Week 8 of The Bachelorette kicked off with Ashley’s anticipation about the episode’s hometown dates. She tells us that she looks forward to seeing the guys’ real personalities come out around their families. Yeah, because that’s exactly how it works on family weekend.
Unfortunately for Ashley, hometowns weren’t as interesting as producers had hoped, so the first ten minutes of the episode feature her previous moments with the four remaining beaus, and her voiceover confessing how physically attractive she finds each one, followed by vague descriptions of their inner beauty like, “There’s just something about him.”
Cut to Ashley fetching a taxi in Philly with no explanation of how she got there from Taiwan. Cut to Constantine standing in a park in Atlanta waiting for Ashley. They sit on a bench and chat and hug and Constantine lists the names of his Greek relatives.
Of course, in true My Big Fat Greek Wedding fashion, Constantine’s family owns a restaurant. The twist? It’s an Italian restaurant. No worries. Ashley’s still super turned on. Together, the couple makes a pizza and viewers thinks it sounds really good until we look up from whatever else we do while watching the show and realize it’s deep dish. “Blech,” says America in unison, wondering why Illinois was so quiet.
At Constantine’s home, we meet Elleni, Dimitri and Maria, his mama, pops and sister, the last of whom looks uncannily a lot like Ashley, making us all wonder what Freud would say. During dinner, Dimitri assures Ashley, “My son is very good vit kids.” Elleni, however, is concerned, and wants to know if Ashley would relocate for Constantine. He’s a very family-oriented boy, she explains.
As if on cue (thanks, editing room!), the whole Greek family ambushes the house, with aunts, cousins and—where’s Joey Fatone? They break out into Greek circle dancing. And it doesn’t feel uncomfortably staged at all. Please, by all means, break out all the Greek stereotypes! Can’t wait for her to visit JP’s family. Maybe they’ll all sit around the table eating gefilte fish and counting money together.
Next up, Ames awaits Ashley in a park by his home. He introduces her to his WASPy family and his mom, Jane, says her son looks super healthy and happy. We can’t really blame her for not knowing what a tan is. It’s that thing only gardeners have in her region. Ashley has a chat with Ames’ sister, Serena, who reassures the bachelorette that he’s the best guy through ups and downs, and especially the downs.
Ashley’s still missing the romantic spark with Ames, so Serena tells him to step up his game. He takes Ashley on a picnic under magnolia trees, opens up about how much of a nerd he was in high school (shocker!), and shares his thoughts on romance. She melts. They kiss. Four-horse-drawn carriage ride.
Ben waits for Ashley in a…you guessed it, park. He takes her to his winery in Sonoma for a little picnic. That’s right, you get that girl crunk! As it turns out, Ashley is the second girl Ben’s ever brought home to his mama. It’s weird because all the guys keep saying it as if it was their choice to introduce her to their fams. Boy, you got chosen by Ashley for hometown dates. These were imposed on you as part of the game that is The Bachelorette. Let’s get that straight.
Ashley meets Ben’s mom and sis, Julia. Julia reveals that she’s the one who signed Ben up for the show, which makes us feel more sorry for him than when he opens up about his dad’s passing. Ben’s mom shows Ashley old photos while Ben tells his sister that “Everything I’m feeling is natural.” Which makes us wonder what he’s feeling and whether it’s actually healthy. Then Ben has a heartfelt, deep, meaningful conversation with his mom, but we all tune out because we don’t really know him or her or their sitch.
JP meets Ashley in a Starbucks. Haha, no, it’s a park. He takes her to a roller skating rink. The discoball’s on, the retro music’s blastin’, and they skate alone in the big rink as girls around the country think, “Ugh, she doesn’t deserve him!”
JP’s mom, Ilene, feeds everyone lasagna. (What, no gefilte fish? Matzah ball soup? Where are the Jewish stereotypes? What kind of show is this?!) JP tells his mom that he thinks he’s in love with Ashley, and he feels super confident about his relationship with her. Ilene then breaks out JP’s bar mitzvah poster. (Phew! There it is.) He has hair in it. It’s crazy. In that it’s very tame.
After meeting all the families, Ashley chills with host Chris and tells him that the date with Constantine was “the best hometown date,” Ames “would make the best husband,” Ben revealed his vulnerable side, and she’s in love with JP…’s mother.
At the rose ceremony, Ben is first/worst, JP is second/best, and Constantine is third/in the coconut dress.
Ames takes a moment to say goodbye…to the guys. We catch a glimpse of his suit from the back, and it’s pinned! You know, like when department stores put up mannequins and make the clothes look better and fitted by pinning the backs of their shirts. Yeah, he does that. To his suit. In public. On camera. Ames then says bye to Ashley. It’s uncomfortable because he looks like a deer stuck in headlights.
Next week: FIJI!