Welcome home(s)! This week we get to see the [speci]men in their natural habitats around this great nation. I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of the show, but I can already tell you who is going home this week. I won’t – not yet – but there’s like a 92% chance you already know.
We’re meeting Constantine’s father, Dimitri, his mother, Elleni, and sister, Marie, but first is a stop at “his” restaurant, Giorgio’s. Which by “his” I mean “his family’s.” Also, it’s an Italian restaurant. It’s only weird because he’s Greek and Greek food is delicious so I’m not sure why they don’t own a Greek restaurant but maybe folks in the South don’t like Greek food? Shame on them. All the waitresses are googley-eyed and spying on them kissing. I have to bet that there’s a few girls on screen that are just comparing, likely having kissed him too, in the past. And by “in the past” I mean “the week before The Bachelorette starting filming.”
Whoa, welcome to Constantine’s ginormous house. By “his house”…okay, you know where I’m going with that. They enjoy a good meal and then Mom wants to get down to the nitty gritty: “you movin’ here or what?” okay, it didn’t quite play out like that but it should have. Mom seems realistic about the fake glamour of television and wants to know if Ashley’s going to be in it once the cameras are gone. She wants to know if Ashley would pick up her life and move to Atlanta and Ashley says yes, if that’s what would make him happy. If Constantine is happy, Mom is happy.
I love that Constantine’s dad’s name is Dimitri. I also love that he says Ashley has a “gorgeous personality.” Wouldn’t you just swoon if someone said you had a gorgeous personality? What a compliment. To all my friends: you have a gorgeous personality. (you’re welcome). Dad cautions that he doesn’t want his boy to be rushed. Here’s his advice: “it isn’t gonna be perfect. In the beginning it should be, but it isn’t always.” I believe in that too – the beginnings of relationships should be easy and fun. You shouldn’t have to try too hard to make it work. Life is hard enough. Strong work, Dad.
Ashley proclaims she’s moving in much to everyone’s delight. And just as Constantine is getting ready to leave, saying goodbye, his whole big fat happy Greek family piles in. With more food. Greek dancing ensues. Dad throws money. I’m moving in too. They kiss goodnight and the family cheers from the front porch. Anyone else think it’s a bad sign that she fell in love with fam quicker than Constantine?
Where: Chadds Ford,PA
I will give it to Ames– he really knows how to pull together an outfit. I’m really digging him in his “welcome to Pennsylvania, don’t I look rustic” plaid shirt. Today Ashley is meeting his sister, brother-in-law, mom, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews. Another insane house…is that an indoor pool?! What is up with these mansions? Ashley’s contestant applications must have had family financial history requirement. Ashley says that things with Ames are moving very slow…she feels something (like maybe she feels he’s into guys?), and she’s not ready to stop learning more about him. Ames, my friends, is a hand talker. Those perfectly manicured hands are flailing about every which way. His family explains that Ames has a lot of varied interests, very similarly to the male figures in his life, and that tragically, both his father and stepfather died of cancer. The sister thinks Ashley is interested in Ames but can’t tell if she is passionate about him. That means no. Ashley keeps telling everyone that she is feeling reassured and they are moving slower than other guys. She doesn’t feel the romance and the sister is catching on so she warns Ames that he needs to step it up. Ames decides to do what he thinks is the most romantic thing ever and takes Ashley to have a picnic under a magnolia tree. It is quite lovely. Ashley is surprised to have learned thatAmes went to boarding school. She is not surprised to learn that he was the unpopular guy in school. He says he was really nerdy. We believe him. Ashley says that they have the same outlook on life. We believe her. Ames says they had the most amazing kiss ever. I don’t believe him. It looked awful. He said it was the most beautiful moment in all his life; he’s absolutely falling in love with her. Meanwhile, Ashley looked relieved it was over.
Ashley thinks Ben is so sexy. Ben takes Ashley to get some wine and they’ve kissed like eight times before they even get to lunch. They set up a picnic on a porch in the rain. Ben says it’s a really big deal to be bringing home a girl to meet mom, having only done it once before. Ashley asks about Ben’s father, whose passing has had a profound impact on their family. Ben’s sister confesses that she was the one who signed her brother up to be on The Bachelorette but she seems super protective and not all too pleased that he’s made it this far. Ben says that if things keep progressing the way that they have been, he will propose. Ben tells his mom that this has changed from being an adventure to actually really liking her. Ben has a really nice moment with his mom, apologizing to her for not being a better person for her after his dad died. He gets emotional talking to the camera about his dad, and notes he thinks his dad would be proud of him. We didn’t really get to see Ashley interacting with the family or Ben that much. It seems like a really good set up to make Ben the next Bachelor…what a transformative experience this has been for him….now he’s ready for love…yadda yadda. I like him and all, but you all know how I loathe the recycling of contestants.
It’s super pretty where they met with a gazebo and lots of gorgeous flowers but its not so pretty where they have their alone time before meeting the fam: a super cheesy, 70’s-esque roller rink. Okay, maybe early 90’s. Apparently it was supposed to rain so JP had planned a date for her at the roller rink. Cheesy music, disco ball, and my stomach turning…yup, must be love…”I can’t fight this feeling anymore…” seriously I bet this is going to be their song if they get engaged. Ha! Meeting the parents and his brother is a big deal, he tells Ashley, alluding again to the last girl he brought home which ended horribly. JP lets on that he has anger/jealousy issues (which we all know about) but Ashley doesn’t catch on.
Ashley asks “so you grew up here?” and I’m pretty sure he answered, “yeah, 33 years.” Which means he’s lived at home his whole life? Ewww. JP’s mom is cautious. JP skirts the “are you in love with her?” question by saying all signs are pointing to that. He feels confident that they have what the other guys don’t. Yes, he will propose to her if he’s in love with her when the time comes. Mom is guarded and nervous, apparently everyone is really scared of what might happen if JP gets his heart broken again. But, JP says he’s okay if he gets hurt again. To cap off the evening mom brings out JP’s bar mitzvah photo, huge, framed, autographed (probably with a bunch of “K.I.T.”s and “Stay cool”s). They dub him a cross between Kirk Cameron and Doogie Houser. I dub him Ashley’s perfect match. And, not in a “yay, I like you both so much” kind of way. More like “you’re both dull and you can have each other.”
It’s no surprise that Ames is going home tonight. Except maybe to Ames. For as smart as he is, he looks painfully confused. He gives a super classy speech to say goodbye, telling her it’s been beautiful and poetic. He’s got a bewildered, glued-on smile until he gets in the limo. He says he had fallen in love and he’s now back to a lifetime of adventures with himself.
Next week: Fiji. Planes, yachts, helicopters, waterfalls, snorkeling, swimming pools, beach picnics.
Then, in the final episode it looks like Ashley calls her sister a bitch for not liking her man. This could be fun. Don’t get your hopes up, though.