Hello, Readers, and welcome back to week three of our favorite way to torture ourselves. I swear if this show gets anymore painful to watch, I’ll have to take Novocain shots between Lone Star beers in order to get through it. With 15 guys left we head into Episode three of what proved to be a big downer for everyone except the Vegas odds makers who had Bentley gone inside of three shows. Despite the dismal start, I hung in there for the sake of the blog. I hope I don’t disappoint.
Before I get started, I’d like to send two shouts out this week. The first goes to my loyal reader and a 100% Meet and Greet attendee, Liana, in Houston, Texas. Not only does she send me a lovely weekly email filled with glowing comments about the blog, this week she had the courtesy to send me an article complete with pictures of Pippa Middleton running a triathlon. Bless you, Liana.
The second shout out goes to a long time loyal reader, Laura in New York. Laura was one of the first fans to ever send me an email when I enabled the feature on the blog a long time ago. She’s also communicated the fact that she has a genuine fear of stuffed animal heads mounted on walls. As odd as that is, she’s hung in there with me through thick and thin—including personal tragedy—and she always makes me smile when she sends a message. I know it’s overdue, Laura, but thank you. With that done, let’s get to it.
This week’s lead-in wasted no time. Mask removals, lewd jokes about Ashley, and the none-too-soon departure of this season’s evildoer, Bentley, were all in store for us as we settled in after the Esteban music faded out and the sound of Harrison summoning the remaining 15 possible Mr. Ashley Herbert’s echoed joyfully through out our respective living rooms.
Sporting pastel colored t-shirts and warm up pants like a bunch of sorority girls getting ready for a pillow fight, the “men” assemble in the sunken living room as Harrison in his nautically themed sweater and wind blown hair commences the dropping of the date card.
What was up with Harrison’s outfit and hair? He looked like he’d just taken second place in the Third Annual I’m Cooler Than You Regatta off Catalina Island. I’ve got some coxswain jokes lined up, but in the interest of brevity and continuity, I’ll get to them later if I have time.
“Love Strikes in a Flash,” the date card reads and we find out the Ben C., the lawyer from The Big Easy via France, is the big winner. Realizing he was French I wondered if the not-so-subtle Blitzkrieg allusion in the date card would force him to surrender. Luckily, it didn’t and for the first time in recorded history there existed a French hero. Perhaps if things work out well, he’ll get tapped to head the IMF. Apparently, the other French guy who had that job got into a bit of trouble in New York and won’t be returning to work for another forty years—give or take. I digress.
Alright, I know I’m giving the French a hard time this entry. Relax. I’ll focus on another nationality eventually. It’s so difficult to lay off those jokes, however. The French are such an easy target. If you don’t believe me just as the Germans. Back to the show.
Ashley dons her off-the-shoulder magenta shawl-like top (Emily wore that color so much better last season) and her skin tight white Bee Gees pants and heads off from “her” house in “her” Maserati to pick up Ben C. and his black v-neck sweater. She pretends her date with Mickey (the suitor, not the mouse) was fun last week as if we’re all too stupid to remember that she flipped a coin to determine his fate. I suppose she had to say something on the drive over. Ashley mingles with the men a bit before putting Ben C. in his big boy seat and driving him off to be emasculated in broad daylight.
Incidentally, is Ashley the only one covered under ABC’s season-long insurance policy on the Maserati? For crying out loud, when is one of these guys going to be a man and insist on driving? Look, I’m all for equal treatment and all that, but these are first dates. As my high school basketball coach used to say, “let’s show some sack, men.”
Unfortunately for Ben C., he doesn’t have an opportunity to use his sack much less show it off because Ashley takes him immediately to a dance studio and proceeds to teach him a few eight counts. She let’s us know that she’s been working with something called Flash Mob, which is apparently a bunch of weirdoes who meet in a park in order to spontaneously break out in dance. It’s like West Side Story without the singing and the switchblades. Whatever.
Ashley plans on teaching Ben C. the routine in the studio before forcing him to humiliate himself after his emasculation by performing it with her in the park with 100 ABC extras who couldn’t get work as hospital patrons on Grey’s Anatomy or dead bodies on CSI. Flash mobs? Eight counts? Say it with me---I thought this b*tch was a dentist.
I gotta tell you, I cannot for the life of me recall the last time a girl picked me up at my house in her sports car after asking me out and then spirited me all over town in order to teach me a super fun dance routine and making me perform it in the middle of a public park her so she could decide if I did enough to earn the right to not get kicked out of my room so she could maybe ask me out again.
Ten bucks says Ben was sending “OMG, ur never gonna believe this” texts to his Mansion BFF, Ames, from the bathroom. He was probably sorry he went and bought that Banana Republic v-neck especially for that date. Hopefully, he wasn’t too optimistic and left the tag on it so he could totally take it back the next day so he could use the money to buy that cute pair of shoes he’s had his eye on for some time now. Brutal.
To add insult to injury, the park where she takes Ben is adorned with homoerotic statues not unlike the one in Chantal’s father’s study where her dad shared a hug and a Merlot with Brad Womack last season. They perform their stupid dance to a stupid song about a G6 before the “band” who “sings” the G6 song moves their equipment from their mother’s garage in order to perform another song I’d never heard of in the park.
Dancing in the park? I suppose the alternative is to have him dress in scrubs like a fake dental assistant and follow her around her fake dentistry office while she fake dentists or whatever. Wouldn’t it have been a riot if after the Flashdance thing in the park that she made Ben C. stick around and watch as she gave complimentary teeth whitening treatments to the Far East Movement? Annnyyyyhooo . . .
Was it me or did the Far East Movement guys look a hell of a lot like last week’s Jabberwockeez guys? Who knew they moonlighted? They sucked by the way, and I was thrilled more than Ben C. when that disaster was over.
Ben and Ashley have dinner and the only eventful things about it were the dress she borrowed from Tina Turner, Ben’s purple shirt, tan slacks, and blue blazer that made him look like he’d just competed in a shuffleboard tournament on the Lido Deck before freshening up in his cabin and hitting the Copacabana Club on the third level for a cocktail, and Ben doing is nervous talking Lloyd Dobbler impression (Google it). Ultimately, he earned the hell out of a rose. I’ll give the French guy credit for making flaky croissants out of some pretty lumpy dough. Nice job, Ben C.
Back at the MAN-sion the Group Date Card gets dropped and I have to admit that for the first time in the history of this show, I wished I was on it. More about that in a bit. We learn that Ames—before I get to the others let me say that I can no longer hear that Adele song without picturing Ames prancing around as I described him last week. Ironically, I’m the victim of my own stupid joke. However, remember that you can’t spell “Flames” without “Ames.” Back to the Group Date.
Ames, Constantine’s younger brother Ben F., Boring Blake, Weird Jeff, Silent Lucas, Curly Nick, Solar Ryan, Soon-to-be persona non grata William, Big Bad Bentley, and Dull Chris get selected for this week’s c*ck block tournament, but before we begin, there’s the nagging matter of Jeff’s mask.
ABC resets its tired Phantom of the Opera allusion by putting Jeff in an upper balcony window and playing the organ music as Ashley pulls up in the giant stretch Hummer. It would have been more interesting if Jeff would have played with his organ while wearing the mask.
Ashley enters the sunken living room in her Olivia Newton John pants and proceeds to mingle. For some reason, Ben F. has a gray suit and black tie on and Blake the real dentist is sporting what looks like his younger, smaller brother’s vest and oxford. Before the men can make a move Jeff suggests a one-on-one conversation so he can remove that stupid, overplayed mask. Before they talk Jeff characterizes the wearing of the mask as a “life changing experience.” Life changing? Something tells me that this guy was subject to ridicule and isolation prior to donning that mask, but what do I know?
Ashley looked so over the mask that Jeff’s speech fell on completely deaf ears if you don’t include the hawk and the squirrel that were featured in that segment. Odd, wasn’t it? With the mask removed and Ashley sufficiently underwhelmed we realize that Jeff is well on his way back to the opera house. In fact, they should have given him a minute to check in for his flight before leaving for the group date. Being rushed at the airport is such a hassle. In light of today’s stringent TSA requirements, he’d undoubtedly be required to check the mask prior to boarding.
As the group sips mimosas from champagne flutes (let’s show some sack, men) they soon realize that The Comedy Store is their destination. Unfortunately, they all seem terrified at the prospect of writing their own jokes and performing in front of a captive audience full of ABC employee’s relatives and a few trashy chicks that the ABC interns talked from the Viper Room back to their 1 bedroom apartment in exchange for a chance to be on the show. Well, everyone but William; but as is the case in any reality show, overconfidence is always the beginning of the end.
Before Roast Master Jeff Ross sets up the Ashley Roast, Ames (insert Adele song playing unobtrusively yet recognizably in the background here) tells us that in addition to not being able to dance or sing he’s also incapable of being funny. Boy, what a catch. Aside from going to Ivy League schools and traveling, what is the guy good at? I’d be willing to bet that Derek and the Boys from South Beach could take a guess or two.
With any luck, Ashley will take the next group date to march in the L.A. Gay Pride Parade. Ames would be well suited to march in honor of all the gay men who were there before him and, of course, the many men who will eventually come behind him.
By the way, that last joke had me laughing hysterically at myself. I’m Money. Moving on . . . .
As the men scratch indiscriminately on their notepads I couldn’t help but think of how I would have handled this date. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be more up my alley than an opportunity like this. Hell, I should have been tapped to host the thing. At any rate, the guys struggle for material as Blake the boring dentist redeems himself by being the only one with a viable strategy. Remember that “precision and order” thing he has going? It paid off here . . . sort of. For the record, I would have started with “Did you hear about the man with five penises? His pants fit like a glove.” You know, as an icebreaker. Back to the show.
The editors set up William as the next jackass and as the roast starts I couldn’t help but do my best Lincee Ray from www.ihategreenbeans.com impression by cringing behind my throw pillow.
I wish I could say something redeeming about any of the material. If I had to pick a winner, I’d say that Blake (surprisingly), Ben F., and Nick had the best of the worst material. What a bunch of stiffs. Small boobs and Brad Womack’s leftovers seemed to be the topics of the day. Man, that was weak and painful. Of course, William dropped the “E” word and the Fivehead reappeared from behind the fragile facade of bangs as Ashley quickly regressed from the confident ABC-trained and prepared Bachelorette into the blithering mess of insecurity that’s defined all of her past relationships.
Come to think of it, let’s have a contest this week. Post your best (and brief) Ashley Roast insult in the comment section. I’ll pick a big winner and announce the prize next week. Let’s keep them fit for prime time TV, but feel free to get creative. Good luck.
Ever the opportunist, Bentley takes advantage of the lack of sack exhibited by the rest of the “men” and comforts Ashley. How did no one else get the hint? How did William not rush over to apologize? I’ll gloss over the rest of this fiasco in the interest of my own sanity.
William cries and feels bad. Ashley melts down. William wanders aimlessly amongst the streets of West Hollywood and probably went dancing with Ames for a bit before returning to the wake. Ashley’s smoky eyes go away, then reappear, then go away, then reappear as she rejoins the poolside wake after listening to Jeff tell a story about a three legged abused dog he adopted. Solar Ryan earns some points by dropping “what can I do,” and the Esteban music eventually returns letting us know that the show will go on while back at the MAN-sion we learn that J.P. anachronistically gets the “There’s No Place Like Home” date that was undoubtedly re-planned after the Ashley meltdown.
Bentley and Ashley have a one-on-one as we learn that Crazy Michelle is the infamous tipster as Bentley quickly makes mince meat out of Ashley’s poor intuition convincing her that he’s there for her. Ashley pushes Womack one step closer to obscurity by admitting her feelings for Bentley are stronger than they were for Brad. FINALLY, Ryan gets the date rose by default proving that sometimes it pays to be an innocuous bore.
After the date that was more painful than the one with Womack where Chantal and Ashley both melted down after drinking a gallon of the green trashcan Bachelorette crazy juice by the pool, Ashley retreats to “her” mansion to brood amongst the stepping stones in her Annette Funicello outfit. She wallows in self-pity while woefully replaying her insecurities over in her mind and posing rhetorical questions to the camera crew.
Simultaneously, Bentley ramps up in order to earn his top secret, Producer endorsed paycheck for the season. He positions himself as a giant misogynist, fixes his hair, calls the guys “tools” and “idiots,” and then hides behind the “I miss my daughter” excuse before heading over to break Ashley’s innocent (albeit stupid) heart.
Speaking of showing some sack, I was incredibly disappointed that Bentley had the stones to talk a big game in the isolation booth but not the courage to come clean with the guys or with Ashley. We call that a coward where I’m from.
The entire thing reminded me of a Chris Knight song entitled “Hard Edges.” The lyric goes, “Hard edges hide a tender heart/ Silent as a midnight prayer/ Hard edges hide the sweetest part/ ‘til you’d never know it’s there.” On second thought, that doesn’t apply. He’s simply an a-hole. Regardless, download that song if you get the chance. Chris Knight is to song writing what Bentley is to being a douche and Ashley is to being insecure.
I won’t belabor the point, but here’s my take on this guy. He’s truly a jackass, but he’s not an unassisted jackass. Anyone who has been around the production of a television show or a commercial or anything that will make it on to television knows that everything that makes it on to the screen is meticulously and deliberately planned. The footage we see is two hours of literally days worth of film that is boiled down to tell a story. Lines are fed, repeated, and carefully placed in order to set everything up. Bentley was a cog in a much bigger wheel and I believe it almost blew up in the Producers’ face this week. There’s no question Bentley is a jerk, but he was placed on the show by even bigger jerks.
Bentley arrives to interrupt Ashley’s brooding session and lets her down with the “I miss my daughter” story before dropping an “it’s annoying to hold a girl who’s crying.” It’s amazing this guy is divorced, isn’t it? Man, this isn’t good for men, I thought as Ashley gives Bentley a leg wrap hug in spite of his departure. I then thought, man, this isn’t good for women either. The entire thing was pathetic.
Ashley ignored the truth and she paid for it. I hate to say it, ladies, but she’s just as responsible as he is. As Bentley leaves, Ashley retreats to the comfort of her purple comforter and cries hysterically while posing rhetorical questions to the camera crew as Bentley makes his way to the minivan and it rains on cue . . . aaaannnd scene.
They leave things with a “dot, dot, dot instead of a period” and as I washed down the puke in my throat with a pull from a cold Lone Star I actually wondered if Ashley would continue to film. It was at this point I knew that he red briefcase phone handcuffed to Harrison’s assistant rang in some topless bar on the outskirts of L.A. as Harrison was summoned to clean up the results of the perfectly executed but entirely too effective Producer’s bad guy plan of the season.
Proving that she’s resourceful when she’s sad, Ashley dons her Olivia Newton John pants and lights thousands of carefully placed candles around the house before making a giant fire and brooding into it as the rains depart and the full moon emerges as if it was a trusted friend seeking to comfort Ashley in the arms of its light. Either that or it was just some stock footage that was thrown into the mix to make the show more dramatic. Either way, Ashley continued to brood.
J.P. (remember him?) unwittingly arrives for his date after instructing the minivan driver to swing by Von's Grocery Store for some flowers. Poor guy. He’s been waiting for some alone time for three weeks now and all he gets is a cab ride over to a rented house to hang out with a puffy-eyed, distracted, jaded, confused, emotional, fun-sponging, dejected, insecure mess amidst her 1000 candles and giant fire. I’m surprised there was enough oxygen to breath in that room. Booooooring.
J.P. seems normal, sincere, and did I mention normal? He’s a bit flaky and he looks like Lance Armstrong immediately following his cancer treatment, but he’s definitely one of the more decent guys in the mix. He’s not annoying and entrepreneury like the solar guy, has a better haircut than Constantine and his twin Ben F., and has more personality than Lucas, Blake, and Chris put together. He’s as safe as first base and she recognizes that.
After whining over some wine (or is it wine-ing over some whine?), Ashley says that she feels like putting on her PJ’s and getting Cozy and Comfy. I was surprised J.P. didn’t wonder aloud what any of this had to do with Bentley’s daughter. And who is “Comfy,” Bentley’s niece?
After 100 apologies from Ashley for sucking all of the fun out of the room, J.P. earns a quick Safety Rose and out kisses Bentley. Nice job making something from a big fat bunch of nothing, J.P. Ashley owes you big for taking that one on the chin with a smile. We’re talking Fantasy Suite big, if you know what I mean.
Ashley shows up begrudgingly to the cocktail party dressed like a baked potato and sporting a giant bedazzled necklace. Her smoky eyes make another appearance as she retires to the Lair of Seclusion where the incredibly sympathetic Producers have chosen to leave Bentley’s picture in full view.
As she broods and reflects, Harrison arrives back at the mansion after fielding the “Get her back on the grid, Harrison” phone call and proceeds to scare the hell out of her by sneaking up behind her.
Let me pause here for a moment to recognize the wonder that is Chris Harrison. We all know at this point that he could not care less about the majority of his duties on this show. He’s been phoning in the morning mansion visits for two seasons now, but we know he lives for the one-on-ones. What followed was perhaps the most classic since he handed Roz her ass on the ATFR show when she tried to call him out for hitting on some dude’s wife after that fat guy with the leather hat helped her pack her s*it and leave the mansion.
Harrison starts by listening but quickly turns the screws realizing he’s getting nowhere with Ashley’s wishy washy insecure babble. Frankly, he should have led with “I told you so” but, as is his custom, he went a softer route. After some more subtle tries to get her to re-engage, Harrison decides to simply throw her back up in the air like Maverick in Top Gun after he got caught in Iceman’s jet wash and Goose died.
Clearly toeing the “I work for the people who set you up” and “I’m a decent guy who doesn’t like to see you deliberately hurt” line, Harrison reminds Ashley that they discussed this in the pre-production meetings and she was on board with having Bentley show up. That doesn’t work.
Harrison then goes with the “he’s not even a real man because a real man would have moved Heaven and Earth to stay here” speech. That doesn’t work.
Finally, Harrison reminds her that 14 guys (and millions of dollars worth of equipment and union paid employees) have been waiting for her to make up her damn mind for hours without the comfort of alcohol and Esteban music. “Suck it up, Ashley,” should have been his mantra. Again, Harrison takes a less direct, yet just as effective route.
Finally, the rose ceremony sans cocktail party begins. It went down as follows:
Roses were given to:
1. Ben C.
3. Solar Ryan
4. Constantine (Ben’s twin, not the emperor)
5. West (the suitor, not the direction)
6. Mickey (the suitor, not the mouse)
7. Ben F.
8. Blake (the real dentist)
9. Nick (the suitor, not the shaving injury)
11. Lucas (the Texan, not a statue in the corner)
12. William (dude sweated it out but dodged a bullet. She’s an idiot)
1. Jeff and his mask which he quickly burned
There you have it. With the Journey count at a comparatively meager 7 and the Amazing count at a stagnant 38 we head to Phuket, Thailand next week for more love and romance. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be sitting fireside crying in my pajamas working on my Phuket jokes. DP