The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 8 – Emily visits her final four's hometowns, and encounters more than a few surprises. (Abc)Last night’s “meet the parents” episode of the Bachelorette saw Emily Maynard channel an NRA spokesmodel, engage in an after-dinner spot of Polish folk dancing, and come face-to-face with a menacing crowd of stuffed animals.
The first stop on her familial tour was Chris’s hometown in Chicago, where she greeted her suitor in a pair of red almost-bellbottoms. “I felt so bad for you,” she tells Chris as they reminisce about the last rose ceremony.
Oh buddy, that’s worse than when she says, “you’re so sweet.” After a couple of brewskis at the local Polish bar (or in Emily’s mind, one of the many “cool spots” local Chicagoan Chris happens to know) it’s time to meet the fam.
Chris’s dad takes a Buddhist approach to interrogating Emily: “Is there love there?” he asks, without specifying who these feelings might be directed toward. After Emily answers ‘yes,’ but fails to clarify that said love is obviously aimed at those other guys, Chris’s dad gives a misleading thumbs-up to his son, which Chris’s mom follows with a rousing battle cry: ““If you really love this woman then you have to get out there and you have to kick ass and you have to fight!””
Chris’s sister, on the other hand, sees it as it is, and wastes no time in urging Emily to “end it sooner rather than later.”
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 8 – a very Polish hoedown at Chris's house. (Abc)Unfortunately for Chris, he doesn’t get the memo, and after ambushing the Bachelorette with a late night traditional Polish rave (above), decides to declare his undying love. “He tells me that he has fallen in love with me, what a perfect ending to a perfect day,” Em recaps.
Yes that’s how we usually like to call it quits: we read Goodnight Moon, brush—sometimes floss—our teeth, and get some guy we’re not really into to profess his everlasting loyalty. Sweet dreams!
Next stop on the family tour is Jef’s sprawling, jaw dropping Utah compound, Holmstead Ranch, which has us thinking we should maybe get into the bottled water business. Emily greets Jef in a white accordion pleated fifties-inspired dress with brown knee-high cowboy boats (bravo!) and the two climb into Jef’s very own Jurassic Park-mobile, and speed off for some shooting practice.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 8 – Emily takes a feminine sundress for an offroad joyride with Jef. (Abc)After feigning arms-handling ignorance (looks like somebody’s been reading the Rules!) Emily nails every shot and gushes over Jef’s skinny-jeans-plus-shotgun accessorizing. “He looked so hot!” Meanwhile, Jef has lapsed into porn script dialogue: “I just want her to hold a gun all day long.”
But enough of that smut, it’s time to meet Jef’s thousands of brothers and sisters, whose numbers make up for the fact that his parents are away on a do-gooding mission.
Things, of course, go swimmingly—well, besides that part where Jef’s brother points out he’s never shown any interest in getting married or having kids (details!), and it’s time for Jef to read his “Things I Thought on the Airplane Home” essay to Emily:
“I’m so excited to meet Ricki, I’ll teach her how to play sports…I want to show her how to fall in love and have a love story that lasts forever, because I’ll love you forever. Most of all I’m completely and hopelessly in love with you.”
We’ll give you an ‘A’ for effort Jef, but we gotta say, the ending was a little redundant.
Moving swiftly on, it’s time to visit Sean’s house in Dallas, aka The Laugh Factory. It’s one jape after another with this crew: from Sean’s own practical joke, wherein he hoodwinks Emily into thinking he still lives at home by showing her “his room” (which has been decorated with half eaten cookies and a crew of stuffed animals); to Sean’s father’s gag about serving steamed armadillo for dinner.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 8 – Emily picks wildflowers with Sean; later she encounters frightening evidence from his childhood. (Abc)When they’re not cracking wise, Sean’s parents are falling under Emily’s spell: “There’s something magical going on here; I’ve only known Emily for a day and I feel like I’ve known her for a long time … I don’t know if my heart can take it all!” says Sean’s dad.
Meanwhile, Sean’s mom is equally smitten, perhaps more so with Emily than with her own son: “She is amazing and you would be blessed to have her,” she gushes.
Despite the fact that Sean’s parents seem thisclose to phoning Neil Lane for their own engagement ring, Sean stops short of dropping the L-word, opting instead to nonchalantly run after his lady's departing coach (which conveniently seems to be traveling at about 2mph) to get one final kiss before she goes.
Finally it’s Arie’s turn to show Emily his hometown of Scottsdale, and after a lap around the track in his IndyCar, the pair retires to his parent’s house.
Soon after being introduced to Emily, Arie’s parents lapse into a Dutch conversation about Emily (a sign of hospitality in IndyCar culture?).
Arie’s mom then sequesters Emily for some girl talk, but rather than seeking questions about her son’s relationship, she’s apparently still catching up on Bachelor Season 11, and urges Emily for a behind-the-scenes scoop on why it didn’t work out with Brad. Emily demurs, opting instead to focus on Arie’s sense of humor, which seems to appease her.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 8 – Emily talks Bachelor reruns with Arie's mom. (Abc)All in all it’s a success, and it’s finally time for a showdown at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, where Emily channels Vanna White in a strapless royal blue gown with a bejeweled waistband designed to meet the show’s sparkle quota for the night.
Like Chris’s sister, we all know what’s coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier, and Chris is visibly stunned and offish when he’s left several petals shy of a rose.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 8 – Emily counts the minutes until Chris' ride home arrives. (Abc)After a painfully awkward goodbye, Emily rejoins her chosen trio to inform them of their next Caribbean destination, Curacao (which Emily seems only half-confident in pronouncing) and add, “next week’s going to be much harder.”
It’s true; it’s not going to get any easier. Let’s hope Sean’s dad has his cardiologist on speed dial.