After meeting the four final guys' families, DeAnna decides to dump the guy she felt she was falling for

By Erin Stevenson
Updated June 24, 2008 at 04:00 PM EDT
Craig Sjodin

Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh, my….I swear last night‘s rose ceremony on The Bachelorette was the first one in a long time that caused me to feel as if I might actually hurl. From nerves. I would have been on the edge of my couch if I hadn’t been pinned down by my overheating laptop. And I almost couldn’t bear to finish watching, so I hit pause after the rose ceremony and started writing. Every bit of the two hours last night was worth it! (And believe me, I’ve not been a fan of this season’s super-size episodes because that means I have to burn some serious midnight oil to share my joy, disdain, bemusement, shock, and awe with you, TV Watchers.) But if there’s one lasting legacy from here, it should be that all hometown-date episodes last two hours. (Do you think there’s a Bachelor/Bachelorette nickname for hometown dates? Trista called the exotic final dates ”exotics” last week. Does that make the hometown dates ”hometowns”? ”Homies”?)

Never have I loved all the families so much! There’s always at least one oddball or uncomfortable situation or inquisition, and although Jeremy’s overprotective brothers came pretty close, their obvious love and concern for him ended up being almost endearing. Almost. Could you feel the love last night? (Think Elton John.) Yes! All the young dudes (now I’m just feeling sing-songy) pulled out all the stops. And each had a secret weapon.

Jesse spoke so endearingly of his folks, who were so down-home and genuine. Pop, a ”sharer” of feelings (just like ”brutally honest” DeAnna) came to tears while talking about his snowboarding son and how he was a long-awaited answer to their prayers for a child. And then he gave DeAnna what may be the best, most sincere compliment ever given in Bachelor/Bachelorette history: ”To even think that he’s meeting a young girl like you, I’m blessed,” the teary dad said. Man! And we finally got an explanation why Jesse choked last week: ”Kissing’s a special thing to me,” he announced. But he finally opened up (as his parents advised) and gave the girl some smooch time on their carriage ride. (Brave man, taking a horse-drawn ride with DeAnna, whose last trip of that nature didn’t end so well for science nerd Richard.)

Jeremy revved up DeAnna’s engines with a motorcycle ride through his hometown of Dallas. Unlike Jesse, he doesn’t have parents to share with DeAnna, which is part of their intense bond. He made that all the more intense by breaking out the photo albums (anyone else notice a resemblance between his mom and DeAnna?) and reading out loud his journal (the one chronicling his feelings during the last days of his mother’s life), which brought DeAnna to tears. (Yes, as always, there were plenty of tears. More on that with Jason’s date. And post-rose ceremony.) Jeremy’s very tight with his brothers (which appealed to DeAnna but chafed me just a bit). He’s been perfect from day one, DeAnna said in the photo room before last night’s rose ceremony. Yes, but methinks maybe too perfect! Perfect house. (When does the bachelor who still has his bar-exam study materials covering an entire wall have time to decorate? And did you get a load of that elaborate candle-and-rock-filled centerpiece?) Perfect dog. Perfect looks (if you like ”perfect”). Perfect job. His brothers told DeAnna that the last woman to break Jeremy’s heart was their mother. Heavy! And just when we thought he couldn’t open up any more, Jeremy said he’s opening up parts of him that he didn’t know he was capable of opening? Did that strike anyone else as odd? How suddenly, after years, Jeremy’s in uncharted ”opening up” waters, on national television? I curse the cynic in me that questions his motives here. DeAnna appears to be a pretty swell girl (I know some of you have your doubts), but is she so spectacular that she has Jeremy tearing down longstanding walls in a matter of weeks? On camera?

NEXT: Ty game

As soon as Jason told DeAnna about his son in the third episode, he was pretty much as open a book as DeAnna could hope to find. He’s been nothing but honest and caring ever since. But I just wasn’t feeling the heat tonight. And he’s shown her pretty much everything’s he’s got. So much so that at the end of his hometown date, all he had to offer was a compliment about her soft lips. He does have a great family, though. The whole group, including Dad, played leapfrog in their yard. Jason’s reunion with his son brought tears to DeAnna’s eyes (and perhaps to mine as well — I’m a cynic, but I’m not completely heartless). And the waterworks started right back up when they said goodbye to Ty. (Kleenex missed a huge sponsorship opportunity with this season, don’tcha think?) But DeAnna seems to have some doubts, and her saying, ”No one grows up and thinks, ‘I want to be a stepmother,’ ” threw me for a loop. She’s concerned there might not be enough room in Jason’s heart for her and Ty together. But she also said she wants to have three kids before she turns 30, and that’s only four years away. Three kids in the next four years? That’s gotta be a concern with Jesse. He seems like he could be ready for marriage in four years, but three kids? So maybe our bachelorette is not really sure what she wants.

What she definitely doesn’t want is someone who doesn’t know what he wants and who (say it with me now) can’t open up. Which has been her concern all along with that good-lookin’ Graham. She started bouncing the moment she met up with him in Raleigh, N.C., his hometown. She beams when she’s around him! There’s something she feels for him that she doesn’t feel for any of the other guys — she said it herself. In other, more punny words, she’d like to get her some hot cross Bunn (Graham’s last name, we found out), and that cannot be denied. But his mom gave form to DeAnna’s worst fears last night. (Both his parents were wonderful. Again I’ll say it: These were the best hometown dates ever!) Mom told DeAnna that Graham’s a bit of a loner. He doesn’t bring people totally in. When a guy’s mom knows that finding a relationship longer than four weeks is hard for him, well, then, that’s a truth that just can’t be ignored, no matter how hot you are for someone. Well, let me amend that. That’s a truth that can’t be ignored if you’re 26 and looking to get married, have three kids in the next four years, and live happily ever after. Graham himself said it’s been ”several, several” years since he brought someone home. The man’s only 29! He has hardly lived that many years! Still, it seemed their date could be salvaged, that puppy love might be enough to keep Graham around. (Donny Osmond knows what I’m talking about.)

NEXT: Graham doesn’t crack

Until the very last minute, when, after bestowing roses on Jesse (what was with his Sonny Crockett suit?), then Jeremy, DeAnna called out Jason’s name! And it just got more uncomfortable from there. Even after she walked him outside, she tried to give him a chance to redeem himself, explaining that she had opened herself up to him and his inability at this point to do the same in return had made her feel led on. All he could respond with was defensive posturing and ”You are very entitled to your opinion, and you are more than welcome to make it easier on yourself by thinking that, but that’s not true.” What? And even then, instead of simply saying farewell, she just kept talking, further pronouncing, ”I care deeply for you…and all I wanted was for you to be that person in the end, and to open up and truly let your guard down.” No rebuttals; he still couldn’t (or wouldn’t) explain himself. Then DeAnna put it all on the line: ”I am saying goodbye to the one person I thought I was falling in love with.” Yikes! She was crying. He might have been crying. And all he can say was ”Aw, man.” Meanwhile, I, alone on my couch, weeks after this was shot thousands of miles away, was pretty much choking on his stifled emotions. Let it out, man! Let it out! And it only got more unbearable as he handed her that card! (Non sequitur, but couldn’t he have at least tucked his shirt in? After all, Jesse wore a suit, albeit one from the Miami Vice era.) Graham looked genuinely sad and upset in the limo. Why, oh, why couldn’t he open up? Was he uncomfortable with the TV side of things? Was it the competing with other guys? His folks seemed very normal and caring; what’s at the root of his communication problem? Obviously he knew he was risking losing her, because he wrote her that note (which he seemed to want to keep secret, and I hope it stays between just those two). Afraid that her only chance at true love had just driven away, DeAnna said her heart was breaking. And mine was a little too, for her. I’m not exaggerating in true Bachelor/Bachelorette style when I say this was really the most heartbreaking moment in Bachelor/Bachelorette history.

So what do you think? Has DeAnna lost her chance at love, which is what she fears? I’m not sure any of the three J.’s is going to be able to ignite the same fire in DeAnna that Graham did. Or is this the difference between puppy love (Graham) and real, everlasting love (Jesse, Jeremy, or Jason)? And finally, on a lighter note, the producers are once again toying with us with that preview showing Jesse’s reluctance to use the fantasy suite, right?

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