Bachelor Hometowns Recap – Matt James

Apologies for the tardiness of this blog – If I told you that I was trying to re-enact some of Matt James’s most advanced floor workout routines and, after a particularly aggressive upward swing of the knee during a mountain-climber, managed to knock my front two teeth out and concuss myself, then you might not believe me, but it would still be a more convincing lie than Kit saying that she wants the best for Matt and doesn’t just want to go on Spring Break with her friends! Suffice it to say, my teeth are fine, my head is no more or less reminiscent of scrambled eggs than it was before, and the truth is that I just haven’t gotten around to this week’s blog through the devilish combination of work and sloth. It’s hometowns week, otherwise known as “oh-shit-my-parents-don’t-know-Matt’s-black week if your name is Rachael, and once again, the poor families of these beleaguered ladies had to travel to see their kids sweating it out to get engaged with the first robotic Bachelor. Let’s jump in…

The episode started out with an entirely predictable but enduringly annoying Matt James workout compilation. I’m not sure what his angle is here, but if he’s catering to the Men’s-Health-reading, protein-shake-drinking, tank-top-wearing, hunky eyeballs of Monday night television, then he’s barking up the wrong tree; they’re all watching Below Deck on Bravo. Matt chatted about what hometowns meant to him, and how important his family was in his life before Michelle was first up to the plate to give Matt a taste of her Minnesota hometown of Edina.

Every time I hear the word “Edina” on television, I immediately brace myself for the next words to be “in Rust Belt America” and am resigned to watching some uppity young journalist interviewing an old dude in a Hillary for Prison T-shirt about how the illegals stole all the high paying jobs at the coke factory… Edina is not only the location for every middle American profile in white economic anxiety, but is also a wealthy Minneapolis suburb whose residents, I am reliably informed, are referred to as “cake-eaters.” Michelle was certainly looking to have her cake and eat it too, and kicked off their date with a nice bike ride through the fall colors of the Nemacolin resort. They followed this with a trip to a pseudo-classroom where Matt was treated to a whole host of uncomfortable questions from Michelle’s students about kissing and babies and marriage. One response in particular to the question “What has Miss Young taught you?” spiked my attention when Matt responded that she had taught him open-mindedness… Oh yeah? She taught you to be open-minded? It wasn’t the process that dictates you have to simultaneously date 32 girls and give up on pursuing the ones you like at the expense of those who are loud and obnoxious that might have tickled that tolerance muscle?

Everyone knows how incredible it is to have a substitute teacher for even a day so it’s no wonder the kids were vying for Matt to get down on one knee for Miss Young and prolong their educational vacation for as long as possible! They probably never thought that she’d make it this far, and now that Battle of the Bands is only a few weeks away, they don’t want Michelle to get booted at this stage and waste all of their hard work! All Ned Schneebly substitute teacher jokes aside, if I was a Karen in cake-eating country, I probably wouldn’t be too thrilled that little Jimmy’s teacher had just peaced out half way through the school year to become an overnight celebrity on one of America’s most popular dating shows?

Michelle is REALLY into Matt, citing the primary reason as: “He wants to make a difference; he’s creating these hydroponic gardens for inner city kids so they can know how to grow food.” Michelle’s dad Ephraim is a little more realistic, reminding her that “If he doesn’t pick you it’s going to be a big let-down;” thanks captain obvious!

Rachael’s three most important attributes in a relationship are “communication, truth and honesty.” If we are to take our good friend Bill Shakespeare’s wisdom from the end of All’s Well That Ends Well that “there is no legacy so rich as honesty,” then Rachael’s legacy is more indebted than $450 GME buyers! The context of Rachael’s checkered past makes it kind of surreal watching her interact with Matt and opine about their deep love for one another, but hey, she’s made it this far so let’s see what happens? Her hometown date involved blindfolding Matt, taking him on a ride to an undisclosed location, and revealing that they would be jumping out of a plane. The similarities to Birdbox were startling: the blindfold, and when you remove it, the penalty is pretty close to suicide!

Over the last 12 months, there have been many attempts to promote the concept of anti-racism in our society. Usually the methods of education, reconciliation and empathetic walking in others’ shoes are the starting points, but pushing someone out of a plane with a faulty parachute I guess is the latest maneuver? I can’t say I was super surprised that Rachel botched the landing given that her 12-year-old instructor was probably having pre-pubescent daydreams about Yu-Gio cards and his friends’ older sisters, but it was still pretty jarring watching Rachael eat the turf upon landing. Matt responded by taking a leisurely jog over to Rachael (we’ve seen him run faster when he saw the Peloton bike was unoccupied across the gym) and described the crash as “gnarly.” This was a near death experience Matt, not a skateboarding trick or an above average wave caught! Rachael “can’t imagine living life without Matt…” Right.  

Going to need to see some license and registration sir

Rachael’s family were actually quite pleasant. Trinity in particular was unable to hide just how smitten she was when Matt walked in! As in most of these situations, the dad expressed skepticism, and Rachael was severely disappointed that Matt didn’t ask for his blessing.  

Bri has been a real sleeper this season. It’s tough going on the first 1-on-1 because your relationship development has to come in fits and spurts through group dates where additional time with Matt is contingent on the bowling skills of your teammates and other such ridiculous KPIs. Their date was unspectacular, mirroring their initial date with some off-roading antics and then heading straight into the meet-and-greet with Bri’s “non-traditional” family. Matt came on strong with Bri’s understandably skeptical mother by explaining that “the conversations and the level that we’re at is different from the other girls here.” This makes perfect sense in relation to Victoria or the other ladies who were sent home without getting to talk with Matt, but can the same really be said for his relationships? Matt debriefing Bri about his chat with her mother was pretty hilarious. “It went well, I just answered every question as well as I could” – this is love here Matt, not the fucking AP World History test, get it together man!  

Serena absolutely loves Canada, which makes here like every other Canadian eh? On her date, she attempted to “bring Canada” to the Nemacolin resort; and not to be mean, but if what she produced is what Canada is like, it was eerily reminiscent of a Saskatoon truck stop Golden Corral during the World Junior Hockey Championships. There was Canadian flag bunting literally everywhere (so authentic eh?) and Matt was subjected to the most low-budget Canadian food buffet I’ve ever seen. The poutine in particular looks like it was made the Monday prior. If she was looking to go full Canadian, she would’ve had Nickelback riding in on mooseback, juggling Timbits and slugging Crown Royal… a missed opportunity at best.

Unsurprisingly, Serena’s family were SOOOOO NICEEEEEE. Her sister had Trinity syndrome and also seemed to be enchanted by Matt, however her assessment of Serena was that she wasn’t smitten enough with him… Serena’s dad looks like he grinded it out in the hockey minor leagues for 22 years and now beats the wheels off of other dad’s during Tuesday night men’s league games. Serena is clearly severely impacted by a previous relationship and her family’s constant reminders of her prior heartbreak were clearly weighing on her. Quick aside, but asking a Canadian to say a sentence with “Doubts,” “figure out,” and “about” is the kind of cruelty that I haven’t seen from the Bachelor producers since they told Hannah Ann that the bottle of champagne sitting on the mantelpiece was up for grabs! Serena’s mother seems like a lovely lady, but her assessment that Matt is “intellectually stimulating” is languishing in the cold take basement with the Jamarcus-Russell-could-play-in-today’s-NFL crew.

Matt’s feelings for Serena were not reciprocated and when Matt went to get his girl, this sentiment was only confirmed. It’s definitely a window into his feelings that Matt wanted two dates with Serena (at the expense of one with Abigail) but Serena shut him down with the “when it came to expressing my feelings about you, I really struggled” and “I don’t think that you’re my person.” This was clearly the first time that Matt had ever really been rejected in his life because the only words he was able to muster up were “that stinks.” Ladies and gentlemen, the pinnacle of intellectual stimulation!

The rose ceremony was one of the least suspenseful in Bachelor history. All I’ll say is that whoever Matt ends up with is NOT going to like watching the tape of his interactions with Serena! In the indelible words of Katy Perry: In another life, Matt would make her stay, so he wouldn’t have to say that she was the one that got away!

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