I have been watching this season of the Bachelor for 725,432,112 days about 8 episodes now.  Look, that “Man in the Iron Mask” guy had it easier than me.  I sincerely believed, from the bottom of my heart, that nothing could ever be as bad as watching these women plod their way through the horrendous faux dates that ABC’s crack team of Taliban-trained torturers lined up for the viewing public who they obviously hate.

That was until we went to meet their families.

The four “lucky ladies” who get to introduce their parents to every mistake they ever made when it comes to raising their daughters are Face Slapping Chantal, Other Shawnel, Dentist Ashley and Sad Emily.

First we journey to Seattle to see how Chantal lives.  She lives with her two cats and her dog, six streets away from her family.  She is basically the herione in a Wes Anderson film.  All that’s missing is a Bill Murray cameo and some sad Elliot Smith music playing in the background.  Brad meets all her animals, including a Pomeranian named Boca. “I want to be Boca’s friend!” says Brad.  Yeah, Brad probably tries to make friends with lots of animals.

The greatest 9 minutes of this entire series ever come when Chantal allows cameras into her parent’s home.  There are many amazing moments about this segment.   I have broken them down for you here in this handy list:

1. Her father looks like Wayne Newton.
2. Her mother looks 10 years younger than she does.
4. No seriously…THEIR HOUSE.  If Dolly Parton were blindfolded and asked to decorate a home, this is what it would look like.  It looks like  Liberace’s Telluride retreat.  Their furniture looks like it was made out of the Solid Gold! dancers.
5. The giant, ridiculous Baby-Pan-God-Meets-Neptune-In-Drag statue that Chantal’s father proudly shows off to Brad.  It’s looks like the kind of statue that greets you in a gay club in Miami, spouting out Watermelon Mojitos from its penis.

Everything about Chantal’s family explains why she thinks Brad is her ideal man. It all makes sense to me now. Seeing into Chantal’s home life is like the final five minutes of “The Sixth Sense”, when all things are revealed to you, and all the clues suddenly come together, creating a clear picture of what’s really been going on with Bruce Willis.  Of course the girl who grew up in a house decorated like Cesear’s Palace in 1976  would think Brad is the “ideal man”.   Now it all makes sense.

Next up is Ashley. Ashley lives a place called Pleasantville Madawaska , Maine, the most Northeastern town in America.  She tells Brad that a lot people in her hometown speak  French, and then he proceeds to try and talk to everyone in Spanish.  Of course. She takes him to an unmanned road side vegetable stand, where everything works on the honor system and people just leave money in an unlocked box.  If that stand was in my neighborhood, it would be covered with gang grafitti and filled with crack viles and empty condom wrappers.  Not in this place.  Everybody smiles, makes their own homemade molasses, and has perfect shiny white teeth.   I don’t buy this for one second.  Somewhere in the catacombs under Madawaska’s city hall is a shrine to Zhul or something, where the Town Elders gather to chant and warn each other about “outsiders”.  I bet the population creepily stays at something like “436” even when new babies are born.

Everyone in Ashley’s family wears plaid, including Brad when he visits.  Maybe the producers gave him a note about their dress code or something.  Her sister looks like the Octomom and has giant skull and dagger tattoos up on her arm.  Her father looks like Billy Mays, who I now suspect faked his death to go live a quiet as a lumberjack in Maine.  Maybe all Madawaska is just a secret community for celebrities who wanted to fake their own deaths and live away from the bright lights of Hollywood.  Come to think of it, one of Ashley’s cousins looked suspiciously like Elvis Presley.

Next up, Brad travels to Chico to visit Shawntel.

Let me interject here for a moment.  I understand Chico is probably not the most glamorous or exciting place in the world (it’s no Madawaska).  But it has a lot to offer, OK?  They have a “downtown”.  And a mall.  According to their website “Chico offers an assortment of museums….visitors often come to Chico for its easy access to outdoor recreation in biking, kayaking, fishing, and hiking.”

So why then is it that for their hometown date Brad and Shawntel go to a funeral parlor???

Not only that, during the date, Shawntel  makes Brad lie on A SLAB and and then explains in horrifying graphic detail just how embalming works, while ABC shows footage of a crematorium fire.

SEE. IT TOLD YOU. THE PRODUCERS ARE TRYING TO KILL BRAD.  I TOLD YOU. The zip lining, helicopter rides, deep sea diving, and being around Michelle didn’t work…so now they are just trying to bury him alive. I was right about this from day one. Why do I feel like Charlton Heston at the end of Soylent Green, running around screaming like a madman at strangers in the street??

Then Brad and Shawntel walk, hand in hand through a row of graves.  SERIOUSLY ABC?

No, really, this is ridiculous., there are lots of perfectly nice places to go in Chico that don’t involve embalming or desecrating the tombs of people’s loved ones.  How about their town square?

Not a dead body in sight!

Or lovely Bidwell Park, home to the famous Chico Nature Center, a gift of town founders General John and Annie Bidwell:

Back her parent’s house, Shawntel’s father sits Brad down and explains to him that he doesn’t want her abandoning her career for him.  Please. A career as the Sour Cream Manager at Taco Cabana would be worth choosing over Brad.

Next, we’re off to Charlotte, NC, to visit Emily and her daughter, perfectly adorable little Rickie.  Her mom’s been away filming this horrible show, telling millions of strangers over and over about the sad, gruesome details of her race car driver daddy’s death in a plane, and spending a lot of time riding in race cars and planes to really drive the point home,  and now when she returns, Rickie gets to have a bunch of strange people following her around with cameras while she goes to meet Mommy’s “new friend” Brad. Some therapist is going to make a fortune off Rickie some day.

The look on Rickie’s face when she’s meets Brad is the same look on your face when you were eight and your parents made you hang out with their friends’ kids who were way younger than you. “But he’s in the first grade and I’m in fourth,” you would desperately plead.  But your parents didn’t care, because they just wanted to get drunk in the living room with other grownups, which meant you were banished to your room with kids too young to play Power Rangers.   This is exactly poor Rickie’s dilema.  Brad on the other hand seems thrilled to have a new playmate who, like him, probably watches a lot of Spongebob Squarepants and isn’t allowed to use the microwave.   Finally he gets to hang out with someone who doesn’t use a lot of big words, speak in crazy foreign languages or try to make him lay down with dead people.  I bet if he really had his way, he’d give Rickie the final rose and spend the rest of his days playing Dolly Princess Dress Up and watching “Dora the Explorer” videos.

Back at Emily and Rickie’s house Brad doesn’t want to make out with Emily because he wants to play Chutes and Ladders and listen to Wiggles albums feels uncomfortable kissing her inside the house with Rickie upstairs in bed.  So they go outside to make out on the porch.  Because that’s so much better.

Anyway, at the rose ceremony Shawntel predictably gets the boot. Next week, the show goes to South Africa, which begs the question…. WHY WOULD ABC INFLICT THIS ON THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA?  SERIOUSLY HAVEN’T THEY BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH???

Till next week….