Bride Goeth Before the Fall: The Bachelor recap

I now pronounce you Dumb and Dumber


So here’s a thought: If you are emotionally fragile or have been appallingly unlucky in love (or better still, if you are emotionally fragile and have been appallingly unlucky in love), a great place for you is a reality TV dating show!
Because no one is ever hurt on those things and the chances of you driving home in a limo with a camera trained on you as you curse the heavens and ugly cry is, like, totally nil.
I mean, is it just me or are these Bachelorettes a little more basket-case-y than even the usual crop of reality TV love-seekers? We have Nicki who sees herself as a modern-day Hester Prynne (she’s a—shhhhh—divorcee, you know) and Courtney who hurls herself at men willy-nilly and then is shocked, shocked, shocked when they don’t respect her in the morning, and adorable Kacie who used to have a little illness I like to call body dysmorphia, and finally Lindzii who was not so much dumped as punk’d by her last boyfriend.
Stability, thy name is the Final Four.
Okay, hometown visits here we come. (Needless to say, they’re going to save Courtney for last, because we’re all dying to see what she is the spawn of. I, for one, am basically expecting her mom to be Madeleine Stowe from Revenge.)
We start with Lindzzzi. 
Generic photo because show promo department couldn’t be bothered getting screen shot from her date
Here are my thoughts on Lindzzzi. She may love Ben, but she will never love Ben as much as she loves those damn horses. No, not in a creepy Equus sort of way (I hope), just in a “I’m naked without a horse between my legs” sort of way. (Uh. . .)
“Horses have been my life since before I was born. I rode before I walked,” says Lindzzi, who clearly needs a refresher course on the human reproduction timeline.
So how is this horse situation going to work out on a vineyard in San Francisco? How I ask you?
Ben meets Lindzzi’s parents and is surprised to discover that they got married in the exact same San Francisco City Hall where he and Lindzii had their first date. What’s odd is that Lindzzi also seems surprised by the news. Are these even her real parents? Did she hire a couple of actors to play her parents? I am now officially suspicious.
Then Lindzzi’s “dad” challenges Ben to some sort of medieval initiation ritual—a chariot race. (No, really.)
And Ben loses so he and Lindzzi have to drag her parents home like two-legged work horses, as Lindzzi’s “dad” whips their backs and yells, “Faster, swines! Faster!” (Okay, not really on that last part. But they really did have to drag them home.)
In the end, everyone likes everyone at this little family get-together and Lindzzi’s “dad” even says, “I would  be honored to have you as a son-in-law. . .if this were actually my daughter, that is. . . .”
Next up:
I get a kick out of romance
Oh, poor sweet, plucky, deluded Kacie, who stages her own little teenage dream on her high school’s football field.
Because what’s sexier to a grown man than a drum majorette?
Ben has to look dutifully heartwarmed as she leads a marching band down the field, twirling her baton with glee. She ends with a spazzy little cartwheely flourish and then she and Ben have a serious convo about what to expect with her parents.
Bad piece of news #1: Dad is a federal probation officer.
Bad piece of news #2: Who doesn’t drink.
Ben’s internal monologue: I should’ve kept Emily.
“Anything else you want to tell me about him?” Ben asks tremulously.
“Well, he killed a man once,” Kacie says. (Psych!)
Basically, it’s amazing Kacie’s parents ever let her leave the house, let alone go on a reality TV dating show.
They’re very, very protective of their little girl. Like, chastity belt protective.
Next, Ben and Kacie’s dad have what might very well be the most awkward conversation in the history of conversations (and I’m including the time my mom asked me what kind of birth control I was using my sophomore year of college).
In short, Kacie’s dad is all like: Do not have sex with our baby. It will not end well.
And Ben is all like: Gulp.
As for Kacie’s mom. If she was trying to intentionally sabotage her little girls chances—not that I would ever suggest such a thing—she could not have done a better job.
“I have a serious problem with her moving to California,” mom says, adding. “And I would be a little disappointed if you two chose to live together before getting married.”

Kacie’s parents aren’t so much deal breakers and deal annihilators.

So, with that, the only mystery remaining in this episode is: What will Courtney’s parents look like? But first, Nicki, in Fort Worth, Texas.  (I’m pretty sure that was Texas, right? It was hard to tell because there weren’t enough Texas stereotypes on display for me to be sure.)
Wait? What state are we in again?
So Ben and Nicki go to a cowboy outfitter and buy boots and  hats.
(I’m assuming that the show is reimbursing Ben for this little shopping spree, otherwise I’d advise him against it: Never buy a turquoise belt buckle in Santa Fe, a cape at the Renaissance Festival or a pair of $500 cowboy boots in Texas. You will come home, come to your senses, and they will collect dust in your closet.)
“Finding the right boot is very similar to finding the right partner in life,” Nicki says. “You have to get just the right fit.” (Aaaand we are 51 minutes in before our first tortured metaphor people! A season record?)
Off to meet the parents. And you will never guess what fresh scandal I am about to expose: Nicki’s parents are—wait for it—divorced!!!!
Oh, the shame. The shondah! How did this depraved family get past the network TV censors?!?
Dad pulls Nicki aside. You see, he wants to apologize to her. He feels he too readily gave her hand in marriage the first time and he won’t make that mistake again.
(Um, I know Texas is a little conservative, but good lord, what year is this?)
“Oh, don’t blame yourself, Dad,” Nicki says. And they hug. Somewhere, Rick Santorum is tearing up.
But good news, people! Nicki’s parents like the cut of Ben’s jib.
“If we don’t see you again, I won’t be mad at you. I’ll just be disappointed,” says her dad in a toast to Ben. (Aww, that’s actually kind of sweet.)
Crazy Town, Arizona here we come!
(I love how they dispensed with the first three girls in a little over an hour and devote the entire second half of the show to Courtney. They know which side their bread is buttered on.)
In a voiceover, Courtney has a rare moment of reflection.
“I feel disappointed in myself for treating the girls the way I did,” she says. (Really? Hello, complete personality transformation! Some PR person has clearly gotten to her.)
So we meet her family. As usual, there is a less pretty sister. (Why is there always a less pretty sister? It’s practically axiomatic at this point.)
Also, Courtney’s mom seems pretty intense, but is not quite the bitch goddess I was expecting her to be.
As for Courtney’s dad, it was hard to see past his blinding argyle sweater vest.
Courtney proceeds to talk about Ben like he’s not at the table: “He’s amazing. I’m excited for you guys to meet him. I like him a lot. He’s so smart and funny. I dig him. I feel like I’m falling for him.”
Meanwhile, Ben is waving his hands in front of her face: “I’m RIGHT HERE!”
“Have you fallen or are you falling?” asks her sister. (Translation: Because I will so take your sloppy seconds.)
“I like him/love him,” Courtney says.
As for Courtney’s mom, she says this: “Ben seems like a very polite young man.”
(Translation: He’s not hot enough for my daughter).
Ben and Vesty McVesterson have a talk in the rain. At least, I think it’s raining. I see rain drops but neither of them are getting wet. (I know it’s a dry heat in Arizona but I didn’t realize that rain actually evaporated before hitting the ground. Where’s the super smart Emily to explain all this hard sciencey stuff when you need her?)
OMG, I just noticed that Ben is wearing the cowboy boots he bought on his hometown visit to Nicki. Party foul!! Party foul!  (But is it a . . . sign?)
The weird thing about the visit to Courtney’s family is that she almost seemed—dare I say it—normal in their presence. Luckily, the second half of the date is about to happen!
Follow me to Crazy Town: Population 2
So Courtney takes Ben to the spot where she’s always wanted to skinny dip get married.
The only date I can think of worse than “drum majorette on a high school football field” is “faux wedding ceremony.”
At least I think it’s a faux wedding ceremony.
The aisle is set up, there are chairs, an alter. Courtney slaps a jaunty little makeshift bowtie on Ben. And a man standing there who may or may not be a minister!
Holy matrimony!
Ben, for his part, handles it well. He even writes some super sensitive Ben vows at Courtney’s request.
“I’m getting a little nervous,” he admits.
But not so nervous that he doesn’t actually play along.
Ben reads his rather eloquent vows. Courtney burps out hers.
They exchange rings.
So wait. . .are they. . .married now? WTF?
“If this were a real wedding I’d now be pronouncing you man and wife,” the not!minister says.
Whew! They must’ve gotten him from the same casting agency where they got Lindzzi’s “father.” (For all your Father-y casting needs)
“We are not Mr. and Mrs. Flajnik yet, but it feels pretty good to try it on for size,” Courtney purrs.
Alrighty then.
And now they’re back in LA.
True recapper confession: I fast forwarded over the part where Ben recounts the last 1:45 minutes of the show with Chris Harrison. Couldn’t they have had this conversation off camera? #Filler
Rose ceremony time. Here’s the order:
1. “Courtney, will you accept this rose?”
“I do” (I see what you did there.)
2. Lindzzzi
And now it’s down to Nicki vs. Kacie.
3. And. . .Nicki gets the third rose.
Nicki and Lindzzzi hug Kacie. Courtney lurches awkwardly, but doesn’t go for the hug.
Kacie holds it together manfully until she gets to the limo and basically turns into Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
The less said about this the better.
Next week, all your Bachelor tropes are trotted out: An Alpine adventure! Ben and Courtney in a hot tub! An unexpected visitor to shake things up!
The pleasure of your presence is requested. . .

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