Sorry for the delay, folks. I had a 7am flight today and I got delayed on the way home. This damn “real” job is cramping my style. Here we go.
Hello, Loyal Readers, and welcome back to a fresh new season of our favorite show. It’s been a long off season for me and I’m thrilled to back in my element again. Special thanks go out to all of you who stuck with me during the off season. For those of you who didn’t, well that’s alright too, I suppose. Welcome back.
Before I begin my fancy recap, I’d like to send out a special request to all of you reading this. As I’ve mentioned before, I spend a lot of my creative capital during the season creating this blog into the wee hours of the night. Selfishly, I’d love for as many people to read this as possible. Do me a favor and comment a little more this season. Send the link to friends (or enemies depending on your take on it). In short, please be my pimp this year. My secret goal is to far exceed the average readership I’ve been getting over the past few seasons. Now, in the spirit of pimping people out, let’s get to it.
Actually, before I begin I have to admit that I’ve had a difficult time getting motivated to write about this show for another season. Sure, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let all of you down, but there’s also a part of me that’s so sick of this show I’ve strongly considered selling all of my worldly possessions in order to fund a one way trip to Montana to start my own country where, after carefully creating my anti-establishment manifesto, I’d sit stoically and vigilantly awaiting the arrival of the Feds. Eventually, I’d be forced into a gun battle after refusing to surrender. The government would undoubtedly run roughshod over my undermanned compound forcing me to surrender and sending my six teenaged wives back into foster care after being deprogrammed by an FBI psychiatrist.
Frankly, I don’t think the sum value of my worldly possessions is enough to buy my own country in Montana. Instead, I’ve simply committed to writing this blog in the nude every week in sort of a passive-aggressive protest to the content of the show to which I’m inextricably linked. Actually, writing in the nude wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that I usually write this at the coffee shop down the street. However, writing in the buff will serve as a spark on the dried twigs of my creative shrubbery. Besides, I can type a lot faster now that I no longer need my thumbs to hit the space bar. It will be much easier to count to 21 too. Anyyyyhoooo. . . .
Now, let’s really get to it.
THE SET UP
Under the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” line of reasoning, we begin this season in an identical fashion to the way we begin every season. We see shots of the pre-makeover Ashley whining over Brad while simultaneously displaying that dinner plate of a forehead she owns. We see a replay of her carnival date as Ashley reminds us of what has become the common theme for repeat contestants: I was broken then but I’ve grown now. Yawn.
Ashley pretends really hard that she was actually fell in love with Brad and we are reminded again about how much she whined and equivocated toward the later part of the season. Then, as if the show was specifically designed to piss me off, Ashley drops a “Brad and I’s relationship” as we see her getting the heave ho in South Africa.
Grammatical snafus aside, Ashley demonstrates her new found confidence by jogging, brooding, and introspectively strolling through the streets of Philadelphia in various work out gear before eventually ending up sharing her feelings via interpretive dance after apparently breaking into the local opera house. Opera house? I thought this b*tch was a dentist.
As bored as I was already, I have to admit that she looked good. Granted, I don’t find her especially attractive from the neck up even in spite of the smoky eyes and carefully muted make up; however, unlike Ali before her she looked fit and ready to go. Nice job, Ashley. Way to put in the work.
After her Tenley impression, we see Ashley doing some fake dentisting and dance instructing. Her midriff is in full view. In fact, I believe even her dental scrubs were carefully hemmed into a half shirt. I’m not certain yet, but based upon a comparative analysis of last season’s pool shots, I think she might have had an ABC-induced (and probably financed) boob job. I’ll get back to you on that theory, though. I’m not certain if they’re real or not. Then again, as far as I’m concerned, if I can touch a pair of boobs, they’re real.
Ashley eventually takes her half shirts and sports bras from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and substitutes the steps of the capital for the steps on the Santa Monica Pier. She jogs, broods, and introspectively walks in hopes of “finding love again.” Whatever. Then she introspectively drives “her” Maserati while brooding and thinking about jogging. “Where the f*ck is Harrison?” I asked my television before popping the top off my first Lone Star Beer of the season. “Let’s get the freaking love hunt on the road, for God’s sake,” I thought as we hear Ashley drop this season’s theme: No Regrets. Ironically, I already had regrets.
After a fire-breathing, elephant-riding, comforter-crying, heart-breaking preview of the upcoming season’s goings on, Harrison finally arrives and leads with “real love is a fragile thing that can fall apart at any moment.” Solid. As that rolled off Harrison’s tongue I pictured a forlorn Brad Womack angrily sipping a protein shake and fighting to swallow it in an effort to refrain from regurgitating the 16 egg whites and two chicken breasts he wolfed down after completing “Chest and Triceps Day” at the gym around the corner from his permanent bachelor pad. I simultaneously pictured the Hendrix family greeting Emily and her daughter at the Charlotte airport and loading her and Little Ricki’s suitcases into a stretch limousine on the way back to her free house. Of course, Emily was wearing her white shorts.
Harrison recaps what we just saw during the first 15 minutes of the show and introduces the first set of hopeful Fantasy Suite Fornicators. In the interest of brevity and organization, I’m going to depart from the chronology of the episode. I’ll recap all 25 guys together below in spite of the fact that the intros were split into two groups with a Harrison powwow in between. We’ll discuss the aforementioned powwow not and then we’ll talk about the dudes, the cocktail party, and the rose ceremony.
After the set up, Harrison greets a sparkly gown wearing, bang sporting, clearly nervous Ashley as she exits the limo and gives him a familiar hug. It was nice to see Harrison working again. After his season-long phone in appearances last time around, I was glad to see him in his black suit and tie ready to earn a ton of cash for doing what he does. Man, I want that job. Just think, all that AND he has access to Emily’s phone number.
Harrison suggests a fireside, candlelit chat instead of the sterile formality of the mansion driveway. Ashley AGAIN reiterated her desire to find love in the shadow of her former indecisiveness and even cops to annoying herself with her own whining as she watched the final episodes of last season. She and Harrison prop up the “No Regrets” them a few dozen times and then once again for good measure. Ashley lets us know that she’s “continually growing” and expects to find a “happy ending.” Oh, why do they make it so easy for me?
I wondered if by “continually growing” she meant “continually growing” like Ali and Chantal before her or “continually growing” like Brad during his Dr. Jamie visits. Let’s face it, that’s a fairly important distinction to make considering half these guys are gay and Bentley could already not care less about her and her new bangs. Throw on 20 pounds and cover it up with a poorly placed sarong and she’s going to have a problem. Perhaps she’ll clarify that next episode. I suppose even if she doesn’t the camera doesn’t lie. Then again, as we saw in Ali’s season, a few well-placed shrubs and some creative camera angles can hide just about anything except Roberto’s hyperhidrosis.
I also found her desire for a “happy ending” to be an interesting choice of words considering the fact that the entire show is headed to the Far East in a couple of weeks. I guess if any of these folks—including Harrison and that fat guy with the leather hat who helped Roz pack her sh*t—are looking for a “happy ending” they’re most likely to find that sort of thing in that part of the world. For the record, there’s a place here in Austin called the Midnight Cowboy that’s been “handing” out happy endings since I was in college here. Ironically, the place is a couple of doors down from one of Womack’s bars. I love it.
Ashley finally sets up the “I’ve heard about Bentley” smack and Harrison pretends to be surprised to hear it. Clearly, ABC struck gold when they inadvertently stumbled across Wes Hayden’s dumb ass several seasons ago and, like anything that pulls in ratings, they’ve chosen to exploit it to the Nth degree. Finally, we get to meet the “men.”
THE PUTZ PARADE
1. Ryan—Super excited solar energy guy from California who loves to jog shirtless, save the planet, and make weird heart symbols with his hands while facing West (the direction, not the suitor) at sunset. He seemed a little nerdy but harmless. He’s rich, innocuous, and easy to get along with. He got the First Impression Rose even though Tim deserved it. His assertive entrepeneuriness was a little much for me, but hey, props for taking the lead. Like the Heisman or the Miss America crown, getting the First Impression Rose is often a curse. Nevermind Earth, we’ll see if he can save himself in the weeks to come.
2. J.P.—Good looking Construction Manager from New York with a propensity for v-necks, farmer’s markets, Jason Bourne pea coats, and looking like Lance Armstrong. He seemed nice enough too. He’ll stick around for a bit, but I didn’t see enough personality to carry him to Fiji. He’ll have to step it up to win. He scored some points by sharing his nickname of “Cupcake” with Ashley who apparently also wants to be called “Cupcake.” Weird. I’m sure Ames wouldn’t mind being called “Cupcake.” Incidentally, that was once my nickname. However, that was only within the confines of the Downtown Drunk Tank and I’m really not in the mood to discuss it. Let’s just say that I wanted a smoke real bad.
3. Ames—over-educated, over-achieving, over-athletic, Harry Connick, Jr. in a toupee look-alike who is clearly over-compensating for his own personal struggle with his sexuality. To hell with ultra-marathons, this guy is ultra-gay. Between the free ballet tickets, khaki dress pants, and his self-professed love of travel, my guess is that he “Ames” to meet the guys in the mansion more than he “Ames” to marry Ashley. I’m certain he’d rather be sucking on something other than the silver spoon in his mouth.
4. Ben C.—French-born, French-speaking District Attorney from New Orleans who says he’s a 215 on the 1-10 Romantic scale. He’s also a 215 on the 1-10 Cheeseball scale. Still, Ashley seemed to buy Le Crap spilling from his French pie hole. He should make it for a while. Oh, and he plays keyboard too. I’m certain that Ames would like him to fiddle on his organ for a while.
5. Ben F.—normal, low-key wine maker from Sonoma, California. Between his modest demeanor, trendy hair style, and the fact that he owns a freaking Sonoma winery, my guess is that he’ll get to Fiji. He seemed like the nicest, most normal guy in the bunch to me. I’m rooting for this guy.
6. Bentley—This season’s Wes Hayden but on steroids. Sporting the vague job description “Businessman” he’s clearly there to be an as*hole and I have to give the Producers credit. They picked a good one. Aside from dropping an “I don’t really give a f*ck about Ashley,” openly admitting he wishes Emily was the Bachelorette, and professing his desire to do nothing else but “win,” he was convincing enough to get Ashley to look past a phone call from a friend telling her that he doesn’t give a f*ck about Ashley, wishes Emily was the Bachelorette, and wants to do nothing but win. You can’t say she wasn’t warned.
Oh, and he was apparently married to a Care Bear in a previous life because he has a daughter named “Cozy.” Cozy? That can’t be real. Of course her sisters Snuggly, Comfortable, and Temperate would probably disagree. This guy will stick around until he has a Justin “Rated R” Rego type departure. He’ll make Frank look like Chris L.
7. Anthony the Butcher—Just a simple butcher from Wack-off, New Jersey. He seemed nice enough, but the guy was more Italian than Italy and struck me as a bit creepy. He got sent home along with his gold chain. I’m sure he’ll be able to tell his sob story to the 14 cousins and 3 brothers he shares a room with in his mother’s house. He’ll be fine. It never would have worked anyway. Fuggetaboutit.
8. West—District Attorney from South Carolina. Nice enough guy who scored points when he pulled a broken compass from his drawer full of broken compasses as a reminder to Ashley that he has a directional name. Nice touch, dude, but I’m sure there were 300 other women in South Carolina who spit up their chardonnay before stomping to their nightstands and throwing their broken compasses on the floor and smashing them into oblivion. He’s also got a deceased wife story that should keep him in the game for a bit; although I’m not really sure he’s ready to be there.
9. William—goofy but loveable cell phone salesman from Ohio. The women will adore this guy and his aww shucks bad luck stories all season, but he lost me when he started doing impressions to sell himself to Ashley. Like J.P., he too has a love for Jason Bourne’s wardrobe choices. He’ll make it relatively far but I think he’s too nice to go all the way. He’s holding the alcoholic father trump card in his back pocket and a story about at stopping watch that should make Ashley keep him around for a while.
10. Jon—giggly E-commerce guy who horrified Ashley by picking her up and putting her over his shoulder when he met her. He had the balls to call his mom during his first one-on-one with Ashley. Horrified, Ashley sent him packing back to Mommy. He cried after being eliminated. I’m sure his mom made him some of his favorite dessert treats and bought him a new pair of footed pajamas to ease the pain. Let’s hope the guy learned a lesson. He wasn’t bad looking.
11. Lucas—Sole Texan from Odessa. The guy was less animated than the wallpaper and his orange tie stood in stark contrast to his gray personality. He got a rose, but like Jon before him, didn’t do anything to earn it. Ashley noticed his good-smelling cologne. Perhaps it was Odessa crude oil, but regardless, he’ll have to do more to get noticed.
12. Mikey—Creepy chef in an equally creepy beige suit. He moved in for a kiss that looked more like an attempted assault than anything else. He too did just enough to stick around for another episode. Being the 8th least douchey of the bunch might have saved him this week, but he’s going to need to show her something in order to stick around.
13. Tim—The 5’4” Liquor Distributor and without question the single best Bachelorette contestant of all time. Clearly an alcoholic, all he needed was a little nudge in order to go careening off the edge of the cliff of sobriety like Buzz in Rebel Without a Cause when his leather jacket got stuck on the door handle in his chicken race with James Dean. The guy was like Joe Pesci and it didn’t take him long to get drunk enough to pass out and need to be carried off the premises. Frankly, I think this guy was robbed.
He clearly earned the First Impression Rose. After all it’s the First Impression Rose not the Biggest Ass-Kissing Pansy Rose. At least do the guy a solid and pin one on him before you cab him back to the Super 8 or wherever the losers get to spend the night before shelling out their own money for a cab ride to LAX the following morning. The only thing that could have made this guy more of a legend in my mind is if he would have dropped a “Will you marry me?” on Ashley as he was summarily carried off the mansion grounds and thrown into a minivan. Of course, he’s probably got all kinds of street cred in the neighborhood bar he frequents in Flatbush or Sheepshead Bay. I, for one, will miss you, Tim. Ironically, he might have been the only truly honest guy there. I can’t say enough about getting drunk and passing out at the first cocktail party. He’s like the Neil Armstrong of Bachelorette contestants.
14. Stephen—Hairstylist who looks like Jason Schwartzman and Ritchie Sambora had a love child. He’ll be gone as soon as Ashley gets wind of his profession. Nice hair, d-bag.
15. Chris D.—Purple tie and purple shirt wearing “Sports Marketing Coordinator” who invaded Ashley’s personal space. “Sports Marketing Coordinator?” That could mean he works at Foot Locker selling Air Jordans to teenagers. We shall see.
16. Rob—Technology Executive with a weak disposition and an even weaker handshake. I don’t remember much about him, which probably says it all. As if his George Michael-esque five o’clock shadow and yellow tie weren’t enough, he cried like the sissy he probably is when he was eliminated. Granted, that was probably the glass and a half of pinot grigio he sipped at the cocktail party talking, but still.
17. Matt—Office Supply Salesman who borrowed his ill-fitting gray suit from his shorter, skinnier brother. He led with a secret handshake. Weak, dude. Weak.
18. Jeff (Mask)—This season’s Madison who favors a mask instead of fangs. His lack of personality won’t allow him to wear the mask forever. Like Madison, I think he’ll prove to be a dud and his departure will be anti-climactic. My favorite part was when he made the speech about the importance of what’s on the inside of a person before sitting down with Ashley and droning on about how pretty she looked. Dude, go heavy or go home. If you’re going to have a stupid gimmick, do your homework and stick to your story. Jackass. Tim’s reaction to the mask was priceless. Anthony the Butcher also dropped a “what the f*ck” him when he saw the mask. He looked ridiculous and minus the Producer’s pick, he should have gone home. It’s going to be a bitch to swim in the pool with that thing on. Perhaps he has some black goggles.
19. Frank—After an awkward wink and a tie fix upon exiting the limo like Larry hitting on women at the Regal Beagle in Three’s Company, Frank performs a Johnny Castle lift and a few dance moves. (Insert elimination buzzer here). His two moments of glory came when he referred to the obviously inebriated Tim as a “hazard” and when he coined the phrase “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the oven.” Classic. To be fair, the oven is usually located in the kitchen and is the source of the aforementioned heat that one can’t stand. He went home.
20. Michael—Technical Sales Rep. from California. He led with dentistry jokes and finished with gas jokes. Terrible. Just terrible.
21. Chris M.—Construction CEO with a medallion and frosted tips. At first I thought he was gay, but I soon realized that he was just Canadian. Between the severe accent, the shirt open to his groin area, and the over-the-top approach he was destined for failure. Three strikes, Chris. You’re OOT.
22. Ryan M.—Construction Manager from Michigan who imitated Ashley’s limo exit and then proceeded to take pictures of her. He overdid it a bit by asking for one too many pictures and insisting on getting one with Harrison, but he recovered during the cocktail party and seemed nice enough. We’ll see if he can differentiate himself from the pack.
23. Nick—Personal trainer with Sammy Hagar circa 1985, Willie Ames, and Greatest American Hero haircut with a soul patch. His attempt at “poetry” was pathetic. Stick to leg curls and egg whites, Nick. Ashley seemed to like him. He should last a few shows. I’m sure he can’t wait to get to the pool. If he gets eliminated, his Cardio-kick Yoga-lates Class should fill up faster than Tim’s liver with alcohol.
24. Blake—The only real dentist on the show. That’s fitting because he’s about as exciting as a root canal. The shared profession should be good for a rose or two but the guy was boring. He reminded me of the Douchebag from Denton.
25. Constantine—Roman emperor who issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. The first emperor to convert to Christianity. Oh, wait. This guy is just some jackass that shares his name. He looks like Stephen the Hairdresser and The Low Key Wine Guy’s older brother. We’ll see how he shapes up in the weeks to come.
THE COCKTAIL PARTY
I’ll cut this short by saying that other than Tim’s legendary departure, the cocktail party was the usual sword fight we witness every season. Bentley reestablished himself as the bad guy and everyone else floundered around like fish on a dock for Ashley’s attention. No big surprises. Harrison emerged with the ubiquitous champagne glass and butter knife and the rose ceremony went down as usual.
1. Ryan (First Impression Rose)
2. Jeff (Mask)
3. Constantine (former Roman emperor)
4. Ben F. (Sincere, normal Wine Guy)
5. Lucas (Boring Texan)
6. Stephen (Hairdresser)
7. Matt (I can’t remember him)
8. Nick (Personal Trainer)
9. Chris D. (No memory)
10. Ryan M (Camera guy with crush on Harrison)
11. Blake (the only real dentist on the show)
12. Mikey (first kiss creepy guy)
13. Ben C. (French speaking D.A.)
14. West (the opposite of East)
15. William (he’s afraid of beer)
16. J.P. (Lance Armstrong look alike nicknamed “Cupcake”)
17. Ames (Harry Connick, Jr. in a toupee)
18. Bentley (this season’s Wes Hayden)
Sucked out like loose plaque
1. Anthony the Butcher
2. Rob (super gay crushed guy)
3. Jon (he’ll be remembered only for crying)
6. Chris M. (He didn’t seem too upset aboot getting kicked oot)
7. Drunk Tim (Clearly robbed of the First Impression Rose)
Well, there it is. With the Journey count 6 and the Amazing count at an impressive 12, we head into week two where, as always, more of the dead weight will be shed in favor of the actual front runners. Let’s just enjoy the ramp up, shall we? From here on out, I’ll post on Tuesday afternoons. I look forward to your feedback. Get your betting pools ready. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be wearing a mask and drinking until I lose the power of speech and the ability to stand. DP