Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ashley Episode 9: The Many Faces of Ashley Hebert.

So at this point: I really think it's J.P. And I'm not just saying that because I luurve him. Look, I know Mike Fleiss loves to screw with us, and that I could be sitting down to a delicious meal of crow in a few days, but I can't help noticing that when Ashley is with J.P., she's flirty. Happy. Fun. When she's with the other guys, she's...meh. Which I guess just means Ashley is a very poor fake-slut, so good on her, but I've gotta say, it makes for some pretty uncomfortable viewing. If I had a dollar for every awkward, closed-mouth kiss with Ben I would have at least...seventeen dollars. That's a very nice meal at Chili's. And a whole lot of awkward television.

Dear Diary,
I think JP is the one for me. His cute bald head and his cute little face set my heart aflutter. But I've still got to spend a whole week in Fiji with my other boyfriends. Life is rough.

Ashley's getting ready for her date with loverboy Ben, when all of a sudden...rain. Claps of thunder. OMINOUS MUSIC. A pair of flip-flops stalks ominously through the jungle to Ashley's love shack.


The camera pans up ominously for the big reveal, and...yeah, it's Ryan. He is BACK. But he has not brought his trademark sunshine. In fact, this might the unhappiest Ryan's ever looked in his whole life. Ryan felt that he and Ashley had potential, and he wants to explore that potential. Because nothing is more romantic than refusing to say goodbye.

Ashley sees Ryan, and she is all like, HOLY SHIT, and she invites him inside, but it is maybe not the magical reunion Ryan had hoped for. He explains that after Ashley dumped him in Thailand, he went home and threw himself into his work, but all the solar panels and tankless water heaters in the world could not fill the void in his heart. So he did what any man in his position would do: he called Chris Harrison. And Chris was like, she's in Fiji. GO FOR IT. Ryan feels like he and Ashley didn't really have a chance. Ashley's kind of like, uhhhh...

Let it be known, officially, that Chris Harrison gives the shittiest love advice ever.

Ashley asks for a few days to think things over, because sending him right home after he just flew to freaking Fiji would just be cruel. Ryan has to be satisfied with this answer. It doesn't matter what happens this time around, he says, because he knows he gave it his all. NO REGRETS.

After that little episode, it is time for a date with Ben in awkwardsville. At least the producers have chartered a giant yacht for them. So there is that.

Ben and Ashley have some seriously scintillating conversations. Such as:

Ben: It feels like I haven't seen you in forever!
Ashley: I knowww! You haven't.

On the boat:
Ashley: I wanna go see upstairs.
Ben: I wanna go see upstairs.


Ashley takes advantage of this super-romantic location to tell Ben how his mother scared the hell out of her. The producers are getting a little bored with this, so they instruct Ashley to rub sunscreen on Ben's chest. While straddling him. I don't even know what to think.

So one of two things is going on here:

1. The sunscreen scene is just the tip of the iceberg of Ben and Ashley's burning lust, and I am dead wrong about this whole JP thing.
2. The sunscreen scene is totally orchestrated by the producers to screw with our heads, and JP just about blew a gasket when he saw it.

Ben is like, "thanks for all your hard work!", and Ashley's like, no, thank you. She thinks her life with Ben would never be dull, like, all suncreen application, all the time. It will be super-hot, and no one will get skin cancer, ever.

Ben is totally diggin it. He's going to tell Ashley that he loves her, tonight. He hasn't been there for the longest time.

Ashley and Ben have dinner on the beach. Ashley picks her teeth and looks unenthused. Ben decides to back off on the love thing. For now. They talk about their feelings, and Ashley could totally see herself with Ben, which is not the same thing as wanting to see herself with Ben, and she's like, "we have so many great things between us, it's like, what else would have to happen?" And he's like, I dunno, what else would have to happen?, because to him, I think, it's already happening, so then they're at this weird conversational standstill. So Ben blathers on for a while about how he's so Open now, and it's all thanks to the Journey, and Ashley's like, "huh. nice", and I feel awkward, but fortunately that's when the boink suite card comes from Chris Harrison, arbiter of love and romance.

Ben decides not to drop the L-bomb, because "you can kind of look at each other and get a gauge of what the other person is thinking." When I look at Ashley, I see this:

But, you know, whatever.

Ben happily declares them to be "on the same page". It is fantasy suite time. They go to the fantasy suite, and I have to admit that it is pretty...sweet. Ashley shows Ben how their bedroom is like, open to the pool, like an especially helpful real estate agent, and then they put on their bathing suits and make out in the water, and I'm like, finally, because I've been waiting for someone to make out in a pool all season, and it's so very Sweet Valley High and that makes me happy.

Ben carries Ashley out of the pool, all suggestively, and they kiss and then the screen goes dark and we SPECULATE.

The next morning! Constantine date, and Ashley is bringing back the double wave and the seriously questionable clothing choices. Ashley has a surprise for Constantine. It's a helicopter! He's all jazzed, but I'm like, gee, never seen that one before. Ashley and Constantine fly over some reefs, and Constantine just about flips his shit over how blue the water is. "SO AWESOME! COOLEST THING EVER!!! WHAT DOES IT ALL MEEEAN?"

Cut to a shot of Ryan standing on a reef, looking up at the sky, like the producers want us to believe that he is standing there STARING AT THE HELICOPTER like a total creeper. Uh-huh. Nice try, guys. Ryan is just chillaxin, hanging out on the beach in the Fiji, waiting for the inevitable rejection from his fake reality-show girlfriend. Life is rough.

I wish all my breakups were this agonizing.

Meanwhile, Ashley and Constantine jump into a waterfall, and Ashley's all like, blah blah, leap of faith, and I'm like, why is Constantine still wearing shoes? Like maybe it's some kind of metaphor for his inability to make himself completely vulnerable. Or something.

Look, Ashley and Constantine have some kinda weird-ass relationship. They just rode a freaking helicopter, and jumped off a waterfall, and now they're picnicing on a deserted beach, and Ashley's still doing this thing where she's pushing him away. She's giving him crap about his fear of comittment, which makes me think that it's not really there for her, because I'm pretty sure that if I were even slightly attracted to someone and we did all that stuff together, all those endorphins would be taking over my brain and I would be like, MARRY ME NOW. But instead Ashley and Connie have this conversation:

Ashley: Can I say something that I learned about you on your hometown, that directly relates to our relationship? How many houses did you look at before you bought a house?
Connie: 108. (pause.) It's a big investment! I wanted a man cave! There was so much that I wanted in a house and...I couldn't find that.

Ashley's like, uh-huh. Point made.

"Houses and women are not the same!" protests Man Cave Constantine, but Ashley remains unconvinced. She recognizes that he is usually slow to make decisions, but right now it's like, go big or go home. Ashley hopes that things take off tonight, and I'm pretty sure that is not an innuendo, is not lookin good. Ashley cannot read Constantine. He makes her nervous. Most romantic date ever!

Ashley and Constantine have dinner, and things are not, er, taking off. With the spectre of Chris Harrison's love shack invite looming, Ashley admits that she doesn't feel like Constantine is really attracted to her. She wants him to want her, but...she feels like it's just not there. Constantine admits that for him, either he feels something or he doesn't. Ashley wants to know if he's acting like a cold fish because of her, or because of the Process, and finally Constantine admits that...yeah, it's not really there. He does not want to go to the fantasy suite, or pass Go, or collect 200 dollars. His Love Journey has reached a dead end.

Ashley is kind of like, really? You're dumping me? In freaking Fiji?

And Constantine's like, yeah. And Ashley's like, thanks for being honest, I guess, and Constantine walks off, and Ashley looks sadly at the unused boink suite card, but not all that sadly, because let's be honest...Constantine was kind of a dud.

Ashley takes this opportunity to resume feeling super insecure. "This is a two-way street, and guys could leave, very late in the game...what if I end up all alone, and all of this was for nothing?" Nonono. Constantine was a dud! Let's stick with that.

Fortunately, there's still JP. But before Ashley can go out with him, it is time for Ryan's inevitable rejection. He is just what she's looking for, on paper, but...she's just not feeling it.

Ashley: "Thanks for coming all the way to Fiji. I think you're really great, but...I like my other two boyfriends more."
Ryan: "I'm never listening to Chris Harrison ever again."

Ryan is so sad he manages to not grin for seven whole seconds. It sucks to get rejected. On national TV. Twice.

JP time! Finally. Ashley and JP ride on a plane, which is like, a metaphor for how their relationship is taking off. Or something. They are going to their own private island. JP: "It's like the world just...ended and put the two of us on this island." Awww. Nothing is more romantic than your own personal apocalypse.

Ashley and JP embrace in the waves. What they have is Special, Ashley thinks. It could last a lifetime. At least until the zombie hordes reach the south Pacific.

That night: Ashley decides it's time to come clean. She explains to JP that she ditched Constantine, because he was lame and had ugly hair, but that wasn't the only rejecting she did this week. Someone came back.

JP: Wtf? So if you get sent home, you can just like, come back whenever you feel like it? Do the rules of this show even matter anymore?
Ashley: It was Ryan. He wanted more time. But I, uh, kicked him to the curb. Again. What, did you think it was Bentley?
JP: Uh-huh. I was like, not again.

I didn't think I could love JP any more.

JP wants to be the last one standing. Ashley doesn't want JP to hold back, just because she like, still has another boyfriend. She has been there. JP is afraid of getting hurt, and this better not be foreshadowing or I'm-a kill someone.

It is time for Chris Harrison's very cordial invitation to get it on. JP: "Uh, yeah. I think I'm into that." Go JP go!

Ashley and JP retire to a villa in the jungle. Ashley decides to pull a Chantal and change into just a long white shirt, and JP is totally diggin it. I would screenshot, but it is kind of NSFW. Use your imagination.

Ashley has a little pow-wow with BFF Chris. Sorry, CH, but...SKIPPED.

Rose Ceremony time! There are 2 roses and 2 dudes. That is math a kindergartener could do, but the producers decide to go through with this sham rose ceremony anyway because they have a need to fill the last 20 minutes of this show with empty ritual. It is the Least Dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever.

Roses go to...Ben, and...JP. SHOCKER.

Ashley is so relieved that both dudes accepted their roses. Maybe guys can be attracted to her, after all! She assures JP and Ben that she totally would've given them the roses even if they weren't the only two guys there. Take that, Constantine!

And next week! (Or...tonight, since I'm so late with this installment. Sorry!) The men tell all! Remember Jeff the mask? And drunk Tim? And He Who Must Not Be Named? And all the stupid, childish, man-bitchery of this past season? Yeah, I didn't want to, either. And the next day: Ashley makes her all-important FINAL CHOICE. Oh, and she calls her tatted-up, extreme cuponing sister a bitch. Dramaz abound! Stay tuned.

And updated to add: An old friend and one of my loyal readers, also named Ashley, sent me this link showing the hidden connections between Disney classics and the Bachelorette. Totally worth watching, if just to hear JP's voice coming from the Beast's mouth.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ashley Episode 8: Kiss Like No One's Watching.

Hometown dates! This is the episode of this show I loathe the most. Nothing interesting ever happens, and it's so contrived, and usually it's painfully obvious from the get-go who is going to be introducing the Bachelor/Bachelorette to mom and dad, only to be rejected two days later. I may need a Neville Longbottom or two to get me through this.

Fortunately, there is nothing a couple of Neville Longbottoms cannot cure.

The first hometown date is with Constantine, the boring one with the long hair. His family is Greek, but they inexplicably own an Italian restaurant. Maybe they figured that thousands of years ago, the Romans borrowed all their pagan deities, so it's okay if they nab pizza. Ashley oohs and ahhs over the restaurant, while the waitresses pretend to be deeply invested in Constantine's romantic success.

Constantine decides to impress Ashley with his mad culinary skills. He is going to teach her to make pizza, and...salad. Man, Constantine is talented. But lucky for you, I too can make pizza! I will tell you how:

1. Bread.
2. Tomato sauce.
3. Cheese.
4. Stuff.

1. Lettuce
2. Stuff.

Constantine is blown away by Ashley's salad-making skills. It is starting to click for him. I am starting to crave bagel bites. Ashley and Constantine kiss, and the waitresses are all like, awwwwwoooooooughh!,because they are totally still watching.

Later, Ashley meets Constantine's family. They are alll very nice, which makes for some pretty boring TV, so the producers call in reinforcements. Soon, Constanine's house is packed to the gills with aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins-in-law, godchildren, and seconds cousins twice removed. Soon they are all dancing around the living room, shouting opa! while Constantine's day throws money around. Those crazy Greeks!

Ashley wants to stay and hang out with Constantine and his crazy family and be the Nia Vardalos to his John Corbett (only the other way around), but alas, she has to go hang out with her other boyfriends. Ashley and Constantine go outside to say goodbye, and kiss, and the whole clan piles onto the doorstep to watch. Those crazy Greeks! You kiss one of them, it's like kissing the whole family.

Next up: a hometown date with Ames, the fancy rich one. Ames has drummed up a whole clan, including some adorable neices and nephews, but I'm a little disappointed that he is not related to scrooge McDuck. Ames' sister Serena pulls Ashley aside for a little interrogation, conveniently staged next to the family's GIANT INDOOR POOL. The gist of it: Ames is great, but even the evidence of his tremendous riches have not moved Ashley's heart. She wants romance. Serena assumes this means sweet, schmoopy things like fancy dates and poetry, but I think what Ashley really means is: long, greasy locks like the wonder twins.

Ames has a nice little chat with his momma. Talking to his mother makes the cleft in Ames' chin even more pronounced. Also, Ames has a dead father. Actually, Ames' father died when he was 10, and then later his step-father died too, so Ames has two dead fathers. Holy crap, how has this not been played up all season? Dead fathers are practically the bread and butter of this show. Last season everyone had one. I guess Ames got the ivy league edit because he is the only Harvard grad in the history of ever crazy enough to appear on this show.

Having been warned by sis that he needs to step up the romance factor, Ames decides to pull out all the stops. A picnic! A carriage ride! A favorite tree. Ames is the first person in Bachelor history to have a favorite tree. He is also the first person in Bachelor history to be capable of actual, intelligent conversations that are not about the Journey. Don't go, Ames.

The next hometown date is with Ben, the other boring one with the long hair. Oh, but this one owns a winery! Ben takes Ashley to the wine cellar and talks about varietals and vintages and they kiss, because that's what drinking wine will do to you. Then they have a picnic, because I guess picnics are the new hot tub, and talk about opening up and dead fathers (Ben has one, too), and I start to zone out a little. This would be a great time to check what's new on Pinterest.

Like this baby hippo! Mmm, baby hippo.

Ashley meets Ben's family. There is much dead dad talk. Ben is starting to fall in love. I am starting to fall asleep.

But look, it's J.P.! "It's good to be able to forget about the other guys", he says. I think so, too. I vote for all JP, all the time. (And maybe a little Ames.) JP takes Ashley ROLLER SKATING, because he is the coolest boy in the seventh grade. And then...and then...things were already looking up, because it's JP. But then JP and Ashley start skating, and there's a disco ball, and REO Speedwagon comes on, and they start sucking face, right there in the middle of the dance floor. It's more than just good. It's fantastic, it's amazing, it's the GREATEST MOMENT IN BACHELOR HISTORY. In maybe the shittiest episode in Bachelor history. If JP doesn't win, I am gonna be so pissed.

Ashley and JP talk a little about JP's evil ex-girlfriend, and then they talk some about their Relationship. He is 100 percent sure he wants to be here, and he knows he could be hurt, but he's willing to take that risk.

Time to meet the family! JP's adorable Jewish family loves Ashley, of course, but they're a little concerned that things are happening so fast. They're worried about a repeat of the situation with the Evil Ex. I'm worried, too, that all this talk about JP maybe getting hurt is some serious FORESHADOWING. If JP doesn't win I may punch Mike Fleiss in the face.

(Discliamer: I do not actually advocate violence. Although I hear Mike Fleiss is a pretty scummy human being.)

Just when the fear is starting to consume me, JP's mother brings out this adorably awesome picture from JP's bar mitzvah, and all my rage is redirected against the little asshole who wrote "congrats" across his face. I don't know who is cuter: 12-year-old Ames or 13-year-old JP.

you be the judge.

Back at the MANsion! Ashley and Chris have a pow-wow. SKIPPED. Dang, why is this show so long??

And now! All the dudes are back together, and it is time for somebody to get their heart broke.

Roses go to: Ben, JP, and...

Constantine. Ugh. I can't believe she picked Mr. Greasy McBoring over Ames. At least he can make pizza.

Ames and his chiseled chin are stunned. The camera keeps panning back to his face, and he keeps being stunned. He describes the experience as "poetic", and I'm like, maybe that word does not mean what you think it means, and then he drives off into the night, or maybe right back to the house to shoot Bachelor Pad.

Seriously. If there is any decision that makes less sense than someone like Ames choosing to go the Bachelorette, it is someone like Ames choosing to be on Bachelor Pad, which is like the Bachelor/Bachelorette's slutty trailer-park cousin. I am also angered because this means I will probably have to watch.

But for now: dark music plays as Ames drives in a dark limo through a dark place in his poor, broken heart. Ames was excited about sharing a lifetime of adventures with Ashley, and now he is back to only sharing adventures with his freakishly perfect teeth. Aw, Ames. I'm sure there is a woman in NYC who will dig your 52 college degrees and abundant wealth. And reality-show notoriety.

Next week: Fiji! Dammit, everyone I know is going to Fiji. And I am stuck drinking their stupid bottled water.

But wait, look at that last picture. Did Ben CUT HIS HAIR?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ashley Episode 7: Light My Love Lantern.

Welcome back, friends, Romans, countrymen. Over the fourth of july weekend, amidst all the hotdogs and hoopla, I realized something deeply shameful.

I kind of missed this show.

Let's all agree to speak of this to no one.

Tonight! Ashley takes her six remaining suitors on a tour of some exotic Asian locales, while Chris Harrison takes us on a tour of the deep, dark depths of Emily's broken heart. Then J.P., who I'm pleased to report is still as delicious as ever, gets jealous and kinda flips out, while Ames wears this jacket with a sparkly collar that is totally, totally insane. And Ryan wears a pink shirt and cries.

Man, I've missed this.

Ashley's taking the guys to Taiwan, which is called the "hidden jewel of asia" because "not a lot of people know about it". I'm sure that's news to the 23 million people who live there. Then the dudes are on a bus! On a bus to Thailand, I guess. Usually I hate these stupid "hay look at us, we r traveling!!!" segments, but then J.P. winks and my heart skips a beat. Damn. Damn, that man is sexy.

Chris Harrison forgot to iron, but at least he is here to let the guys know that they are in Taiwan, the most romantic place ever, and that this is the most important week ever, because if they are let go this week, Ashley will not meet their families and they will be cast out into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth and sadness and loneliness forever. Everyone nods solemnly, but I find this impossible to take seriously because Ames is wearing a plaid shirt...with track pants. Questionable, Ames.

J.P. is already starting to freak out a little. If he has to watch someone else go on a one-on-one date with Ashley, he may punch their lights out. On J.P., this is cute and not borderline sociopathic because c'mon! Look at him!

In Commercials: Wait, what is a Blink-182 song doing on the soundtrack for the Smurfs movie? It's like time has folded in upon itself and I am so. confused.

Ashley and Constantine go on a date. They ride a little steam train, and the producers are trying super hard to sell us on this being romantic, but it is painfully obvious they have nothing to talk about. At all.

Ashley: "Are you looking for love on this trip?"
Constantine: "Yes."

I've had orthodontic work that felt more natural.

Ashley and Constantine are going to a Chinese lantern festival, because one of the producers just saw Tangled. They paint a lantern with all of their hopes and dreams: marriage! love! family! And B-list celebrity.

Then they go to dinner and talk about Love, because that is what you do on your third date. Constantine admits that he has not fallen for Ashley yet. But he could! And if he will be really, really awesome. I do not find this particularly promising, but apparently Ashley does, because after dinner they wander off and inflate their love lantern. (Not meant to be a euphemism.)

Ashley and Constantine release the lantern into the sky, which is suddenly filled with hundreds of other love lanterns. Ashley and Constantine embrace, awkwardly, and then kiss, awkwardly.

It is...awkward. Pretty. But awkward.

Ben date! Ashley and Ben ride around a national park on a moped and talk about how awesome it is. It is exactly as boring as it sounds.

Meanwhile, a date card arrives for Lucas, Ames, and J.P., meaning that sunshine Ryan will FINALLY get his day in the...sun. He slams his elbow into his fist in a bizarre display of enthusiasm, while Ames' teeth look on in blinding dismay.

It's dinnahtime on the Ashley and Ben date. When Ben gets emotional, he starts to talk...really...slowly. "My feelings are...getting stronger. And I want to say it when...the right."

Ben confesses that he wants to take things to the next...level, because he is on the...tipping point...of having....stronger...feelings. Ben likes Ashley, but he is thisclose to like liking her. He does not say things like this...often. It was the moped that did it, that opened up his secret trove of almost-love. It was the damn...scooter.

Kissin time! Nancy rates this makeout a 6.5. This date flawed due to lack of hot tubs.

The next morning! Drama rules at the casa de man, because winemaker Ben has not yet returned from his date. J.P. is ready to murder someone. But he is still hot. Ben comes home, and to add insult to injury, he is wearing the dumbest hat ever. Ben admits that he and Ashley spent the night in separate rooms, but J.P. still storms off, thoughts of little Bens dancing in his head.

And the group date today is...taking wedding photos! This speaks to two important truths, which are:

1. Every man dreams of doing glamor shots on a date, and
2. Making people feel awkward is the best way to win their affection.

I almost feel like I ought to apologize for being this deeply sarcastic, but you are my witness: this is what this show has done to me. "Wedding photos!", say the dudes, with the sort of excitement most people can only muster for reciting multiplication tables or cleaning grease traps.

Lucas gets to wear a dress, which is...rough. Sorry Lucas. Can't say I'm a huge fan of yours, but still...that is rough. Ames wears a ruffly pink shit and a totally bodacious grey suit with sparkly lapels, and even thought he pretends to hate it...Ames is totally working the sparkly lapel. Is Ames gay? Is he the most fabulous straight man ever? I don't even care anymore. Team Ames, all the way.


That was a special message from Chloe, my cat. Make of it what you will.

J.P. comes out, and instead of some totally ridiculous outfit, he is wearing...a tux. The other dudes are predictably pissed. Ashley and Lucas have a "traditional taiwanese wedding shoot". Lucas tries to look happy, but it's hard when that dress makes him look pregnant. Then they kiss, while J.P.'s head explodes from jealousy. Ames and Ashley's photos are lovely, and they kiss as passionately as is possible while barely touching each others' lips.

Producers: "Let's totally do the wedding photo date. That girl who does all the screenshots, she'll go nuts."

Then Ashley and JP have their fake wedding photo shoot, in front of a fake backdrop of what looks like...monument valley?, but all the fake romance is spoiled by JP being all Sulky McSulkerson: "Group dates suck."

Wedding picture photo shoot after party!! It's super fun, except for the part where it's not so fun because a. everyone male is ticked off about this piss-poor excuse for a date, and b. EMOTIONS ARE RUNNING HIGH.

Ames knows how to take the edge off. Love Ames.

Ashley and Lucas talk, but nobody cares because he is clearly a goner. The man was wearing a dress, for gosh sakes. "It's not a dress. It's a long shirt," says Ashley, helpfully. Too little, too late.

Ames takes Ashley aside and totally wins her over with this adorable snapshot of himself at approximately 12. Ames explains that he was terribly unpopular until about 16, when he started to realize the possibilities presented by his cleft chin and incredible wealth, but it doesn't matter because 12-year-old Nancy seriously ♥ 12-year-old Ames.

Seriously. Cutest thing ever.

"I've never met anyone like you," Ashley says to Ames. Which, when you think about not necessarily a compliment. They get up to leave, which brings something important to my attention. Ames is wearing pink pants. Oh, Ames. I really like you, are wearing pink pants.


J.P. and Ashley have some alone time, and he admits to her that this week hasn't been so great, because he is jealous of her other boyfriends. "You're not getting angry at people, you're not...getting in fights or anything like that, are you?", asks Ashley. "No, no," replies J.P., because he is the perfect man. Bachelor fans all over the blogosphere are apparently aghast at J.P.'s jealous streak, but you know what? I like it. Would I want a man who cares about me to be upset about seeing me making out with some other dude? Um, yes. That's how this monogamy thing is supposed to work, actually. Never mind the stupid rules of this stupid show.

"I thought you were as a cucumber", says Ashley. "It sounds great in theory", says JP, "but when you feel this way about changes everything." Ashley decides to give JP the date rose. Smart move.

Finally, a one-on-one with Mr. Funshine. While everyone else is wondering how this will turn out, I'm wondering...what happened to the back of Ashley's shirt? Is she even wearing a bra? Ashley and Ryan go to a temple, or something, and make a wish to the matchmaking god. The idea is, they will throw these little bricks on the ground, and if their wish is destined to come true, their bricks will land on opposite sides. Ryan, of course, wishes for MARRIAGE AND BABIES FOREVER, but the matchmaking gods have frowned upon him and his short-sleeve pink oxford shirt, and the bricks land on the SAME SIDE. Oh no! Ryan manages to sustain something resembling disappointment for about 7 seconds before making a complete recovery. He is sure his irrational enthusiasm will win the day.

Ashley and Ryan have a picnic. This is a very, very important point in their relationship, and Ryan sees it as a great time to ask a very, very important question: how do you feel about the environment?

I take it from Ashley's face that she is not as passionate about recycling as I am.

Funny story! Ashley was dating this guy, and she had a plastic bottle, and she threw it away. Said guy stormed out of her apartment, and her life, forever.

Lessons we can learn from this:

1. Plastic water bottles are really the backbone of the recycling industry. You can make some amazing recycled decking material from them, and that shit lasts forever. (Yes, I used to be an architect.)
2. Captain Planet may have some serious abs, but relationships with him are really touch-and-go.

Ashley admits she does not know much about how to save the environment. "Why don't you teach me something, right now?" Ryan: "Okay. Have I talked to you about water heaters?"


Ryan burbles on and on about tankless water heaters, while the water in Ashley's love-tank grows more and more lukewarm. This chick, she is unpredictable. One minute you're talking to her about household appliances, the next she's kicking you to the curb: "You're just such a great guy, but I don't know if I see you as my husband." Ashley is just not feelin it.

Unhappy Ryan's pink shirt seems like a cruel taunt now. As he walks away, Ashley stares sadly over a bridge, which may or may not be a hint that Ryan is THE ONE WHO COMES BACK. Ryan wanders sadly into the sad, sad night. He wants to find someone so badly. He wants to be a dad. He wants to make a desperate bid to be the next Bachelor? Make of it what you will.

The next day: cocktail party! Except not. Ashley has made up her mind, and one of these five remaining suckers will have to weather his public dumping without the ameliorating influences of free booze, because Emily and her heartbreak are waiting, and the show must go on.

JP already has a rose, because at least Ashley is not a complete dumbass. Remaining roses go to:

Constantine (boring)
Ben (makes wine, almost indistinguishable from Constantine, also boring), aaaaand....

Ames! Yay, Ames! Ashley, from all of us who will not have to endure a hometown date in Odessa, Texas: thank you. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Look, some of my favorite people hail from Odessa, Texas. But it is a boring town. It cannot be denied. And Lucas is a boring dude.

But wait, there's more! Brad Womack's former fiancee Emily Maynard is here to remind us how tiny and blond and heartbroken she is. After 20 minutes of sobbing and sniffing and fake-crying, we learn: well, nothing, actually. Could super serious Chris be selling super sad Emily as the next bachelorette any harder? I even read an article in some tabloid quoting an "insider" saying that Emily's selection was almost a sure thing. Ugh. Look, I know lots of people out there love her and that she is made of caterpillar fuzz and baby angel dreams and can do no wrong. But...the woman is dullsville. I mean, I've made it most of the way through Ashley's season, and she maybe wasn't the best pick, but, well, let's just say that if Emily is cast...I fear for my liver.

Until next week!

Ashley Episode 7: COMING SOON.

Dear faithful friends:

I was all set to post the bachelor blog Tuesday night, but then drinking two neville longbottoms and a glass of wine and watching Emily and her fake hair fake-cry stole my will to live. The blog is coming, Wednesday night-ish. I have not forgotten you.