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'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 8: Real recognizes real

Amanda brought her girls to the beach to meet Ben. It made for pretty pictures, at least.


Amanda brought her girls to the beach to meet Ben. It made for pretty pictures, at least.



Ben Higgins has gotten so predictable, watching the show requires a drinking game.

Take sip if he kisses her. Take shot if he cries. Chug the penalty glass if he chooses the single mom of two.

Just like we knew Emily and Becca weren't going to make it to hometowns, it was obvious that Amanda and her adorable little moppets were not making it to fantasy suites week.

It’s frustrating to watch the end of this season play out because there isn’t any mystery left. To quote the late great B.B. King, “The thrill is gone.”

Amanda was the first to get her hometown visit in Laguna Beach, Calif. – which gave me PTSD flashbacks to my first reality show about nothing – and brought Ben to the beach to meet her girls.

Kids are super intuitive, so it wasn’t a shocker when even Amanda’s outgoing daughter was reluctant to cozy up to Ben. Eventually, the girls warmed up, in part, because Ben is irresponsible and let them chase seagulls (dangerous beasts that could have turned and attacked at any moment). Stellar parenting, guy.

On the ride home, the youngest daughter, Charlie, wailed for an eternity – expressing all our grief at how over this date we were. Amanda’s family did the protective song and dance, questioned Ben’s intentions and pretended like they were convinced he would be ready for the responsibility of raising someone else’s kids. We all knew better.

Lauren B. met up with Ben in Portland, Ore. and walked him by all the landmarks the crew got permits to shoot that day. Her family was cute, but her sister maybe didn’t get the memo that sisters aren’t supposed to drop trade secrets. Apparently, Lauren B. just got out of a serious relationship, a fact I can’t remember making to air during this season. She admitted to her family that she started the process skeptical which means her motives for going on the show weren’t “the right reasons.”

In the funniest moment of the episode for me, Ben actually cried when Lauren B.’s mom grilled him. Wowzers. You’re really going to have to toughen up, Ben. If the rejector is crying at the drop of dime, how must the rejectees feel? Lauren B. admitted to the cameras that she’s in love with Ben, but held back on saying it to the man himself because she knew what was up. Ben, at his heart, likes the chase. No girl who openly professed her love was still in the game.

Caila’s current hometown is Hudson, Ohio, where she went to high school and her dad runs a toy manufacturer. She took him to the bench where she’d jealously watched other couples sit and then to her dad’s factory to design a dream house for our Filipina Barbie and Cornfed Ken. Still the most interesting pairing of the bunch, it was hilarious to see them reenact the closing scene of An Officer and Gentleman when Ben carried Caila out of the factory.  

At Caila’s house, it was all the same questions with a hint of a cultural bent. Caila’s mom is Filipina and her dad is the dancing spokesman for Six Flags… and now you can’t unsee that. They asked all the same do you really love my daughter questions that Ben couldn’t really answer, but came away from the experience with generally positive feelings.

JoJo’s house in Dallas is where Ben almost lost his composure. Her very handsome older brothers were not having any of his nonsense.

The date started off rocky, because Ben showed up to JoJo’s tear streaked face. Her ex-boyfriend, Chad, had left flowers and a love letter on her doorstep. This punk move deserved to be addressed, but JoJo unwisely called to set him straight before Ben arrived, leaving Ben to think she’d Ben crying over another guy. She explained and he said he believed her, but you kind of know he didn’t by the way he brought it back up later.

During the home visit, we found out that her mother is Charo’s demure sister and her dad is Wilford Brimley. And now, you can’t unsee that either.

Her brothers got right to the grilling and found Ben’s non-answers wanting. “Let’s be real, you’ve been on two dates with this guy,” one brother told JoJo. She obviously went through a lot with her last boyfriend and they were not fans of the entire concept of dating The Bachelor for their sister. JoJo also decided not to tell Ben she loved him, because her brothers cautioned her to guard her heart.

At the rose ceremony, everyone seemed nervous, but they all knew the only possible outcome. Ben is 26. If being a dad is his destiny, he’s got plenty of time to get around to that. The eliminations have been paint by numbers since Jubilee exited the game in week 5. It’s all so predictable that the only drama Ben can drum up is his own tears.

It’s hard to feel sorry for a guy who was given the chance to date more than 20 gorgeous women, travel the continent, and ultimately choose the one he thinks he might actually be able to marry.

My tiny violin is in the shop. Suck it up, Ben.

How is your eventual fiancé going to feel watching you cry over a bunch of other women?

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:23am]


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