Horse, Meet Stormhorse
We start off with Lindzi the Misspelled, hanging around a horse track in Ocala, Florida, where her parents live. Lindzi kicks it off by reading off a cue card about how "awesome" her dates with Ben have been. Yeah, sure. She is playing around with a stocky cart horse and fills us in about what a disaster her love life has been. Ben, who looks like now that he's finished with Stormhorsing his way through the Caribbean has decided to cut that chia pet on the top of his head with tin snips, reads his own cue card, "There are moments when we're together, when I could very well see myself falling in love with her." Left out is the part where he adds, "Then I wake up." Anyway, she greets him on her cart horse and they go for a cart ride. Once they stop in the grass, they climb off and have a picnic. It's here we get to see just how little Ben knows about her. She recounts her big trip to Dumpsville with her last boyfriend and tells him they even shacked up before he dumped her. Ben starts, "You did? Wow!" Yep, eight weeks and two dates, and he doesn't even know she had a live in. Hey Ben, how about kissing a little less and talking a little more, ok? Lindzi fills him in and Ben quickly falls into Robot Mode: Blink-nod-blink-nod-"Oh, you did? Glad you're being open and vulnerable." Lindzi assures him, "Vulnerable is a big word for me." Really? Like how "Plagiarism" is a big word for Courtney? More on that later. Finally Lindzi gets up and takes him to see her parents before Ben falls asleep and the Florida humidity turns Ben's hair into a frizz bush.
They amble the horse up where Lindzi's parents await them with their own Jack Russell Terriers. Margie and John Cox ("She calls me Harry"--I bet she does) greet the happy couple with Chardonay and it's apparent just how much this meant to the parents. They even went and hired Christine Baranski to portray Margie Cox for the day. Anyway, the kids recount their adventures and Harry pops in to inform his clueless daughter that he married Christine Baranski in the very same San Francisco City Hall that Ben has the key to in his pocket. Amazing. Pops then hits them with a producer-inspired stunt and the youngers and elders engage in a cart horse race. Supposedly the old farts whip the youngsters despite the fact that Lindzi is reputed to be a world class horse jockey, and the youngsters looked fifty feet ahead the whole time. This is all so the "losers" can haul the winners back to the house. They sit down for a talk and Lindzi informs Christine Baranski that she thinks "she's falling in love." Truthfully, the parents were cool and Lindzi is nice but comes off as very inexperienced in relationships, which explains why she likes Ben. Ben then sits mumsy down and finds out they kept Lindzi away from boys, so he asks if Lindzi is ready to be engaged after her trip to Dumpsville. Mom gives a fair answer but mostly takes a dig at her daughter, "He was no good for her, but as a mom, you don't know anything--despite being married for forty years." Simmer down Christine! This isn't about you for once. Anyway, Ben sits down with dad and warns him he's not ready for proposals. Dad sits there drinking from a Mason jar wine glass like Buck Owens and agrees neither of them is ready. They all eat smores and Ben gets wistful, "I could see myself asking Harry Cox for advice". Dude, you're already doing that and he's not helping you out much. Anyway, they have a good time and Ben acts nearly lifelike. He then gushes about Lindzi, "She's humble; she's grounded--and I like that." Really? Then stop asking Harry Cox for advice, bud; cause humble isn't what you're about to get. Date over.
The Last Train to Clarksville. Also Known as: The Parental Wrecking Ball.
If ever there was proof of Ben's lack of foresight, this was it. Next up, we travel to Clarksville, Tenn; the home of 24 year-old Kacie Boguskie, who is going to act, and be treated like a High School senior by her parents. At 24, Kacie is the youngest remaining member of Ben's harem and to prove it she greets him at her old high school football field leading a marching band and twirling her baton. Frankly, I wanted to call a cop. You're a little old for her, aren't you Ben? Kacie, despite her undeniable heart of gold and terrific looks, was finally exposed for being ten miles out of her element on this show. Once she marches up, she attacks Ben like HE is the chia pet she had in her room all through school. Ben actually looked embarrassed. What follows was proof of Ben's idiocy: she hauls him up into the bleachers of Boguskie Stadium and tells him about her family, especially her dad. Ben's eyes bug out when she informs him she's from the local political gentry-southern mafia--and her dad is a tee-totaling, shoot-from-the-hip Federal Regulator. Ben drops a brick in his pants and mimes swallowing an orange--whole. "Her dad doesn't drink and I'm a booze salesman; not sure how this is going to go." I am.
She pulls him away to meet the folks like a fan at a Menudo concert. Ben starts eyeing the exits before they even clear the stadium that's named after her southern mafia grandaddy. Mom Martha, Sister Allison, and Dun-dun-dun! Daddy, greet Ben. Being southern folk, they treat him hospitably, but with that cold frostiness we southerners are justly famous for when greeting someone we don't like. They sit down to dinner and Ben sticks his foot in it right away, "How's it been having this one away for so long?" Mom, who looks about 5 years older than her daughter lets Ben know they are a CLOSE family. Dad just stares and grunts threateningly. Ben tries to BS them about how this show makes you deal with your feelings. Kacie joins in and tries to explain to her iceberg parents that this helped her take the time to think about feelings. Dad grunts again but manages to smile politely, but in obvious disbelief, "That's good." Kacie then takes aside her younger sister, Allison to whine and complain that mommy and daddy won't let go to the prom with the skeezy dude…or get engaged either. Allison, who has to live with these people still, shuts her trap, smiles, and lets Kacie prattle on. Kacie talks about taking risks as opposed to getting married to a local boy from church and having a family in Clarksville, which is apparently what she's been basically told is going to happen. Despite the fact that her folks obviously love her, and have brains enough to know this show is about as real as P.T. Barnum, I was saddened to watch a 24 year-old go through what looked like teenaged rebellion.
Dad finally sits Ben down and Ben starts to look like a guy who should have gotten to know this gal a little better. Dad, looking every inch the heavily armed Federal Agent/Church Deacon, goes right to it: "What did you see in Kacie to make you take her this far?"
Ben starts rumblin', bumblin', and stumblin'. "Uh, the way she communicates. I noticed a special quality in her. I like her."
Ben starts to piss his pants. "Are…are you ok with this forum?"
"Well, don't rush."
That one Ben can handle. "I'm not!"
Pops lets Ben know that he couldn't disapprove of him or this show any more if he had stepped in both of them while walking his dog. "If Kacie is not the one, dump her quick!"
Ben eyes the exits again. Next up, Mom Martha, just to be certain that Ben got the message, throws a wrecking ball into the already smoldering wreck. "I've seen the show, and I see them..well, they move in together--and I have a serious problem with that."
Touche, Mom! Wow, how many messages did she hide in those few sentences? Allow me to translate: You're not allowed to shack up with my 24 year-old daughter and since I've watched the show--forget about the Fantasy Suite Stormhorse!
Yikes! Ben now swallows a grapefruit. "I…..uh, uh, have traditional values." Like shtupping models on Puerto Rican beaches, Ben? Oh man, for once I should let the guy off easy--he's clearly suffered enough here. But this is the price you pay for kissing when you should be talking. Dummy.
Kacie now has a sit down with pops, but the die is already cast. Pops now shows the country common sense and basically rules out a quick engagement. Kacie tries to talk him around, "Dad, I've fallen in love with him."
Pops glares at her, Like hell you have. Oh man, this was painful. Pops pretty much communicates to her that the reverends son, who has always liked her, will be coming by later to start courtin'. Dad lets her know that he will refuse any any request for her hand. The guy is honest--hell, they all were, and there can be no doubt that they were right, like parents usually are, but a 24 year-old college graduate shouldn't need to lie about wanting to live with a guy to her parents. That's my take anyway, even as a southern boy. Kacie walks him out and senses her parents have destroyed this for her. Did they? No, this guy was never gonna pick her, but the parents made sure that didn't happen, just in case. Date over.
As this episode went on, its become apparent why a girl who got 1, one-on-one date and ZERO group date roses narrated this season: because if they didn't use her P.I.'s to narrate everything, we wouldn't have a clue who this girl who made the final 3 was. Never have I seen a bigger also-ran go this far in any Bachelor competition. Nicki greets Ben in Texas and shows off the fact that when it comes to bod, looks, etc, she is not in any of the other three girls' league. Don't get me wrong--she's my favorite of the remaining women, but I have to be honest here. Anyway, Nicki takes Ben to a cowboy shop and they dress like Texas yokels instead of like the last time, when they dressed like Puerto Rican yokels. But Nicki looked GREAT in her cowgirl jeans and big belt, big hips notwithstanding. Hell, even Ben looked less weird in the bad assed Clint Eastwood get-up they donned him in. Once done with the Texas stereotypes we meet Nicki's family--a great bunch of folks who care about their daughter as much as Kacie's family did about her, without the controlling behavior. Turns out mom and pops have been divorced for ages, but everyone seemed cool and looked to care about each other. But the star here was pops; Nicki's dad was a caring and decent man who actually bawled a little when talking to Nicki and asked her forgiveness for not protecting her from her ex-husband. This was sweet. Damn shame it was wasted on a guy with no real interest in her. Nicki, I hope you take the free flight to Switzerland and then eliminate yourself before he does. Anyway, Ben gets an "I'm in love you," and a father's blessing he doesn't want, but he cheeses us anyway, "Today, there were moments when I looked over at Nicki and thought, I love this girl." Date over.
Lady Vader in the Desert
Well, say what you will, but at least we got to see Courtney act remotely human this time. Standing outside she awaits Ben basking in the sun and a voice over tells us how she's had to think about how she treated the other girls. Heh. Nice audio splice, Fleiss; did you record this last week when the backlash exploded in your faces? Anyway, Courtney is shown to take ben home to meet her folks while Ben gushes about the clarity he got by being able to sit next to her on a Mayan Human Sacrifice Temple and still get a boner. The folks greet Ben: dad Rick, mom Sherry, who already looked ready to run to a tabloid, and Courtney's sister. They eat on the patio, and mom, looking like an even crazier Madeline Kahn, scoffs skeptically. Pops seats Ben and tells Ben that marriage is an insane gamble or something similar. Looking at his wife, the guy has a point. But that doesn't stop dad from trying desperately to get Ben to take his maniac-daughter off his hands. Seconds after telling Ben that marriage is a wild gamble, pops is pimping for grandkids. Mom and Courtney share a talk, and I thought for a moment that Courtney was adopted, until I see they share the crazy eyes. Mom folds quick and the whole family wants Ben to haul her away and keep her away.
Courtney now takes Ben out to a fake wedding, where Courtney gets her moment to look sincere, but shows her insincerity by plagiarizing some mock wedding vows. How sincere were her words of love? Let's see:
Carrie Bradshaw to Mr. Big on Sex in the City:
Carrie: "I’m looking for love. Real love, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each other love."
Courtney Robertson to Mr. Small on the Bachelor:
Courtney: "I'm looking for love, real love, all-consuming, can't live without it love."
Aww, true love. Puke.
Who's This Strange Guy?
Suddenly we're back in L.A., and Ben is sitting and talking with a guy who looks somewhat familiar. Whoa, is that Harrison? Jeez, Wingman, how come you're not drunk in the hotel bar? He should have just stayed in the bar getting tanked. His only purpose is to nod and prompt Ben to merely recap the visits with previously seen footage now shown through a gauzy lens. No sign of all those fatherly advice sessions Harrison keeps telling us about, just a lame recap. Hell, let's just do it.
1) Queen Courtney--she had him at Hello (Thank you, Jerry Maguire).
2) Lindzi the Misspelled--Does she have a chance? Slim and none.
3) Nicki the Narrator--none.
Dodged a Howitzer Shell:
Sweetie-Pie Kacie. Ben walks her out where she falls completely to pieces. he does nothing but mumble he's sorry and then sends her on her way where she comes completely unglued. I'm sure Christmas at the Boguskie house was a chilly affair, but after watching this show, even Kacie must be thanking them for the sabotage job. She'll be busy fielding offers, and I hope happy.
Next Week: Switzerland Calls.