7-12--Hometowns--The Frankfurter Prepares His Escape
His Future Taking Shape, The Frankfurter Prepares to Exit, Stage Left!
Hometown time, or on this season of the Bachelorette it can be called "the quiet before the storm". Hometown's usually involve at least one weirded-out family, disapproving family member, or someone who hates the Bachelor(ette) on sight; not this time, my friends. The waters couldn't have looked more smooth--or tepid. Ali travels cross-country to meet the families of her four remaining suitors and gets the chance to show off an incessant, fake-giggle that had me covering my ears halfway through. If she has much going on with any of these guys--save one--I damn sure can't see it. I have never seen a primary for this show look more concerned about being 'on camera' in my life. Every move, gesture, laugh, and grimace seems contrived and the time with these guys so bereft of genuine emotion I had to stifle yawns or grimaces of my own as she giggled and seemed to force herself to lock lips with them. Compounding the agony, the guys themselves--with one exception--couldn't have looked any better either. Three of the four seem genuine, nice-looking, and appear into her. Shame she doesn't seem to able to say the same. There might be a hidden jewel at the end of this 'journey', but I'm sure not seeing it. It looks like the one guy she sized up to do her ironing decided he'd rather serve in heaven than live in hell.
Tampa, Fla.: We begin this week's escapades in the deep south where notorious Latin Hotbod, Groucho Roberto awaits her outside his old college. You'd think an old barnacle bottom like me would have a ball with this guy: a 26 year-old insurance salesman with caterpillar brows? But I'm hard pressed to find a chink in his armor. Good-looking, suave, intelligent and pleasant and damn it all, a pretty cool family too. What's a snarker supposed to do? Focus on his failed baseball career, of course. Well that's what the producers do anyway. They make him take her out to the old ballpark he used to roam and throw her some batting practice. Tampa provides some old ball uniforms and the field and Roberto provides the cannon ammo. He tosses her a few softies and the edit makes it look like the good old days as she lashes the girlie-version of some frozen ropes off of him. Ali giggles and Roberto cringes with combat flashbacks as one after another of his pitches scream out into the gaps like laser bolts. Nahh, I'm being an asshole. He practically underhanded them up there and she squealed with shock every time she managed to make contact--which gives us a good idea just how many she missed. Silly baseball workout over, he sits her down and hands her one of his baseball cards. She acts like he just handed her a Honus Wagner card, and holds it to her heart wondering how much a Roberto Martinez original is going for on Ebay. (Value? .10) Anyway, now that the producer's are done embarrassing him, its time to meet the family--and I got the feeling Ali would rather have stayed at the ballpark.
Roberto's family comes as no surprise; a strong, traditional family with traditional values. Ali is met by Pops Martinez Sr., his hot-milf wife, Roberto's beefcake brother and his hottie wife, and Roberto's hottie sister. They sit down to a meal and Roberto's brother wants to know why Roberto was given the First Impression Rose. Ali insists it was because of a "feeling", which sounds more appropriate than admitting that Roberto gave her fire-crotch. Dinner finished, Pops Martinez move in quick. After a quick tour of Roberto's baseball trophies, he pins Ali with some direct questions. He asks Ali about her personal goals and she answers honestly about her career drive. Pops, being a 30 year-veteran of the marriage game, lauds his boy and tries to make a judgment between Ali's career goals and Roberto's. "He has big goals. His job might take him different places. If you had to sacrifice some of your personal goals for him, for his career...how do you feel about that?" Ali stammers like a tobacco executive in front of a congressional committee. "I want to make Roberto happy and I can't do that if I'm not happy, so I need something to fulfill me too." She goes on like a politician but at least she's honest, if circuitous in her answer. From the accent, it sounds like English is not Pops' first language but he seems to have no trouble deciphering that answer. He raises an eyebrow at her and heard the translation of all of that blithering as clearly as I did: "I'll be sacrificing my career goals for any man on the 5th of NEVER!" It's a fair question and a fair answer--its also about as compatible as Pauly Shore and Angelina Jolie. Rumors are circulating that this might be the guy. I sure as hell hope not. I'd rather no engagement than a short, miserable one. Roberto and Pops have a sit down and Pops gives his hesitant blessing. The man is no fool. This hasn't got a chance in hell. Pops and his milf-wife do some sexy dancing but...date-might-as-well-be-over. Ali shown to opine: "This is real...and I'm almost getting cold feet." Ya think?
Normal Guy Chris
Cape Cod, Mass.: It's time for one of the more-real and emotional dates this show has ever seen. Normal-Guy Chris, looking more decent and normal than ever, meets Ali on a wind and rain swept beach with his dog. She storms up in knee high boots and they stroll the sands where he grew up. He takes her back home where they camp out on the porch and he talks about his mom. A photo tour of his family is emotional and soon Pops Lambton comes in and radiates decency all over the place. Before Pops can hog all the great karma, in marches Chris' younger brothers with their wife and fiance. Choking on the close-knit family she's never gonna' be a part of, Ali whips out the booze. While she pours a glass of liquid courage, Chris' sister-in-law Meagan notices Ali is wearing a Dennis Bracelet that carries the family slogan, "Love is the only reality." Damn, did Fleiss find this family at central casting or what? Ali giggles nervously and wriggles hers around on her arm. The Lambton's all run a family landscaping business and all live close by so they sit down for a meal all together as they probably often do, and Chris' brother wants to know what makes his brother different from the other guys. Ali starts tap dancing as hard as she can. "Massachusetts connection--he's funny, and goofy--and very family oriented!" The sis-in-laws get sour expressions at once. That was about as lame as it can get. What, is he the only guy left in New England? Ali blathers on about Family, but we've never seen or heard a damn thing to make us believe this is important to her in the least. Are the producers counting on the audience to suffer collective amnesia? Ali bolted her own broken home at sixteen, moved a continent away from her mom, and is a 100 MPH career girl. Much to her credit, she's gone far in such a short time on her own, but what about that resume and her ambitions makes us think she gives a damn about family? Fleiss can call her the 'perfect bachelorette' until his head falls off, but her priorities and ambitions seem diametrically opposed from the what this show is supposed to be about: relationships, love, and family. Seeing her there sitting with the Lambtons, she looks like the ultimate fish out of water. Pops mentions that Ali is reputed to have left a job to return home and nurse her granny, just like Chris did with his mom. Ali is stunned. "I never thought of that!" Huh? You never thought of it? Is this girl weird or a liar? Pops opines to her with wisdom, "Life can be short. If you have love, its all that matters. My only goal before I leave this earth to see all my boys happy, and married." Ali looks like she's gonna drop a deuce. The sis-in-laws grill Chris and he acts over the moon for her, but Ali and the Sis's are never shown talking and if anybody ever asked if she would consider moving to Cape Cod, we never heard it.. Sis-in-law Meagan tells us Chris suffered the most, because he never had anyone to share his grief with. Chris takes Ali up on some model of a castle turret and they kiss. Chris assures the home audience that his mother is here and blessing this. He talks with dad and says, "I don't want her to pick me, just fall for me!" I can hear women across North America already gnashing their teeth. Mercifully, date over.
Green Bay, WI.: The third of the dates lead us into the Midwest so Ali can meet the family of Captain Kirk, brave survivor of the mold monster attack. Since none of the families are wacko enough for the producer's tastes, they goad Kirk's dad into taking Ali into his basement right away so he can show her his taxidermy work. Hunting and taxidermy are about as rare in Green Bay as cheese is, but since a majority of this shows viewers live on the metropolitan coasts, this is a chance to make Kirk's family look like backwoods hicks. Dad shows her his stuffed menagerie and even opens his freezer to show her his supply of frozen gopher balls or whatever he keeps in there. I'm relieved Fleiss doesn't try to punish them beyond that. Dad sits her down looking about five years older than his son and pimps for his boy pretty good and comes away as normal, not Dr. Frankenstein, the Animal Murderer. We find out Kirk's mom and dad are divorced and not on speaking terms. This concerns little Ms. Suzy Homemaker an awful lot because, as we know already, family is everything to her. (Rolls eyes). Anyway, Dad, step mom, and Kirk's adopted sister don't make out too badly considering Ali looks to have the same interest in Kirk as I have in toenail fungus. The action shifts to Kirk's mom's where they are joined by Kirk's sister and Granny. Despite the split households, Ali notices a lot of love anyway...just not with her and Kirk. Mom, looking about fifty years older than her son, gets a chance to tell the story of Kirk's brave battle in her own words. The story does pack an emotional punch and when they finish, Ali hugs her and shoots her a pout-face as if to say, "Sorry." Kirk tells us this is the first time he has put himself out there for a woman and mom gives him the default "whatever makes you happy, makes me happy" response that is standard on these dates. Kirk puts her into the SUV with that look of blindsided innocence Fleiss must love and waves like a dork as she pulls away.
Frankfurter Orders Up a Bus to lay Down Under
Chicago, IL.: (I've said all along that I don't do spoilers, but if you watched last week's previews, you know what's going to happen in Tahiti. Since Fleiss is cool spoiling himself, it seems dumb for me to keep quiet about it.) Ali meets her main man, Frankfurter, on the edge of some windy city water and they go for a boat ride and Ali explains why this is her guy almost at once, "Frank is at that point in his life where he can pick up and go anywhere and do anything, just like me." True, she can go on Dancing with the Stars and he can move out of his parent's basement, work on screenplays and fix her dinner. Say what you will, but this is the guy she is actually compatible with. Unfortunately for her, he'd rather stay in the basement than make her Mac & Cheese. More on that to come next week. For now, we get to see a ton of foreshadowing from Frank about just how close he is to escaping Ali. "I'm...I'm up and down. This is a mind game." He yammers all over the place and is so plainly lying I'm stunned she can't see it. She frowns but keeps on trying, "One thing I haven't thought about is...I could be meeting my future in-laws today." Frank tries to hide the grimace with a smile for about three seconds before he says, "True; isn't that crazy? Maybe we'll meet them on the way to my parent's house; weirder things have happened." or something like that. She blames this all on nerves and says she needs Frank to "step up!" They arrive at Frank's sponge-pad to meet his mom and dad, his sister and her husband. Big hugs all around as Frank grabs dad in a bear hug, "Frank! It's great see you--what's with the dorky glasses, son? Did your eyes go bad?" They must have edited that out. Anyway, the family all cracks jokes on what a welfare case Frank is and we get to see where he gets his humor from. Mom, sporting a three pack-a-day voice, hauls Ali outside where she is much more demonstrative about Frank than any other guy. Ali grimaces at the thought of snow full time but adds, "I'd do anything for the right person!" Oh? Don't tell Roberto's dad that one. Ali and mom gush all over each other and I hope the family wasn't in on this. Frank sits inside and assures his sister and brother-in-law that "I know exactly what I want...but, is this it? Do I have forever here?" Of course you do, Frank. That is you do if you consider 'forever' to be two more hours before you go back over to your ex-girlfriends house and get back together with her, you do. Don't sweat it. Sis then takes Ali outside and seems concerned about the pace things are moving. Dad then talks with Frank and Frank just chucks caution aside and buries himself, "Ali could very well be the girl I propose to a few weeks from now." Or not. Ali places the last piece into the puzzle-edit, "I think there is a great chance that Frank and I will end up together at the end of this," as she drives away and Frank gets ready to go see his ex-girlfriend. Way to go, Hero. Date, Ali, and this season: over.
Harrison sits Ali down so they can recap the week. Her descriptions of each guy may be illuminating: Roberto: "Not the type of guy I thought I wanted... Chris: "Biggest surprise...skeptical of the relationship..biggest steps forward, but is it too late?" Kirk: "Is that the guy that I need?" hehe. Frank: "I was soooo excited to see Frank. His family is AMAZING!" The wench queen, who is unspoiled (even by previews) can't stand it another second. "Just what the hell is so amazing about Frank? He's a wimpy weirdo who lives in his parent's basement!" I feign innocence and shrug. That earns me a narrow-eyed glare, "What's about to happen!?" "Nothing honey...oh, you're not allowed to read my blog this week either." Wingman: "I've asked you this before, do you see your husband here?" Ali: (Speaks a lot, says nothing.) Wingman: "Are you ready to send someone home tonight?" (furtively sprays onion fumes into her face.) Ali: "Boo hoo, no!" Winger: "Sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry." Ali: "Then get off my foot!"
Roses and Some Awful Acting
Harrison lines them up and Ali comes in hamming it up so badly I start laughing. "I...I don't want to do this! But I'm going to anyway and when I dump one of you and throw you out, I'll be back to get drunk and talk about Tahiti."
1) Groucho Roberto
3) Frankfurter. "Frank will you accept this rose? "Yes, because they are making me. Don't worry, I'll give it to Nicole."
Frank looked the whole time like he wanted to commit suicide. If he'll wait till next week, he'll have three or four million volunteers to help him.
Cut:Captain Kirk. Good news, he erases the memory of the macrame scrapbook forever by looking at Ali like she was something he stepped in. Keeps it classy in the limo but is clearly pissed, as he should be. Argh!
Next week: The Frankfurter Bomb Strikes in Tahiti. See ya then!