Meeting your lover's family can be among the best or worst experiences of a new relationship, but for The Bachelorette star, Emily Maynard, it seems it could not have gone any better -- even though she did it four times.
Her first hometown date started off in Chicago (suitor Chris is from Illinois). In the beginning of the season, Maynard was disappointed to learn that he was 25 years young -- at 26 and with a kid, Maynard has kept her eyes peeled for mature dad and husband material -- but the heart wants what it wants, and he made it far enough for some quality family time. He gave the cameras a quick synopsis of his family's history.
On a scale of one to Polish, we're Polish, he told the cameras.
Chris' dad was a sweetheart. He took Maynard aside to talk to her in private and when she told him that her daughter was the center of everything, he nodded and said and should be. Classy.
Maynard's next hometown date was with Jef, the entrepreneur from Utah. He took her to his family's humongous ranch, which made for a romantic setting and gave the baby-faced suitor a chance to show off his more rugged side. He and Maynard spent some time shooting clay pigeons, and she was pleasantly surprised by his more manly side. She told the cameras that Jef is little more country than he wants people to know.
But where were his parents? Jef claimed they were out of town doing charity work in South Carolina, so she had to settle for his siblings. She got along with his sisters, who described their brother as a hopeless romantic who totally wants a family.
Later, when they were alone again, Jef read Maynard a love letter which melted the Southern girl's heart.
All in all a good visit, but we're skeptical about Jef's parents' whereabouts and whether they were just camera-shy. (He has said in the past that his family is very private.) It seems if Jef was really serious about Emily, he'd make sure she got a chance to meet his parents.
Next up was Maynard's hometown date with Arie.
Viewers were treated to the inevitable shots of the race car driver in action. Maynard said he looked stupid hot and that he was a very smooth driver. Arie admitted to Maynard that he was nervous about her meeting his family because she's all-American and they are European (from the Netherlands). He admitted that his mother would be the least open-minded of the bunch.
The visit started off well enough, with one of Arie's adorable younger brothers telling Maynard that he liked her Southern accent, but things took a turn for the mega-awkward when Arie's mother initiated a short conversation with him in Dutch in front of everyone, including Maynard. According to Arie, who gave Maynard a synopsis of their brief exchange, his mother was just making sure he was okay. Guess she couldn't wait.
The two women had a private conversation, with the older one wanting to know what happened with Maynard's ex, two-time Bachelor star Brad Womack. She said something must have been totally wrong if they were once engaged but no longer together. (One of Maynard's explanations was that she hadn't asked the right questions of Womack.)
The mother later told the camera that Maynard and her son would make an awesome couple.
Nice enough family, but was it fair for Arie's mother to act as though her son is in a hostage situation? It seems that mother and son could have caught up -- in their native language -- when the cameras stopped rolling. We couldn't help but notice that Chris' family is Polish and they didn't pull that stunt.
Last but not least: Maynard's hometown date with Sean.
This was the highlight of the episode. Sean's family decided -- or producers put them up to it, you can never really tell -- to pull a couple of pranks on Maynard. They were sitting outside with his family and having a nice time when Sean dropped a bomb on Maynard and said he still lived at home.
Her response: You do? Oh, cool.
Still in shock and trying to hide it, Maynard let him lead her to his bedroom, which was a mess and had stuffed animals.
I can clean, said the bachelorette.
But she didn't have to worry for too long. Sean fessed up and said it was a joke. He does not live at home, which means that particular mess wasn't his. (No word on whether his own place is a pigsty.)
It wasn't the only joke that day. While the episode credits were running, viewers saw a clip of Sean's father pretending they were serving Maynard armadillo.
Sean told his dad in private that Maynard is a sweet, sweet woman. The older man told the cameras that there's something magical going on here.
Such a fun family will make for good memories (or nightmares, if you're not the prankster type).
Maynard regrouped with show host Chris Harrison before the rose ceremony and said it would be hard to let one of her suitors go. She gave roses to Arie, Jef and Sean, so goodbye, Chris!
He expressed his shock but didn't fight it too much (really, at this point in the game, what can he do?). In the car, away from Maynard, he said he was ten times the man than the other guys. (His expletives were bleeped out.)
Next up: Curaçao, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in the Caribbean off of the coast of Venezuela. Will Arie help Maynard feel right at home?