First up, Ben meets Lindzi and her family in Ocala, Florida. Lindzi's caption all season has said she is from Seattle, so I was kind of hoping her family was too, but Florida is is fine. I know a lot about Florida. It's broken up into several regions: Rednecks (I think the official name is "the Panhandle", but even that sounds Redneck), Alligators, Where Tim Tebow is From, Where Tim Tebow Went to School, DisneyWorld, Spaceships, Old People, and Smuggled Drugville. Based on the first thing we see in Lindzi's hometown, Ocala is apparently in the Alligator region. Lindzi tells us she's so excited to "gitta bring my boyfriend home". Remember last week when I was all "I appreciate that Lindzi enunciates"? Cancel that.
Ben meets up with Lindzi at a horse track. Because she's really into horses. I'm not sure if she's mentioned that yet this season. Luckily, Ben thinks Lindzi's equine fetish is "super sexy". Lindzi tells Ben that horses have been her life since before she was born. I guess that makes sense. If you don't think about it. Which, fortunately, thinking isn't Ben's strong suit so he doesn't raise any questions. Instead, they talk about the bad break up Lindzi went through last year. How she and her ex had lived together. How her family hadn't been a big fan of the guy. How, just like in horsemanship, when you fall off, you have to get back on. (And the church said? UGH!)
The more they talk, the more Lindzi says how vulnerable this all makes her. Followed by "Vulnerable is a big word for me." Well, it has more than one syllable, so I'm sure it is, Sweetie.
Oh, and did I mention that, at various points throughout this time, Benzi are riding in a carriage? Sometimes with her in Ben's lap and him at the reins. Ugh.
As it cuts to commerical, they steer the carriage towards Lindzi's parents' house and she attempts to sing "Over the river and through the woods" but botches the words at least 4 times.
Speaking of commercial, I was a little puzzled by the new Bachelor promo. Usually it's "If you'd like to date the next Bachelor..." It hasn't been "Nominate the next Bachelor" in forever. But it was last night. I was pretty sure the show would stay with recycling a cast member from a previous season... and they probably still will... but it's at least nice to act like they could consider otherwise. And, I get the whole "built in audience" thing when someone is recycled, but really, a breath of fresh air would be nice. I think the last "out of the blue" person was Brad during his first season. It's been a domino effect since then. (For a fabulous family tree, check out this post on Kat's blog!) The plus side of not recycling? You don't get a Ben.
Anyway, back to Alligator, Florida, where it's time to meet the parents. Benzi gallop up in the carriage. She waves and squeals and says "This is my boyfriend, Ben!" Lindzi's parents, Margy and Harry, greet Ben. Dad immediately says "Let me get you some wine". Read: "I'm going to have to start drinking ASAP to get through this."
As the imbibe, Lindzi fills them in on some of the adventures they've had thus far, including the concert at City Hall in San Francisco. Mom and Dad are all "Really!?! We got married at City Hall in San Francisco!"
You know, maybe they did... but wouldn't Lindzi have known this already? At some point during their date, don't you think she would have said to Ben "My parents got married here!" Or maybe she did and I just forgot... but she sure acted surprised last night. I mean, who doesn't know where their parents got married? Mine got married at the 16th Avenue Church of Christ in Sterling, IL... over the strong objections of my paternal grandmother who didn't think they would be for real married because it wasn't at the Catholic church. But there was a priest there. He co-officiated. My mom's attendants were my aunt Margie and my cousins Pat, Shelia, and Betty. BFF Dena was one of her flower girls, along with my cousin Kari Ann - who now lives in Alaska. How cool is that? Her ring bearers were my cousins Jason and Steven. Right before the ceremony, people started noticing my uncle Bob was totally hammered. As there was no alcohol in sight, this was quite odd. So someone - Louis Battles, maybe - tailed my uncle. Turns out he had a bottle of liquor in the tank of the toilet in the men's room and he kept sneaking in to drink. Needless to say, he couldn't be in the wedding, so my dad promoted one of the ushers. And, because it was 1977 and the tuxes and bridesmaids' dresses had a pastel rainbow theme, the usher-cum-groomsman had to change clothes with my uncle. My uncle was, obviously, not excited about this and a chase across the front lawn of the church ensued. And my mom saw all of this out the window of the room where she was getting ready, but had no idea what was going on until later. Anyway, all that to say you're telling me Lindzi didn't know where her parents got married? Unlikely.
Okay, where were we? Right - the parents. Lindzi's dad tells Ben they have a family tradition of carriage racing. He asks if Ben would like to "pork-take". Then he informs Ben he will be "penal-lized" for not trash talking. So either Dad has a weird accent or he likes to talk about male junk. Either way, the parents win the carriage race and Benzi have to pull them home in the carriage. Wait, I thought they were home. Anyway, pulling them home...
Back at the house, the usual switcheroo occurs. Mom talk to daughter, then to Bachelor. Dad talks to Bachelor, then to daughter. Lindzi tells Mom she could see a future with Ben. Mom tells Ben that Lindzi doesn't have a lot of experience dating because they kept her more interested in horses than boys (?!?!) and that then she got her heart broken and stuff. Because that's what every new "boyfriend" wants to hear. Ben tells Dad he's not ready to propose
Finally, everyone sits around the fire and eats S'mores. And drinks wine from mason jars made into goblets. I'm not kidding. And maybe Ocala is in the Redneck region, not the Alligator region.
In the end, Ben says Lindzi is humble and grounded... and he likes that. Not as much as he likes arrogant, venomous models who readily get naked, but he likes it.
The next stop of Ben's journey takes him to Clarksville, TN. (No, Laura, I don't know if he took the last train... but I do know that you guys might want to look back at her stream of tweets to me last night about the show. Some funny stuff!)
KCB greets him at Buster Boguskie Stadium. In case you didn't know, the B in KCB stands for Boguskie. Later, she'll tell us all about how her grandfather was a city councilman and sold sporting goods and did so much for the town, so they dedicated the stadium to him. And how he and her grandmother were so in love that when he died, Grandma said she wouldn't make it until Christmas. And she didn't. She passed at Thanksgiving. And KCB wants that kind of love. But that's later... first, we must greet Ben in the most awkward, staged way possible. With a local marching band and KCB twirling her baton.
After the halftime show wraps up, KCB and Ben climb to the top of the stadium (in the Reserved section, lest any other folks had considered randomly dropping by and sitting there) and have some wine. Because I'm sure that's allowed on school property. Why not just light up a fatty, too? And then go at it under the bleachers. Like in an 80s movie. Or like what would happen if Courtney were there.
Instead, they just chat. First about the grandparent stuff. Then about her parents. Her dad is a federal probation officer... and... *ominous music* he doesn't drink. Ben is stunned because *screeching halt sound* he's a winemaker. He declares "Strike 1". He follows with "Don't take it personally if I don't kiss you in front of them tonight. It's just..." KCB: "A respect thing. I get it." Ben, in his head: "No, it's an 'I'm just not that into you' thing".
Ben and KCB head to her house to meet the family: Martha, Benny or Denny (I'm not sure which one, so we'll just call him Dad), and Allison, KCB's sister. Everyone sits down on one side of the table and begins some uneasy conversation.
KCB and Allison excuse themselves for a little gossip. KCB declares that Ben is her future husband. Then she goes on a tangent about taking risks and how she never takes risks because Dad is not a risk-taker. And how she's afraid they won't like Ben, but that's too bad - they just need to trust her. Trust the person they've raised. You know, all that stuff people say when they are kind of immature and don't want to think their parents could possibly have any insight into relationships. Or that meeting a guy on The Bachelor isn't ideal.
Confirming that Dad has a level head, he questions Ben about why he's interested in KCB. Ben likes that she can communicate and that she keeps surprising him. And, because Ben has a death wish, he asks Dad if he's okay with this format. (The Bachelor) Dad launches into a speech about how serious marriage is. Read: "No, I am not." Ben then says he respects the sanctity of marriage. Raise your hand if you laughed. *raises hand* Dad concludes by asking that, if he's not going to choose KCB, he let her know as soon as possible. Ben then tells us that he doesn't think Dad likes him. Um, duh. (For the record, Dad seemed like a solid guy. Just with a low BS threshold.)
Next, it's Mom's turn. Mom talks about how they are a close family and the kids were with them a lot growing up. Not a lot of babysitters and stuff. They wanted as much time with the kids as possible to instill their values in them. For example, Mom is concerned because she's seen the show and she knows the final two usually move in together. She would not be okay with that. She wonders if Ben would respect that. Ben replies that he has traditional values. *cough, spew, gag, laugh* Naked in the ocean with Courtney *cough, cough*
Dad has a similar conversation with KCB. He urges her to take things slowly and develop a bond. And not move in with him. He adds that, at this point, he wouldn't give Ben his blessing to propose. Aaaand... *cue little girl freak out* KCB is frustrated that they don't trust her and waaaa waaa waaa. Suffice it to say, if Ben asked her to move in with him right now, she'd sign the lease in blood. You know, I've liked KCB fine this season. She's cute and bubbly. But, at home, she came off as whiny and childish. What did she think her parents would say? I know my parents pretty well. I know how they would have reacted if I'd been on this show. For one, I wouldn't have made it to hometowns because I'm sure my dad would not have signed whatever waiver has to be signed to allow the crew in his house. But, if by some weird chance he did, he would have had his conversation with the Bachelor while cleaning one of his many weapons. And wearing his State Police uniform. And, had the guy asked permission to propose, he would have said something that rhymed with "Are you out of your clucking mind?"
Continuing his Family Values tour, Ben arrives in Fort Worth to visit Nicki. He says how much he loves Texas. Texas horses, Texas steer, Texas everything... and Texas Nicki. He also says he has a little country in him. Yeah, okay.
Nicki reminds us that the last time she brought a guy home under these circumstances, she married him. Wait, what? These circumstances? You also met your ex-husband on a dating show where he made out with 24 other women? Seems like a long shot to me, but I guess Nicki would know.
Nicki takes Ben to a boot store. Cheesy metaphors about finding the right fit follow. Ben dons a hat and big belt buckle along with his boots. He looks nothing like a cowboy and exactly like an idiot. But that doesn't stop him from swinging open the doors and declaring "Hello Fort Worth!!"
And Nicki? I've mentioned before that she looks a bit like Sandra Bullock, right? Add in the divorce and the Texas and the cowboy hats and this is all sounding familiar...
Next, they stop by a saloon and an invisible bar keep slides drinks down to them. But hey, at least we aren't playing into Texas stereotypes, huh? I got to Fort Worth 4-6 times a year. (My nephew lives there. Oh, and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.) Not once have I seen cows walking down the street, been called "Pardner", or refused service because I wasn't wearing a cowboy hat. I guess I'm not as cool as Ben and Nicki.
They visit some gardens and have a picnic... which mostly consisted of drinking (shocker!) and talking about Nicki's divorce and making out. She says she thinks her parents will be cautious since they've seen her go through the divorce and that she thinks they feel guilty because they probably saw some red flags in the relationship but didn't tell her for fear of putting a rift in "mine and them's relationship". MINE AND THEM'S!?!? Once again, this is how wars start!!!
They arrive at a house, not sure if it was Dad or Mom's. Nicki tells us her parents have been divorced pretty much her whole life. They seem to get along okay though and immediately everyone takes to chatting. Nicki tells Mom she's falling in love with Ben, then throws in some out of place wedding talk - which I assume was part of a longer conversation about their date in Puerto Rico. Mom is all about Nicki's love for Ben. Dad, however, is more cautious. He tells Nicki he thinks he may have given her hand in marriage too readily the first time and he doesn't want her to go through that again.
At dinner, more chit chatting occurs and Dad gives a toast about hoping to see Ben again and that he has their total support. So, so much for not giving things away too readily.
Next, Ben and Nicki retreat to her bedroom to talk and make out. She confesses she's in love with him. Back at the table, Mom and Dad have reached their "hanging out with the ex-spouse and the crazy daughter and the Bachelor and the camera crew" limit. Both very obviously check the time.
Lastly, Courtney. Ben gives a speech about his moment of clarity in Belize and how he really hopes Courtney does get along with people because he wouldn't want to be with someone who rubbed everyone the wrong way
Finally, it's time to meet the fam. YIPEE!! I bet they sleep in coffins and have creepy collections of dolls with moving eyes and stuff! Or, you know, they are just the typical country club set. The only creepy part was that Courtney said her dad calls their house Casa de Niñas... House of Little Girls. So, maybe there are little girls in the basement or something...
But, on the surface, everyone is very preppy and color-coordinated. It was disappointing, to say the least. After all, Ben's family is pretty Country Club too. I really don't like the idea that he and Courtney have any common ground. Other than being losers.
They immediately sit down to dinner on their patio, proudly named Patio de Capilla. Well, they might not sleep in coffins but at least they pretentiously use Spanish to seem fancy. Courtney declares to the whole family that she digs Ben. Yes, she said "digs". She's falling. Her sister asks "Falling or fallen?" She says "I like him - love him".
What?! Like him - love him? Is that like "I love spending time with you" or "I love you with the love of the Lord"? Or, more likely, "I love getting naked in front of him because he makes a big deal about how hot I am and, frankly, I'm not above slumming it for a little ego boost now and then." Like him - love him. Ugh.
Ben then talks to Courtney's dad. His wise words? "Marriage is life's biggest gamble. There's only a 50% chance of winning. Are you ready to make that bet, Ben?"
Seriously? What comforting words. "Only a 50% chance..." Statistically, sure. But you know what my dad told David when he asked if he could propose? "We don't do divorce". Not "Sure, I mean, there's a 50% chance it won't work, but yeah, go for it." Anyway, instead of answering that, yes, he's ready to "take the bet", Ben just says he's ready to be in a committed relationship and be serious with someone. Read: "I'm ready to do it with your daughter for a while, then dump her or be dumped by her. That okay with you?"
That is, apparently, okay with Dad. He says he would just like a son-in-law... and some grandkids!
(Oh, and if you're waiting for me to make fun of Dad's sweater... not gonna happen. You know I love argyle!)
While Ben and Dad are discussing their haphazard approach to commitment, Courtney is talking to her mom. It becomes abundantly clear where she learned the baby voice thing. The more Mom baby voices, the more Courtney does. By the end of their conversation, it was just high-pitched giggling and "goo-goo gaa-gaa". GAG! As for Mom's sage advice? She just wants someone who can make Courtney happy. Read: Deal with a high-maintenance (bleep)... and sign a pre-nup.
After leaving the family, Courtney and Ben head off to a park. Turns out, this is the park where she did one of her first photo shoots. Photo shoots? Is she a model? You'd think she would have mentioned that by now...
She tells Ben they also do weddings at this park. He looks over and sees a ceremony site set up. They head over. Ben tells us he wonders how far they are going to take this. Because, once again, you don't need a marriage license... just a random guy standing at the altar. Oh, look, there's one of those!!
Courtney hands Ben a dumb bowtie and a notebook. He puts on the bowtie. They use the notebooks to "write vows". This is absurd. Last week, he made an "eternal promise" to Lindzi. Now a faux-wedding with the Ice Queen? It's almost like he's not taking this seriously.
However, Reverend Nobody greets Ben and Courtney and speaks about their real, honest love for each other
Ben's are pretty simple "From the moment I saw you, I thought you were strong, kind, and beautiful. Thank you for believing in me." And some other crap. Also, I assume "naked" was implied with the "moment I saw you" part. Courtney feigns the capacity to feel emotion and says "That's so sweet. You wrote that all just now?"
Then she proceeds to deliver an epic monologue. It took me about 400 attempts on the DVR to get it all, but I thought it was important for a few reasons, so here we go:
I'm looking for love. Real love. Passionate, consuming, can't live without each other, love. To love unconditionally. A partner and a best friend for the rest of my life. When I look at you from across the room, I know that your happiness is the key to mine. To love and to hold and to nurture. I'll give you my hand and my heart. Trust you, respect you, encourage you, laugh with you, cry with you, for all the days of my life. Ben, I want to love you and treat your right. Every day and every night. I hope you know I'm 100% ready for marriage and I'm so happy I found you. I want you to know I'm in love with you."
Okay, why is it important.. well, as Savannah tweeted me after she saw a tweet from someone else, the first few lines are eerily familiar. At least to any Carrie Bradshaw fans.
I know, right?! Way to take a break up speech and flip it into "vows". I mean, plagiarize much?! Plus, the rest of it? Crap. There is no way Courtney wrote that. Considering the first part was a blatant rip off, I'm sure the rest was a conglomeration of Hallmark cards and Celine Dion lyrics. Courtney's real vows would have gone something like this:
"Ben, I'm way out of your league. I'm a model. I date famous guys. But the problem is they are more famous than me and aren't impressed with me like you are. So, I promise to stick around and let you fall all over me for as long as I can tolerate. I will treat you okay at first, but then I'll become increasingly mean. All the while, I'll remind you that I'm a model and am way out of your league. I'll make it seem like I'm doing you a favor by staying with you. In an attempt to keep me, you'll lavish me with gifts and praise and assorted other crap. I'll cheat on you because, let's face it, you're probably boring in bed too. But you'll take me back because you know you'll never get another model and how dumb would you be to break up with me right before I might get signed as an Angel or something? I hope I'm being clear. I'm above you. You're lucky to have me. You'll treat me accordingly and I'll let you. For as long as we both shall live. Or until I can't take it anymore. Which will probably be in, like, 3 months. This is my solemn vow. WINNING!"
To seal their non-vows, they exchange rings made from twigs. Or something. The minister says they can kiss. As if they needed a reason.
Then they drive off in a white SUV with "Almost Married" painted on the back window and cans tied to the bumper. Again, the church said? UGH!!!
Last thing about Courtney: In case you don't "like" the Facebook page for The Bachelor, you have to see Courtney quotes. Find it HERE And also, yes, it is funny that even the show itself is mocking her. I could go on and on about why I suspect that it, but I'd really rather just laugh at the crazy faces she makes. You should, too.
Finally, at long last, it's time for the Rose Ceremony.
Chris and Ben meet up back in LA. They chat about the hometowns. The same 7th grader who got to make the montage of Ben and Lindzi last week got called into action again this week. Scenes from each hometown play, along with some misty effect to make it look all dreamy. I have no idea why we even need scenes from an hour ago, let alone why they need some weirdo editing to look bizarre. But, anyway...
Chris asks Ben about KCB's family and their wishes that she not live with him before they are married. Ben basically says he plans to live with his fiance. So, that bodes well for KCB, right? (By the way, at no point are we shown him asking her how she feels on the subject. That's an area where it's just best to make assumptions, right?)
Ben concludes his chat with Chris by saying this is the most difficult decision he's made yet. Really? You mean it's getting harder each week? Because you've said each week that that week was more difficult than the week before. And now this week is harder than those? What are the chances?!
The girls gather for the Rose Ceremony. Ben reiterates his speech about how hard this is. Then he gets to the rose giving...
Courtney: Because a full Monty and who know what else in Puerto Rico pretty much assures me that you won't say "no" to moving in with more. Or to much else.
Lindzi: You lived with your last boyfriend, so...
Chris Harrison comes to subtract 3 from 4 for us.
And the final rose goes to...
Nicki: You straight up told me you want to live with someone before you marry them...
Sorry, KCB, I'm not going to say Ben didn't pick you because your mom and dad said you can't shack up with him, but I'm not going to not say that was the reason. I mean, why would Ben risk it? He's got 3 other ladies totally on board with splitting rent for a while (or, hopefully, paying his share since he's too busy making out with these chicks to run his wine business). Also, I'm sure in the scheme of things, the baton twirling didn't help. So, you know, better luck next time. Take a moment, say your goodbyes.
KCB is shown to the limo and then treats us to the worst meltdown of the season thus far. A lot of "What is wrong with me?" and several Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot bombs. I'm sure her parents enjoyed that.
Next week... Switzerland. And, the return of the creepy date card from Chris Harrison offering them the fantasy suite. Seriously, it skeeves me out that they make it seem like the card is from him. It's so pimp-y.
Oh, and this week's radio recap is HERE. I particularly enjoy the part where I try not to say "Sex" on the air (as in "...and the City") and say "You know, Carrie Bradshaw, on her show, with the scene..." It was a bit like playing Taboo.