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?"
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 does...it 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 time...is 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.
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 it...is 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, but...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 just...cool as a cucumber", says Ashley. "It sounds great in theory", says JP, "but when you feel this way about someone...it 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:
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!