February 21st, 2012
12:45 PM ET
It's "hometown date" week on "The Bachelor," which means on Monday's episode, Ben traveled around the country to visit the families of the four remaining contestants.
It also gave Ben a great opportunity to count how many plaid shirts he owns - he showed off at least three last night.
The first stop on the "hometown date" tour was Ocala, Florida, where Ben, dressed in his finest plaid, met up with Lindzi the horse lady.
And what better way to start the day than by having Ben and Lindzi riding a horse-drawn carriage? Lindzi tells Ben that if he wants to be part of her life, he better get used to horses. I'd warn him more about the horse droppings, but what do I know?
We then meet Lindzi's parents, who promptly challenge Ben and Lindzi to a carriage race. It's essentially the chariot scene from "Ben-Hur," only 20 times lamer.
Lindzi's parents take the win, meaning Ben and Lindzi have to pull the "oldsters" to dinner via carriage. I'm intrigued by the parents' "torture the potential son-in-law" plan.
That strategy continues when Lindzi's father waffles over Ben's request for a blessing to marry his daughter. Dad mentions that the family wants Lindzi to have a good, happy life, but doesn't actually say whether Ben will get a blessing. Later that night, Dad offers a toast to Ben, saying he would welcome him as his son-in-law. OK, that's a bit better, but still.
Our next stop is Clarksville, Tennessee, which is where Kacie B. calls home. Kacie and Ben are getting together at "Buster Boguskie Field," which may be the greatest name for a football stadium in the history of mankind. Ben is welcomed with a marching band salute, complete with Kacie twirling her baton - sort of like walking in on auditions for "The Music Man."
Kacie promises a "big day ahead," which includes mentioning that "Buster Boguskie" is her grandfather. She's already winning points in my book.
Ben then brings out the wine, as that's what winery owners apparently do on a regular basis. That may be a mistake, as Kacie warns that her dad is a teetotaler. I smell a potential sitcom plot, but Kacie opts to tell Ben to "be himself."
Dinner with Kacie's parents doesn't turn out well, as her parents don't like the idea of the couple moving in together before marriage. Kacie's father also warns them to take it slow and not rush into things.
Ben pretty much ignores those concerns and asks Kacie's dad for his blessing. Dad gives Ben the thumbs down, again urging Ben to take this journey one step at a time.
Ben looks to bounce back in Fort Worth, Texas, where he gets together with Nicki the dental hygienist. The date starts in a Western gear store, where Ben channels his inner '80s movie montage vibe by trying on various cowboy boots and hats.
The two then go to a "genuine" saloon - the kind of place that slides drinks down the bar. Ben then mentions "beating a dead horse," which is not the kind of phrase I'd be using in Texas.
The "bachelor" does manage to avoid plaid when meeting Nicki's parents, though, and everything goes swimmingly. Nicki's dad ends up giving his "total support" to the happy couple.
So that's one true blessing, one half-hearted blessing and one rejected blessing for Ben. If this were baseball, he'd likely be sent to the minors.
Our final stop is Scottsdale, Arizona, where Ben dons his finest plaid to meet up with Courtney, who's desperate to shake off her "bad girl" image to Ben and her family. Unlike the other dates, Courtney introduces Ben to her family off the bat, with Courtney's dad rocking the Rick Santorum sweater vest.
Dad tells Ben that he'd love to have a son-in-law and grandkids, and Ben appears fascinated with his request. They could have been drawing a contract off camera, who knows?
After departing the family home, Courtney promises another "big surprise" for Ben, and it's her first that doesn't involve taking her clothes off. She expresses her love toward Ben in a fake wedding ceremony, complete with vows, rings and a black bow tie. Between the bow tie and plaid shirt, Ben looked like a "Revenge of the Nerds" extra.
When it's rose ceremony time, Ben opts to give Kacie B. the boot. Lindzi and Nicki give Kacie sympathy hugs, while Courtney appears to avoid much, if any, interaction. So much for shaking off her "villainess" moniker. Kacie left the show quite confused, but perhaps Ben and her family weren't the right fit.
Next week, Ben and the three remaining ladies head to Switzerland, presumably to enjoy all the cheese, chocolate and clocks they can handle. We'll also have an appearance from this summer's "Bachelorette," Emily Maynard.
What did you think of last night's "Bachelor" episode?
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