Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ashley Episode 6: Hong Wrong.

Dear Bachelor producers, evil Bentley, et al.,

I am ready. I have summoned my courage. I have fortified myself with wine. (Malbec, because an episode this harrowing calls for something robust.)


Previously on the Bachelorette: Ashley's former love, Bentley, left their relationship unfinished. On a "dot dot dot", as you will. Since then, Ashley has tried to distract herself with her other boyfriends, but all she can think about is BENTLEY. Bentley! Bentley! Bentley! Bentley is like a big ol' ugly speedbump on Ashley's highway to love.

Ashley wanders the streets of Hong Kong, all verklempt. Closure, she needs it. Bentley told her he wanted to leave things on a "dot dot dot", and "that usually means 'to be continued'", Ashley informs us. Yeah, or sometimes it means you're TOO MUCH OF A LAZY JACKASS TO USE REAL PUNCTUATION.

...just sayin'.

Chris Harrison, the perfectly-coiffed ringleader of this circus of DRAMA, knocks on the door of Ashley's suite at the product placement hotel. Chris is CONCERNED, man. He wants Ashley to have closure so she can continue with her JOURNEY. Because he cares so much, Chris has summoned Bentley from his lair somewhere near Salt Lake City and flown him halfway around the world. Bentley is RIGHT HERE. IN THIS HOTEL.

Ashley: SHUT UP.

Chris Harrison is a vulture who feeds on the festering carrion of DRAMA, but he's so good at pretending to be a normal human being! With normal human feelings! He tells Ashley to like, be strong, and not take any shit, before sending her downstairs to the ratings bonanza.

BFF duties concluded, Chris heads to the bar to get obliterated, while Ashley stares thoughtfully at the key to Bentley's suite and the utterly inadequate fruit bowl. Weird techno music plays! Traffic roars by outside! I guess to remind us of the discordant symphony of angst now playing inside Ashley's head.

Seriously, guys. Only one orange? Lame.



Bentley opens the door and it's SO DRAMATIC and I'm sort of expecting to see like, a faceless monster, but instead he's kind of...normal. They sit on the couch and talk for a bit, and it's so...normal. But then Bentley's hand is on Ashley's knee, and he's telling her to come to Salt Lake and visit his lair if nothing works out with any of these other chumps, and I start to relax because this is the scumsucking scumbag we have been led to despise. Ahhh.

Ashley is looking for something a little more than "hey, call me later". She's got a feeling about Bentley in her gut, and she thinks it might be Fate. "I just couldn't let it go, and I still can't. I still can't let it go."

Evil Bentley, finally faced with the magnitude of what his evil deeds hath wrought, decides maybe it's time to be honest. Sort of. "It doesn't look good. For me and you. And I would...implore you, to do all you can to see what you have here. I guess."

Ashley's like, so is this this period? I was broken, Bentley. BROKEN. She's starting to get mad. SAY IT, BENTLEY. SAY IT! SAY IT'S A DAMN PERIOD.

So finally he's like, yeah. It's a period. And she's like, wtf? You came all the way here just to tell me that? You couldn't tell me on the phone? Did you just want a free vacation?

Bentley: Yeah, pretty much.


Ashley: "I cannot believe I wasted so much time on Bentley," Neither can I, Ashley. Neither can I.

Talking Head Ashley has a special message for Bentley: "Bentley, if you're watching this, BLEEEP you. I'm done with you." Bentley and Ashley as SO OVER. He can just take that dot dot dot and shove it up his dot dot dot. Sounds of glee echo across the land. Bells ring. Children shout. The streets flow with wine. Thank the Bachelor gods, we will never hear about BENTLEY ever again. At least until the reunion show. Which promises to be a real doozy.

Or at least until Ashley reminds us a million more times that she has CLOSURE. Argh.

But for now! Ashley is free as a bird, and so tiny and happy! So happy she barely knows which 80s blouse to pick for her date with Lucas. Ashley's super excited about going out with him, or something. I guess I would be, too, if I had any idea who he was.

Ah! Turns out Lucas is the divorced Texan who didn't speak until last week. They're going to a street market! Wait, hasn't this date already been done like, at least twice this season? Where are the hot tubs and rooftop pools? I can't believe this show has strayed so far from its roots.

Ashley is super psyched. "Look at the street market! People are selling things."

Oh, honey. That's what people do at markets.

Shopping the street market with Ashley is so Real. Lucas feels like they've been dating forever. Just you wait, Lucas, because it's about to get even realer. Thats right: they are going to have dinner on a PIRATE SHIP.

Lucas asks Ashley how she's doing with the Process. Ashley has gone through a "few little hiccups" (make that REALLY BIG, HUGE, PROCESS-THREATENING HICCUPS) but she is doing great now. Then they talk about Lucas' divorce, and about fate, and all I can think is that this date is deeply flawed due to lack of actual pirates.

Ashley gives Lucas the date rose, and he decides this is a good time to make his move. I've gotta say, I was totally unimpressed with Lucas until now, but this man can kiss. Aw, dayyyum.

Ashley agrees. Lucas' "manlihood" makes her feel like a natural woman. Manlihood? That...that's not a word. But I'm happy for you, baby. Just as long as it's not BENTLEY.

Group date time! The guys are going to be competing against each other in a Dragon Boat race. But there's a catch! Two dudes will be assigned to each team, and the other eight members of their team must be recruited from strangers on the streets of Hong Kong. Dear bachelor producers: I still think you are soulless vermin, but I've got to give you props for this idea. Clueless Americans trying to recruit non-English speakers for a hopeless proposition? Comedy GOLD.

Blake and Ryan are paired up, mostly so Blake can bitch about how irritating Ryan is. Mickey, Ames, and Ames' adorable lumberjack shirt are on a team. Apparently they teach classes in dragon boat team recruiting at Harvard, because Ames and Mickey somehow run into a man who has like, an entire dragon boat racing team on speed dial. Boom.

"Those boardshorts would go great with my plaid."

Constantine and Ben are on the same team, because Ashley cannot tell them apart, either. They make a valiant effort at recruiting tiny Asian women and small dogs, but no one wants to be on a team with the scary twins in the scary bandanas. Finally the wonder twins decide that if they are going to lose, they will lose in style. As soon as they are kitted out in red silk kimonos, an entire team suddenly appears, drawn like moths to the flame of their terrible, terrible fashion sense.

The race begins, and things are not looking good for team Red Dragon. Their team chant, Ben explains, "was supposed to mean 'eat it', but we found out later it meant 'idiot'". For some reason, I found this hilarous. I think this was the hardest I've ever laughed at anything on this show, ever. I nearly dropped my wineglass. My cat looked at me like I was crazy.

Oh, and the professional rowers win. To nobody's surprise. I think we all know Ames' hipster plaid is the real winner here.

After party! Our man Ames decides to go full throttle. He takes Ashley up in the elevator, ostensibly to show her the view of Hong Kong, but really to show her his more, er, amorous side. Ames, you know I love you, and your Ivy leave pedigree and your hipster plaid. I'm happy to see you making your move. But now I've got that damn Aerosmith song stuck in my head.

As Ashley and Ames make out, the camera pans to the numbers on the elevator creeping higher and higher. Sadly, there is no similar representation of Ashley's numbers. Hasn't she made out with every guy here at this point? Except for Chris Harrison.

Next up: more making out! This time with Constantine, in an implausible yellow sweater! Whoops, that's Ben. I swear they are THE SAME. Ben tells us that he used to be a skeptic, but now he has a first-class ticket on the Ashley train. Ben and Ashley cuddle and talk about their feelings.

The guys snark on Ryan for a while, because you cannot spell "group date" without "bitchy man drama". The dudes are concerned that Ryan is one way around them (irritatingly happy) and another way around Ashley. (Irritatingly...happy?) They are sure that Sunshine will be going home this week, but Mickey thinks Ryan will get the rose. "My gut told me Ryan, at the beginning of the night." Sometimes my gut tells me I've had too many beers.

So of course Ryan gets the rose, which is a testament to both his charm and the prophetic powers of Mickey's intestines.

J.P. gets a second one-on-one date, because Ashley has come to her senses and realized he is totally awesome. Ashley decides to tell J.P. about all the Bentley madness, because she luurves him and wants him to know the truth. Of course J.P. can't be happy to hear that the tiny woman he loves has been pining after a troll-faced jerk, but he handles it with dignity: "Thank you for telling me. I appreciate your honesty." One billion points for J.P.

Ashley gives J.P. the date rose, and then they make out. And then they make out on a train! And then they make out on the roof of a building! This makes me so, so happy.

Cocktail party! On a boat! It is finally not raining, because the universe is so happy that Evil Bentley has eviled his last. But we haven't quite heard the last of him. Yet. Ashley decides to drop the Bentley bomb on the clusterchump all at one. It does not go well. "Remember Bentley? I was like, really in love with him. But I'm not, anymore. Guys? Guys??"

Texan Lucas and Dentist Blake have got their panties all in a wad, but it's Mickey who decides he wants to take his ball and go home. He tells Ashley to send him home at the rose ceremony, but she's all like, whatever, if you want to leave, leave now. As Mickey floats off into the night, Ashley gives the remaining dudes a tearful speech about how much she cares and how hard this is, and everyone looks sweetly concerned. Ashley leaves, and they agree that they are all in love with her, after all, and all is well in the Bachelorverse.

Then: tearful conversation with fake BFF Chris! The dramatic turning down of the picture frame! Yeah, I skipped this part. Moving on to the non-event of a rose ceremony:

Texan Lucas, Sunshine Ryan, and J.P. already have roses. The other roses go to:

Winemaker Ben
Winemaker Ben II


Ames!! Yay.

Bye bye, dentist Blake. Coming soon: Taiwan! Ames wears a jacket with sparkly lapels. And someone that Ashley regrets sending home is BACK.


The Bachelorette is on hiatus next week, so you can drink a beer, eat a hot dog, and think about how grateful you are to live in the country that brought the world rock n' roll, apple pie, and reality television.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ashley Episode 5, Part 2

Oh. My. Gosh.

I don't even know where to begin.

Just in case you haven't yet, but are considering watching the second half of this episode: It is terrible. It is so terrible that something like "trainwreck" does not even begin to describe it. Not even "shitstorm". It is like a trainwreck, inside a shitstorm, during an earthquake. While being attacked by zombies.

Seriously. It's that bad.

First up: the dreaded two-on-one, pretty much the most f-ed up idea for a date since your mom insisted on accompanying you and your 7th-grade boyfriend to the movies. And it's almost as terrible for Ashley as it is for Willz and Ben, what with all the painful memories of last season's Ashley-on-Ashley debacle.

Ashley: "I don't know what the dynamic between Willz and Ben C. is (hint: deep and abiding hatred), so it's going to be interesting to see how things play out today. "

Yes. If by "interesting" you mean "excruciatingly painful".

The Date of Doom is at some kind of elephant sanctuary. The elephants try their best, but it's pretty dull. Ashley seems checked out. Willz is increasingly drunk and obnoxious. NoLa Ben's jaw clenches tighter and tighter until his face is about to break in half.

Willz, you see, is in a precarious position. He made an ass of himself two weeks ago and hasn't really been able to rebound. He is growing increasingly desperate. Even his Dubya impersonation suddenly lacks a certain polish. It is time for...Operation Sabotage.

Dun dun dunnnnnnh.

Operation sabotage involves William playing Ashley's insecurity like a ten-string guitar. NoLa Ben, he tells her, is HERE FOR THE WRONG REASONS. He can't wait to get back to NoLa and resume hooking up with drunken coeds. No, wait - worse than that. NoLa Ben can't wait to get home and try online dating. Oouch.

Ashley: Why would Ben tell you that? Wouldn't he know that you would tell me?
Willz: Uhhhhhh...but we're like, uh, tight. Yeah.

Sounds a bit shady to me, but to William's delight and my increasing ire, Operation Sabotage is a rousing success. Ashley waits about 3.5 seconds before going up to Ben and being like, "you. leave. now." Ben is like, wtf??, so on the way out, Ashley confronts him about being like, NOT TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HER. Or something.

Ben's explanation: the online dating things was all a joke. Which is a pretty weak excuse. But on the other hand, Ashley's dumping him pretty much only on William's word? Also pretty weak.

As Ben floats out of sight on the River Raft of Loneliness and Despair, Ashley stares morosely into the distance. Will she ever find a man who is Here for the Right Reasons? Will William ever tell a joke that is actually funny? What is Bentley doing right now? How many drinks will it take me to get through this episode? What does it all meeean??? William gloats drunkenly, and I imagine reaching through my TV and strangling him.

Dinnahtime! Willz is working extra hard, but Ashley has just lost that lovin' feeling. It is gone, gone, gone. And soon, so is our poor, sad, would-be comedian. Wait, what about that stupid Chris Harrison poem that they read before this date every season? "Two chumps, one rose, one stays, one goes"?? WHAT ABOUT THE POEM? I cannot believe the POEM LIED TO ME. WHAT IS EVEN REAL ANYMORE? Ashley throws the rose into the fire, Pavelka-style, and watches it burn with a sad, dead look in her sad, lovelorn eyes.

In the limo, William sort of falls apart: "I am the world's biggest BLEEPing jackass. My life is full of shit. I don't deserve anything. I don't deserve shit." His self-pity is almost as obnoxious as his misplaced confidence, but 100 times sadder. It's as if you had a kitten, that was an asshole kitten that bit you a lot and told stupid unfunny jokes that hurt your feelings, and then you yelled at your kitten and the kitten was sad, and even though it totally deserved it, you felt bad because it was a kitten and it was so, so sad. That's what this show has come to. I can't even make fun of how awful it is because it makes me so sad. This is a sad, sad, sad-kitten show.

It's this sad.

Cocktail party time, and it is freaking raining, again. A wilted Ashley delivers a speech from the bottom of her poor, trampled heart: "I know that you guys might not, like, maybe like me that much, and that you're all polishing up your OkCupid profiles. But I just want you to be real, y'know? About how you don't like me. I think I'll go cry in a corner."

You guys, Ashley is bummed out. Bentley's departure and Ben's alleged foray into online dating and William's shitty jokes have turned her into a fragile husk of the sweet, fun-loving girl who once dreaming of finding love and being a dentist. This makes me so sad. I just want to reach through the screen and give Ashley a big hug, and an ice-cream sandwich, and maybe a strong drink. And possibly slap her and tell her to GET OVER THAT JERKFACE BENTLEY.

Sad J.P. is sad, too, and for this I love him a little more.

On to the cocktail party, because the show, it must go on. Ashley is so glum that even Ryan's solar-powered good looks cannot draw her out of her funk. She decides to grill Constantine (aka other Ben) about his feelings.

Ashley: Do you feel closer to the guys than you do to me?


Constantine: Naturally. but it's, you know, a different kind of close. Give me a rose, and next week...I'll show you close,

Ashley is charmed.

Then J.P. appears on my screen, like a shining ray of light amid the muck of this sad, sad show. Ashley: "do you think you could see like, us, in the future? like, in normal, everyday life." J.P., bless his heart: "like, I kinda feel like that's how it is now. It's so real." Apparently J.P.'s everyday life involves a great deal of cuddling with girls in cocktail dresses in ancient temples. He tells her that she looks beautiful, and that he's jealous of the other guys, and I want them to make out so bad, but they cannot because of freaking BENTLEY. Ashley needs closure to move on. That dot dot dot...it haunts us all.

Enter Chris, all clinkety clink with the wineglass, which means it's time to Think About Shit. A thunderstorm rages outside while BFF Chris, all concerned-like, encourages Ashley to bare her soul. Ashley has thinking about something, a lot, and it is...BENTLEY. Ashley needs closure. Her head says no, but her heart says yes.

Fact: This is hella annoying. If I hear the name BENTLEY again, I may scream.
Fact: I have totally been there. That guy? That you know is a jackass? That you always wanna text when you've been drinking? Yeah, totally been there.

BFF Chris is CONCERNED. If Ashley does not get closure with Bentley, her JOURNEY stands a good chance of being ruined forever. Ashley wants to be with a guy who also wants to be with her, but if Bentley does not come back and explain about the dot dot dot, she may be left wondering FOREVER.

Chris says he'll see what he can do. I.e.: Mike Fleiss is foaming at the mouth thinking about these DRAMAZ. Bentley is gonna be on a first-class flight to Asia faster than you can say dot dot dot.

As Ashley exits the Temple of Deliberation, she worries about leaving this experience ALONE. Because if you can't find love from a crowd of 25 hand-selected ABC bonunks...you are pretty much hopeless.

Ashley appears to the dudes, who are all lined up for the rose ceremony. HONESTY, she says, is so important, and honestly, she's only feelin it with...

(If you search for tenderness...)
(it isn't hard to fiiind)
(you can have the love you need to live.)
(if you look for truthfulness, you might just as well be blind...)
(It always seems to be so hard to GIIIIIIVE.....)

HONNNNNESTTTLLY...this is the last rose tonight.

And the rose goes to...RYAN. Nick and Nick's totally absurd abs...take a moment, say your goodbyes.

Personal trainer Nick is heartbroken. He though he and Ashley really had something. The next couple times he hits on women at the gym, his game is gonna be totally off.

Ashley is excited about the guys who are still here being still here. Next week! Hong Kong! And evildoer Bentley RETURNS. Look, I know they teased it last week, but this next week...it is totally gonna happen.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ashley Episode 5, Part 1: Love is a Battlefield

Rumblings on the internet tell me that this week, Ashley continues to be hung up on Bentley, aka he-who-must-not-be-named, aka the Most Hated Man in Bachelor history, which is both icky and deeply disturbing. To prepare for the trials that will shortly be thrust upon us, and our sweet small dentist, I have...maybe pre-partied a little. Don't judge. You watch this show. You know how hard this is.

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION TIME: I am currently drinking a Carmen Sandiego cocktail, my latest creation for the booze blog. You should check it out. You know, if you like booze.

Now on to your regularly scheduled programming.

Previously on the Bachelorette! Ames was rich and well-traveled and J.P. was hotter than asphalt on a Houston summer day, but Ashley did not care because of BENTLEY and his nefarious dot dot dot. "Dot dot dot is better than just a period", we hear Bentley say, as grammarians everywhere beg to differ. But this week! A new location! New beginnings! And (I can only hope) a new hot makeout with J.P.

The Bachelors are headed to...Chiang Mai! Yeah, I don't know where that is, either. But I will soon! Their tourism bureau must've paid a boatload. Dear Ames: Love the bangs. Stick with the bangs. Chiang-Mai, opines our man Ames, is famous for being full of monks "in saffron robes". Aside: Yeah, I read internet forums about the Bachelorette. I would hang my head in shame, except that I read the forums at TelevisionWithoutPity, which are full of smart people like you and me who watch this show as ironically as hipsters drink PBR. I bring this up to say: a bunch of my compatriots at TWOP think Ames, er, bats for the other team. I've always been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but now, I can't help thinking: what straight man identifies "saffron" as a color? Is this a Harvard thing? Enlighten me.

The bachelors arrive at their man-palace in Chiang-Mai in a limo from 1978. Perhaps they have fallen through a wormhole and Chiang-Mai is actually in the past. Which makes it a perfect place for catching up on the Wonder Years and Who's the Boss. Chris, wearing his best crocodile hunter outfit, greets the dudes and directs them to their private villa. J.P.: "this place is just prime for romance." Too bad you will be sharing it with 12 other dudes!

Ruh-roh. Chrissy-poo tells us this is the week of the dreaded two-on-one date, one of the crueler cruelties devised by the heartless bastards who produce this show. One man on this date will continue in the LOVE JOURNEY. One man will be going back to America. FOREVER.

"I think you all get the gravity of that situation," says outback Chris, with a completely straight face. His soul is pickling in a jar in Mike Fleiss' study. "I will see MOST OF YOU at the next rose ceremony," says Chris, as he saunters offscreen to get plastered. "Except for the ones who LOSE YOUR CHANCE AT LOVE. FOREVER."

Someone get me another drink.

The first date card is for winemaker Ben, who some of you may remember as a slightly hotter version of Constantine. Ashley shows up, all cute and dentisty, and all the bohunks are jealous. Ashley takes Ben to a street fair, so they can hang out with the locals and like, get real. And there are corn dogs!!! They have corndogs in Thailand?? I would like the pad thai and a side of corndog, please.

Ashley and Ben wander around the market for a while, and then paint tiny umbrellas. Ben paints a smiley face on an umbrella. He can see Ashley as his Wife. Ashley and Ben go hang out in front of a temple, as you do, and exchange awkward platitudes. They almost kiss. But not! It is FORBIDDEN. Because this place is so SACRED. All this unmet desire...SO SEXY. No, just kidding. It's kind of annoying.

"This is fun, but let's go", says Ashley. To someplace we can MAKE OUT.

After commercial: dinnertime! Ashley is wearing a romper, and that is wrong in so, so many ways. Ashley: I kept looking at your outfit, hoping it would be a skirt, and then it wasn't. How could you do this to me?

But honestly, now that I think about it: it is so refreshing to make fun of your clothes, and not your interminable obsession with BENTLEY. On second thought, carry on. I love the romper! Or rather, I love what the romper represents. Wild clothes! Not wild men.

Ashley and Ben have dinner inside of a giant candlelit tattoo. Constantine (whoops, Ben) tells Ashley about making wine - first you pick the grapes, then you smash the grapes....but no, really. Constantine Ben's father died, and that makes him ready for love. His father's passing made him think about Important Stuff. Ashley is thinking about Important Stuff, too. Either that or her head is really, really tired.

Oh, and then Ben gets the rose. Thanks for Opening Up!

Ben is ready to take down his Emotional Walls. Dear Bachelor Producers: This is not Oprah. Where is the hot tub?

Back at the resort of product placement, a date card comes for: Constantine, Ames, Nick, Blake, Lucas, sunshine, JP, and Mickey.

So...the dreaded two-on-one date is...Willz, and NoLa Ben. Yiiiikes. That just blew my (as yet unpublished) predictions out of the water. That said...my money's on the guy who doesn't sell cell phones for a living.

Back on the tattoo date: there are some Thai dancers. They dance with candles or something, and it's pretty cool, and Ben and Ashley kiss. But honestly, I would've preferred a hot tub. Dear Mike Fleiss: I know you read this blog. What happened to the hot tubs? I miss hot tubs. These kisses are super chaste. NEED HOT TUBS.

Group date!!! 8 men vie for the affection of 1 lovely lady! Ashley wants the guys to "see what things are traditional to Thai culture", Like organized violence!! The bachelors will be battling each other to the death pain via moi tai boxing, which is like the Thai version of UFC. Texan Lucas is pumped because he's been in lots of fights on the mean streets of Odessa, Texas. Ames is worried because Ivy League men do not fight. Where he comes from, all disputes are resolved via poetry slam. Preferably in Iambic pentameter.

Training! Lots of gratuitous shots of shirtless men. Freaking finally. Three hours into the training, there is a Big Unveiling. It is...new boxing gear!! All the bachelors rush to pick their favorite color, leaving poor Ames with the Barbie-pink short shorts. Which, as we all know, is bad news. If you're like me, you've seen about twenty teasers of the pink power ranger being taken away in an AMBULANCE with SIRENS BLARING.

Whaddya wanna bet that this a little bit less of a big deal than it's been made out to be? It always is.

The clusterchump are bussed to a square in Chiang Mai where a boxing ring has been set up, surrounded by locals eager to watch the funny American men make fools of themselves. Ashley: "I'm nervous for you guys!" Aka: "haha! suckers!"

First up is Blake vs. Lucas. Ashley begins to wonder that someone may get hurt. FORESHADOWING. In the epic battle of J.P. vs. Mickey, J.P. gets pummeled at first but then wins because he is so sexy. Then passive resistance Ames gets his poor overeducated ass handed to him by sunshine Ryan (aka Hurts-a-Lot bear), who packs a mean punch.

Next up is Constantine vs. Nick, but no one really cares because funshine bear just did a number on Ames and suddenly he is not feeling so good. Ashley runs to get help. Ames is whisked away, via ambulance, to a Thai hospital, pink shorts and all.

After-party! Everyone's feeling less than festive because Ames is maybe dying and they're all sitting around drinking champagne like a bunch of assholes. The guys hang about, glumly comparing boo-boos, when...hey, it's Ames!!! He is alive!! And rocking a blazer, so feeling sufficiently himself to look way better than you.

Ashley pulls Ames aside. His head feels a little fuzzy, but he laughs off his NEAR DEATH experience. It was only a mild concussion! I mean, heck, Nancy Drew had like, fifty of those, and she turned out fine. Ames gets a hug. Ashley thinks the new, mildly disoriented Ames is "charming".

Blake pulls Ashley aside to stir up some romance. He admits he's "shy" but says he thinks relationships that heat up too fast tend to not last. Of course, this makes Ashley think of BENTLEY. Woman! Almost half an hour in with nary a Bentley mention! You were doing so good.

Lucas gives Ashley a golf lesson. Points for Lucas! Then he decides to bring up BENTLEY again.

Damn, Lucas.

Lucas thinks Bentley is Ashley's type. Ashley admits that maybe she was initially really attracted to Bentley, but now she's giving everyone else a chance. She swears.

Ashley ends the date by giving the rose (and a little peck) to Dentist Blake. And not to the guy who NEARLY DIED. Jeez.

to be continued in part 2!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Evil Bentley not quite so evil?

Reality TV isn't real.

I'm going to not insult your intelligence and assume you all knew that. Even without all the internet nattering and conspiracy theories, you'd probably realize that since you see 10 minutes of footage from a date that lasts a whole day, what makes it to TV isn't exactly the whole story. And it's more than just that - apparently a lot of conversations/stupid hijinks/grand romantic gestures are actually suggested by the producers, and they have the power to take sound bites out of context and play them over footage that's completely unrelated in order to manipulate us into feeling a particular way about each "character".

While I try to make the blog as conspiracy-theory free as possible, in order to keep things lighthearted and fun, one of the real reasons I love the Bachelor is that it's fun to speculate about what's real, and what isn't. How much of what we're seeing is producer manipulation? What are these people really like?

Sorry, I just wanted to use this picture again.

With this in mind, I can't help but wonder...is Evil Bentley really all that evil, or just a victim of egregious editing? Someone with a lot of time on their hands has created a blog devoted solely to redeeming Bentley in the public image - in this article, they make a pretty good argument that many of Bentley's most dastardly comments were what we call "frankenbited" - cobbled together from bits and pieces of other interviews.

What do you think - is Bentley a heartless goon, or some poor schmo who got on the wrong side of the ABC production machine? Or (and this third possibility makes it all the more interesting) is he just playing up the villain role to cash in on his 15 minutes of fame? Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ashley Episode 4: A New Hope.

In his Bachelorette blog from week 2, right before evil bachelor Bentley ditched the show and broke Ashley's heart into a million pieces, Chris Harrison warned us of the coming storm: " You will see the wheels completely come off this ride for Ashley – so much so we came very close to having to shut down production on our show." Whoa. I love how willing Chris is to compare the star of his show to a sad, broken-down old vehicle.

Ashley, I have a message for you: you are not a Ford Pinto. You are a cute girl who is almost a dentist. And you are plucky, dammit. I have never seen anyone so plucky. So chin up. And look! I made you a drink.

I'm actually pretty excited about this week. No lies. No masks. Just the good old-fashioned drama, backstabbing, and cheesy romance you have come to expect from this show. Let's get to it!

Previously on the Bachelorette: Ashley's love train was nearly derailed by the scheming schemes of evil schemer Bentley. This is important to know, as it will be alluded to approximately 5,000 more times this episode. Even though Bentley himself is gone, his evil specter still hangs over Ashley and her Journey. But she has resolved to forge ahead. With any luck, she can manage to fall in love with one of her 12 other boyfriends. Hope springs eternal!

L.A.! Chris appears to the dudes at the MANsion to tell them the rules of the game, just in case they slept through the last three weeks. But wait, there's more! All the dates this week will be in...PHUKET! All the dudes high-five and man-hug and crap their pants with excitement. Wait, where is that again? Oh yeah...THAILAND!! Chris gives the guys two hours to pack, which is totally absurd because any straight man I know can pack a suitcase in under half an hour. (Feel free to leave indignant counterexamples in the comments.)

Sunshine Ryan's heart is going to beat THOUGH HIS CHEST. Dead wife West literally runs out the door. These guys are CRAZY PSYCHED about going to Thailand. WesT is worried that Ashley's still upset about Bentley. Fun game: take a drink every time the name "Bentley" is mentioned! And then call me from the ER.

In Phuket! (Prounounced "foo-ket", not "fuh-kit". In case you were wondering.) Ashley rides in in a boat, all sexylike. She has never been to Foo-ket before. Not even to Asia. This would be a great time to talk about Bentley, ad nauseum. Oh, Ashley. You have your tragic lost love, I have a generous pour of red wine.

Ashley's first date is with Constantine, and she has planned some awesome boating trip to a deserted beach. Unfortunately, the weather looks terrible, and their Thai guide knows enough English to convince them this is a crap idea. The ABC producers' plan B: Phuket.

That is, Ashley and Constantine wander the streets of Phuket. They gawk at temples, shop for scarves, ask the locals for relationship advice, and drink beer at a local bar. Warmed by the sweet glow of the alcohol, Constatine waxes philosophic: this is not about traveling halfway around the world. It is not about winning. It is not about drinking Thai beer from a giant coozie. it is about FINDING LOVE. Ashley: Something something BENTLEY BENTLEY BENTLEY. Holy shit, woman.

Ashley and Constantine have dinner in a pillowed cabana on the beach, just like all of my first dates. Suddenly Ashley's insecurity rears its ugly head. She is worried that Constantine thinks they have a friend vibe. Constantine is quick to reassure her. He is "literally, like, having a good time." Whew.

Back at the resort, the man-harem speculates about what Ashley and Constantine are doing RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT. The guys decide they must be like, totally making out, because Constantine is the man. J.P. goes all Spanish Inquisition trying to figure out who has kissed Ashley. It is an impressive list:

Mickey (did he actually kiss her, or just say he did?)
(And Sunshine Ryan, although maybe J.P. doesn't know that yet? And, of course, J.P. himself.)

J.P.: "it seems kinda like, par for the course now, at this point." Oouch. Poor unkissed Blake hangs his head in shame.

J.P. is not okay with all these dudes going after his woman. Blake: "That's the nature of this whole beast, is everyone's kinda going after the same piece of fruit." But a really awesome piece of fruit. Like a watermelon full of beer.

Ben: "Just be patient. Otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy."
J.P. is already halfway there: "This isn't normal for me. It chaps my ass, man." Anytime you wanna talk about your ass, J.P...that is fine by me.

Back on the beach: WAVES CRASHING, like the torrent of jealousy washing over each poor bachelor's soul. Ashley asks Constantine about his relationship history. He has always had good Connections in the past, which is devastatingly ironic considering that right now, Ashley is sitting about as far from him as she possibly could without falling out of their love-cabana. Constantine's relationships have always had one devastating flaw, which is that he was afraid to get too close. Then one day, during an especially moving episode of Gilmore Girls, Constantine realized that he was doing it all wrong. He wanted to love recklessly, stupidly. Without regret.

Everything changed. Constantine is so open now. He is more open than a 24-hour Wal-Mart. Ashley looks mildly enthused. She offers him the rose, and they clown around in the waves a little. But no kissing. How is Constantine gonna tell the dudebros that he didn't even get to first base?

On the next date, Ashley and the bohunks fix up an orphanage for some adorable Thai children, just so you can feel like this show is a little bit less of a crime against humanity. Ryan proceeds to irritate the hell out of the other dudes by trying to make them actually do stuff. Ashley and J.P. have a moment with a pepto-bismol pink wall.

Then the adorable Thai orphans come in, squealing with delight over their newly be-pinked orphanage. And there are bicycles! And hula-hoops! It is the best day ever. Even your hardened, cynical Bachelor blogger tears up a little. Don't tell. (Click here to find out how you, too, can help adorable Thai children.)

Just in case all that do-gooding wore you out, there is an after party! With booze, and shirtless men, and DRAMA. Ashley and winemaker Ben slink off like a couple of high-schoolers and make out while all the other guys bitch about how Sunshine Ryan is soooo bossy. What did he mean, trying to get them to paint the whole wall? What an asshole. Willz, in a rare moment of perceptiveness, thinks the other guys are just hating on Ryan cuz they're jealous.

Cut to Ashley's alone time with Ryan. She's had enough of guys saying nice things to her. She wants something physical. I.e.: "sweep me up in your evil clutches like he-who-must-not-be-named." For now, Ashley will have to be content with Ryan's hand caressing her leg. They have a Connection. Or something.

Outside, by the pool, a gathering storm of MAN-DRAMA. J.P. observes to Mickey and Blake that if Ryan gets the rose on this group date, some of the guys may just up and leave. I think he is joking, but Blake and Mickey and Mickey's razor-sharp hair look ready to cut someone. Watch out, sunshine.

J.P. takes Ashley out to beach, under an umbrella, so I can fall in love with him some more. Ashley apologizes for being super lame on their last date. J.P. does not apologize for being SUPER HOT. They make out. On the beach. In the rain. I have never wanted to be a 97-pound dentist so badly. Dear Bachelorette producers: less stupid drama. More of THIS.

Back at the resort: a date card arrives for my man Ames the genius. Maybe it's just the wine talking, but Ames is looking slightly less orange today and mighty fine.

Ashley hands the rose out to winemaker Ben, and with that out of the way, it is pool time! We get about 3.5 seconds of shirtless men before cutting away to commercial. This show is such a tease.

Ames date! On a boat! Ames has been to Thailand before, once to climb mountains, and once when he jetted off to Thailand on a lark to go to Thai cooking school. I like Ames. Ashley and Ames are cruising the islands of Thailand on a yacht, and if that were not romantic enough, they decide to get into a giant banana and go sea-spelunking. Ames, king of subtlety, compares navigating sea-caves in a banana to navigating the rough waters of LOVE: "around every corner, you don't know what to expect, but often, there's something beautiful." Or SUDDEN DEATH.

Ames has been to been to 70 countries, because he is better than you, but this is the best of them all. Actually - it is pretty cool. They pull up on a deserted beach and drink champagne and eat fancy cheese, cuz that's what you do when you're this snobalicious. I wish I were drinking champagne on a beach right now.

Dinnertime! Ashley and Ames have something that's even rarer on this show than TRUE LOVE: an interesting conversation. Never leave me, Ames.

Turns out they were both nerds in high school. Ames has an apartment full of wipe boards. Ashley has a whole closet full of dentist stuff. Kinky. She wants her kids to travel a lot, and have family dinners. When it comes to relationships, Ames has decided to throw out the list and just go with his feelings. It's...like a first date. Ames is so refreshingly smart and normal I want to kiss him. Ashley gives Ames the rose. But she does not kiss him. Lame.

Cocktail party time! It is raining, like at every cocktail party this season. They are really laying the symbolism on thick. Ashley doesn't want to wind up with another Bentley (drink) who will just love her and leave her. With that in mind, it's time to interrogate dead wife West. She's worried that he isn't quite over his wife. Ashley: Do you really feel like you're ready? West: Um...

This speaks volumes.

West goes on to say that he is "very much ready to move on", but the damage has been done: Ashley's worried she cannot fill his dead wife's shoes with her tiny, tiny dentist feet.

Ashley talks to Lucas for a while, because the producers have realized that we have no idea who the hell he is, but nobody really cares because just then we interrupt this broadcast for some breaking MAN-DRAMA: Dentist Blake confronts Sunshine Ryan about why some of the guys in the house don't like him. Like how he is too damn happy all the time. Ryan thinks this is bullshit. Some guys are overseas, serving our country in the military, while he is overseas, romancing a teeny tiny would-be dentist while being plied with free alcohol. Yeah. He is pretty damn happy.

Blake is still pissed. He thinks Ryan is DIFFERENT around Ashley than he is around the guys, because Blake's champagne flute is always half-empty.

Ashley, totally not prompted by the producers, confronts Ryan about the exact same thing: why is he always so freaking happy? Ryan: "I'm bursting with a lot of love in my chest". For serious. That was his actual answer. I'm beginning to think Ryan is a real-life care bear. The hometown date at Care-a-Lot is gonna be TV gold.

Contemplation time! BFF Chris would like to reprise all this BENTELY bullshit. Blah blah blah. Dot dot dot. Ashley: "I'll never know what could have been." Gahhhh.

While still being totally hung up on Bentley, Ashley is worried that being totally hung up on Bentley will make her pass up someone else who is totally awesome. She asks Chris if she can have an extra rose for this ceremony. Sure!, says Chris. Here, rules mean nothing. Everything is at the mercy of Ashley's tiny dentist whims.

Chris addresses the bohunks. Ashley's BREAKING THE RULES means that the ONE man who leaves broken-hearted tonight can feel like an especially huge loser.

Ames and Constantine already have roses. The rest go to:

Lucas who?
Sunshine Ryan
Hottie McHotHot J.P.
Monster Abs Nick
Smarmy Hair Mickey
Dentist Blake
Willz the Unfunny Comedian....


And it's...NoLa Ben!! Louisiana!!! Widower West gets a fauxhug from Ashley and then drives sadly off into the dark, stormy night.

Next week! Ashley and the bohunks head to Cheng Mai!! Where is that? Who the hell cares? It is gonna be AWESOME.

Also...Bentley the Evildoer is BACK. Gross.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ashley Episode 3: Ashley and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

I'm sure by now everyone who watches this little gem of a show is aware that this episode is set to be the MOST DRAMATIC IN BACHELOR HISTORY. It is the night where Evildoer Bentley is going to lay some serious heartbreak on America's favorite would-be dentist. I hope you are ready for this. I, for one, am fortifying myself with moonshine lemonade. (Aka the Luna Lovegood, the latest installation in the Harry Potter Cocktail series. Who says I can't multi-task?) It's gonna be a wild ride.

Oh oh oh! And if that weren't enough DRAMA for one episode...this is the one where Jeff the Mask UNMASKS. So intense, y'all. I might need to make another drink.

It's morning at the MANsion. Chris has just rolled out of bed to tell us how excited Ashley is about maybe marrying one of these chuckleheads. Also, roses, group dates, yada yada. Having spoken his piece, he returns to his cryogenic chamber. And the first date goes to...NoLa Ben! Louisiana, hell yeah! In an effort to sabotage Ben, Will offers this advice: don't open car doors. She actually likes rude guys! In about half an hour, this will prove to be tremendously ironic.

Jeff the Mask and his VAMPIRE MUSIC are totally bummed about not getting the date. This week, he is DEFINITELY gonna take the mask off, because he has realized it looks stupid as hell. Also his contract is nearly up.

For this date, Ashley has been working with an organization called "Flashmob America" to coordinate a totally awesome dance. Flashmob? What the heck is that? Does it have something to do with Ashley's flashdance top? Ashley takes Ben to a studio and teaches him how to do jazz hands. He totally said, last episode, that he wanted to dance in front of thousands of people, so whatever happens from now on is his own damn fault.

Later, Ben and Ashley are just chillin at some plaza in the middle of an outdoor mall, or something. Ben does not know it, but soon a huge group of people will suddenly descend upon this very locale and do a choreographed dance! That is what flashmob is all about. It's like Newsies, only without the hats and suspenders and Christian Bale, before everyone figured out he was a huge asshole.

Ashley to Ben: "You know what I was thinking? I really want to do our dance now."
Ben: "Really? That is the dumbest idea ever."

But he does it anyway, because that's what you would do for TRUE LOVE. Or a klondike bar.

Just when Ben is starting to feel like he's making a total idiot of himself in a public place, music starts to blare from nowhere. All the unwitting bystanders turn out to be STEALTH DANCERS. Grandpas, random chicks, plumbers...all dancing. This makes Ben realize that Ashley is totally the kind of girl he would like to spend the rest of his life with. Funny, it made me realize I really want to watch Oklahoma.

But Ashley has one more surprise up her enormous 80's sleeves! It is a performance by the Far East Movement! They sang the song that everyone just danced to! Yeah, I have never heard of them, either. Although I'm pretty sure I've heard that song at a club before. It might conjure up memories of drinking one too many Lone Stars. Ahem.

At dinner: it is time to learn the really important things about Ben. Ben has been dreaming of romance ever since he was 7 and started making his first wedding scrapbook. He wants to have his relationships in a bubble, just him and his lovah, which would be totally sweet except for the complete lack of oxygen. He says a lot more but he talks so damn fast and this shiraz is so good that I stop caring.

So of course Ashley gives Ben the rose and of course they kiss. Louisiana!!

Next morning at the MANsion: about a billion guys prepare to go on a group date with Ashley. But first! It is time for drama-bomb #1, aka the unmasking of Jeff the Mask. Jeff pulls Ashley aside and gives her a totally stupid speech: all that matters is what's on the inside! Especially if you are insane!

Jeff has Feelings for Ashley. He wants to bare his face. AND HIS SOUL. Jeff REMOVES THE MASK. Ashley thinks he is cute. But old. Anticlimactic!

Also, Jeff looks like a dopey, cracked-out Jason Mesnick. What did I tell you??

For the date, the clusterchump are going to a comedy club, where they will be the entertainment! This is a bad idea. They will be roasting Ashley! This is a REALLY bad idea. Seriously, public mockery on the first date? I can only conclude that no one on the Bachelorette production team has ever been on a date, ever. The guys will be helped out in this foolhardy endeavor by Jeffrey Ross! Um, he is like, totally famous for making fun of like, Pamela Anderson and David Haesselhoff? Because making fun of David Hasselhoff is really hard. Everyone pretends to know who he is.

"Roasting, as you know, comes from a place of love and affection." Says Jeff Ross, and he's an expert. "Ashley and I the soulless cretins who produce this show thought it would be really fun excruciatingly painful to do a roast today! If you can make a woman laugh at herself...you can make her do anything." Kinky. "So don't hold back, because Ashley can totally handle it. You can also make fun of each other! I mean, one of you was wearing a mask until about 15 seconds ago. Can we say 'low-hanging fruit'?"

This is right down William's alley. This is his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break out of the smalltime Sean Connery impersonations. THE GLOVES ARE COMING OFF.

The guys mostly play it safe and roast each other. Until Jeff, who...makes fun of her small boobs? Man, this guy is just full of good ideas. Other guys pile on to the small rack thing, because all men think about is boobs! Hilarious! William watches it all from the sidelines, scoffing. These guys are AMATEURS. You can't do a roast and be NICE. It's a roast! He's gonna show them how it's done.

Oh no, William. Oh no.

Willz starts right in with the hilarity: "I thought I signed up to be with Emily or Chantal, and now Ashley is here??" OH NO YOU DIDN'T. Ashley starts to tear up pretty much immediately. C'mon, Will. Even Bentley thinks you've gone too far.

William has failed both at love and at being funny. Ashley picks a flatteringly-lit corner of the theater in which to cry picturesquely. Bentley sees this as a great opportunity to "mess with her head". Sheesh. Can't the woman catch a break? She's worried that the guys are upset that it's her here and not boring blond Emily. Bentley comforts her as much as you can when you're EVIL.

At the after-party cocktail party, no one's feeling very happy. Ashley gets some alone time with William, which he uses to defend his horribly unfunny jokes: "I wasn't even thinking about you and your feelings. I was just thinking about...what's going to make the crowd laugh." Smoooth. Ashley really thought highly of William. They even pretended to get married! She is super disappointed.

A remorseful William admits that the roast was the "dumbest CENSORED thing they could've done tonight", but that is not enough. Realizing that he has hurt Ashley, really bad, William decides that his only recourse is to wander the street of Los Angeles late at night.

Sunshine Ryan pulls Ashley aside to say that she is just the one he wants to be here right now, and all those haters can suck it. They make out some. But Ashley doesn't really like guys who like her, because next she has some alone time with Bentley and tells him about how she's been WARNED about him. She was WARNED (by Michelle Money, Bachelor villianess extraordinaire) that he would only be here for a few episodes and was only here to promote his business, which I guess is being an evil troll-faced reality show villian. Bentley, of course, is all Deny Deny Deny, and Ashley totally believes him. Blehh.

Oh, and then they cuddle some, cuz Bentley is EEEVIL. He is sure he will get the rose.

But wait! Ashley is giving some speech about how she is giving the rose to someone who is positive and genuine and joyous, and that cannot possibly be Bentley. In fact, it is Mr. Sunshine himself, Ryan, P.! Ashley and Ryan embrace tenderly while Bentley thinks dark thoughts deep in the dark depths of his dark heart. This is just the excuse he needs. If Ashley doesn't love him more than all her other boyfriends, then it is time to make like a tree, and leave. To make like a drum, and beat it. To make like the dastardly reality-tv villian he is and downplay the magnitude of the emotional destruction he is sure to leave in his wake: "she might be a little upset." Come on! You know you came here to BREAK HER HEART. And AMERICA's. Don't half-ass this now. Jackass.

The dawn of the most dramatic day breaks, and Ashley is doing some soulful wandering around the pool at her desert pad, better known as the place where Brad chilled out last season and thought about how much he had CHANGED. Ashley's feeling a little insecure. She's worried that the guys are disappointed in her, but Bentley talking to her and consoling her last night made everything better. She "completely fell in love with him."


Cut to Bentley packing his bags. He tells his roomie, the formerly masked wonder Jeff, that "it's time, bro." Not much exposition for the BIGGEST HEARTBREAK IN BACHELOR HISTORY. Jeff stares at Bentley with a sad, dopey look in his sad, maskless eyes. "But...you were the one she liked the best!!" Jeff's whole world has been turned upside down. At least now he can have the top bunk.

All the other bros in the MANsion (including a shirtless JP - be still, my heart) have been forced to sit in the living room so the producers can get a series of dumbfounded reaction shots. Bentley gives some bullshit speech about why he's leaving but nobody cares because he's so EVIL. We see him throwing his bags in the car while Bizarrely Edited Voiceover Bentley tells us that he's better than all these chumps. Or something. He does show a rare moment of human decency when he admits this is gonna be hard for Ashley and that "heartbreak is worse than any illness." Except for Ebola, which affects your heart AND all your other internal organs. "I'm gonna make Ashley cry. I hope my hair looks okay." EVIL LAUGH.

Ashley greets Bentley at the door of the Brad Pad with an apprehensiveness that might be truly unrehearsed. Bentley is going to tell Ashley that he's leaving because of his daughter. Even though the real reason is that he's Just Not That Into Her. This will make him the first person to lie about a breakup, ever. Bentley fumbles for words for a while, because he's a dumbass. Ashley is better at this: "are you leaving?" But then she asks "are you coming back?" Maybe not so good.

Bentley feeds Ashley the line about how he has to leave, for his daughter. It does not go well. She saw him being The One. Ashley cries and cries. Voiceover Bentley tells us that "It's annoying to just hold a girl that's just crying, and crying, and crying." You know what, Bentley? Up until now I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the producers were just casting you in a bad light. Maybe you were not quite 100 percent pure EVIL. But now? It's over. You have broken my trust. I HATE YOU.

And then he puts the nail in the coffin: "I'll call you." BENTLEY WILLIAMS, YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.

Also, why do people on this show touch each other so much when they break up? Good lordy. Bentley: "Even if I'm not coming back, like....I still wanna keep the 'dot dot dot' there." YOU NEVER EXISTED.

On the way out, the Guy Who Never Existed tells us that Ashley is "somebody that I'm not necessarily smitten by, but definitely like, the kind of girl that I would totally hook up with now and then." Ashley cries, ensconces herself in a ruffly pink comforter, and wonders how she will go on. He-who-must-not-be-named walks back to his car, all nonplussed because breaking hearts is all in a day's work when you are this EVIL. Outside, it is raining like it rains in Ashley's heart. How does Fleiss always get the weather to cooperate like this? Oh, I forgot. It is part of the deal he has struck with SATAN.

After commercial: more of Ashley's heartbreak. Just when Ashley and I have both had about all we can take, along comes...J.P.! He is carrying some flowers and looking all solemn and shit, like somebody died. It is the death of HOPE. Only...J.P.! How can you be sad when J.P. and his abs are there? Fluffy rug, fireplace, wine, hot man, leftovers? Ultimate therapy.

J.P. has been single for a long time. Up until now, he has had relationships, but there was always something missing. Something like a pint-sized proto-dentist. Ashley is feeling a night in. They change into pjs and she's wearing glasses and apologizing for not being all dolled up, but J.P. stops her. J.P.: "This is how I wanted it to go. I just hope I'm helping." Marry me. I mean, marry Ashley. I mean...marry me.

Ashley offers J.P. the rose, because how could you not? She apologizes, again, for this date being kinda lame, but promises a really, really fun next date. More J.P.!!

Ashley pins the rose to his pjs (J.P.'s PJs...almost a palindrome) and then they make out. Awwww. Ashley tells us that J.P.'s kisses are even better than those of Bentley He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. You know why? Because in the end, good will always triumph over evil. Hear that, jackass?

Cocktail party tiiiime! It's still raining. Constantine wears a stupid striped bowtie. Ashley hides her heartbreak behind a truly enormous necklace. Fortunately, BFF Chris is here for a heart-to-heart. Ashley tries to play it off, but Chris knows she is dying inside. He sees it in her eyes, which are windows to her tiny dentist soul. The moral of this story is...always trust Chris Harrison? Always listen to Michelle Money? I'm as confused as you are.

P.S. Even Chris thinks Bentley is a dick for the "dot dot dot" comment. And the man hosts a reality dating show for a living.

Ashley is too heartbroken for a cocktail party. She wants to go straight to the rose ceremony. Watch out, America, because this new Ashley is BREAKING ALL THE RULES. Chris instructs the dudes to "make their way to the Rose Room". My dream house will totally include a Rose Room for the rejection of potential suitors. William, who I guess has returned from his midnight ramblings, is worried that he has hurt Ashley's feelings and he is totally going home. He can't even think of a single celebrity impression to do right now.

Ashley gives a little speech. He-who-must-not-be-named broke her heart into a million pieces, but she is trying to find the strength to move on. The only good things she sees at this point are Constantine's bowtie and J.P.'s rock-hard abs. But that will have to be enough.

Sunshine Ryan, Cupcake and NoLa Ben are safe. Pity roses go to:
Constantine of the bowtie
WesT of the dead wife
Mickey of the....I dunno. I hate his hair.
Ben F. of the winery. (Wait, Ben is the one with the bowtie. I seriously cannot tell those guys apart.)
Blake the Dentist
Nick the Line-Dancer
Ames the over-educated
Lucas the...wait, who the hell is this guy and how does he keep getting roses?


And the final rose goes to...Willz! I gotta say...I am sad to see the Mask go. Even if The Big Reveal was a little disappointing, like when the Beast turns out to be some namby-pamby dude with Fabio hair. (First Disney reference of the season! Yayy.) In one last, desperate gesture, Jeff burns the mask. The flames that melt the hard plastic are like the flames of love that melt his SOUL. The humanity!

Oh, and then he goes and collects his big fat paycheck, because he is a freaking plant.

Next week...Thailand! Where the MAN-CLAWS come out!! This promises to be expensive, dramatic, and over-the-top. Don't miss it!

Over the credits: Bentley fixes his hair. A still-masked Mask sits on the crapper and reads the classifieds. "There's a boat. It's missing the engine and the steering wheel, but it's only a hundred bucks. You think that's worth it?"

All I know is: you were worth it, Jeff. Every penny.