Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 9: Ashley loses her flower

Come on, America, get your act together! What's all this nonsense about a lowered credit rating? And what the hell does it have to do with Ashley? Why did it take a chunk out of my PVR-recorded viewing of The Bachelorette tonight? Couldn't Obama's little talk (I saw his mug as I was fast-forwarding through it) wait? Someone needs to invent a PVR that senses ridiculous interruptions to quality TV programming and adds on the extra time at the end. Because as it was, I got rudely cut off just as Ashley and Japes were getting ready to toss the camera crew from the fantasy suite. I have no idea what happened after that and won't until tomorrow or whenever decides to put up the whole episode. I'm assuming not much happened because she's down to her final two.

This episode saw the endlessly chipper Ryan returning to ask Ashley for one more chance. 'No regrets' was his motto. Well, maybe he'll regret embarrassing himself on national television again, but other than that nothing.

He knocked on her door, sat her down and proceeded to rehash their last date, reminding Ashley exactly why she dumped him in the first place without even giving him the chance of a rose ceremony. He told her he went home after that fateful date and got right back into the swing of things. For what? Two days? He just left the show. But he couldn't get his mind off her so he called somebody named Chris. I think we're supposed to believe that's Chris Harrison, but my guess is there's a producer with real decision-making duties, as opposed to the talking head with the hosting duties by the name of Chris. He said he told this Chris person, "I know I'm not supposed to do this." Damn straight. That move is just unprecedented in the history of this series. We did not see anything of the sort coming. I was blown away someone would even attempt such a bold move. That move is almost as rare as the elusive helicopter sighting on this show.

Was this Ryan's last audition for the upcoming season of The Bachelor? Yeah, probably. He's Jake 2.0. He's the successful all-American boy who everyone loves. It's only a matter of time before he finds love, loses love, then wishes his ex would fall off a cliff to her death.

One commenter last week mentioned Ames' perma-smile. Ryan, too, has a smile problem. His is that he doesn't know how to contain himself, doesn't quite know when to flash that gushing smile. He said effusively, "I wanna spend more time with you so bad," practically shooting lasers from his eyes into Ashley's and working his dimples overtime, and she sat there staring blankly back at him. It was painful to watch, him with his breathless call-me-crazy misguided gosh-darn enthusiasm; her with her mind scrambling to find a way not to hurt him. She eventually came up with, "I can't believe you flew all the way over here!" Yes, that was quite a sacrifice, you must admit. Fiji's a real hole.

For a moment I thought Ashley was just insecure enough that she might be taken with a successful man actually professing unwavering devotion to her. I mean, she's constantly worried that the guys aren't going to like her and just leave. I think she's just afraid of success. So she did break it to Ryan gently that she's just not that into him. He took it like a man, or reasonable facsimile. He hugged her and told her he was so happy for her before choking back tears. Tears of happiness, of course. Because he was just so goldarn happy.

The date with Ben was hot and heavy. Ben nailed it when he described them as giddy little school children. On a yacht, he sprayed sunscreen on Ash and desperately tried to rub it through her bikini top. He wasn't trying to cop a feel. Not at all. He knows the devastating effect the sun can have through padded bras.

Then Ashley straddled Big Ben and rubbed sunscreen onto Ben's boobs. A true case of tit for tat if there ever was one.

While on the high seas, Ashley announced, "I lost my flower." A sign of things to come in the fantasy suite.

Ashley said that if she and Ben were to spend their lives together, she felt there would never be a dull moment. Well, except for when he opens his mouth. Other than that, though, snorkelling in Fiji is just another typical weekend for this sommelier. Ben is so exciting, he brought out the colours in the fish.

Ben talks a big game, but when the game is on the line, he chokes. He was telling us he was going to tell Ashley he loves her. Here's his attempt: "My feelings are growing and I'm on my way to the whole 'I love you' thing." Swing and a miss!

Throughout dinner, Ashley looked like I'd never seen her before. I think it was the best she's ever looked, but I could be wrong. Maybe it was just the sex face. She knew tonight was the night. "I'm hoping tonight he'll show me how he feels," is how she put it. Yeah, we're picking up what you're laying down, Ash. When doing the little tour of the suite, she points to the bed and says, "This is where we're going to sleep." That's a first, I do believe. Before it's always been implied (as Constantine so artfully put it) but there was always the possibility that the couple just stay up all night talking or one of them sleeps on the couch. But not tonight. Ashley couldn't wait to lose her flower again.

Constantine's date was on ... wait for it ... a helicopter! Okay, nothing new to report there. But it was accompanied by one of the best lines in franchise history. Ashley said, "I'm gonna be his first helicopter ride!" Nuff said. Let's move on.

As they're flying off to their date, we see Ryan alone on the beach (before being dumped for the second time). He's saying he's been there for a couple of days and he's just waiting for that knock on the door from Ashley. We see him walking on the beach, sitting in a cool rock formation, and I'm thinking, "Buddy, shouldn't you be at your hotel room awaiting this knock? Maybe you missed her already."

Anyway, back to the Greek God. The two of them found a waterfall and a cliff. You just know at this point she's going to confuse the figurative with the literal as everyone does on this show. And sure enough, she's telling us how important it is in a relationship to take a leap of faith with a partner. And off they went, off the edge and into the drink. I found it odd that she was wearing panties as the bottom half of her bikini, but who am I to judge?

On their picnic, she has a heart-to-heart with the slow-moving Constantine. She tells him he thinks things through before making a decision. And she said this like it's a bad thing. She asked him, "Are you ever consumed by your emotion?" She wasn't looking for an answer so much as criticizing him for be rational. This coming from the woman who fell head-over-heels for a slimeball she was warned was there for the wrong reasons. Sometimes using your head isn't such a bad thing, missy.

Constantine wasn't feeling her the way he thought he should be so he bailed without even some free gratuitous sex in the fantasy suite. There would be no helicopter rides on this night. I was wondering if she'd even offer the card to him but it didn't get that far. After he walked off, she brought the card out and held the key. She had the whole place to herself. And you know what that implies. I thought maybe she should have gone to Ryan (whom she still hadn't rejected) with the card and given him a little sumpin-sumpin for his efforts.

The last date was with Japes the Jealous Man. He didn't want to talk to her about his feelings regarding the other men but they were evident. Then later he said, "I can just be myself" around her. Uh, not so much. Can you imagine if she chose JP what it would be like watching tonight's episode with him as she dry humps Ben on the boat? It would be over.

That's as far as I got thanks to Obama and my PVR. Did I miss anything good? As soon as I watch the end, if I have anything further to say, I'll add it to the bottom of this post.

UPDATE!: Just finished watching the end on the trusty internet. So let me get to it. My PVR quit right before it got good. Ashley and Japes were in the fantasy suite the last I saw. What I missed was Ashley excusing herself to get into something more comfortably and more revealing. She returned wearing Shaquille O'Neal's dress shirt and hopped onto the bed striking a seductive pose. Man, she's full on, this girl. She makes Jillian look positively virginal. As I wrote last night, in the past the notion of sex in the suite has always been inferred and implied but never so outright as it was this episode. I have no problem with it but I'm just concerned for her after she chooses the final guy. He'll watch the episode and see her making the same moves with another guy. In the past, the Bachelor/ette could always tell a white lie and say nothing more than cuddling happened but she'll have a harder go of it this time.

I also wondered about her timing. She could have waited until the crew left before exposing her horniness. As it was, she laid there pantsless making out on the bed with Japes and the camera just slowly backed out of the room. You could almost hear them whispering, "Uh, we'll just leave now. Don't get up."

Also in the after-the-fact conjecturing, if she chooses Japes, how will he take to her characterization of her relationship with Ben, saying she feels she's the most compatible with him? We know J.P. isn't the most carefree guy in the world.

Speaking of feelings, what about Constantine sitting at home with his family watching this episode? Chris Harrison asked Ashley which was harder, saying goodbye to Constantine or Ryan. She answered Ryan "because I just think he's a good guy." What's the subtext there? Constantine's a jerk? Then again, he probably didn't hear it over his family talking and dancing.

So they had a rose ceremony despite there being two roses for two bachelors. And Ashley felt this was the most important one to date because love is a two-way street and the guys will have to feel the same way for her as she does for them. Um, hasn't she been watching? Is she absolutely clueless? She has no read on whether a guy is into her or not. I think this is what her sister will tell her in the dramatic finale next week, judging by the upcoming highlights. And her sister knows about bad decisions. Her body art will attest to that.

Methinks the rose ceremony was a lot of false drama. Ashley said she'd be devastated if one of them didn't accept the rose. Chris Harrison might have reminded her that not a single contestant in the history of the show has ever refused a rose at a ceremony. Not a one. They leave before it gets to that point.

I wondered in the past if Chris Harrison watched the show, too. Maybe he doesn't because when Ben and Japes were standing there pre-rose, Chris said, "I know you're wondering where Constantine is. I'll let Ashley explain." Ashley already explained it to J.P. So maybe Harrison was just addressing Ben.

And what was with the pregnant pause between the calling of the names? There was only one guy there. She knew she'd be handing it out to him. I missed Harrison coming out just before the last rose. He could have said, "Gentlemen... Ashley... as you can see, there's one rose left. It's going to J.P. Spoiler alert."

So they're going with a Sunday night Men Tell All episode this time. It should be a doozy. I'll be there. Hopefully there'll be no press conference to interrupt the proceedings this time.