Episode 8

Dear readers!

Please forgive any typos or skimmed over sections in this recap. I've spent the entire week in California for some concerts and, while I've been trucking away on this recap slowly but surely, it hasn't gotten 100% of my attention!

PS. I love corrections! xo

AMANDA’S HOMETOWN

 Sounds fair.

Sounds fair.

Amanda’s reunion with her kids was a real tearjerker. It’s always fascinating to me to see someone who you’ve only come to know as an individual interact with their kids for the first time. What we saw of Amanda’s time with her kids was really adorable. Her daughter, Charlie, also gave a Direct Look Into Camera for the ages...

I went on a bit of a diatribe about this in my Flare recap, but this date seemed wrong to me. Ben allowing Amanda to introduce her kids to him at a point where he had to have known he wasn’t going to choose her just crosses the line….

… Yeah, yeah, I’m sure “he didn’t know” how he felt yet, but I don’t buy it. Nearly every former lead has said they knew who their final two were within the first couple of weeks, if not sooner. Juan Pablo (rightfully) got criticized for going to Renée’s Hometown and meeting her son Ben (I believe they also played on the beach), only to send her home that week as well. Yet somehow I don’t picture Ben getting the same flak for essentially the same transgression. I don’t know how much of this was producer manipulation (remember, Amanda said she wouldn't introduce a man to her kids unless she was pretty sure about them) and how much of it was Ben legitimately wanting to meet her children, but either way it doesn’t sit well with me. 

A commenter on my Flare recap didn't see the big deal about a guy meeting the kids, especially considering their young age. But this isn't real life, and my issues are more with the fact that a) getting to this point kept Amanda from her children even longer than necessary, and b) Amanda said numerous times that she wouldn't introduce a man she was seeing to her kids unless she was pretty sure about them. 

It was amusing to watch Ben stay uber-focused on Amanda's mom despite something buzzing near him...

 focus.

focus.

And Amanda shared a conversation with her mom which 100% is what I meant in my Flare recap. So many viewers judge parents who come on this show, as though it takes away from how good a mother they are. (I've noticed this applies less to the male contestants with children.)

amanda2.gif

 

LAUREN B’S HOMETOWN

In Portland, Lauren B takes Ben to some food trucks, otherwise known as the best date activity known to man. I relate to Lauren B's love of butter—is there anything better, really?—and loved this moment between them...

I was also fascinated by how all the other folks seemed either completely unaware or disinterested in the filming going on. (The Bachelor is such an infamous show that there are usually hordes of people crowded around and taking photos.)  It made me think the cameras had to be far away and zooming in...

Lauren B either speaks in hyperbole or is really that comfortable with Ben...

Lauren B has been a frontrunner this entire season but this Hometown I think really cemented her as everyone's prediction for Ben's final pick. I believe in showing—not telling—as talk can be cheap. And while on every other Hometown he told some family member, "I really care about your daughter", he showed how much he values Lauren B in this moment...

There was some commentary from Lauren B about the importance of her family's approval that came from an ITM I'm sure is a Pick-Up...

Generic top, check. Hair and makeup completely different than this date, check. 

 

CAILA'S HOMETOWN

Caila's Hometown activity was truly COOL. It was like a mix between an elaborate (and therefore typical) Bachelor date and an episode of How It's Made. Plus, they built a toy house, so this being The Bachelor, relationship metaphors were aplenty...

At dinner, Caila's dad Chris, unfazed by the cameras or Ben's dashing good looks, immediately goes for the jugular with...

I know Caila wasn't thrilled with this question, but it won me over immediately. I love that her dad asked a question that we would all ask, or at least want to ask. How could you not want to know?? For example, I know my "fame" was never as "microwaved" as Ben's, but one of my most-asked questions is what it's like to suddenly go from anonymity to regularly getting recognized on the street.  And frankly, I understand that question. Had I met a reality TV person before going on the show, I would have wanted to ask the same thing. It's a valid question, and despite Caila's protests, a fantastic getting-to-know-you topic. It's a shame they didn't show more of Ben's answer (if there was more), because that would have been an authentic conversation that Ben—as The Bachelor—might actually have with the parents of the girl he was dating.

I found Caila's sit-down with her father also very interesting...

Her father's reticence and his efforts to bring Caila back to reality fascinate me. This exchange exemplifies why I love Hometown dates. We've gotten to know Caila over 8 weeks and we've begun to see her "fall" for Ben right on schedule. But seeing her so emotional and convinced that Ben is "it"—across from her pragmatic and reasonably skeptical father WHO RAISED HER—is hugely telling as to how this pressure cooker can affect its contestants. This isn't just any chat. This is her father. My point is, Caila, no matter how dramatic or idealistic or susceptible to falling for men she may be in real life, can't have fallen too far from the tree—at least half that tree being an evidently practical person. There's something about Caila here that, while I don't know her personally, doesn't seem like who she really is, if that makes sense. It's her after 7 or so weeks of the Bachelor filming process. Someone tweeted at me that Caila seemed crazy on this Hometown. I responded that if you're not somewhat crazy at this point in filming, you're superhuman.

 

JOJO'S HOMETOWN

Wow, talk about contrived. Remember, at this point, Jojo would have been "off the grid" (no phone, internet, or any other communication with the outside world) for about 7 weeks. I have a very hard time believing that Jojo's ex just so happened to know when and where to leave two dozen fresh roses and a love letter on her doorstep without the producers' assistance. Her anger is clearly immediately directed at production but is half-assedly edited to make it seem directed at her ex...

 chad is not in the room.

chad is not in the room.

... and as usual, being the Voice Of Reason she is:

 ah, to be a pawn again.

ah, to be a pawn again.

Then, after she's conveniently given a producer's phone to call Chad on camera—and Ben arrives so they can hash it all out—Jojo's optimism tells us all which direction this Hometown is headed...

 foreshadowing.

foreshadowing.

We knew something would be off about Jojo's Hometown; regardless of the order in which the Hometowns are filmed, traditionally the last Hometown shown has some sort of drama in it. Last season, Jade revealed she'd posed for Playboy and showed Chris the photos. In Sean's season, Desiree's brother embraced the role of overprotective sibling with gusto. Jojo's brothers were all too happy to carry that torch, which is rich considering Ben, the younger brother, had to lead on his own harem of women a mere 3 years ago. 

Jojo's mother was the shining star of this Hometown, from her encouraging mother-daughter chat...

... to her straight-from-the-bottle stress management:

 A for effort, papa fletcher.

A for effort, papa fletcher.

ROSE CEREMONY

I'm very tight on time so I have to skim over the Rose Ceremony a bit. The only really notable thing to happen is Amanda said:

"I just feel like, if you were having any doubts after my Hometown date, it would have been nice if you would've let me know then, rather than, you know, send me back to LA just to send me home at a Rose Ceremony." 

We discussed this in the comments section last week. It's not dissimilar to Becca not wanting to be "blindsided". (Yes, the definition of "blindside" was brought up.) I'll copy and paste what I wrote...

"Rose Ceremonies are a LOT more painful to stand through than it appears on TV and there's a humiliation factor there. For example, even though I wasn't ever really "sure" about Juan Pablo, the thought of being eliminated at a Rose Ceremony was still terrifying. It's not so much the rejection but rather the hugely drawn-out embarrassment of it all—especially with all the buildup (ITMs, Girl Chats, dressing to the nines...) leading up to them. That's what I suspect was Becca's fear. Again, she spent the whole episode feeling anxious and like she wasn't receiving any validation, so she must have already had a bad feeling about things. But I think she would have rather he sent her home during a thoughtful conversation rather than through the impersonal and rather degrading Rose Ceremony process."

A lot of people have said that since Amanda's Hometown was in Orange County, it was silly for her to whine about going to LA for a Rose Ceremony. I agree that it's not far, but it's not about the distance. The sheer logistics of getting to a Rose Ceremony when you've been in a hotel in your hometown aside, Amanda probably just would have wanted to get back to her children and her real life even a few days sooner. Remember, when you're filming, you're still off the grid, no matter how close in proximity you are to your family. 

 

BEST DRESSED

Amanda is the Queen of all things off-the-shoulder...

So, I have mixed feelings about this outfit. I love the top but I don't like it with cutoffs for a day at the beach. It was too impractical and she was constantly having to adjust and pull it up. But the top alone, perhaps with fitted bottoms and heels, is hot. You know by now I love contrasting exposed skin with covering up elsewhere, and this top does that in an unexpected way. Amanda's exact off-the-shoulder top is by Swell but is sadly sold out (HERE). I've found a bunch of alternatives, however, HERE, HERE, and a cool lace-sleeve tunic version HERE. I also own Free People's basic, fitted off-the-shoulder long sleeve top in black and wear it all the time, HERE. It's not as dramatic as Amanda's but it goes with everything.

Lauren B is a master at casual chic...

I think Lauren B might be my favorite dresser this season in terms of casualwear. She always looks stylishly put together yet in a "this old thing?" kind of way. In my research I learned Kate Middleton wore this same Zara shirt, so it's obviously long gone. If you insist on having the exact shirt, it's selling at inflated prices on eBay HERE (XS), HERE (S), HERE (M), and HERE (all sizes). Otherwise, there are super similar options HERE, HERE, and HERE. Lauren B's leather jacket is also sold out, but there are somewhat similar options HEREHERE, and HERE. (I happen to own a similar quilted leather jacket by All Saints—HERE—and while it's an investment piece, it's been totally worth it for me.)

Lauren B's (beautiful!) sister Mollie's cardigan caught my eye...

The oversized silhouette of this cardigan really works on her otherwise fitted outfit. She looks simultaneously comfy and classy. I was sure this cardigan was by The Row, Acne, or some other pricey brand, so I was floored when Lauren B told me it's in fact from Target. Something about it just looks expensive, so kudos to Mollie for her bargain shopping abilities. Sadly, her oversized grey cardigan is sold out (believe me, I looked!), but there are some super similar alternatives HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I loved Caila's Hometown outfit...

First, I love how this outfit transformed depending on whether or not she wore the vest. (I may or may not have ordered one for myself.) Second, I love how her sweater is discreetly sexy. There was a little midriff action but never too much, and she was tastefully covered up everywhere else. Her whole look was functional for a Fall day yet still stylish. Caila's high-low sweater sells at Anthropologie HERE but the remaining sizes are limited, so I've found very similar ones selling HERE, HERE, and HERE. Her vest is from J.Crew and sells HERE. Her leather-like pants are from H&M (which amazes me because they look really expensive on her) and sell HERE. Her Tory Burch "Sullivan" boots are sadly sold out (HERE) but you're in luck if you're a size 5.5 (HERE), 6 (HERE), 8 (HERE), or 10 (HERE), and there are very similar options selling HERE and HERE.

Runner-up for Best Dressed is Jojo in her SMOKING HOT Rose Ceremony dress...

Even Andy, who while a very entertaining peanut gallery has a hard time focusing 100% on the show, had to pause what he was doing to say, "Whoa" when Jojo stepped out. She looked show-stoppingly hot, in that Jessica Rabbit way. I joke with Andy that sometimes I dress for men and sometimes I dress for women. This dress would fall into the former category. Jojo's exact dress is by La Femme but unfortunately there's no links or photos to be found of it anywhere. The closest alternatives I could find are HERE and HERE. There's also a sequin version of the latter (very Jessica Rabbit), HERE. I also found a similar dress to Jojo's, except strapless, (HERE) and a more flowy, formal maxi (HERE). Oh, and there's a hot bodycon version with cutouts HERE. Her Nadri earrings sell HERE.

My Best Dressed this week is Amanda in her Rose Ceremony dress...

You know by now that I like to balance sex appeal with discretion, and this dress is a perfect marriage of the two. It's got coverage in the form of 3/4 length sleeves but is balanced by those sheer bits. It's ladylike while being fresh and contemporary. Amanda's dress, like a lot of her wardrobe this season, is by For Love and Lemons and sells HERE and HERE. It also comes in navy (which I think is just as spectacular) and sells HERE.

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!




Sharleen Joynt32 Comments