Josh M., Nick V., Chris and Marcus have clearly been the four favorites throughout this whole season of ‘The Bachelorette,’ so we were FINALLY guaranteed some drama with Andi being forced to send one of them home on July 7. But as it turned out, that wasn’t even the most emotional part of the episode.
Cody said it himself in his epic, semi-psychotic rant — making the final four and bringing Andi Dorfman home to meet your family is the goal of any contestant on The Bachelorette. The hometown dates are where the bachelors can really inch closer to getting engaged, but they can just as easily be a dealbreaker. Does Andi hate the vast nothingness of Chris‘ home state, Iowa? Did she finally realize that Josh M. actually peaked in high school?
Andi, Meet Nick’s Freaking Enormous Family
We started in Nick V.‘s hometown of Milwaukee, Wis., otherwise known as the home of the Bachelorette devil. Nick thrived on his home field (by the way, Milwaukee looks like a lesser version of Chicago), taking Andi to his favorite market and a brewery that just happened to have a beer called “Nick & Andi” on tap!
Then Nick brought Andi home to his family of about a bajillion. There was a wall that had pictures of Nick and all of his siblings and it legit looked like a room in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I’m never a big fan of the family interactions that have to happen on hometown dates, because I sort of feel bad every time ABC makes a cute old guy like Nick’s dad pretend to give a s**t about a dating show, but they do yield some gems from time to time. My favorite one at Nick’s house was when his sister (I think? There were a lot of them) asked him if Andi made him laugh. First, he hesitated. Then he said, “She just makes me smile.” Sorry, Andi, YOU ARE NOT FUNNY.
But on the whole Milwaukee was a layup for Andi — nice family, easy softball questions, delicious if corny beer.
Chris Welcomes Andi To The Abyss Of Iowa
I can’t say the same about Chris’ hometown of Arlington, Iowa. There was one big problem Andi had with Chris the Farmer’s digs — IT WAS 100 PERCENT FARMLAND. Remember, before The Bachelorette, Andi was an aspiring actress assistant D.A., so her main question upon arrival was, like, um, what the eff will I do here?
Only pretending to be a farmer is fun (obviously riding in a tractor turns Andi on) — actually being one is not.
Chris’ answer to her question was the opposite of reassuring. “Well, there’s an opportunity to be a homemaker,” he said. What did Chris mean by this? Did he mean that Andi could actually start a home construction/interior design company? Because that’s not something people just up and do. Or did he mean that Andi could transition into being a housewife who cooks pork chops and pops out babies? Either way, it was insulting and horrible.
Andi pretended that she wasn’t bothered by the emptiness of Arlington, but Andi is a liar sometimes. “If you want to have a career, then you can do that,” Chris’ mom told the dejected bachelorette after dinner, as if it was 1946. Those are assurances you don’t really want to need about your future.
Andi & Josh: What A Sports Family Is Like
But what’s worse — worrying that you won’t have a career or worrying that your husband has a failure to launch? That’s what Andi had to consider after meeting Josh’s family in Tampa, Fla.
In a moment I’ve been waiting for since I found out that Josh’s little brother is Aaron Murray, former starting quarterback of the University of Georgia and current backup for the Kansas City Chiefs, Andi got to meet Aaron and the rest of the fam — and they were intense.
Because I’ve seen Varsity Blues, I know that families can get hooked on one child’s NFL dreams and obsessively turn all of their focus into achieving those dreams. With Aaron, that’s how Josh and his family were (they even let him give all the toasts!), and it bugged Andi. She actually seemed to get a little competitive, mentioning Josh’s “new life” at every turn and even using the words “cut the cord” with Josh’s mom.
Josh hasn’t really messed up this entire season, but his biggest mistake might have been having a family that is super obsessed with football.
Oh Yeah, Remember Marcus?
Meanwhile, Marcus was the one who painted such a lovely picture of his home life in Dallas, Texas, and by that I mean he told her all about his history of abuse and abandonment.
Thankfully, things were a tad lighter once Andi actually got there. Marcus, to the delight of nobody, made a call-back to his stripper solo from the second episode. “This is every girl’s dream,” Andi (wrongly) stated. Then they strolled around sunny Dallas before Marcus took Andi to introduce her to his (possibly messed up) family.
They seemed more or less normal though, like a smaller version of Nick’s family with a foreign mother (?). So this season, there were no big road bumps on the hometown dates, which meant Andi didn’t really have any easy excuses — going into the rose ceremony, she more or less had to choose to eliminate the guy she liked the least.
‘The Bachelorette’: Andi Learns About Eric Hill’s Death
Unfortunately the high everyone was on from hometown dates didn’t last very long, as Chris Harrison broke the news to Andi and her bachelors that contestant Eric Hill tragically died in a hang-gliding accident.
It was sad to have Eric’s death hang like a dark cloud over The Bachelorette once again — and to see how it ripped up the four guys. And in a rare, stark moment, the Bachelorette production team actually put down the cameras to console Andi and mourn with the bachelors.
Obviously Andi broke down, mainly because she remembered how she sent him off the show in shame. You could understand how Andi put all that guilt on herself — on top of all that pressure over having to eliminate someone — after hearing Eric died, even though she never really did anything wrong. She even struggled through the rose ceremony a day later, and had to retreat to her lair, where she cried while Chris Harrison creepily stood nearby in the dark.
But the show had to go on, and Andi was crushed even more when she was forced to send Marcus home. I don’t think it was anything specific about the guy, he was just kinda blah compared to the other three. Andi always liked him way more than I did, but even she never loved him.
Now, who do you think is going to give Andi the best “date” in the fantasy suite next week — Josh, Chris or Nick?
— Andrew Gruttadaro