As we dive into a new era of reality television where the lead on a decades long franchise is just now a black woman, and her suitors include more than one black guy– I beg you the question, should The Bachelorette consider changing up its entire gameplan?
If you tuned into last night’s episode of The Bachelorette like my reluctant boyfriend and I did, you watched a very anxious, very cute Dean struggle through his pre-hometown date with Rachel. I mean, this guy was pulling out all of his one-liners to get out of answering any and all prying questions.
But, through the power of threatening producers and TV magic, by the time the pair got to their candle lit dinner, Dean was ready to open up. It took some serious eye-contact and digging from Rachel though.
When Dean finally parted his lips and exposed his unusually amazing teeth to tell Rachel (and all of America) why he was so not himself, I couldn’t help but audibly sympathize.
He dove into the story of his mother’s death — which we are all privy to — and unveiled the ugly part of that tragedy: his family now. Under a very heavy sigh, he describes his father in the kindest, but craziest way possible and let’s out, “I wish you could’ve known my family from ages 0-15.”
I literally squealed on my sectional and almost dropped my pink moscato.
It had never occurred to me, but I felt the exact same way. After my parent’s divorce in 2010, my family dynamic completely changed. I wish so desperately my beloved boyfriend (who was tagging me in memes on Instagram instead of watching. lol) could’ve met the family I used to have before my parents split. Then he would see how much he reminds me of my dad, how spontaneous my Mom was, how much fun my brother and I used to have doing absolutely nothing– and how close we all were. But that family has since deteriorated and reformed as a, we’ll say different, one. Not better. Not worse. Just different.
Regardless, it doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem fair that this person that I love more than anything will never know that part of my life. And there’s nothing I can do about that. In fact, it kind of really hurts. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hug Dean through the TV and tell him, “Omg. I get it. I totally get it.”
So why does The Bachelorette/The Bachelor insist upon these stupid hometown dates anyway? I’m sure we can deduce the obvious reasons. American society seems to place “meeting the family” at the ultimate level of “serious relationship” status, people seem to want to date people that ‘come from a good family,’ and, of course, families equal drama. (And I looooove drama.) But here’s why I think that idea (along with having a 100% white cast every season) is totally outdated
- We can’t choose ‘what family we come from.’ Ya know? Up until I was 19, my family was “Bachelorette” perfect. But once it all fell apart, I lost that status. Was it my fault? I’d like to think not. And we all know that this notion that coming from “a good family” (whatever that means) automatically makes you a good person is complete BS. We’re all adults. Yes, our parents and siblings have a lot of influence on our lives as we develop and grow, but the ultimate definition of our character is ours alone. I believe that 10,000%.
- “Families” no longer have the final say on who we end up with. Did they ever? I mean, maybe if you’re Sansa Stark, but, I mean, nah. If my family didn’t like Derek (which is literally impossible because everyone on this planet is obsessed with Derek) that would not stop me from being with him for half of a second. But maybe I “come from” a different kind of family…
- Ultimately, all of our families are effed up. Even if you want your ideal life partner to come from a perfect family, after a year or two of Thanksgivings and Christmases, you will come to learn that the “perfect” is a facade for “totally crazy.” Families equal drama. All the time.
I’m not saying that I think the Bachelorette is like the ultimate gauge of relationships in Western Society or anything. (Or that meeting someone’s family is a dumb move!) I’m just saying that since it seems to be taking a giant, very delayed leap into the 21st century, maybe it should consider every aspect of the show. Including “Hometown” dates. Maybe the final four should go run their credit and attempt to get a loan together, or get totally wasted and have to take care of each other’s drunk asses, or scroll through each others Timehops. Either way, the “Hometown” may be setting some great potential spouses up for failure.