By Denise Weiss
For The Baltimore Sun
8:55 AM EST, February 25, 2014
Hola rose lovers, and welcome to Hometown Dates.
This is the week we get a glimpse into the people who spawned and reared the type of women who go on a reality dating show to find a husband. We are down to the final four ladies: Neekee, Andi, Clare and Renee. I won’t lie to you; this episode was really boring and if you haven’t watch it yet, you will thank me for saving you two hours.
We start in Neekee’s hometown of Kansas City, with a shot of some random cows mooing and Neekee running across a park and into Juan Pablo’s arms. Neekee is excited to bring Juan Pablo to the midwest, and is hoping to bring out the cowboy in him. Their first stop is “Oklahoma Joe’s” for some “gas station BBQ” which doesn’t sound very appetizing but looks delicious. Juan Pablo looks quizzically at the ribs and acts like he has never had BBQ chicken and ribs before. I’m pretty sure they have BBQ in Miami.
Next they go to an empty bar so el bachelor can prove his inner cowboy by riding a mechanical bull. How do you say “yee-haw!” in spanish? Juan Pablo barely holds on but Neekee is impressed and thinks he’s the next Urban Cowboy. Neekee wants to tell him she loves him, but can’t get the words out. Instead they ride the bull together until they “fall off” and her tongue lands in his mouth.
At Neekee’s hous, the two are greeted by Dad Tom, Mom Jennifer, some brothers and a wife. Dad Tom is wearing a sensible green sweater and makes Juan Pablo feel right at home when he toasts to Neekee and Juan Pablo’s new relationship. Dad Tom obviously doesn’t know how his daughter has been portrayed.
Mom pulls Neekee aside for a mother/daughter chat. Neekee tells her mom that she loves Juan Pablo but is waiting for right moment to tell him. I guess fighting with Clare about who paid the hotel bill last week didn’t leave enough time for “I love you.”
Mom Jennifer looks less than thrilled as she pulls on her hair and says she will support Neekee’s nuptials if Juan Pablo gets down on one knee and proposes.
Dad Tom sits down with Juan Pablo and tells him that if he isn’t 100 percent certain of his feelings for Neekee, please don’t ask her to marry him. Juan Pablo distracts Dad Tom with a lot of random hand gestures and Dad Tom is easily swayed and says they will accept him if he proposes. Dad Tom is an idiot.
Eventually Dad Tom questions Neekee about her feelings for Juan Pablo. She says she can’t put finger on her feelings for him, but explains that “it’s magical.” Words are not Neekee’s strong point unless she’s bitching out Clare.
Dad Tom shows zero emotion and seems more like he is reading lines off a cue card than giving his daughter’s suitor his blessing. Neekee’s family is sweet and about as exciting as watching paint dry, and everyone is wondering how such nice people raised such a nasty daughter.
Neekee and Juan Pablo stand at the front door kissing until the limo driver decides he has better things to do and starts the car, signaling the end of the date. At least he didn’t honk the horn and yell out the window “get the f--- in the car already.” Juan Pablo says goodnight and drives off, and Neekee loses another opportunity to tell him that she loves him.
Next up is Andi, who is really rocking the ombre down in Atlanta. Seriously, that is one really outdated ombre she has going on.
They meet in a park, run past some ducks, hug, he says “aye, there is a connection and chemistry” and they go to a shooting range where she fires an automatic weapon directly into the bullseye. Juan Pablo on the other hand uses a little wussy gun and after 737 rounds of ammo finally hits the target. His prize? He gets to meet her family. This should have been some kind of warning to Juan Pablo. Needless to say, Andi is someone to feared; emotionally insecure and armed and dangerous is not a pretty combination.
Andi is excited to see her family, but says that she is panicking inside because her family can be a little skeptical, which means that they have half a brain. Andi says she is waiting to fall in love with Juan Pablo and her family’s approval (or disapproval) could be the tipping point. Hopefully Juan Pablo brought the gun with him.
The family has hung a sign on the front door that reads “Welcome Home Pookie.” Funny, Juan Pablo doesn’t ask “waaas this meean pookie?” Mom Patti runs to greet her, with Dad Hy and Sister Rachel in tow.
It is abundantly clear from the start that no one is impressed with Juan Pablo. In fact, Dad Hy is so clearly disgusted that his Assistant District Attorney daughter is dating a guy who is dating 3 other women that he repeatedly wipes the sweat off of his forehead as he listens to Andi as she recalls their “adventura.” Despite Andi’s best efforts to tell her family about how much fun they have had, Dad Hy is a big fat Debbie Downer and keeps reminding Andi how many other girls were on the date with them.
During dinner, Dad Hy shovels meat in his mouth, gulps wine and shoots disapproving looks at Juan Pablo. Mom Patti takes Juan Pablo outside to talk, and he hopes that she “esspets” him. Juan Pablo again ‘splains his feelings with feverous hand gestures. Next think you know Mom Patti is asking Juan Pablo to teach her to salsa, and Juan Pablo grabs Andi and grinds on her in front of Mom Patti. Eventually Juan Pablo throws Mom Patti a bone and takes her for a few spins around the deck.
Everything is going nicely until Dad Hy sits down and asks “is it Juan or Juan Pablo?” El Bachelor responds “Ees Jhuapalo.” Hy should have just called him Juan Crapo at this point. Anyway, whatever your name is, can you answer the following question: "What in the world made you go on this show?”
Juan Pablo gives a stupid answer that doesn’t impress Dad Hy. Instead of just “essepting” that Dad Hy doesn’t like him, Juan Pablo tries to get Dad Hy to give his blessing, to which Dad Hy responds, “Let’s reverse the situation and pretend it’s your daughter who has been going out with a guy who is dating three other women.” Oh snap! Dad Hy 1, Juan Pablo 0.
Meanwhile in another room sister Rachel tells Andi she doesn’t see a connection between her and Juan Pablo. Despite her family’s disapproval of the situation (or maybe in spite of it) Andi ends the evening feeling a stronger connection to Juan Pablo and declares that she is “very very close to being in love with him.”
In the end, Dad Hy refuses to give his blessing to a man who is deciding between four women. Juan Pablo is unfazed and appreciates his honesty.
Our next stop is Sarasota, Florida, where Renee is so excited to see her son Ben that she says she is literally going to eat him. But before we can reunite mother and child, Renee must have her date with Juan Pablo.
They meet up at the beach, hug and walk to a little league field for a picnic while they wait for Ben to arrive. Ben comes out of a random car, runs over to Renee and they are very happy to see each other. Juan Pablo walks over, calls him “buddy,” shakes his hand and tries too hard to talk to him. Ben is pretty quiet and is likely thinking, "Who is the douchebag in the red flip flops with my mom and why does he keep trying to talk to me?"
Renee and Juan Pablo watch as Ben makes all kinds of bad plays out in the field and team sponsor Lakewood Ranch Dental gets some really good publicity. Juan Pablo says he wants a son. I guess Cameeeellllla and her dance recitals aren’t cutting it anymore.
Renee and Juan Pablo’s date is put on hold so that ABC can promote a new movie about cars. Sorry Aaron Paul, not even you can interest me enough to go see that movie.
After the game they meet the rest of Renee’s family- Mom Brenda, Dad Tom (not to be confused with Neekee’s Dad Tom in the green sweater) and a very cute brother.
Renee gets Ben ready for bed and Mom Brenda sits with Juan Pablo on a really small couch. It is very clear from Juan Pablo’s crossed arms that his lips are telling Brenda how wonderful Renee is, but his body language is saying “no rose for you Renee.” Poor Renee. Maybe next time you won’t leave your son for two months so you can be a therapist to 20 crazy insecure women and run after a guy who doesn’t want to kiss you.
Mom Brenda asks Renee if she is in love with Juan Pablo, as opposed to loving him as we do our pets. Of course Renee is totally, crazy, madly in love with him; she just needs to let him know that, which of course she doesn’t, making her the third girl in a row to fail to say those 3 little words. I’m thinking it’s probably really difficult for the girls to say “I love you” because THEY DON’T REALLY LOVE HIM! Phew. I feel better now that I said that.
Crazy as a squirrel and as angry as a swarm of bees is all we need to describe Clare. We are in a park in Sacramento, waiting for the start of Clare’s hometown date and the big reveal ... what did her family do to make Clare so crazy?
Clare is excited that their date is taking place at a park that her dead dad used to take her to. They sit on a bench and talk. Well, Juan Pablo sits on the bench; Clare awkwardly sits on Juan Pablo. Clare tells Juan Pablo that before he died, she and her dad had their daddy/daughter wedding dance. Juan Pablo is not smart enough to see this as a huge red flag and just sits there listening to story after story about Clare’s dead father.
Juan Pablo is the first guy she is bringing home since her dad died, and Ashlee starts talking about her abandonment issues. Oh, wait, sorry, I just had a little deja vu for a minute and forgot this is Clare and her issues, not Ashlee. Sorry about that. Clare talks about her father and says that he told her that anytime she needs him, she should find some water then throw rocks and he will be there. Does that mean that Dad was there in the ocean with them in Vietnam, because that’s really creepy. Either way Juan Pablo is so moved by the rock throwing speech that they go and throw rocks in the water. I would like to throw rocks at Clare.
Finally, the moment we have been waiting for — ee meet Clare’s family, Mom Lillian, sisters Lisa, Laura, Madelyn, Julie and an irrelevant brother-in-law. It is immediately apparent that Clare got all the looks in the family.
Clare tells Sister Madelyn that if Juan Pablo proposes she will say yes. Madelyn points out that she has only known him a few weeks, but is quickly shut down when Clare reminds her that their parents only knew each other for 3 weeks before they got engaged. Sister Lisa thinks Juan Pablo is a real southern gentleman who deserves Clare’s love.
Sister Laura is not having any of this and tells Clare that mama will not be giving her blessing. Clare cries and gets mad at Sister Laura and demands mama’s blessing. Sister Laura says that mama is traditional and will never give her blessing for this. Mama is not only traditional but is also apparently mute because she just sits there while Clare and Sister Laura get up in each other’s faces.
Clare tells Sister Laura that she is following her heart and it would devastate her if her family did anything to jeopardize her chances for a proposal. Sister Laura insists that she won’t let mama be manipulated and stands up in front of camera to prove how serious she is about this. Someone must have put dessert on the table because eventually Sister Laura walks away, giving Clare the opportunity to question mama directly. Sister Laura however is still lurking in the darkness and speaks for mama from behind the bushes, yelling “You are disrespecting mama.” Uh mama, feel free to speak up anytime now.
Juan Pablo finally gets some time with mama, who it isn’t mute but bilingual and speaks to Juan Pablo in Spanish and English. She explains that everyone misses “Daddy” and that Sister Laura is just being protective. Juan Pablo turns on the old lady charm and mama gives her blessing. Clare’s entire family needs intensive therapy to deal with the death of their patriarch. Where is Renee when you need her?
Clare hopes that Juan Pablo can look past her crazy family because “I would love to marry him. I would absolutely love it.” Of course you would Clare, and so would we because we are all dying to see the DVD your dad left for your future husband.
Back in Miami, Chris Harrison marches the girls out to the patio one by one and lines them up like a firing squad waiting for Juan Pablo. Chris says the gravity of the situation is weighing heavily on Juan Pablo as if Sister Laura is sitting in his lap.
The first rose goes to Neekee, the second rose goes to Clare and the third and final rose goes to Andi which we already knew from watching the promos for tomorrow night’s episode.
Juan Pablo looks sadly at rose-less Renee and cries. They sit and talk, and Juan Pablo does his patented move of wiping her tears with his thumb. He tells her he respects her and then walks her to the limo of rejection. Renee handles herself with class and dignity and doesn’t cry too badly and blow snot all over herself. Hopefully Renee will realize her true value and decide to go back to school for psychiatry.
Tomorrow night: Fantasy Suite and drama on St. Lucia. Remember, what happens in the fantasy suite stays in the fantasy suite. Unless it’s herpes because that could spread.
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