Ah, The Bachelorette always on the cusp of love, always on the cusp of heartbreak, always slow walking and looking thoughtful. Ali reminds us that this is all really hard. All this jet-setting, all this whining, dining, site-seeing, hair flipping, giggling, indoctrinating, dotted with making out with mostly attractive men (Kirk, sorry, but you are walking fungus) and at what cost? Merely a few roses, a few man tears, having to spend time with Chris Harrison and pop a handful of Valtrex at the end of each day. Is it really so hard, Ali? Should I remind you it is the six-month anniversary of the Haitian earthquake and you are but a blonde tater tot getting whisked around the world on ABC's dime hoping to maybe score a Trista and actually find love and babies and shit (no, really, from the babies -- look into it). My point, Ali, is simple: Shut up. Jesus. Off to Tampa! Wait: Tampa? You have to go to TAMPA? Never mind. Your life SUCKS.
Roberto is back in his hometown of Tampa, Florida sitting on the steps of his alma mater the University of Tampa waiting for his gringa. By the way, high school seniors and people inspired by that Rodney Dangerfield movie where he goes back to school, University of Tampa has a freaking awesome main building, so suck it University of Phoenix. Roberto is a wise man and has realized that on Ali's visit to his hometown he has to fall back on the one thing that really separates him from the man masses: Professional Baseball. Girls are silly like that. So Roberto brings Ali to his college ballpark, presents her with a jersey with his number on it (he's number 19!) and then disappears to the locker room so he can show up on the field in his full baseball jersey. Ali just about spread eagles on the ground at the sight of her man in uniform. Well she would have if this wasn't 8 p.m. on a Disney-owned television station. Instead she just straddles him on the pitcher's mound. In the confessional, Ali tells us that there is nothing sexier than a man in a baseball uniform. Um, yeah, we know. What are we, dead inside?
Ali and Roberto pitch, catch, chase balls, he goes to second, and third, and about twenty other things that are double entendres for the dirty minded. Ali spends a lot of time leaping into Roberto's manly arms and wrapping her legs around his torso, which is clearly not standard operating procedure for baseball and would probably be cheating if this were MLB rules. Yes, Roberto, even in the minor leagues. Also, it makes it hard to run the bases. "Hard" was the double entendre there in case you were wondering. After they collapse from all the major league flirting, Roberto presents Ali with his rookie card. She about dies from glee and then Roberto's goes to second on the pitcher's mound. But things get sewious when Ali admits to being nervous to meet his entire extended family this evening. Roberto admits he would be nervous, too, which probably isn't the right thing to say to soothe anyone's nerves. He explains that his parents are the stereotypical military Latino family with a kind but slightly overbearing father and passive mother who cooks a lot of things in lard and uses too many paper towels. Roberto will probably spend the entire evening trying to prove her lily white worth to his father and being snappish to his mother but also hugging her a lot. Should be fun. Like Leave it Beaver with more arroz con pollo.
Okay, confession: I hate home visits. I hate them in the same way that I hate really awkward teen romances or really embarrassing scenes in movies. Basically the entire Michael Cera oeuvre makes me squirm in my chair. I just feel bad for the families who did not sign up to be a part of their wayward child's reality show pipe dreams, but are now being dragged into it because of his "success". I feel terrible for the sisters-in-law who are nervously fixing their hair and wearing full body Spanx and push up bras. I feel bad for the mothers who have fastidiously cleaned their homes, brought out the good china, re-decorated the living room. I feel awful for the fathers who are trying to figure out how seriously they are supposed to take this girl who has arrived in their living room on the arm of the beloved son with a camera crew and make up artist in tow. It just makes me itchy and I really want to put my hands over my eyes and watch through my fingers... Sigh.
So Ali sits down with the family in their cream-colored dining room with straight-from-the-catalogue home accessories (ceramic fruit!) and chats gamely with the family about what she first loved about Roberto. (His ass, duh.) Roberto sits with his arm protectively around the back of Ali's chair until Roberto hits the lanai with his father and brother to talk hombre to hombre. Obviously the family has a shrine to Roberto's athletic accomplishments and it is in the glow of the many many gold-plated baseball players that Roberto Sr. grills Ali on her intentions. First question: Would Ali be willing to sacrifice her goals to help Roberto fulfill one of his? She gulps and says, more or less, no. But she would be willing to consider it so long as she could do something awesome too. Roberto Sr. has no idea what to make of that. Outside, Roberto Jr. talks to his mami about Ali. She gives him her blessing to propose to Ali if he should have the opportunity. Then, in one of the bedrooms, which is odd, Roberto Sr. blesses Roberto Jr. and then there is great rejoicing in the Martinez household. Also, dancing. Lots of dancing. Ali claims the bar for the other family visits has been set high. Very high. Muy alto.
It's a dark and stormy day when Ali gets dropped off on the beach in Cape Cod to see Chris. Ali swears she has moved past the "friends" stage with Chris, which I think means she let him go to second, but it might mean third. Chris and his dog greet Ali on the beach and they spend some quality time strolling the sands of time. Chris points out that this is actually a romantic setting because whales are mating just over yonder. Yep, nothing like mating sea mammals to really set the mood.
They finally head home and Chris plies Ali with beer before giving her the depressing tour of the house, or rather, the tour of the depressing house. I understand that Chris L.'s family would have a lot of mementos and memorials to his dead mother, but if he is still so smarting from the wounds in that he has to mention it every five minutes: WHY IS HE ON A REALITY SHOW? Really, dude, take some time. Ali doesn't seem to mind. She likes the fact that he is damaged. She can fix him. Also, she fits in the nook of his arm. That's the stuff good lasting relationships are built on.
Ali still has frizzy rainy beach hair when she goes to meet Chris's dad. Guess the producers are putting the "reality" in reality TV and forcing Ali to forego primping and fluffing. No worries, though, Ali feels like she knows him already so he probably won't mind the frizzy hair. After some delightfully passive aggressive comments from his dad about how Ali "stole his roommate", the rest of the family shows up and everything I said about home visits before does not apply to this family. They are adorable, especially the sisters-in-law, although I bet Ali really wishes she had run a brush through her hair since the girls are very well kempt. But my favorite thing about the family is that they drink and they have both bottles of wine AND growlers of beer. They also all have matching bracelets to the one Chris gave Ali in Portugal. Fuck, they're adorable. Don't worry, I'm only saying all of these nice things because I am hoping they will rent me their house for the summer. A shingled three-bedroom house in easy walking distance to the beach? Damn, that's some prime real estate!
Ali takes some alone time with Chris's dad in the den. He tells her that his last wish before he dies is to see all three sons married and happy. He gives her the hoary eye and she pretends she is totally going to marry his son tomorrow. LIES! Meanwhile Chris gets some girl talk with his sisters-in-law. He explains that he is happy and comfortable and all that good stuff. I won't transcribe because whatever he says now will be mortifying if he gets kicked off. Inside, Chris's father is trying to channel Chris's dead mom to get some more probing questions for Ali. He shrugs and they head back out to drink some more. Chris and his dad talk about his dead mother some more and they both agree that she would want to see him happy. Yes, it is probably a safe assumption that a mother would want her son to be happy. Ali and Chris bid farewell to his family and their adorable Cape Cod home (with woodburning stove!) and head up to a local tower built by the local Renaissance Faire branch. Then Chris and Ali make out in plain view of the neighbors, but considering how much alcohol these two have had, they are probably too toasted to care. Once you make out in front of the neighbors, you are definitely past the "friends" point in your relationship.
After that make out session, Ali is off to Green