Awwww yeah, rose lovers. You know what time it is. Time for a bunch of random relatives – most of whom Desiree will never see again — to get all up in the Bachelorette’s business. Place your seat backs and tray tables in their upright and locked position, because our hometown “journey” is about to begin.
First stop: Dallas, Texas, home to absurdly restrictive abortion laws and Zak the drilling fluid engineer. And as we all know, everything’s bigger in Texas — including neuroses. “If people think I’m crazy,” warns Zak, “just wait until you see my crazy family.” But first, we’re going to have to hear all about Zak’s symbolism-laden dream about Des from the night before. “You and I were on this beach… All of a sudden it started getting really hot, and the sun is, like, melting us, and we started melting into the sand, right?” says Zak, who sounds a little drunk, to be honest. “We were almost completely gone, and then it started snowing…” Eventually they ate the snow out of cups while being trampled by “hundreds of kids,” or something. Des is understandably confused by Zak’s prophecy, but she smiles gamely as her suitor hops over a fence and runs off to fetch some sort of surprise.
Turns out the dream was not Zak’s subconscious telling him that his and Desiree’s very identities are being melted away by the hot glare of Team Bachelorette‘s camera lights and the only way to save themselves is to go “underground” and join the witless protection program… No, it was just a silly little set-up to his hometown date hazing ritual: Working in the “family snow cone business”! Yes, apparently Zak’s clan owns a snow cone truck, and before the Bachelorette can join his family she’s going to have to prove she can handle working the sugar-rush shift at Treetops School. Desiree calmly hands out mounds of shaved ice as the children swarm like zombies around the truck. Zak helps maintain order by dressing up like a giant penguin and delivering spinning high-fives. “The penguin’s my boyfriend,” Des tells the kids, who let out a disgusted “Ewwwwwwwww!” after she kisses the bird’s fuzzy cheek.
Having dispensed with the goofy portion of the date, Zak strips off the mascot costume and drives Des to meet his clan. “This is where I get my lunacy from,” he explains. “I just hope they don’t scare Desiree off.” It’s all squeals and hugs and bright-colored clothing as Zak’s mom Maryann, dad Jeff, brother Denton, and sister Carly greet the duo. The family’s smiles turn to groans as soon as Zak describes his shirtless limo exit, and mom looks particularly chagrined by his next admission: “I’ve been completely naked at least three times… It can be blurred out!” (How many naked Zak set-ups did Team Bachelorette really need to film for the premiere, anyway?)
Anyhoo, despite the teasing, the mood at lunch is indeed very light-hearted and upbeat, with lots of laughter that doesn’t seem forced. Mom hops on board the Des-as-daughter-in-law train almost immediately — “When those two walked in I went, ‘Are you kidding me?’ They are amazing together” — and though Carly thinks Desiree is “an awesome person,” she’s not convinced her brother is going to make it out of this “journey” unscathed. “I’m a little scared,” she admits. But really it’s Des who should be frightened, because something truly terrifying is about to happen: Zak and his siblings are about to go all Von Trap Family Singers on her ass by performing a rewritten version of the ditty Zak sang in Atlantic City.
NEXT: Oh good Lord why are they singing??