Episode 8

I'm sending this out from my hotel room in Augsburg, Germany, where I'll be singing some concerts over the weekend. (In Augsburg, not my hotel room.) Turns out 7.5 hour plane rides are great for getting recaps out (relatively) on time. Enjoy, dear readers! x

 

"Crying is not our style." —Chase's mom, crying, to Chase, crying. (Seriously, though, I loved this moment.)

CHASE'S HOMETOWN

It’s Hometown week, y’all! This is always a favorite episode of mine because I like seeing where these people come from and who raised them. We start off on a mountaintop in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with a view so picturesque I swear it could be a backdrop. Chase and Jojo discuss (once again) Chase’s issue with opening up (it’s because he’s from a broken family, OKAY?), and something about the timing off their subsequent kiss made me laugh...

 "We will kiss now."

"We will kiss now."

Did I mention Chase comes from a family of D-I-V-O-R-C-E? Because I don’t know if we were sufficiently reminded of it during the episode…

First, examples like the above are most definitely producer-encouraged and not Jojo's doing. You can tell by how quickly she wants to get that sentence out that she doesn't want to dwell on it. Second, it’s at times like this that I can’t help but notice how white bread and All-American and traditional this show is (or rather, the audience to which it appeals; I am aware Jojo is half Persian). Divorce rates have declined somewhat, but as I said in my Flare recap, when Chase was a kid it famously hovered around 50%. It struck me as strange to put so much emphasis on it considering it's totally common. (Yes, I get that it was a bad divorce, but still.) He may have been the only contestant on this season to come from a “broken family" (at least of which we’re aware, and I highly doubt it) but that ratio is not the norm. I get that that’s his story arc, but it bugs me how they make Chase and his sister (and in an indirect way, all children of divorced couples) seem damaged beyond repair.

Speaking of Chase’s sister, I adore her. Much like my ode to Ben’s mom last season, I have a little ode to Brittany in the form of .gifs. First up is her hilarious reaction (and reference!) to the fact that they are indeed filming an episode of The Bachelorette in their house right now…

 Note the irony of what she's saying and the fact that a camera is zooming in on her while she says it.

Note the irony of what she's saying and the fact that a camera is zooming in on her while she says it.

Perhaps what I like about Brittany is that her behavior in this scenario reminds me so much of my older sister, Meileen. I know Meileen would have found the whole Hometown thing super weird (in fact, when planning was underway, she initially wasn't game to be involved) but had it actually happened, she totally would have said something semi-sarcastic, semi-sincere, and 4th wall-breaking like the above. (And for the record, Meileen doesn't watch the show and doesn't read these, so she would certainly find it weird that I mentioned her here. Ha!)

Next up, Chase clearly takes Brittany’s opinion to heart. Not only did he tell her, “I appreciate and want to hear every one of your opinions”, but she also has the power to change his own opinions on a dime, apparently…

Last but not least, after Chase (in his quiet way) talks about how real it all feels, Brittany doesn’t shut him down but casually says the TRUEST TRUTH that’s ever been spoken on this show…

Mic drop. This, I swear, is one of the main reasons people fall in love (or believe they fall in love) on this show. (One of the reasons, not THE reason.) Okay, Ode to Brittany complete.

One last observation, the following Pick-up (if you don’t know what a Pick-up is, head over to the Glossary)…

Note the hair length (she has what I assume are clip-in extensions in the Pick-up), how the necklace is gone, and how the pink shirt isn’t even the same.

 

JORDAN'S HOMETOWN

In Chico, California, Jordan takes Jojo on a tour of his high school, where his former Spanish teacher gives an ebullient Direct-Look-Into-Camera

There’s an uber-artsy depth-of-field football shot…

… but one isn’t enough! And lest you think the fact that these bleachers don’t have an existing football on them will prove to be some sort of an issue…

… fear not, as uber-artsy depth-of-field football shots can always be arranged…

… even at similar yet different angles…

… because Jordan used to play football professionally and his brother Aaron, the elephant in the room because Jordan doesn’t talk to (or want to talk about) him, is a famous football player. GET IT? FOOTBALLS.

And why respect a family’s private social dynamics when you can make that elephant in the room even more elephantine…

...by adding two spare seats at the dinner table, even though every other meal, conversation, and seating arrangement ever on this show leaves that side open?

Finally, a serious tidbit…

Something about the way Jojo says the above to Jordan (in addition to the choice of words) speaks volumes. She’s basically talking like she knows she’s going to pick him, like he knows she knows she’s going to pick him, and like she knows he knows that she knows she's going to pick him. It would take some serious come-from-behind action on one of the other guys’ parts to make me think it’s anyone but Jordan at the end of this.

 

ROBBY'S HOMETOWN

Jojo heads to St. Augustine, FL for Robby's Hometown. I know I’ve been a bit hard on Robby, but as I’ve said multiple times over the past 2+ years that I've been writing these, it bothers me when someone doesn’t behave authentically (or least, in a way that’s believable) because it totally screws up the natural progression of a relationship. I'm not saying Robby isn't authentic (I don't presume to know), but I personally feel (and judging by your comments, so do you) that he's too good to be true. Yes, he's super handsome and well put-together and doesn't talk bad about anyone. But it's human things like reticence and apprehension (Chase), humor and self-deprecation (Luke), and being misunderstood or not given the benefit of the doubt (Jordan) that make a person relatable and likable. 

Back to the natural progression (or lack thereof) of relationships, Jojo basically admits that it's because of Robby’s premature ILY (while shocking and even scary at the time) that their relationship catapulted forward…

… THE ESSENCE of which is wrong. But I’ll delve into that in a bit.

There’s another Pick-up…

 It's like a game of Spot the Difference!

It's like a game of Spot the Difference!

Notice the hair length, the makeup, the lack of jewelry, the background, and even the lighting/quality in the pick-up. It’s clearly the same session as the Pick-up above (and by the looks of it, it was a productive one).

We’re shown a lovely (if random) shot of dolphins, because dolphins:

And finally, after the drama with Robby’s ex’s roommate’s alleged shit disturbance (which I covered on Flare), Jojo justifies why she trusts Robby…

My issue with Jojo and Robby as a couple is that there is no specific reason they seem into each other, because as I said over at Flare, they never use any words to describe it. And, unlike her relationship with say, Jordan, there's no natural chemistry jumping out at the screen at me (rendering words unnecessary). As far as I, the viewer, can tell they’re a match to the extent that Robby’s insanely effusive (to the point where it feels blind, premature, and even—due to the circumstances—calculated) and Jojo is, by her own admission both last season and in Episode 2, a person who seeks and responds to Words of Affirmation. (Yes, of those 5 Love Languages.) In that sense alone, it’s a match made in Heaven. BUT. This isn’t dating roulette! Just because a guy says he loves you doesn’t mean a) that he means it (again, especially in this scenario… and it may not even come from a malicious place; it could easily come from a place of circumstantial cluelessness), and b) that you’re required to love him back. As I said in one of my dating columns, talk is cheap. And since it’s hard to let actions speak louder than words in such a controlled, contrived environment, we need specificity to differentiate WHAT makes this relationship in particular special and believable. WHY does Robby love Jojo, especially as early as the first date? ADJECTIVES ARE OUR FRIENDS.

Compare the above to when Chase, at the end of his Hometown, told Jojo he loved her. Her response: "You never say things like that, that's how I know you mean it." It was a moment where talk, because it had been used so selectively, was anything but cheap. It's for these reasons that, for the millionth time, I'm just not buying whatever it is Robby's selling. 

Is it possible the specificity I crave ended up on the editing room floor? Possibly (I can admit that) but unlikely, considering how powerful and valuable it'd be. Okay, rant over. 

 

LUKE'S HOMETOWN

In Burnet, TX, Luke drives Jojo to their destination, a huge family-and-friends-because-friends-are-family BBQ. The producers behind making the B-roll of the truck turning off the road, however, couldn't even be bothered to find a long-haired female volunteer to sit in the passenger's seat, which might've made this somewhat believable...

Luke's Dad Chat was oh-so-cute. When his dad said the following with complete sincerity and a thick Southern drawl, I basically melted...

To talk about the next part I have to address the Rose Ceremony. I get that there was a huge build-up to Luke "opening up" and saying ILY, but focusing on that as the reason for Jojo considering axing him is wrong. After all, did he not just say...

 (I couldn't for the life of me catch what Jojo said here.)

(I couldn't for the life of me catch what Jojo said here.)

... and...

?

I try not to repeat myself with what I write at Flare, but this is really an issue of semantics. I don't for a second think Jojo didn't feel loved or appreciated by Luke. If she really was planning on sending him home at that Rose Ceremony (which I now doubt because they aired her saying it), I can't help but think it would be for reasons like compatibility or sense of humor, or something else we can't get the gist of through a television screen. I don't know; I'm just throwing out examples... I thought these two were strong. :/

 

ROSE CEREMONY

Besides the fancy airplane hangar, there's not much to add here. Both Andy and I totally felt Luke's interruption was staged or at the very least producer-pushed, probably under the guise of encouraging Luke that he should get a damn ILY off his chest. Guess we'll have to tune in Monday to see what happens. :)

 

BEST DRESSED

Best Dressed is Robby, now a fixture in the Best Dressed section, with his Rose Ceremony duds...

Robby really knows how to dress and consistently proves it. A grey three-piece suit isn't necessarily easy to pull off and he looks like he was born to. I also love the print and shape of his pocket square. 👏🏼

Also, somewhat related, two of you wrote me asking about Jordan's bomber from his Hometown...

It's by Theory and sells HERE. (Thanks, Dee!)

 

WORST DRESSED

There wasn't a bad look in sight this week. No Worst Dressed!

 

JOJO'S LOOKS

I went on and on about Jojo's fabulous casual looks last week and at the risk of repeating myself, the same is about to go down. 

First up is her outfit for Chase's Hometown...

This was my favorite look of the week. I love ambiguously aztec/tribal-y prints and oversized, draped cardigans, so why not marry the two? The details are also great, though, as I love that feminine yet functional sweater, and I LOVE all her jewelry; it's all cool and interesting and versatile. Jojo's Line cardigan is sadly sold out (HERE) but there's a very similar one (on sale!) by the same brand on the carousel above. Her fabulous blush top is only $35 and sells HERE. (I've already bought one.) Her Steve Madden "Eternul" boots (also on sale) sell HERE. As for the jewelry...

Jojo's necklace is by BTB Jewelry and sells HERE. Her bracelets are by the same brand and sell HERE and HERE. (Get 20% off with code "BTB20". You're welcome. 😊) Her druzy ring is by Robyn Rhodes and sells HERE. (Get 20% off with code "PANDA20")

For Jordan's Hometown...

Again, a look that's so wearable and accessible, while the flowy but simple jacket keeps things fashion forward. I like how the jacket has a silky, refined quality to it (it's not a starchy khaki) and while there's something mature about it, the look is kept youthful by modern details like skinny white jeans and that long necklace. Jojo's jacket is by Zara but is sadly sold out (HERE) but there are solid alternatives above. Her white Paige jeans sell HERE and her Ash boots (which we've seen her wear several times throughout the season now) sell HERE. Her shark tooth necklace is by Nashelle (the same designer behind that badass upper arm cuff from Episode 5) and sells HERE. (Get 20% off code "PRETTYPANDA")

My second favorite look of the week was her romper from Robby's Hometown...

You guys know by now that I LOVE me a cute romper. There's nothing like a complete outfit rolled into one easy piece, and rompers are friendlier on hot days when you don't want to worry about sundress-related wardrobe malfunctions. I like how the long sleeves balance the length of the shorts and the print, while certainly loud, is fabulous. (Oh and I am totally contemplating those versatile-looking wedges, especially if they make me look anywhere as leggy as Jojo.) Jojo's Isabel Marant Etoile romper sells HERE but there are more price-conscious alternatives above. Her wedges are by Vince Camuto and sell HERE. As for her jewelry...

Her double druzy ring (which you may remember from Episode 6) is by Robyn Rhodes and sells HERE. (Get 20% off with code PANDA20) Her heart ring is by Jules Vance and sells HERE. (Get 20% off with code "JOJO") Her mini horn necklace is by Gold & Gray and sells HERE. (Get 30% off with code "BACHELORETTE30"!)

Jojo's look for Luke's Hometown was simple but cute...

I'm not over the moon for this outfit (I always like it when fashion choices on this show are a bit more elevated) but it fit the BBQ-in-Texas bill perfectly. Jojo's Bebe tank sells HERE and her BlankNYC shorts sell (on sale!) HERE. As for her jewelry...

These were the highlights of this outfit for me. Her lariat necklace (which she also wore with that fabulous jumpsuit in Episode 5) is by Jules Vance and sells HERE. (Again, 20% off with code "JOJO") Her cool bracelet is yet another Robyn Rhodes piece and sells HERE. (Again, 20% off with code "PANDA20")

For the Rose Ceremony...

Okay, so it's another sequined, form-fitting gown. However, there's no denying this dress brings drama, so in a Rose Ceremony set in an airplane hangar, with a red carpet, blue projected onto the walls, and an airplane sitting pretty behind the men, this dress did the scene justice. (But seriously. An updo. This look needs an updo.) Jojo's dress is by Jay Godfrey (the same designer as that cool white and silver sequin gown from Episode 5) but it's completely sold out everywhere. There's one by the same designer with the same cut but in a cocktail length selling HERE, and one with a very similar cut but in blush HERE. If you're willing to venture away from Jay Godfrey, there's an AQ QA backless version in navy HERE. Jojo's earrings are by Cezua, a fine jewelry line, and I'm afraid that after much digging I couldn't find anything even remotely similar. Sorry! :(

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!