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This week’s Bachelorette was full of a spectacular amount of awkwardness. Which was great because it helped alleviate some of the boredom. Talking about feelings = good. Watching people talking about feelings = two hours of wanting to stick needles under my fingernails. This week’s show also featured the return of Emily. Sad, beautiful Disney princess Emily. Will she ever find love? No. No she won’t. More on that later. For now we’ll talk about the degrading things that Ashley put her dates through — namely posing for awkward wedding photos. I am a huge fan of weird wedding and engagement photos, so I’m going to use this opportunity to share some of my faves with you. Starting with….
Abuse of technology.
Back to our daters, who are still hoping for a day when they can pay hundreds of dollars to pose together awkwardly.
They’ve moved from Hong Kong to Taiwan, the hidden jewel of Asia. Ashley tells us — again — that it’s time for a fresh start. Her fresh start has happened so many times this season that it’s starting to smell a little less-than fresh. More fish than fresh, really. That’s a hygiene issue, though.
So Ashley reminisces about the guys that are left. There’s Ryan, who she always feels safe around, in spite of the serial killer vibe I think he gives off. There’s Lucas who is a real, genuine ruddy-faced Texan. Ames is sweet and intelligent. She loves Ben because he’s funny and has many things going for him. Constantine is easy to talk to and easy to look at. JP makes her feel comfortable and secure. This is all well and good, but hometown dates are coming up and she’s got to find the total package! No more futzing around.
Chris Harrison shows up looking worse for the wear. He took twice as long as everyone else to get from Hong Kong to Taipei and no one knows how he got there. Just showed up in front of the hotel on the back of a moped with four days’ facial hair growth and a 10,000-yard stare. He tells the boys there there will be four dates: three one-on-ones and a group date; the only rose will be up for grabs on the group date.
The first date card is for Constantine and says “let your love light shine.” JP is starting to get more and more irritated that Ashley is going out with other guys, but he can’t do much about that at this point. So Constantine meets Ashley at the train station and they head outside of the city to a tiny, rural village.
“All aboard! Next stop, Needyville! Then it’s on to Whinington!
Because Ashley wore six-inch heels out into the country, Constantine has to carry her to their activity of the day, which is painting their love wishes on a paper lantern. They wish for longevity, family and marriage. Ashley believes that Constantine is taking the activity seriously because it’s a sign that they have something special!
Special is a good way to describe this art work…
At the end of the episode during the outtakes we see a dog pee on their special love lantern. Good dog.
Later, over dinner, Constantine tells Ashley about his big, fat Greek family. Ashley wants to know if he’s planning on falling in love with her before or after the hometown dates, and he’s all like, um, slow your roll, Pygmy, you can’t force love or speed it up or slow it down; if it happens, it happens. Constantine remains the most stable guy on this show, at this point. Don’t let us down, C!
After dinner they light their lantern and send their love wishes up into the air and stand under the dark sky while dozens of other lanterns fill the air, thanks to some poor production assistant who had to spend hours painting wishes on the sides of the lanterns before lighting them and creating the perfect setting for more forced making out.
That’s actually pretty romantic.
The next one-on-one date goes to Ben. It is a tour around a national park on a moped. He’s a little more into the idea of falling in love with Ashley and says their date felt like a fairy tale. Yes, I believe the Brothers Grimm wrote about this in their story entitled “The Winemaker & the Insecure Dentist.” It’s a cautionary tale about overindulgence and dental hygiene. Don’t drink and be sure to floss, kids, or trolls will take your baby toes in the middle of the night.
This looks more like a tampon commercial than a fairy tale.
Ben tells us that he’s falling in love with Ashley, but he’s not ready to tell her, yet. It’s a secret amongst all of us friends for now. At dinner, Ashley asks him how he’d feel if he took her home and his family was skeptical about all of this Bachelorette stuff when they meet her. He reassures her that while his mother and sister’s opinions count, once they see him with Ashley they’ll realize how serious he is. He tells her that he’s at the tipping point of having feelings that are stronger than “like” and after the hometown date, he’s gonna be dropping L-bombs all over her. L-bombs, right in her face.
He talks a lot about feelings and kissing and mental kissing and ultimately his mom and sister will see all of this. Ben should be focused less on making his family like Ashley and more on getting his mom to explain how he and Constantine were separated at birth.
Ashley is eating all of this up. Little known fact: she doesn’t consume food; she actually just survives on compliments, affirmations, mental kisses and rainbows. She beams into the camera and yells at us: “I fill like he’s my boyfren’!”
The next morning, all of the boys are sitting around the hotel and wondering where Ben is. It seems his date was of the all night variety. JP is especially irked by this and he sits around with his eyes closed until Ben does the walk of shame back into the suite. He appears to have gotten his clothes from a variety of backyard clotheslines across Taipei because he’s wearing a seersucker blazer, a hoodie, a t-shirt, shorts and a knit cap, leaving me confused — again — as to what season it is in Asia.
Walk of shame smug.
Ben tries to play it cool and says that nothing physical happened… that anyone needs to know about. Eventually, though, Ames gets him to admit that he and Ashley did not share a room. Wah-wahhh. Wait, I don’t believe that. What would be the point in him being out all night if he wasn’t with Ashley? So you had a little late-night makeout sesh. So what? You’re grownups. Maybe a little sucky-sucky… who cay-uhs? Besides JP, I mean. He would probably have a small stroke over that one…
Speaking of JP busting a vessel… he’s on the group date along with Lucas and Ames. Ashley informs us that people in Taiwan love wedding photos so the group will be going to the district in Taipei where people have their wedding pictures made. She says this is an important activity because one of these guys could be her husband one day and she needs to select the one that will take the best photo, of course. Marriages can be dissolved, but those photos last forever once you get them on Facebook and start tagging yourself.
Initially, the guys seem remarkably game, even though waiting around for Ashley to do a ton of costume, hair and makeup changes sounds like torture to me. But the boys were cool with playing along… until they saw their “outfits,” as Ashley called them. Lucas was put into a high-necked, shiny gold traditional shirt that came down to his calves. Ames was forced to wear a truly terrifying tuxedo confection made of sparkles and feathers and ruffles. JP got a regular badass tux, which annoyed the hell out of Lucas.
Looks like they’re having a blast.
Ashley’s first outfit is a traditional Taiwanese dress. She and Lucas take some super ugly, awkward photos. No offense to that photographer, but they looked like they were in someone’s basement rec room and had pulled the shade off of one of the lamps. They take a couple of forced kissing photos and JP puts his pout back on.
Squaresville. Population: 2.
Ames does a better job of playing along and actually looks like he’s having fun, especially when he kissed Ashley. His photos were super corny, too, but he managed to look like he was in on the joke and not a part of it.
For JP’s session, the photographer’s assistants unfolded an old shower curtain with a scene from the Grand Canyon on it and hung that up as the background. Ashley tried to have fun, but poor JP was obviously miserable. He seemed nervous and self-conscious and someone needs to destroy those photos and the computer to which they were uploaded.
How about we make JP feel a little bit better by looking at a truly heinous wedding photo that comes to us from Russia:
Is this bride disappointed in the shoe, her tiny husband, or the fact that her photographer is on an acid trip? You decide.
See, JP… things could be much worse.
Later, they all go to some sort of lounge where the photos have been blown up and framed and they get to relive what may be the worst date of all time. Ashley is confounded that these grown men didn’t have a great time playing dress up and posing for fake wedding photos. She and Lucas get some one-on-one time and he tells her how uncomfortable he was watching her with JP.
During Ames’s one-on-one time, he pulls out all of the stops, bringing out the photos of his family and a super dorky picture of himself as a kid. He talks about how great his family is and says they’ll enjoy meeting Ashley because she’s so beautiful and charming. Even Ashley seems surprised by this description of herself. I’m telling you, this guy knows all of the moves. He’s the living embodiment of porn for women.
JP uses his one-on-one time to talk about how this whole thing is making him crazy. “A bad crazy?” Ashley asks hopefully. No, more like jealousy. He acknowledges that he signed up for this but he caught feelings, and that changes everything. Ashley leaves him for a moment and goes to grab the rose from in between Lucas and Ames. She goes back to JP and talks about who-knows-what for awhile before finally giving it to him. So JP’s the first one locked in for the hometown date.
It’s finally time for Ryan’s one-on-one date. He’s especially excited because he a) scored some cocaine in an alley behind the hotel and b) this is his first ever one-on-one with Ashley! Wow. I had no idea. How’d he stick around for so long? He hasn’t really been flying under the radar. Even Ashley acknowledges that no one else seems to like him.
When they meet up, she’s wearing a cute top and some sensible shoes, finally. They walk around a temple and seeing all of the people praying makes Ryan realize how badly he wants to focus on just one person. I don’t see how he made that connection there, but I’ve never been to a temple, so maybe I missed it. They go to pray to a matchmaking god who is very… cheerful.
Literally a sex god.
They throw some blocks at the ground and the blocks tell them that they’re not a good match. All of this just rolls off of Ryan’s back, though, like rain off the back of a coked-up duck. After all, there’s no rose on this date, so he has nothing to worry about! This is about to get super awkward. Though maybe not as awkward as this wedding pic:
Why does the tiny bride have wings? Is she being captured or released? And why are they going to be struck by lightning?
Ryan and Ashley have a picnic with some dim sum and Ryan focuses extremely intently on a bird for awhile before asking Ashley what she does for the environment. She tells him that a guy broke up with her once because she didn’t recycle a plastic bottle and, of course. Is anyone not surprised that she has a story like that? Something tells me that before that bottle ended up in the garbage, it was preceded by hours and hours of tears, insecurities, and talking about feelings.
Ashley asks Ryan to teach her something about the environment and he launches into a soliloquy about the wastefulness of hot water heaters and the importance of investing in tankless hot water heaters. It’s actually very useful information, but Ashley tunes him out. If it’s not about her future husband, she’s not interested! She’s here to find a husband, dammit.
“Can we save the planet after someone finds me a man?”
Ryan is describing what meeting his family will be like (barking from the dog… hugs and sneaky ass grabbing from his dad) when Ashley sighs “ugh.” She can’t take it anymore. In her head, Ryan is the perfect guy (allow me to point out that in her head, Bentley was in love with her), but she doesn’t feel a romantic connection and can’t see him as her husband.
Yes, dude. That just happened.
“You don’t want to meet my family?” he asks sadly.
“I’m just not feeling it. I’m just not.”
It’s actually pretty sad. There’s a lot of staring. And walking. And talking. And a cat wanders through the set. Ashley’s not confident about her decision. Ryan is shocked and doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He walks away from his exit interview but leaves his mic on and there’s a whole lot of sniffing and grunting and heaving before he comes back to finish it. He wants to find that person and love someone unconditionally, he says, holding back tears. Slow clap. Oscar nod. I’m not sure if that was a performance or not, but if so, it was pretty good!
At cocktail party/rose ceremony time, Ashley summons Chris H. to tell him that she doesn’t need another cocktail party because she’s ready to hand out roses and she’s not going to change her mind about who she’s going to cut.
After going through the usual drivel about her husband being in the room, Ashley gives a rose to Constantine… then to his doppelganger Ben. The final rose comes down to Lucas and Ames… and Ashley ultimately offers it to Ames.
Lucas looks nauseous. All he wanted was someone to wake up with; someone who’d make him Belgian waffles in the morning in one of those little grills that you pour the batter into and then wait a minute-and-a-half before turning it over so that both sides of the waffle would get done pretty evenly; someone who knows that the key to a good Belgian waffle is to spray the waffle iron with non-stick spray first and then not fill the whole thing up with batter since it will expand once it starts cooking. Not too much to ask.
After Lucas leaves, Ashley has a near panic attack, not because she made the wrong decision, but because there’s so much goddam pressure involved in this that sometimes she can’t even breathe. I’m going to refer her to Ryan’s observation from a few weeks ago: this isn’t fucking Afghanistan; it’s a television reality show.
I was pretty excited because all of this took about an hour-and-a-half, and I thought the producers had finally come to their senses and realized that this show has no business being two hours. What I didn’t realize, though, was that the last half hour would be sprinkled with Emily’s tears. As you may or may not know, Emily was the winner of the last Bachelor (the show on which Ashley was second runner-up, or whatever). So Emily and Brad Womack were supposed to live happily ever after, but that apparently didn’t happen. I’m pretty sure we all knew this was coming after seeing them at the last reunion show… but for those of you who were holding out hope, all I got from Emily’s 20 minutes of talking to Chris Harrison was that Brad just wasn’t ready for marriage and she wasn’t about to pick up and move her daughter halfway across the country for a guy who wasn’t sure he wanted to give up going to Taco Tuesdays at his neighborhood bar. Why trade in $1 PBRs and a mechanical bull for some sad chick and her kid with mediocre coloring skills?
Emily entered the witness protection program where she is disguised as a woman twice her age.
I don’t know. Whatever. She never really seemed to be that into Brad to begin with, so I’m guessing it wasn’t all his fault. She seemed awfully broken up about it, although she seemed to be crying magical tears that never ruined her makeup… then again, she really had that stuff spackled on with a trowel, so maybe it just wasn’t budging until the right chemical compound could be applied to it.
So that was the show. I liked Lucas but I wasn’t surprised that he was booted. Ashley seemed really hung up on the fact that he was divorced. I am surprised that Ryan was booted before Ames and Constantine. He seemed like a cute guy with a good job — just a little intense and excitable! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d rather have that over boring and melancholy. What did you think of Emily’s appearance? Do you think she would have made a good Bachelorette? Speaking of… last chance to try out for the next season is coming on on July 22nd in San Diego — if you go, we want photos!!
And next week… hometown dates at last! See you then! And one more awkward photo for the road:
Yes. This is a real thing.