Bachelorette 12, Episode 9 Pull Your Pants Down And Kick Me In The Nuts

You can’t say JoJo doesn’t have a type – bearded blonds with Ace Ventura coifs, Martini glass-shaped bodies, and more holes in their stories than a library infested with silverfish. Sadly, Luke is a brooding brunet with an inverted lightbulb physique, good for intense face-stroking and riding a horse into the sunset. Well, the sun has set.

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No amount of “Come back, Shane!”s  can help, and we must resign ourselves to watching JoJo select her anti-Benlovable from the remaining Pet Detectives.

We relocate to Hua Hin, Thailand, a subtle suggestion that the remaining contestants are same same, but different. This is Fantasy Suite week, and Robby is the hygenically fortunate first man in the lineup. He tumbles out of a tuk-tuk into JoJo’s arms-arms, and they sweat on each other good-naturedly while avoiding local food and customs. They revisit his ex-girlfriend drama, and JoJo reminds us that she confessed her love to Ben on this very night, last season. Nothing gets these lovebirds going like talking about their exes, so they grab that antique brass key and jam it into the electric card reader on their Marriot Fantasy Suite, post-haste.

The morning after, JoJo meets Aaron Rodgers’ Little Brother for a steep hike to a Buddhist temple. Once there, JoJo promises not to hook up with ARLB, because “temples are very sacred here.” Please, everything JoJo knows about Buddhism she learned from Dharma and Greg, which just makes me angrier that she won’t at least choose a guy with a steady job. Over dinner, JoJo says getting proposed to is the moment she’s been waiting her whole life for. ARLB says he can’t wait to ask her father’s permission. Then she casually tosses out, “We have not talked at all about what the future would be like.” Nevermind, JoJo, all your concerns soon will be put to rest.

JoJo: Are we going to date long distance?
ARLB: I want to marry you.
JoJo: That’s what Ben said. Charming, treacherous Ben. How do I know you’re not Benning me?
ARLB: For the last month, when I’ve pictured getting married, it’s been to you.
JoJo: The whole month? Take me now.

Evasion properly handled, they scamper off to their Fantasy Suite like it’s one of those less sacred temples from back home.

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Her last date is with Chase. He does everything right, except having a shady past that screams, “Don’t trust me!” Fatal error, Chase. JoJo assures us falling in love with a third guy makes her want to puke, but offers him a night in the Fantasy Suite anyway. Emboldened, he finally says he loves her, which just brings all the nausea back. She excuses herself to dry heave and strategize how to get him to make the Luke rejection face. She pulls herself together, pops a Tums, and rips off the Band-Aid.

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Not now, rookie, since at least a couple episodes back, with Alex the Marine.

The Rose Ceremony is moot, despite ARLB’s choice of pants and Chase showing up to say call me after the show. ARLB and Robby get roses, Chase gets ushered out by a monkey intern, and JoJo brings up Benlovable one last time before introducing these not-Bens to her family.

Bachelorette 12, Episode 8 Crying Is Not Our Style

We kick off with Chase’s (broken) Hometown Date in Highland something, Colorado. First we meet his dad, who divorced Chase’s mom 12 years ago and is going to pay for it now. He shows up ostensibly to meet and vet JoJo, but she is basically the therapist’s couch that Chase lies on while he punishes his father. We hear about Chase’s emotional “walls” and that he’s never said “I love you” to a woman. Standard pre-wedding jitters.

At his real family’s mom’s house, we meet his sister, brother-in-law, their baby Everett, his step-dad and his mom, Sandy. Oh my god, I love his mom and want her to like me. While being warm and welcoming, she also sees what the producers are up to and stresses that Chase is not still messed up about the divorce. This directly contradicts his going on a show whose premise is, “choose me, love me.” I don’t want to risk my friendship with Sandy, but maybe she should review everything Chase and his sister say this episode. Alone together (the family motto), his mom asks if he’s happy. Chase cries, which usually means no, and Sandy lets out this little chestnut:

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The wall just got 10 feet higher. With his emotions safely entombed, the Chase of Amontillado walks JoJo out and ventures an “I’m falling in love with you” in his bid for full custody.

JoJo’s next Hometown Date takes her to Aaron Rodgers’ Little Brother’s hometown in Chico, California. They tour his high school and meet the old football coach who didn’t start ARLB, but did keep several photos of him. JoJo straddles him in the library (a safe bet there’s no Rodgers memorabilia there) and he uses the raw thigh power harnessed by his skinny jeans to thrust her into a bookcase to fool around.

JoJo is nervous going in to meet his family. She asks for a pep talk and in reply, Jordan kisses her. Is that a football thing? Like patting each other on the ass and suffering permanent brain damage? Inside we meet ARLB’s parents, a girl who came CAMERA READY, and Joey Fatone. The hardest working member of NSYNC takes JoJo aside so she can ask him about his estranged brother.

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It’s tearing up his heart. At the end of the date, ARLB says he loves her and JoJo wants to say it back. Guys, I’m not ready for JoJoJordan, a celebrity couple that sounds like it’s perpetually revving up for something.

Next up, we’re in St. Augustine, Florida with Robby, drawn to the show in his quest for personal and follicular control. He was the first of the muscle-bound pompadours to tell JoJo he loves her, and his goal this week is to pressure her into some reciprocity. They take a horse-drawn carriage through town, and his “I love you”s are up to three already. She parries with a mention of Ben Higgins, questions if she’s a rebound, then throws everyone off when she says her ex, Chad:

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Precision of language, JoJo. We meet Robby’s family, or as I like to call them, the people who for some reason let him go on the show. Robby informs them he has slept zero hours all week and has had several panic attacks, but no one takes note. Seriously, these are the details the doctor is going to want to know. Speaking one-on-one with Robby’s mom, JoJo tells her she’s falling in love with him. His mom is so thrilled. JoJo amends that it only just happened in the last couple of hours, but that’s months in Bachelorette time.

While JoJo gossips and drinks on a bed with his little sisters, Robby’s mom warns him that his ex-girlfriend’s roommate publicly #wrongreasons-ed him. He pulls JoJo out of her conversation (that alone should elicit an “I love you”) to tell her the accusation and then deny it. JoJo begs him to confess to something. He says he and his ex had a blow out fight, she slapped him, and he’ll never talk to her again. See? #rightreasons. His burning desire for a declaration of love has cooled to a cautious, “I think I know how you feel about me,” almost immediately followed by a James Taylorism, “Please, please, I won’t disappoint you.” JoJo can’t get out of there fast enough.

Last up is ex-army man Luke in Burnet, Texas. JoJo shows up in jean cut-offs and the cowboy boots he bought her, and they drive down a dirt road in a pick up truck. I suspect the theme of this date might be “Freedom.” He’s got a surprise for her-Hometown Dates are bigger in Texas. Instead of a private date before meeting his family, Luke takes her straight to a BBQ with 50 of his nearest and dearest. JoJo smiles politely then breaks away as soon as she spots a baby she can hide behind. Luke asks his parents what they think of her, and they politely say what they’ve had the time to observe. She’s beautiful, gets along with strangers, and has long hair.

After a quieter meal with his family, Luke takes JoJo on a horse ride to a hay couch, for her rolling pleasure. He tells JoJo how hot she looks while stroking her from face to knee. The other guys tend to focus on touching her thigh, but I like that Luke makes use of his full wingspan. Luke is so good at delivering emotional, no eye-contact speeches, it’s easy to forget to listen to what he’s saying. This time round it is to tell her she looks good in boots and, “I want the future.” Then Luke leads her down a candlelit path to a heart made out of flower petals and they kiss while a country song plays until she drives off in the sunset and oh my God we get it, already!  Cowboy love.

The Rose Ceremony is in an airplane hangar, naturally. Seat backs are up, tray tables safely stowed, and just to be safe, JoJo is wearing her flotation devices. Seriously, I have to will myself to look her in the eyes. She tells us she’s planning to jettison Luke, but someone has warned him. He pulls her aside to finally confess his love, and the episode ends with her wondering if keeping a brunet counts as diversity.

Bachelorette 12, Episode 7 I’m Your Goocho

Thank God for small mercies, JoJo moves the men from Buenos Aires to a setting they can pronounce: a bus. The dates this week are carefully tailored to each boyfriend. For Alex, a gaucho-themed date that diplomatically gets him to try on a looser shirt. For the horse-farming military man Luke, a horse riding/skeet shooting date. For Jordan, a “Tell me about your famous brother” date. As for the casual Group Date in the hotel room, what says Chase/James/Robby like a location with a predetermined check-out day?

The first Date Card, “I gaucho nose” or something, goes to would-be alpha male Alex. Alex avoids thigh friction by prancing sideways down the hotel stairs to JoJo’s waiting car, where they eat Pringles and count wheat fields. They arrive at a horse farm and change clothes, JoJo into flared suede pants with heels, and Alex into a traditional gaucho outfit that leaves me craving Thin Mints.

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Their hosts differentiate between the Spanish way of taming a horse (impose your will) and the Argentinian way (take it to Lookout Point and try to go all the way). If you remember to bring a sugar cube, the latter looks something like this:

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Now JoJo’s outfit makes a little more sense. You’ve heard of couples’ costumes? Meet Insecure Gaucho and Sexy Hoofed Animal. That evening over an uneaten dinner, JoJo observes that Alex isn’t as nervous as he should be. He tells her he’s falling in love with her, and she takes a really long time to say she’ll never, ever love him back. True, there wasn’t supposed to be a rose to lose on this date, but she respects Alex way too much to still spend time with him. He takes it poorly and leaves to drunk dial Chad.

The next 1 on 1 Date is with Aaron Rodgers’ Little Brother, who shows up for his private plane ride to a vineyard date wearing a t-shirt, khaki shorts, and sneakers. This is what I call my, “I’m running to Target, do you need anything?” outfit.  They stomp grapes, then drink the resultant foot juice and call it wine. Afterwards, they kiss in a hot tub and ARLB invites her to meet Mama, possibly a pet name for his d. She is dying to meet Mama, but hesitates when he tells her he has a strained relationship with his famous brother. This is his real brother, not a euphemism for genitals. ARLB rejects how his big brother “did life,” and defines himself by his self-professed humility, rather than personal or professional successes. ARLB says he loves her, and she reacts the exact opposite to how she reacted to Alex.

The Group Date is a behind the scenes tour of Body Worlds, showing various stages in the plastination process:

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The final product will look like Jude Law in A.I. They get rained out of their date and hang with JoJo in their hotel room. James Taylor knows he’s the before picture, and tries to stay in the game by sabotaging Robby. Robby isn’t intimidated. In fact, he is psyched there is a rose on this date, because he’s sure that he is JoJo’s third favorite. Chase was there, too.

Everyone gets some private time with JoJo on the date. Robby spreads a blanket on a park bench and slurs that he and his girlfriend of three years broke up just 4 months ago. On Robby’s timeline of trauma, that is about a month after his best friend died. And now he’s here! Perfectly healed and ready to marry a stranger. During their alone time, Chase can’t bring himself to say he loves JoJo, but does say he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Seriously, is that not bigger? Then James Taylor negs on himself and tells JoJo she’s his dream girl. She replies that he’s everything she’s never dated. Uh oh. “You have every quality that I would want,” JoJo tells James, except, of course, ARLB’s looks and personality. At the end of the night, psychologically unstable confidence wins the day, and JoJo bestows the precious date rose on Robby, who is totally fine, guys.

Luke and JoJo have a 1 on 1 Date riding horses and skeet shooting. He is in his element, identifying a bug-up-the-nose whinny and catching the loaded gun JoJo throws when she hits her target. Shirt unbuttoned to his sternum, Luke dazzles her with another state of their union speech and makeout session.

JoJo forgoes the Cocktail Party, so the Rose Ceremony happens right after Luke’s date. Everyone rightly concludes that Chase and James are on the chopping block. JoJo can’t think of Chase’s name, so she dumps James. JoJo tells him she hopes he gets a girl who will treat him the way he treats everyone else. What? Doesn’t matter. The years James spent building up his getting-dumped skillset have paid off. He takes it like a pro, leaving JoJo crying on a bench trying to remember what’s-his-face’s name for next time.