother had of Arie was really impressive too. “So I’ve read that you’re a playboy. Is that true?” Got ‘em.
The next stop on our tour of Racist America was the unassuming city of Minneapolis. And boy did I love the shit out of their accents. The uncle-pastor guy with the Medicare-issued cane who was supposed to be super tough on Arie ended up just being a softy with a lot of for Becca K. and fuck I fell for him right quick. It is also telling that Arie and Becca’s dates are just them hanging out somewhere. Whether it was walking around Italy or apple picking in Minnesota, it’s mostly just them being happy together.
The last stop on our journey is the wealthy Republican enclave on the Chesapeake Bay known as Virginia Beach. Lauren B. was molded by an environment that held women’s appearances far above their substance as this suburb just South of the former capital of the Confederacy is filled with rich conservative men and their trophy wives. Scottsdale, Arizona has been developed with a very similar persona to Virginia Beach, perhaps giving Arie comfort in the relationship.
But Arie should be worried about this hometown, as Lauren B. says, “I think [my family] is going to be kind of skeptical of, like, this whole situation, but they’ll probably be skeptical of you too.” Thank you for that reassurance, Lauren B. The very first thing said by a family member (before Arie and Lauren arrive) is, “I don’t know if Arie realizes how conservative of a family he’s getting ready to face.” Don’t worry, dear, you’re just the last leg of his Tour de Racism.
In recapping Arie’s introduction to the family, Arie says, “When we sat down there was a couple moments when there was some silence.” WHAT?! You have a whole family in a room together and a new person to quiz about marrying a member of said family and you all have NOTHING TO SAY? What sort of sadistic family is this?! Of course Arie had to leave the room to towel off all of his sweat every five minutes! That’s a horrifying situation to be in. The one thing they did bring up in the living room before dinner is that he is from the Netherlands. Leave it to this family to take an interest in the American ethno-nationalist movement.
I have a new theory about Arie falling in love with Lauren B. I think Arie sees her as just a very pretty wall that he can talk at and tell his darkest secrets to and he doesn’t really care if the wall absorbs it or if it bounces off as long as the wall stays a wall and she is really good at staying a wall and being very pretty. This trip to her hometown has really enlightened our image of her. She grew up in an incredibly conservative household surrounded by wealth and rigidity and she was forced to silence her emotions and keep her nose to the grindstone and be at the service of the men of the community. It’s terribly, terribly sad.
And now that we’re done with that, let’s return to New York where, instead of reaching out to Middle America to try to connect with their ways and help prevent what happened in 2016 from happening again, I am writing lengthy newsletters about how I feel morally and intellectually superior and will never go out of my way to interact with anyone outside of my bubbles of coastal liberal elitism.
No one was able to get all three picks right, but the difference between getting one right and two right this week was vital.
Jenny got two right maintaining her lead at 245 by choosing Becca K. and Kendall. Doug, still 13 points back, got the same two correct. Alicia, 29 points behind Jenny, correctly chose Becca K. and Lauren B. Jenny and Doug both ate their Seinne picks and Alicia ate her Lauren S. pick.
Justice, at 203, rests a distant 42 points behind Jenny meaning she’s not eliminated from beating Jenny, but it’ll take a miracle. Justice ate her Chelsea and Seinne picks and correctly replaced her Bekah M. pick with Becca K.
Kristina, in the race for third, sits 27 points behind Alicia and 14 behind Justice at 189. Tia was Kristina’s original choice for second place and unfortunately fell this week, leaving her with Kendall as her only correct pick.
Danica failed to make a swap before the episode and therefore started and ended the week with no eligible contestants. Unfortunately, not Maquel, Seinne, nor Valerie made a return to the show to claim one of the three available roses. Danica has 144 total points and, as expected, no potential points.
At this point in the game, there’s really no need to highlight potential points, because the only way to have a PPR now is to have chosen at least one of the three remaining women to be in your Top 2. The only two people left who have original brackets with people still in the game are Alicia and Doug.
And now for a segment I’m calling Jenny Threw Her Win Away. Jenny threw her win away. When Jenny had full PPR following Week 2, she made a bold play to switch Lauren B. out of the Top 3 in favor of Becca K. Jenny’s original Top 3 consisted of Lauren B., Lauren S., and Seinne, so if she had made that swap with either of the other two women, Jenny would have walked away with this victory. She would have had 260 points right now, keeping Alicia’s 216 out of the running and Doug’s 232 nearly out of range. But, instead, she threw her win away. Doug, on the other hand, picked Becca K. to win the show, and, since Becca K. is still on the show, he has room for him to maneuver with his other Top 2 pick. Jenny does not have that room to maneuver. Doug is 13 points behind Jenny. Each Top 2 pick is worth 20 points. Jenny only has the potential to get one Top 2 pick correct. Doug has the potential to get both. If Doug is correct about both of his picks next week, then he will be in first place come Week 10.
Alicia also has Becca K. making the Top 2, giving her the same ability to make up ground that Doug has. Since she is 29 points behind Jenny and the FINAL ROSE is worth 30 points, she may beat Jenny by one point.
Unless Alicia finds a way to really screw up in the next two weeks, Justice and Kristina are in a race for fourth. And Danica is mathematically eliminated from getting anything other than sixth.
The Sleeper Pick of the Week Award this week is shared between Doug and Alicia who both picked Becca K. to make the final three on their original brackets.