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'The Bachelor': Hometown visits and an early exit

118341_042_pre Well, folks, it wouldn't be "The Bachelor: On The Wings of Love" if there weren't some last-minute rose-ceremony drama.  Before we get to this week's tearful goodbye, let's discuss my favorite "Bachelor" tradition: the family visits!

Gia is the first bachelorette to show Jake her hometown: good old New York, New York.  She decides to take Jake on a boat ride around Manhattan, where she shows off her modeling skills.  She's really got some crazy tricks up her sleeve: When he asks her to give him a "sexy" look, she just strips down to her tank top.  Tyra would not be impressed, Gia. They take a lot of photos worthy of being any girl's Facebook profile picture before Gia reveals that her last boyfriend cheated on her with "all" of her friends. Ouch?

At dinner, Jake meets Gia's family: her mom, stepfather and brothers. Gia's mother, Donna, is what would happen if Kelly Cutrone and Snooki mated. I love her!  Dinner seems to go relatively well, but it's hard to ignore how out of place Jake seems with Gia's tough, old-school Italian family.

Also hard to ignore: the shell necklace Jake wore in a few of this week's talking-head interviews.  Where did he get that thing? 1998? Dawson Leery called, Jake...
Next on his whirlwind trip, Jake goes to Williamstown, Mass., to meet Ali's family.  Williamstown looks like a storybook town, and Jake comments on the fact that he's also had the opportunity to see Ali's current hometown in San Francisco.  In a bit of a departure from the usual hometown date, Ali takes Jake to her late grandmother's house, explaining that she was always close to her grandmother.  Though I could do without the anvilicious shot of the sun in the clouds as Ali says her grandmother is watching over her, it's a sweet moment. Ali's inner Regina George is nowhere to be found in this episode.

At dinner, Jake and Beth, Ali's mother, take a moment for themselves, and Jake asks for Beth's blessing in case he does propose to Ali.  "You certainly have it," Beth tells him.  After all, she's Googled him, and she did see a YouTube clip where he discussed the importance of inner beauty as opposed to outer beauty. Surely this totally original insight means he's perfect son-in-law material.

After an emotional goodbye with Ali, Jake takes off for Oregon to see Tenley and meet her family.  Newberg is another town that looks straight out of a WB family drama. Tenley invites Jake to her dance studio, because dance is her passion. She sits him down on a stool, and he watches with a frozen grin while she does a lyrical dance that she choreographed just for him. Meanwhile, in my apartment in Los Angeles, I want to crawl under my couch and die of secondhand embarrassment.

At the family dinner, Jake and Tenley's dad have a great talk. They discuss Tenley's fragile heart, then they cry together, and then they comfort one another with a hug.  (A very manly hug, of course.)  I have to say, Tenley's mother looks young enough to be her sister! They have a gorgeous family, and Jake seems to fit right in. There is, of course, still that nagging issue that Jake is the first man Tenley's dated since her husband cheated on her and left her.  Every girl needs a rebound boyfriend ... but a rebound engagement on national television? Really?

Last but not least, Jake heads to Florida to see this season's most polarizing bachelorette, Vienna. I'm not really understanding her outfit, but I think I've been catty enough in this recap, so we'll just skip that.  Vienna and Jake take a riverboat ride together before they head to her house to meet the family.

Vienna wasn't kidding in the first episode when she said she's a daddy's girl.  Her father, cuddling Vienna's dog (whose outfit is almost as classy as Vienna's), bursts into tears when he sees her. He flips into tough-guy mode when he takes Jake out to his tough-guy garage to lecture him about treating Vienna like a princess.  According to dear old dad, if Jake marries Vienna, "the house will always be clean and the children will be raised right." Well, isn't Vienna just a regular Donna Reed?

All is going according to plan until Jake and the girls get back to LA.  Ali knocks on Jake's door in tears, telling him her office has given her an ultimatum: If she doesn't duck out of the reality show early and go back to San Francisco, her job won't be waiting for her when she returns.

Uh -- what?  Didn't the producers tell her how long she'd be gone when she signed on for this? Wouldn't she have warned her employer when she decided to take a leave of absence, or did she just take a bunch of sick days in a row?  I do not understand.

She more or less asks Jake to assure her that she'll be the last woman standing. He looks like he wants to tell her she's the one, but of course, that might ruin the ending, so all he can tell her is he'd like her to stay and take a chance on him. She tells him she'll make her decision at the rose ceremony, and when she leaves his room, she collapses onto the floor of the hallway in tears. Oh, please. I understand that it's a difficult decision, but she's a grown-up; I'm pretty sure she could have made it back to the room before having a meltdown.

Before the rose ceremony, she and Jake snuggle tearfully on the couch.  He pulls her legs onto his lap, of course -- but isn't that Gia's thing?!  The scene seems to drag on forever, with lots of crying and kissing and mumbling.  Ultimately, Ali decides to leave.  "I came into this with everything I wanted in life," she says. "Except for you. There's a chance I could leave here with nothing."  I have to say, I completely respect her decision. If she'd given up her career and then he'd chosen Vienna, she probably would've had a psychotic break.

Jake has a moment of melodrama of his own after walking her out to the limo, but he gets over it and is all smiles by the time he gets back to Gia, Tenley and Vienna.  They seem happy that Ali's gone, but if I were them, I'd be a little insecure in the knowledge that one of them is probably slated to go home tonight.

What did you think of tonight's hometown dates? Whose family was your favorite? Were you upset that Ali left?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to check back next week to discuss the mysterious phone call Ali makes to Jake in St. Lucia!

-- Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photo: Tenley, Gia, Vienna and Ali, just before Ali makes her dramatic exit. Credit: ABC

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Comments () | Archives (12)

What a shame... I was hoping Vienna would get kicked off on this one! Actually, I've been hoping that she'd get kicked off way way way before.

Cori has been a drama queen from the beginning. It has always been about her, even when she made it about Vienna. She's a control freak who tried to hijack the man and the moment, last night.

I am not so cynical as to think that she actually planned her exit, this way, but she used it to make a play, and it backfired. If she truly loved him, she would have played it differently. She would have stayed, and used that to strengthen her cause. I think she sees a better opportunity as the next bachelorette.
The woman is a major league manipulator. She is not what she seems. Why, she's not even a real blonde.

And yet, Ali might have been the best match for him.

Gia... genuinely sweet, but too high maintenance, with too much of a cultural difference. The baby thing, jump up, wrap legs around him is a turn-off. Look to see her as the next bachelorette.

Tenley...Jake will dump her with the excuse that emotionally, she is 'not ready'. The dance thing was sweet, but she's kind of a dork. Nice family, though. If he had to marry a family, they're the ones.

Vienna...yeah. She's going to take it. This woman knows what she wants, but why? So he'll give her a ring, and then the fireworks will begin. The spoilers are already dissing her career as a Hooters Girl.

And that father? Good luck, Jake.

Not that any of this matters. God help all of us.

Great recap! I laughed outloud.I thought early on the girls were lamenting how spoiled Vienna was,I thought she would be taking Jake to an antebellum mansion in Florida,it turned out to be more like tobacco road with an unnatural attatchement to her dog and father.When Tinley started to dance,I left the room for a snack...and am I the only one who thought the ex husband was mentioned too much? Get over it already!Gia,should she not be chosen,and she won,t be,will transition from a swim suit model to a pole dancer...just a guess....Ali and the long goodbye...the whining and crying would have eliminated her for me,this is how she handles herself? Between the stragly hair and the tugging on her dress and the shrill moaning,I thought I would be sick. (it was the nicest dress)

I wanted to mention,watching these programs,seeing the foolish and degrading things women are willing to do just to get a man,I was happy to see Ali choosing her career over a guy.

Does anybody still watch this crap? Who cares.

As a avid fan of the show since the beginning, I must say I was extremely disappointed with all the drama surrounding Ali. What was THAT all about??? Please! Her sobbing and mumbling made me want to slap her! What a mess! I lost all respect for her at that point. AND I wasn't entirely sure it wasn't all a complete ploy to make Jake commit to her. I think Jake got lucky last night as a part of me always worried that Ali is unstable

Don't these ADULTS make plans with their employers BEFORE they sign up for the show? Maybe ABC should require that employers of all the contestants sign permission slips before they begin taping.

Jake - who's name could quickly turn to JERK if he doesn't choose Tenley - needs to wake up! He's beginning to behave like a fool. Tenley is in a class all her own and stands far above those other gals. Her family is just as beautiful and I could definitely see the love there.

I can't even imagine he would consider Vienna, wow! I see trouble ahead with her. And Gia - whose beauty does NOT match her confidence just doesn't seem to compliment Jake. I think he would spend way too much time trying to reassure her. He needs a mate not a child to coddle.

Rolando, if you're so disgusted with the show and ask "who cares?" then why are you reading the recap article??!!!

hahahaha - what a crack up Erica is with her comment: "thought she would be taking Jake to an antebellum mansion in Florida, it turned out to be more like tobacco road with an unnatural attachment to her dog and father."

I felt uneasy watching Vienna with her dad too, but I tried to ignore it.

I was so saddened to see Ali leave. I hope that there is another surprise up the sleeve. I don't understand the fact that her job did not fully know how long she would or could be gone. I too have been waiting for a long time to see Vienna go. I have not cared for her from the start of the show. She is back stabbing, two faced and a fake. I don't get out Jake does not see this in the fact that a lot of the girls at different times told him about her behavior. Of course she is not going to act like that in front of him, is he really that niave???? I so wanted him and Ali to be together, and I think deep in him he wanted that too. But with the show being what it is he could not say what she wanted to hear and what I feel he wanted to save. He has a real, true chemistry with Ali. The others are not the same. Just my opinion and I was sad to see her go.

I thought Ali was the best choice, although do think last nights drama was a manipulation to get Jake to commit "off the record". Whats left...Vienna seemed like a spoiled rich girl..but in reality (no pun intended) is more like white trash, Gia, so insecure, and Tenley?? quit giggling and get over your ex already! Am I the only one that thinks she is tooooooo sweet to be true...My guess....Jake and Ali hook up after the final episode airs.

Well you hit the nail on the head with Tenley! I agreed with the Tenley one- how school girlish. A dance with the fairy princess in the garden of immaturity.

Ali taking him to meet her dead grandmother- JEEZUS criminy- was that for real? Talk about a snoozer. Sorry, it didn't endear me to her- though it might have endeared her to an undertaker.

It was stupid and started off his trip to meet her family on a down note.

Gia's family? I can't see Jake fitting in either with the typical Little Italy New Yawkers. Momma was just plain bizarre with the tarot thing. Not sure where Gia gets her looks, not from her parents. Maybe she was adopted. And that brother? He looked like a cartoon from Family Guy Spends the Week at Jersey Shore.

Vienna- sad. The crying dad. Scary. Don't invite him to the wedding- he'll need an industrial crate of Kleenex to get through the ceremony.

NONE of these girls did anything exciting- all were boring and less than predictable. But Ali with her dead grandmother thing-insert eye roll here.

And then the breakdown later- the BS about her job- I swear that stuff is scripted. What are the odds- when she signed on to do the show she knew the time frame she'd have to be gone. Surely she told her job. This is just network created drama to keep in interesting. Well it's not working. It screams: SCRIPTED DRAMA! Plus I know she'll show her ass up in St. Lucia.

Helloooooooo....

I think Jake should send them all home.

Everyone keeps forgetting that very few Bachelors end up marrying the prospective spouse they claimed to love on the final episode. Ali was smart to leave; she said all along, if he likes Vienna then she's not the one for him. He said he liked Vienna because she was "there for him." Grow up. Your partner deserves a job he/she loves; it can't be all about you. If Jake can't get passed that, then he didn't deserve Ali. And whose to say he can't track Ali down after the show is over if he really wants to be in a true partnership and not a "I get to be the sole decider" marriage?


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