If they ever came out with a show just called "Hometowns," I would watch the everlasting poop out of it. It wouldn't even have to be Bachelor-related; it could just be literally anyone bringing anyone else to meet their parents, in their parents' house, where all parents feel totally safe and comfortable being weird in that remarkably endearing, parent-y way. Until then, we'll have to just follow JoJo to…


The Chase Hometown

When you tell a girl you're from Colorado, you damn well better find a ton of snow even though it appears to be quite seasonable out. Chase does exactly that in his hometown of Highlands Ranch, also-hometown to Felicity, from Felicity, and U.S. Olympic luger Courtney Zablocki, from the Olympics. 

JoJo is sporting the appropriate shawl collared sweatering, as Chase roughs it out in Carhartts while sitting on a rock, peering out into the great beyond, and telling JoJo all about his parents' lawsuity divorce. The short story is, they're meeting his parents separately. 

Dad's up first! Chase and JoJo get to the house before him, and he shows up and comes right in with a big hearty grin and a mustache that would be the envy of most dads except Sam Elliott's dad, or Sam Elliott, if he himself has children with mustaches. So... they kicked out mom so she didn't have to see Dad? Chase wastes zero time getting down to the very real stuff: asking his dad why he divorced his mom, seemingly for the first time. Of all the moments to pose such a question, this does indeed seem like the best one. Good call, Chase. 

Luckily Dad has an answer: he was too busy climbing the corporate ladder, and those ladders never allow for people to have marriages. Name me one person who works for a corporation who is married. Just one! Exactly. You can't. But, Dad's happy now, having left his son's life in apparent shambles and all, so, everyone is feeling pretty good about that. And with that, they kick dad out the front door, at which point it becomes clear that there are no railings on the stairs -- probably because dad only uses ladders.

Here's where things get confusing. Chase and JoJo don't just sit in that house and wait for Mom to show up -- they head to ANOTHER house to meet her, along with Chase's sister Britney and her husband Bryan, and his stepdad Brad. For some very odd reason, Chase does not exclusively call him "step-Brad." 

Which raises the question: who the hell's house was that first house? It certainly didn't seem to be Dad's -- they were there before him. It also wouldn't appear to be Mom's, unless she's fixing up and flipping houses like she was somebody that HGTV would never tell you actually lives in Canada. It's possible that it's Chase's, but I feel like they would've made a bigger deal about it, and he seems like far too boring of a guy to be dwelling in a highly unconventional railing-free home. The easy answer is it's Chris Harrison's, except it's not; I know a Chris Harrison house when I see one. Which definitely means that Chase broke into this house and grilled his dad about divorce from 20 years ago, while the people who actually live there spent their sweet time picking out the exact right frozen pizza at King Soopers

Anyway, Mom loves JoJo because she has a "spectacular laugh" and hates fish. Chase, Mom, and Sister all employ an oddly abundant amount of "we" and "us" and "ours" phrasings, highlighted by this poetic exchange: Sister: "we don't say love easily." Chase: "It's funny, because it's just a word." Sister: "To us, it's so much more than a word." Chase: "It IS so much more than a word." Word.

Ultimately everyone loves JoJo since she's great with people and honestly very likable, which is the downside of these hometowns: when you've got a clear winner, the crazy-family fireworks might not be all that explosive, especially since JoJo doesn't have to ask four women's fathers for their respective hands in marriage. 

Also, they have a ski lift bench out back, because they are in Colo-fucking-rado. For outdoor seating, the other house without the railings has a piece of sheetrock kinda propped up on a few larger rocks. 

Also also, Chase tells JoJo that he's falling in love with her, and she kinda bolts right afterwards and doesn't linger to absorb all the falling, which isn't the best sign ever. Chase is just a flat, boring-ass dude; we've known that for quite some time. He's like vanilla ice cream, except without the vanilla. Have you ever thought about that? That there could be something MORE boring than vanilla? There must -- vanilla is a bean with a flavor, which means that the original ice cream is even more bland. All that said, Chase at least seems very much like a guy who's legit, and not after something like fame -- he wouldn't be terribly good at it. Is this a reason to pick him to fake-engage you? Not really. But in the end, which might be soon for Chase, I've decided I kinda like the guy, if only because he doesn't overtly suck.


The Robby Hometown

The first thing Robby does when he meets JoJo in St. Augustine, Florida, is make her whistle, causing some horses pulling a carriage fly over to pick them up. They do a little tour of town as many highly dedicated pirate play actors walk by, then Robby tells JoJo that meeting his family is  "going to be intense... but very awesome," which basically means that Robby's family is, in fact, Chad.

All goes well -- Robby's rah-rah brothers are really into JoJo, as is everyone else, and JoJo tells the cameras that she's falling in love with him too -- until Robby's mom sets him up to self-destruct. Probably because Chase's parents are divorced. 

There's a little bit of an issue "out in the world," Mom tells him -- his ex's roommate has made it look, "online and in person," as if he broke up with her to go on the show. Robby feels like he needs to do something, RIGHT NOW. So he goes to JoJo, clearly without making a game plan for what he's going to say, and what she might say because of that, and what he's going to say when she says those things, and tells her the very unclear deal. 

If he handled this even a little better, Robby could've gotten away with it. But instead of laying things out in a Robby-positive manner, Robby drops the W-word -- that people are saying he's here for the Wrong Reasons. Not since Chad has someone been accused of being here for the wrong reasons in those exact, deadly words. So I'm honestly really not sure why Robby thought it would be a good idea to out himself. JoJo wants to know if he dumped his girlfriend to come on the show. Robby says, "no!!!!" 

But really... wouldn't that be a potentially positive thing? Robby had this girl -- and claims the relationship was basically over nine months before it was actually over, which is totally a real thing -- and when he found out that he had a chance to win over JoJo's heart, he finally pulled the ripcord and went to follow his heart, as informed by last season.

That's some good spin, Robby. You loved her already! The old relationship had decayed, and this was the perfect chance to hedge-trimmer it right off and allow for new love to flower on the Robby branch. This was the story to tell. Robby didn't tell that story. But everything eventually goes fine and they make out in the rain. As Robby's mom said, with almost anything you do in life, there's always a chance you're going to get hurt. Like, even if you're sleeping, the ceiling could fall on you. Even if you're locked in a windowless padded room where theoretically nothing bad could ever happen, the ceiling could also fall on you. Happens all the time. So let's take some chances, kids.  


The Aaron Rodgers' Brother Hometown, Not Featuring Aaron Rodgers

Would you believe that Jordan Rodgers a.k.a. Aaron Rodgers' Brother is from the exact same hometown as Shawntel the Mortician, from Brad Womack's second season? WOULD YOU??? It's true: Chico, CA. Would you also believe that Aaron Rodgers' Brother went to his parents house to gear up, and is wearing a different jacket than that damn leather one he wears on EVERY SINGLE DATE, even when it's really hot out? Believe that too. 

For this hometown they do the ol' sports star move, and visit Aaron Rodgers' Brother's high school, so he can prove he's a great dude by saying hi to a beloved friendly janitor that just started last week. When they hit the coaches' office, JoJo asks if that's a pictures of his brother on the wall, and he's all, yeah, here's where I'm making it clear that I don't even have a relationship with PHOTOGRAPHY of my brother. The tension is building. What could have caused this rift??? Of all the potential theories, I'm going with: his mom is also divorced, and remarried Brett Favre. 

The Rodgers Household is quite nice, but not overly so, which is a little disappointing. Also there isn't a single tire hanging by a rope from a tree branch, so I'm not sure what these boys threw footballs through to get so good at throwing footballs. It's literally always a tire hanging by a rope from a tree branch. What we do find is Mom Darla, Dad Ed, Non-Aaron Brother Luke, whose slightly different physique implies that he played maybe center instead of QB, and Luke's girlfriend Lindsay, who, as Hometowns tradition states, only gets to be introduced and then not say anything or, god forbid, have opinions.  

Here we learn that Aaron Rodgers' Brother was referred to as "the spicy child" and is a "runaway," which makes him sound like a great long-term mate to settle down with JoJo. Also, from Luke Rodgers we learn...absolutely nothing, even under direct "when are you guys going to make up with Aaron Rodgers so we can all go to sports games together but ignore them and just get loaded in the luxury box" questioning from JoJo. Only that it "pains them both that they don't really have a relationship with him." This is horseshit. Tell us about how Olivia Munn insulted their mom's Stove Top Stuffing and it all fell apart. TELL US!!!! 

He does not tell us. In the end, JoJo gets along with everyone again, and Aaron Rodgers' Brother tells JoJo that he's falling in love with her. And JoJo actually let it slip to his mom that she wants to tell Aaron Rodgers' Brother that she's falling in love with HIM! Things are swinging in the direction of Aaron Rodgers' Brother like so many tires attached by a rope to a tree branch. 


The Luke Hometown

Is Luke a sociopath? Or, alternately, is Luke just some really nice bowlegged fellow from a small town, who is a sociopath? These are the questions that probably won't be answered until they're engaged, because sociopaths are very good at not letting people know they're sociopaths. 

To show that he has friends, Luke invites EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM to his parents' backyard to meet JoJo. Depending on how small this town is, it's very possible that this is literally every single person in this small town. He's even "best friends" with eight-year-olds and an 87-year-old guy. JoJo of course kinda loves this, since she's good with the peoples, even going so far to say that the barbecue they made in a smoker appropriately adorned with steer horns to remind those cows who's boss, is the best barbecue she's ever had, despite growing up in Texas. Even the lies are bigger in Texas. 

Then they ride horses and JoJo says that they're on a very good path -- indeed, the path is very even and allows for the horses to walk quite smoothly. After that, they sit on some hay bales covered in blankets, which is how all couches in Texas are constructed, and they make out with the sun setting directly over their heads in an honestly pretty beautiful shot. I can just see the producer checking the Farmer's Almanac -- "no, wait. You cannot make out for another 37 minutes. Keep talking about nothing." 

Luke promises us that he's going to tell JoJo he loves her, but he doesn't. He says other things, like that she has his heart, and also, that when he saw her in her cowboy boots and incredibly short shorts, he thought "ooooooh, she looks so good right now" and that's how he hopes she felt, too. Cool, man. 

In the end, Luke is the worst. Let's even pretend for a second that he isn't a sociopath. He's just incredibly dull and uses his accent to pretend like he's not. He never says anything interesting, funny, compelling, or meaningful. He has no jokes. He's never told a decent story, and probably doesn't have a favorite Olympic luger. He's just...there. And like, sexy or something, I suppose. But it's remarkable that a clearly very smart, very personable, very outgoing and conversational JoJo has allowed him to get this deep purely on that. I can just picture them being 60 years old, still sitting on hay bales, just waiting for all the other townsfolk to show up so they can handle the talking part for him.


The Roses

Everyone meets in an airplane hangar for the rose ceremony, because costs are clearly being cut, and they'll get free planes from a private jet company called Sun Air if they do this and prominently display the logo. Guys, maybe you should re-route some of that marketing money to your website development.

JoJo pulls an unprecedented, suspense-deflating reveal, and tell us that she thinks she's going to get rid of Luke. Which means, she clearly isn't going to get rid of Luke. Or, something else crazy is going to happen. 

That something is Luke wanting to talk to her for a second. Is he going to cut himself? Is he going to tell her he loves her? Dammit, he tells her he loves her. He doesn't know if he waited too long, or if this is the right time -- which is ridiculous, because really, when is it the wrong time to tell anyone anything when you're standing in a floodlit airplane hanger? 

Luke walks back in, and JoJo stays. She's been on this show for so long that her internal monologue has become external. This changes things -- she wails out onto the tarmac! But is it enough?? She gets down in a catcher's stance, near-defeated, and wails "what do I dooooooooo??????" People, this is called chooching, and few have chooched harder than this very moment. 

What does she do??? We'll find out…

Next Week

When there is also a second show on Tuesday: The Men Tell Some!! Which purports to be all about Chad! With any luck, the world might just be interesting again.

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Ben Robinson is Thrillist's Editorial Director, and is recapping for the right reasons



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