Week 8 of Ali's journey of insecurity and low self-esteem. She's so glad to be back in the US after having been "around the world"… except I only remember her covering a little bit of the northern hemisphere. Tomato - TomAHto. This week is hometown visits. As I mentioned before, these are my favorite episodes, so prepare for a super long post.
First up, Tampa Florida for Roberto's date. He greets her by shouting « ¿Qué pasa? » (Yes, I thought it would be appropriate to punctuate in Spanish.) Immediately, I noticed that - at least on screen - Roberto hasn't spoken much Spanish this season, aside from that awkward first date where Ali rapped in Español. Yet, something about Tampa amplifies his Hispanic roots. It's cool. I get it. I talked to my aunt in Chicago for an hour the other night and then was unable to say vowels correctly for the remainder of the evening. In other words, I sounded like Frank's family. More on them later.
Okay, so Roberto sees Ali and busts out some of his native tongue. Oh, you thought I meant the Spanish still. But I really meant his tongue all up in Ali's business as they made out on the college campus. I'm sure the kids walking by were like "Dude, what's with the old people making out on the sidewalk?" "I don't know, bro, they must be non-traditional students." "Hey, didn't that guy play baseball here, like, 25 years ago?"
Why yes he did. And if you didn't believe it already, he puts on his baseball uniform to prove it. If any of the current team members saw, they were probably like "Who is the new manager?" (Can I just say that I enjoy baseball but I find it a little silly that the coaching staff wears the uniform too? I mean, would the football coach wind suit really be so bad? 50 year old men with potbellies shouldn’t wear baseball uniforms. The end.) Apparently Ali doesn't mind though - she says a baseball uniform is the sexiest thing a man can wear. Sure, a young, fit man… but does that still apply to old, portly men? Ali is weird. Anyway, they "play baseball", which mostly involved Ali - wearing Roberto's old jersey - straddling him, putting her butt on him, etc. Generally ruining the American pastime. Next up, in case you doubted his earlier claim of having played ball at a professional level, Roberto gives Ali a baseball card. From when he played for… wait for it… the team from her hometown! OH MY!! It must be a sign!! (Also, he played in the minors… which is still way more than I could do… but let's not make it out like Roberto was the starting first baseman for his hometown Tampa Bay Rays.) Finally, the faux-ball ends and they have a picnic… where Roberto briefs Ali on his family. Long story short, let's go meet them.
They consist of Roberto Sr. (which is why Roberto's mom sometimes calls him Robertito. That's cute, little Robert for those of you who don't habla.), Mom (Olga, I think - there was a weather warning thing in the corner of my screen blocking the names). Sister Olga (which happens a lot in Hispanic culture. And I think it's pretty cool) Brother Peter and sis-in-law Kristen.
Upon seeing Peter, I paused the TV and said to David "Who does the brother look like?" He answered as I already suspected… my cousin Jason. Now, I know what you're thinking… "Wait. Silent Chris looked like your cousin Jason. Do you have more than one cousin Jason?" No, same guy. Silent Chris looked like my cousin Jason did in high school. Peter looks like my cousin Jason now (mostly only the profile). Incidentally, Jason was the best shortstop in town, so he'd probably fit in fine with the Martinez family.
Anyway, the evening is fairly uneventful. Roberto has the worst eyebrows in the family. Everyone talks to Ali. They talk to Roberto. The only noteworthy conversation was where Roberto Sr. basically showed he was Team Ty by expressing concerns over Ali having a career. Would she make sacrifices if it was necessary for Roberto's goals and dreams? She says they can do it as a team. Maybe even be in business together. Sweet! *singing* "Like a good neighbor, Ali and Roberto are there!" (He's a State Farm agent.) At the end, they all give their blessing for their son to propose to a girl he's known for a month while she was dating multiple other guys. You know, whatever. Who cares? It's time to salsa dance in the living room!! Ali loves it. She says she hopes they can dance it out anytime they get together. This proves that Ali lives in a musical and maybe shouldn't have been so hasty to get rid that unicorn-chaser Kasey.
Next up, Cape Cod and Wicked Awesome Chris. Thankfully, Chris doesn't lose all dignity by putting on his high school track uniform or something. Instead, they walk on the beach and throw a ball to Jetty the black lab. Not bad - a fairly normal thing to do if you lived on Cape Cod, I'm assuming. Yeah, it's raining and my grandma would be concerned they'd catch pneumonia, but she was a worry wart. Chris, like Roberto, also has accent amplification back home. He greeted her with "Haw ah ya". If you were paying attention last week, you know I have a little crush on Chris. This actually did not help his case. I don't like Boston. I'm sorry if you're from Boston. I just don't like your city. I also don't like your accent. Chris has done a pretty good job off not sounding too Massachusetts-y so far, but that all went out the winder when he gawt back home. He did not, however, lose any points with me for pointing out that there would be whales mating in the waters near them. I think the fact that he said "whale sex" was pretty funny.
We head to the Lambton home - which is a charming Cape Cod style home… on Cape Cod! Ali and Chris look at wedding pictures from when his mom married Biff from Back to the Future. Biff, incidentally, was wearing the same tux my dad wore at his wedding. They "play house" by pretending to have a conversation on the front porch. I'm unsure why they couldn't actually have a conversation on the front porch, but whatever. Ali is weird. The family arrives, they bust out the Portuguese wine (or replacement wine from the liquor store down the street in light of the very real possibility that Ali already chugged the Portuguese wine.) The sisters-in-law notice Ali's Dennis bracelet (named for the town - Dennis, Mass - I found out) and then compare others. The one that belonged to Chris' mom says "Love is the only reality". It's their family motto. I like it. However, I'm a little afraid that if Chris is chosen to be the Bachelor in the future, the season will be called The Bachelor: Love is the only reality Gag.
The traditional divide and conquer strategy is employed as the family splits up to talk to Chris and Ali. Chris' dad appreciates that Ali left her job to take care of her sick grandmother. He thinks it helps her understand Chris having done the same for his mom. Or rather "mum". Every time Chris' dad says mom, it comes out "mum". I don't know if he's secretly British or it's just his accent. Anyway, he tells Ali "Be ya-self" and eventually tells Chris he likes Ali a lot. Chris says he is pissed his brothers got to introduce their future wives to his mom and Chris won't. It was kind of sad. Not as sad, however, as the fact that the family has some sort of tower in their back yard. I mean, by itself, fine… but with Princess Ali - lover of all things castle-like - it's a bit much. Of course, they have to go to the top of the tower and awkwardly make out. Yes, I still have a crush on Chris. I think his kissing issues are related to Ali, not kissing issues in general. Or maybe he kisses with a Massachusetts accent.
On to Kirk's family. Remember when I said I hoped someone could top the bizarro bird funeral Naomi's family had on Jason's season?
First, Kirk meets Ali is a park or something. She does her annoying fake laugh that sounds like a cry. Kirk says "Oh my gaaash!!" and "Holy cow" a lot. At one point, Kirk had to have subtitles!! Did we even have those with Robert's family? They get a pass because English is not their first language. But Kirk? Come on, dude! Ugh. Wisconsin.
They head over to his dad's house first. His parents are divorced and don't speak. So, we'll meet Dad, stepmom and adopted sister first. Why does he have to say 'adopted' sister? Can't it just be 'sister'? I'll get to my theory on that later. Anyway, Dad - complete with 70s porn 'stache - greets Ali with the CREEPIEST words ever spoken on this show:
"Ali, want to go see my basement?"
Instead of calling 911, Ali agrees. Then he says the second creepiest line ever:
"Would you like to go first?"
So, we enter Mr. DeWindt's lair of terror… a taxidermy workshop. Now, to be fair, there is a deer carcass on the wall in my guest room. I hate it and think it smells, but David murdered it and thinks that gives him the right to hang it on the wall. So, it's in a back room. When he was having it mounted, the wife of the man doing it asked me if I knew I had a preference as to what "pose" it was in. I said "Alive in the forest". That wasn't one of the choices. So now we have a forward-facing, ears-perked-up, dead animal on our wall. One dead animal is plenty, I think. Kirk's dad disagrees.
When David, the person who makes me keep a corpse on the wall, saw Ali heading into the basement, he said "Look out, Ali! He needs a human to complete his ensemble!!" For real, right?! Not to mention that the DeWindts keep their frozen foods in the same deep freeze as animal body parts. That's fine if the body part is a steak. Not so much if it's a foot. Anyway, while surrounded by formerly-alive creatures, Kirk's dad tells Ali that Kirk hasn't brought many gals home. He says gals a lot. So does my dad. Just a little tidbit for you. Finally, Ali and Kirk play soccer with Kirk's adopted sister. At this point, I've concluded "adopted" is actually code for "Don't look too closely at the milk carton or you might see her picture".
At Kirk's mom's house, we meet his grandma, his sister and his super-nasally mom. Kirk brags to his sister that Ali liked the scrapbook he made her. I had totally forgotten about the scrapbook. I liked it better when I had forgotten. Next up, his mom finally explains the legend of the Livestrong bracelet. When Kirk was fighting his mold illness, he and his mom wore the bracelets. She never took hers off. Right before he left for the show, hers finally wore out and broke off. So, clearly, it must be a sign. Ali and Kirk's mom hug. It's at this point I notice they are wearing matching outfits and even kind of look the same. That would seem creepy if the memory of Mr. DeWindt's torture chamber wasn't fresh in my mind.
Kirk ever-so-eloquently tells us he has been falling for Ali… and now he's fallen. Too bad his Livestrong bracelet doesn't double as one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" bracelets.
Last up, we head to Chicago where Kermit the Frank is dressed like Mr. Rogers in a brown and tan cardigan. He wants to show Ali the city by boat. (For real: If you're ever in Chicago - this really is an incredible way to see the city. Take the boat that leaves from Michigan and Waker… the Mercury Cruiseline Urban Adventure tour . Fabulous!!!)
Yet, somehow, Frank manages to suck the life out of my favorite city in America with his "this situation is soooo hard" and his continued misuse of pronouns - specifically "I". Ali finally asks Frank if she's the one for him. All I have to say is that after next week's episode, I think it would be both hilarious and enlightening to go back and rewatch this segment. Finally, before Ali realizes that drowning herself in the Chicago River would be a better alternative to dealing with Frank, they end the boat shenanigans and head out of the city to meet the parents.
Frank hugs his dad and says "It's so good to see you again!" (Read: "You didn't turn my room in the basement into a gym while I was gone, right?") They have dinner, which included a lot of talking with food in their mouths. Normally I would chastise them for this, but I do it too. Maybe it's a northern Illinois thing. Frank's mom - who sounds like a 2 pack a day smoker and has bright red elbows - takes Ali outside to ask if Frank "is possibly the right person". With no hesitation, Ali says "YES!" They hug and his mom says it feels like they've been dating for a year. Again, let's watch this next week. I think Frank's mom is just confused.
Meanwhile, Frank is sitting in what appears to be a room designed by Asian Better Homes and Gardens. His sister grills him. I don't know what they said. I was too buys analyzing the décor. Next up, Frank chats with Dad. Holy cleavage, Batman! I mean, did anyone else notice the plunging neckline of Frank's white V-neck? Yikes.
Finally, the date ends and Ali says "They're amazing". Frank says "You're amazing". If my husband had been there, he'd have said "Your mom is amazing". ("Your mom" jokes are still his favorite. *eye roll*) Ali says she thinks there's a really good chance she'll end up with Frank in the end. Um, yeah, okay.
Lastly, we arrive back to the mansion in LA. Ali is wearing a bad bridesmaid's gown that I am 100% sure my childhood Barbie had. She sits down with Chris Harrison for her weekly counseling session. She recaps what she thought of each family. Chris asks if her husband is here. She says she's scared because she feels stronger about a few of them than she even did about Jake. But she never says yes, so that's interesting. Then she cries.
Rose ceremony time. Wicked Awesome Chris in a suit… Whaaaaat uuuuuup?! (Please read that in a Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother voice). Kirk suited up too. Roberto has on a suit but a rather loose tie. And Kermit the Frank has on some sort of jeans and a cardigan smoking jacket. The dude has quit trying.
Ali is all pouty and weepy as she tells the guys her choice has nothing to do with their families. (Ali's internal dialogue: Except for you, Kirk. Your dad tried to stuff me in his little shop of horrors. That does not bode well for you.)
In the end, Kirk is sent home. He says he did not see this coming. Ali gives the whole "It's not you, something just wasn't right" speech. "PS: I'm calling DHS so your 'adopted' sister can be returned to her rightful parents."
Now, be honest… after the first episode or two, did anyone in America not think the final three would be Roberto, Frank, and Chris?
And with that, I'll see you next week in Tahiti!!