Well, it wasn't stuffed dead animals in the basement, but another parent derailed their offspring's shot at love on The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.
Going into Monday's hometown episode of The Bachelor, I figured I knew exactly how it would go down. It seemed like squeaky-voiced Nicki was so much roadkill on Ben Flajnik's path to manufactured love.
But I wasn't counting on Mr. and Mrs. Moral Majority, a.k.a. Kacie's parents.
The writing was on the wall when Kacie, fresh from welcoming Ben to Clarksville, Tenn., with a marching band and a display of her baton-twirling prowess (really? didn't we already do that?), told him her dad was a federal probation officer who didn't drink.
"That's great, I'm a winemaker and my business is booze. I don't know what we're gonna have in common," Ben said in voiceover.
Then, when Kacie's stern father asked Ben what made him choose Kacie, the best Ben could come up with was, "Her ability to communicate was a big thing. I sensed this good quality in her." No wonder dad's response was a skeptical "Hmmmm."
Mom put the nail in the coffin by telling Ben she'd have a serious problem with Kacie and Ben living together before marriage. And that's just what any independent and not noticeably religious 28-year-old man wants to hear from his prospective mother-in-law.
By the time Ben gave Kacie a tepid kiss goodbye in the driveway, things weren't looking good for the 24-year-old administrative assistant.
By contrast, Ben's hometown date with Courtney in Scottsdale, Ariz., started with a family love-in (her dad was already asking Ben for grandkids) and ended with a surprisingly touching faux wedding ceremony.
It's a good thing the producers chose to show that last, because Ben's overenthusiastic pronouncements about how much he enjoyed seeing the other ladies and their families would have been even less credible than these things usually are.
And if Lindzi and Nicki had watched the fake wedding before Monday's rose ceremony, they would have been jumping into the limo with Kacie and driving far away from Ben.
Yep, Courtney called it: she is definitely winning.
Of course, because we have a couple of weeks to go, we're being asked to believe there's still a chance Ben could dump Courtney over her shabby treatment of her rivals. As if.
The promo for next Monday shows Courtney expressing her fear she'll lose Ben over "the damage I caused the other girls" (what? trash talking and gloating is cause for serious mental harm?). And then, Ben exclaims "Holy f--k" after answering a knock on his door, followed by a worried declaration that it will take him a while to figure out "this whole situation."
Unless that knock on the door was Chris Harrison telling Ben that Courtney snapped and beat Lindzi with a horseshoe or punched Nicki right in her extremely white teeth, I can't see anything that would dissuade Ben from choosing Courtney in the finale. And even that probably wouldn't be enough.
So, with that said, let's take a quick look at the hometown dates.
Lindzi in Ocala, Fla.: Say, did you know that Lindzi likes horses? She made a big impression on Ben when she rode up to the Los Angeles mansion on a horse in the season premiere, so might as well try it again on the hometown date. And it worked. Ben thought she looked sexy when she rode up on her white and brown mount. Then she hitched the horse to a small carriage and made Ben steer on the way to their picnic.
Also, Lindzi, who's 27, apparently doesn't get out much when it's not with horses because to hear her tell it, she'd only had one serious relationship in her life with the only other guy she'd brought home to meet her parents. Yeah, no pressure there.
Lindzi's parents liked wine and dogs, so that was good for Ben, and they got married in the same city hall in San Francisco where Lindzi and Ben had their first date, which was like an omen, so you totally knew Lindzi was getting a rose at the end of the show. Also, she opened up to Ben by admitting she had been living with her old boyfriend (good thing Kacie's parents didn't hear that) and we know how much Ben likes confessions.
Lindzi's heart had been broken, but she realized that love was kind of like riding a horse. "If you fall off, you get back on and love's the same way." Wow, deep.
The visit ended with a wine toast by the fire and hugs from the folks for their prospective son-in-law, and big smooches between Lindzi and Ben. "I think I might be falling in love with Lindzi," said Ben.
Kacie in Clarksville, Tenn.: Not only did Kacie greet Ben with a marching band and her baton, she brought him to the Buster Boguskie high school football field, named after her grandfather. Granddad was not only a paragon of community service, having played triple A baseball in town, sat on city council and run a sporting goods store, but he was a romantic model too. In fact, Kacie's grandmother loved him so much she died of a broken heart, Kacie told Ben, adding, "I feel like I've had such great examples of what love and marriage is, and that's exactly what I want." "That's great," responded Ben, not at all convincingly.
The fact is the poor guy was scared crapless before he got to her parents' door. "Don't take it personally if I don't kiss you," he told Kacie after getting the lowdown on her Bible Belt folks.
At the house, Kacie pulled aside her sister to try to rustle up some moral support while her dad admonished Ben not to rush into anything and to let Kacie down as soon as possible if she wasn't "the one." "I'm not sure he likes me or that I'm the son-in-law he had in mind for his daughter," said Ben.
Throw in Ben's discouraging talk with mom and dad telling Kacie he wouldn't give Ben permission to propose, and it was pretty clear Kacie would face the same fate as Kirk, the suitor in Ali's Bachelorette season who got dumped after his dad took animal lover Ali to the basement to see his taxidermy collection.
Nicki in Fort Worth, Texas: After such a downer of visit, it was lucky the next thing we saw was Ben's rendezvous with cheerful, ever smiling Nicki. Their date included such cliche activities as buying cowboy boots and hats, and drinking something out of straws in some sort of saloon.
That also provided an opening for another silly analogy: "Finding the right boot is very similar to finding the right partner in love. You have to get just the right fit," said Nicki. Sure, whatever.
Nicki said she didn't want to beat a dead horse, but that's exactly what she did by bringing up her divorce again. And she mentioned that she wouldn't marry someone her parents didn't approve of, so Ben could have been in trouble if Nicki's dad was anything like Kacie's dad.
Luckily though, both her folks, who are themselves divorced, were affable sorts. And after hearing Nicki bubble over about how she was falling for Ben, they gave her their blessing. Even her kid brother said, "I actually like the guy."
Nicki spirited Ben to an upstairs bedroom to tell him she loved him, and he was okay with that. "Today, there were moments where I looked over at Nicki and said, 'I love this girl,'" said Ben. Or at least, he seemed to love the family.
Courtney in Scottsdale, Ariz.: A funny thing happened in Scottsdale. Courtney was transformed from a petty, vindictive, annoying creep who does weird things with her face into a real person with seemingly genuine feelings. Who knew?
It was also refreshing to see that Courtney had had multiple relationships instead of obsessing over one big one that got away like Nicki and Lindzi. Oh sure, Courtney said, her family had seen her heartbroken, but "I'm happy to introduce them to someone who I think won't break my heart."
Mom Sherry was the most skeptical, but after Courtney told her that Ben made her feel special and she was ready to say yes to a proposal, Sherry was ready to welcome Ben into the family. Ben had already aced the interview with dad Rick by assuring him he was keen to provide the desired grandchildren.
Courtney wanted to tell Ben she was "100 per cent in love" with him and she found a unique way to do it: staging a fake outdoor wedding complete with a minister, vows written in notebooks and rings made of twigs.
Thing is the vows that Ben and Courtney wrote didn't sound fake at all.
"From the moment I saw you, you took my breath away," Ben told Courtney. "What I asked myself after our first date was, is this too good to be true. The answer I found in Belize is no, you are incredible ... You are strong, kind and beautiful, and I find myself falling for you more and more every time I'm with you."
Courtney got teary-eyed delivering her vows. "Ben, I'm looking for love, real love, passionate, consuming, can't live without each other love ... when I look at you from across the room I know your happiness is the key to mine ... I will trust you, respect you, encourage you, laugh with you and cry with you for all the days of my life..."
She added, "I want you to know that I'm in love with you."
"Wow," Ben responded, looking a little teary-eyed himself.
Back in L.A., at the rose ceremony, Courtney got the first flower, followed by Lindzi and Nicki.
Kacie held it together pretty well as Ben walked her to the limo but fell apart in the back seat.
"This is why I don't love, this is why," she sobbed. "I loved him and I don't know what to do now. How does this happen? What the f--k happened? What the f--k happened?"
Hint: ask your parents.
Next week, it's Switzerland for Ben and the last three standing. And you know what that means: fantasy suite dates. It's probably a good thing Kacie didn't make it that far. If mom and dad disapprove of cohabitating, imagine what they'd think of a televised one-night stand.
As usual, I'll be watching, Monday at 8 p.m. on OMNI TV, and recapping the episode here.
So what did you think of the hometown dates? Were you shocked that Kacie went home? Were you shocked that Courtney apparently has a heart?
Share your comments here, on Twitter @realityeo or on my Facebook page.
(The photos of Kacie with her baton, and Ben wth Courtney are by Katherine Bomboy-Thornton and Ralph Freso for ABC.)