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'Bachelorette' instant reaction: You can't go home again (unless you're on a reality dating show)

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Oh, hometown dates, how you amuse me so with your bad upholstery and meatloaf and taxidermy and lawn chairs and suburban tract housing. But there is no time to ruminate here — the most important decisions in the history of the world must be made! So that they can be unmade in a year or less! On with the show …

We visited Roberto in Florida, where he looked hot in a baseball uniform, his dad questioned Ali about her rampant ambition (I mean, duh, she’s on a reality show, of course she has ambition!), and they summed it all up by dancing some salsa. We went to Cape Cod with Chris, whose all-too-real family and life proved once again too sweet for reality television. We learned about taxidermy and creepy basements and creepier freezers from Kirk’s dad in Wisconsin. And we pretended Frank lives in downtown Chicago while belaboring his insecurities once more.

The full recap with a detailed dissection of the homegrown fun, will be up soon (UPDATE: Click over to the full Bachelorette recap, now live), but if you’ve already watched and want to weigh in on Roberto and Chris’ dreaminess or Kirk’s alleged commitment issues or Frank’s appeal (seriously, please explain it), read on after the jump for more. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you’ve already watched Monday’s Bachelorette. Seriously.]

Roberto proved to have even more moves when he had a home field advantage — mainly because he brought Ali to his home field, where he used to play pro baseball! His dad could have undone all Roberto’s hard looking-great-in-a-uniform work, though, with his rather direct line of questioning about Ali’s ability to “support” Roberto, what with all her “personal goals.” But she gave a good answer about “doing what’s best for our family,” and everyone salsa danced to celebrate.

Chris shared the coziest family in the coziest Cape Cod house with Ali, complete with teary moments and heartfelt wisdom. His mother’s memory still hung in the air as his father told stories about their courtship and shared bons mots like, “Love is the only reality.” Chris shared that, “Whenever I say her name, I feel so happy,” and we got super-nervous for him in his vulnerable state and kind-of wanted to pass him a gentle note reminding him he was on a dating reality show. But we resigned ourselves to the fact that he is a grown man and we hoped for the best.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, we learned about taxidermy and the dangers of basements thanks to Kirk’s dad. And if I could get the image of that caribou foot with the creepy red eyes out of my head, I’d tell you more about what happened there between Ali and Kirk. I’m pretty sure it had a lot to do with him never, ever bringing his girlfriends home to meet either of his divorced-from-each-other parents. Like, ever. Or at least in three years. Which could be, as Ali is fond of saying, “a concern.”

Finally, it was off to Chicago to meet Frank and talk more about his insecurities. “It’s like a mind game,” was how he aptly summed up the process of being on a dating reality show. The producers were probably shocked to hear this, as surely they did not intend to create a game-like atmosphere. Here they’d worked so hard to make it nurturing and conducive to the kind of lasting love the world has never seen. Frank’s parents, like so many before them, declared our Bachelorette and their son made for each other, just as the other three were made for her. Hey, a lot of people could be made for a lot of people, right? I mean, that’s possible.

Kirk left in the Rose Ceremony, but he at least had the comfort of Ali’s amazing ability to give good sad face. My full recap will be up soon, but let us know what you think now. Did she do the right thing by sending Kirk home? Who’s your current favorite? Do you wish she’d booted someone else? Which hometown was your favorite?

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