Emma Gase | Medium Talk Co-Creator
Ah, it’s that time of year, ya’ll.
Spray tans have been replenished, highlights have been artfully balayaged, the man-testant bouffants have been buttressed with fresh hair spray, and dormant Texan accents have been strategically redeployed. It’s mothereffing HOMETOWNS.
Personally, I have a soft spot for the hometowns episode of the Bachelor. We’re finally out of the woods with the middle episodes of the show—you know, the boring ones when there are clear frontrunners and clear losers, but the producers have to keep around the losers to make the episode quota. Goodbye, Alex and James Taylor. Now on to some real shit!
What incredible TV alchemy: four boyfriends, four families, four cities, and one JoJo. This is what great entertainment is all about.
Our first stop is Colorado, which gives JoJo a chance to debut her weather-appropriate heeled booties and for Chase to look like a Patagonia ad come to life. But I like Chase. He seems like a real dude who has sadly been at a disadvantage because he’s been uncomfortable in front of the cameras all season. He is also held back from Frontrunner Status because he seems to have a real respect for the phrase “I love you.” That is NOT how they play it in Society Bachelorette.
When we get to Colorado, it is revealed that Chase’s parents went through a nasty divorce rife with law-suits and years-long feuds. He confides in JoJo that he hasn’t always had the closest relationship with his father, and that his parents haven’t spoken in years. You could see JoJo practically melt with relief: so there’s a REASON he hasn’t said “I love you” to her yet! Because professing your love to someone in fewer weeks than it takes to complete a menstrual cycle is totally normal.
We get two scenes here: one in which Chase and JoJo meet his father. Apparently Chase thinks now is the time to ask him why he left mom. Welp. Talk about heavy. Luckily, this deep conversation is edited to about 90 seconds, and we are soon at Chase’s mom’s house with his step-dad and siblings. Finally, real love! JoJo hits it off with his mom because they both like white wine. At the end, Chase whispers into JoJo’s ear that he’s falling in love with her. He still may be too normal to win, and his unfortch monotone isn’t doing him any favors. TBC.
Jordan takes JoJo to a field with some deer to test just exactly how many octaves JoJo can reach in electromagnetic spectrum. Let’s just say she should bring that talent to a lab somewhere.
Then they go to Jordan’s eerily named Pleasant Valley High School, where they fulfill his adolescent make out fantasies in the library. It is doubtful that in this 2007 fantasy his future self is wearing painted-on skinny jeans (borderline leggings, people), but who cares because we are about to meet Jordan’s JV football coach who never started him. Chip, meet shoulder.
And now we’re at the house, where we learn that Jordan was “the spicy child,” not because he was interesting or vivacious, but because he used to threaten to run away from home. Okay…
Jordan’s brother—who will henceforth be known as Not Aaron Rodgers—brought a silent girlfriend with a backcombed halo of bottled blonde hair that was so cartoonish I first thought she was an anime character brought to life. Not Aaron Rodgers also spoke in a low, mush-mouthed mumble that sounded like a cross of Lou Holz and Darth Vader. Not sure if I can confidently claim to have understood the words he was saying, but I’m pretty sure he gave his little bro the thumbs up re: JoJo.
Takeaways: JoJo is hot for Jordan. Jordan’s family seems all bent out of shape about MIA brother Aaron, but won’t discuss. Chico has shriek-worthy deer. Jordan still frontrunner. The end.
JoJo then arrives in St. Augustine Florida, wearing a romper crafted from West Elm’s Fall curtain line. Who knows in what order these hometown visits were actually shot, but I’m doubling down that St. Augustine was first, because DAMN JoJo’s spray tan is vibrant. Her skin cast a sheen of such potency that it radiated off my high-def TV like she was a walking, talking Instagram filter.
Is it wrong to say that Robby offends me? Something about his slicked, Bump-It hair pouf, his shiny Chiclet teeth, his affinity for pink shirts all ring as…less than natural. This is a guy who is very likely “here for the wrong reasons.” He told JoJo he loved her after like three weeks, right? It’s not a stretch to say that this guy is possibly, maybe, perhaps, not-so-sincere. But JoJo eats that shit up! This girl wouldn’t know a good guy if he did a naked interpretive dance right in front of the mirror that she uses to apply her fake lashes.
The real burning question about this hometown is this: Have JoJo and Robbie ever talked about anything other than their feelings for each other? I know this show isn’t known for fostering enduring connections, but come on. These two barely know each other even in Society Bachelorette standards.
First JoJo and Robby ride a horse-drawn carriage through what looks like a tchotchke town from Disneyworld. They sip cocktails by the water while Robby reassures JoJo for the fourteenth-thousandth time that he’s over his ex, despite breaking up merely three months prior to MEETING JoJo.
Robby’s mother then tells Robby some rumors that his ex-girlfriend’s roommate is spreading about him, saying that he ended his last relationship to go on the show. This sounds about as reliable as InTouch’s reporting on Jennifer Anniston’s “baby bump.” $100 bucks the producers put his mama up to this. Already, this shit is too complicated. JoJo should obviously bolt, but what does she do instead? She once again confronts Robby, who once again reassures her, this time by telling her that his last relationship ended in a blow-up fight where his ex slapped him in the face. Literally. Because that explains everything. Get out of this one while you can, JoJo!
I have nothing to say about Luke’s hometown visit other than that it seemed fucking awesome. Luke threw JoJo a huge barbecue with all the members of his small town and family, all of whom are the personification of the quaint, tight-knit Texan town. There was a meat smoker the size of a small locomotive affixed with a longhorn in the backyard. Luke’s father sat on a rocking chair and dished sage advice. JoJo wore cowboy boots and cutoffs and pretended not to be just some city girl from Dallas by adapting an as-of-yet-unheard Texas twang.
Luke then led JoJo to a field with a large heart made out of roses. What he DIDN’T DO, however, is tell her that he loves her. So despite everything, this hometown was a huge fail.
At this juncture, the biggest question is: Who will be next season’s Bachelor? My money is on Luke or Chase. Both are blandly attractive and inoffensive enough to do the job, and neither have embarrassed themselves to the point of unmarketable no return.
(I hope it’s Chase. He seems more like a real person than this show is accustomed to, and I could use someone who doesn’t buy into the bullshit as much as a Ben Higgins or a famewhore like Jordan. I fear with Luke it will be more of the same “small hometown, workin’ on the farm” noise, just like Chris’ season.)
And so we’re left hanging in the hangar, waiting to see which man-testant JoJo is going to pick. And then she looks at the camera and says she’s going to send Luke—Luke!—home. Luke before Robby?
Like a Jedi sensing a disturbance in the Force, Luke susses this shit out immediately and pulls JoJo aside before the Rose Ceremony can start and tells her he’s in love with her. Commence meltdown.
JoJo needs a moment to pop a squat on the airport tarmac a la Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids in that flame blue dress (was anyone else worried it was going to rip?) and has a full-blown freakout. At this point I checked my microwave clock. 9:59!? You mean we’re not getting the Rose Ceremony?? See you next week, Bach nation