It's Sophie's Choice and Rachel--
After meeting these families it's hard not to feel like there are just NO GOOD OPTIONS. We've got Mama Olga who threatened to kill her. We've got Mama Lynn, our Midwestern passive aggressive mom who threatened to hold sweet Peter's proposal hostage on her sectional. We've got Eric's family who he basically thanks for being terrible so he could struggle to be better (yikes) and then of course, our crowning jewel, DEAN'S DAD who I LOVE WITH MY ENTIRE HEART.
I kept wishing Rachel had the hindsight that comes with divorce as she looks at her mens and her possible futures. Girl, you want a guy with a little tragedy, but not too much. Too little and you get stuck with a vacant narcissist like Bryan who will never be happy. Too much and you get a sorrowful narcissist like Eric who you're always trying to "help." Are any of these mens really gonna help you be your best self, girl??? Maybe Peter. I'm holding out hope for Peter.
We start in Baltimore. Eric's wearing a Canadian tuxedo and they're on a basketball court re-enacting like every teenage rom com they've ever seen. No, I've got the ball! No, you've got the ball! BEAR HUG GIGGLES. Eric's friend saunters onto the court and tells Rachel Eric is "the truth." Rachel perches on a basketball to listen to Eric talk about how no one ever took care of him. RACHEL. RACHEL. RACHEL. LISTEN TO ME. THIS IS A LOT TO TAKE ON, GIRL. Has this man been to therapy??? Are you gonna spend the rest of your life making it up to him? I gotta say, I think Eric is gonna need someone more co-dependent that you.
Eric says once you meet the family, the next step is love and marriage and bliss. Hate to break this to you Eric, but marriage is actually more like cleaning someone else's pubes off the shower wall, fighting about where you're gonna spend Christmas, and farts.
Eric’s mom says she purposely stayed away from him while he was growing up so that he wouldn’t be dependent on his mother so he could be “the man he was designed to be,” i.e.: go shopping for a wife on a reality tv show. I'm in so much pain for Eric right now.
“Damn I really love this girl, and what I mean by that is, I really like you a lot.” –-Eric
And with that it's time to say goodbye to Baltimore and head to Miami to see Bryan, but really, who gives a fuck about Bryan when there's OLGA.
OK, here's the thing about Rachel and Bryan. She wants to bone him bad. Let's get these two to the fantasy suites so she can get it out of her system and go ahead and marry Peter. Bryan is not the dude you marry, Rachel. Bryan is a cipher of a person. Bryan says and does whatever he thinks he should say and do to look good on TV and win your heart because he doesn't know who he is besides a good looking dude who's mother thinks he's perfect. RACHEL. ARE YOU LISTENING.
She is not listening. She's giving him Disney princess eyes while he tells her about his family.
I want to be clear about this. No bullshit. I LOVE OLGA. WHAT A CRAZY QUEEN. As soon as Rachel walks in the door Olga lays it out for her. She calls Bryan the most precious thing she has in her life and she's crying and pounding liquor. Olga laughs in Bryan's face for going on television to find a wife. I love Olga's bangs!
"Bryan is my life." --Olga
Olga tells Rachel if she marries Bryan, she's marrying Olga. OLGA SAYS IF BRYAN’S NOT HAPPY SHE WILL KILL RACHEL AND SHE’S NOT KIDDING.
The producers cue the sentimental music like THIS IS LOVE and RACHEL, YOU IN DANGER GIRL. You are never leaving Miami. You’re spending every Sunday at Olga’s. EVERY SUNDAY. Olga is gonna critique the cleanliness of your kitchen EVERY SINGLE TIME she’s at your house which is gonna be ALL THE TIME. Olga’s gonna micro-aggression the shit outta you every time she sees you. There is no "winning over" Olga.
Oh, if only Rachel could have the experience of divorce to help her see what’s coming.
FUCK IT, LET'S GO TO PETER'S
What in the hell is a male model like Peter doing in Madison, Wisconsin?? And does anyone else have a hard time believing Peter is related to any of these people or the largest velour sectional in the entire world??
They go to the Madison farmers market around the capitol. This is an excellent farmers market, I can vouch for it. Peter brings his friends to meet Rachel at a bar. Pete’s black friends have white wives. There’s a lot of racial Americana happening here. Is Rachel ready for her new white lady best friends? Is she ready to drink lattes while wearing a cardigan and carrying around a yoga mat? And what about all the light beer drinking that is gonna on in the basement rec rooms? THAT'S WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN IN WISCO, RACHEL. Two words: CHEESE CURDS. AND LAGER.
We get over to Peter's mom's house and meet the sectional that seats 20 and Pete's mom who looks like she got a Kate Gosselin makeover just in time to be on television. The carpet is the color of moss. The walls have been sponge painted. There's Bed Bath & Beyond sculptural plates wall decor. I HAVE DATED THIS FAMILY. They make frozen hamburgers on the weekends and sometimes even oven krinkle fries. They're good people.
Peter loves on his niece and everyone swoons.
And then Mom passive-aggressively cock blocks the shit outta Peter when she tells Rachel she could see Peter not getting engaged. OH SNAP.
Peter is relieved his family got along with Rachel and dude, real talk, RACHEL IS PLEASANT AS FUCK. Girl can play the game, let's stop all being impressed your families didn't hate her. She's carrying an entire TV franchise on her back, PEOPLE LIKE HER.
Peter isn't sure what it's gonna take to get engaged. Me thinks it's the FANTASY SUITE.
LET'S MEET THE WONDER THAT IS DEAN'S DAD I LOVE HIM SO MUCH
I was afraid this was going to happen. I was afraid all my good times were going to be dashed upon the rocks by real tragedy and emotion and pain and love and the beauty of it all. That's me and Dean's Dad. We get to his house and the first thing he wants to do is play a soothing gong.
Dean tells Rachel his dad is a kundalini yoga sikh and that his name is Paramuk. He repeats this to her three times "Paramuk. Paramuk. Paramuk," like old girl ain't never heard a name that wasn't BECKY before. "It's his self-given name," Dean says, "It means divinely beautiful, which speaks to his character."
Here's the thing--obviously Dean has a lot of pain surrounding his mother's death, as he should. Has anyone sent him a copy of Wild yet??? And obviously Dean's dad was incapable of giving Dean what he needed at that time, and obviously that death sent Paramuk on his own spiritual journey. I like Paramuk, but he's a particular kind of narcissist. One who's like "at one with the world" and "honoring you" but like really only able to be in their own experience ALL THE TIME. Still, I love when he serves them mungo beans and bestows feathers upon them.
Paramuk says to Dean, "I'm happy you're getting to do something you love to do."
"What's that?" Dean asks.
"Hanging out with beautiful women I guess."
Dean questions his dad about his parenting after his mom died. It’s getting dark on the Bachelorette. Paramuk just wanted to come on tv and bang his gong, he wasn’t ready for this attack on his energy.
Paramuk says, "Whatever you think of me is really what you think of yourself," and “What is there to work through, Dean? I’m here honoring you, I’ve opened my house to you. I banged my gong for you, I served you mung sprouts on the floor. What more do you need?”
Dean's Experience of Paramuk, A Photo Essay:
I had a feeling the Gift of the Magi was going to turn sad, but listen Dean, get you some therapy and I say EMBRACE THE WEIRD.
During the rose ceremony Rachel wears the most atrocious makeup anyone has ever seen, huge red nike swoops on her cheeks, green eyeshadow, bleeding lipstick. It's like, SHE'S REALLY TESTING THEIR LOYALTY, y'all. And then she sends Dean home because obviously she did. Dean has been on his way out for a while. My $$$ is on Peter. They always have the winner express some serious doubts right before they take home the prize. What say you?