Hello, Readers. Welcome back after a much needed week off from the drudgery that is the Who Ends Up with Ashley Hebert Show. I trust that all of you—even my Canadian friends and the six people in Denmark who read this—had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend.
I had a wonderful weekend in spite of the fact that fireworks displays were banned here in Austin because everything around here is a drier than a Harrison martini. Regardless, I got to spend some time at Lake Travis and, of course, reflected extensively on this season’s outcome. I missed our weekly banter, however, and I have to confess, I’m looking forward to your comments this week. Sorry for the delayed posting, but sometimes I have some lawyerin’ to do. This was one of those times.
Before we begin our recap, this week’s shout out goes to one of my most loyal readers, Maggie from Coppell, Texas. She turned—let’s just say she’s a bit older than she was a few days ago—this week and I’m happy to bring a smile to her gracefully aging face. Happy Berfday, Maggie, and thanks for being a fan. I hope the birthday fairy brought you everything you wanted.
Actually, I hope some beefy guy named Chazz showed up at your door dressed as a cop before throwing on some Village People and yanking off his pants in one fell swoop as hoards of your middle-aged friends guffawed into their chardonnay while searching their purses for dollar bills and simultaneously reminding themselves that they owed the person who phoned Chazz forty bucks. If that didn’t happen, I hope they gave you a free dessert at the local Applebee’s. Either way, I hope you had fun. With that out of the way, let’s get to it.
We all began this week the same way: cringing with our over-poured glasses of wine behind our seasonally appropriate accent pillows bracing ourselves for another recap of the dot dot dot and Ashley’s incessant, almost Tourette-esque utterances of the word “Bentley.” Thankfully, ABC apparently dusted off its month old focus group surveys and discovered that we were all sick of that in early June. Instead, we see that we’re going to be treated to various vistas, gorgeous gorges, and beautiful beaches in the exceptionally exotic city of Taipei, Taiwan. I couldn’t wait.
We learn early on that Ben and Ryan get solo dates and see Ryan crying in pink linen. We see J.P. in a tux, Lucas in a dress, and Ames in an outfit he probably had in his suitcase. Most importantly, we learn that we’ll get a merciful break from Ashley in order to get an update and find closure in an interview with the radiant and heartbroken Emily who has flown all the way from Charlotte sans Little Ricki in order to set the record straight. Bless her white shorts wearing, spray tanned, low lighted, lip gloss sporting, veneer augmented little heart. I really couldn’t wait.
But first, we have to deal with Ashley. Incidentally, anyone think she was a tad insecure watching last night’s episode from home knowing we were all slogging through her poor outfits and indecisive smoky eyes in order to see what Emily had to say? I’m sure J.P. or whoever “won” this season had his hands full on Monday night. God bless that guy.
Ashley begins as she does in every new city: by wandering aimlessly through the streets wearing a white tank top and a miniskirt that looked like a Mexican table cloth while contemplating her arduous, mind-wrenching complimentary, ass-kissing, first class vacation around the world in order to do a bunch of free stuff with a bunch of guys who want to be around her for no good reason.
We see the beauty of Taroko State Park and Sun Moon Lake as Ashley “educates” us about Taiwan. Apparently, it’s known as “the hidden jewel of Asia,” she tells us because “not a lot of people know about it.” I suppose if by “not a lot” she means 1.1 billion Chinese people and every person in the world who has ever used consumer electronics, she’s absolutely correct. Hey Ashley, do you know what not a lot of people know about? Madawaska, Maine.
Ironically, that awful skirt she had on was probably sewn together by some indentured seven year old with hands small enough to thread the machine. This b*tch should stick to being a fake dentist. Incidentally, the island is separated from the mainland by the Taiwan Strait. I found it ironic that Ames would be the only person in the group who knows that considering he’s the furthest thing from straight.
After gushing falsely and repetitively about the remaining men, Ashley drops some canned “fresh start” mantra and I sipped my first Lone Star thankful that Bentley had gone the route of Justin “Rated R” Rego and Wes Hayden before him. I smiled for Cozy’s sake.
Harrison, dressed in light brown denim pants and a royal blue linen shirt that Lincee Ray will love because it accents his eyes, meets the men in the square and drops some 100th Anniversary of Taiwan facts before letting them know that there are 3 one-on-one dates and 1 group date with only one rose up for grabs. It’s week-before-home-town-date time and the pressure is on.
Harrison sends the guys to their suite and hops into a limo where he undoubtedly visited that local doll factory in order to oversee production of the upcoming line of anatomically correct Chris Harrison Action Figures. Apparently, they come with life-like hands capable of gripping a champagne glass and butter knife. Those are also included. After posing with the Plant Manager, he hit the beach and left strict instructions with the Concierge that he was not to be disturbed until half an hour before the rose ceremony.
Ironically, this season’s front runner, J.P., begins an Ashley-esque slide into insanity as we see a huge dent in his Long Island armor. He handles stress about as well as Ashley handles insecurity. Perhaps they are meant for one another. The date card is dropped amidst his ridiculousness. “Let Your Love Light Shine,” it reads and we learn that the always boring but oddly consistent and likeable Constantine is the lucky lead off batter.
As J.P. stresses like a whore in church Constantine unwads his best Garanimals, plaid, button up, short sleeve shirt and matches the lion on the tag with the lion on the tag on his pants tying the entire ensemble together with some Stride-Rite sneakers.
Five-year old attire in place Constantine forgoes his skateboard opting for a leisurely walk to meet Ashley in this week’s theme apparel, the backless blouse. She makes a poor attempt to compliment it with Pajama Jeans and some F-me pumps as they catch a dirty steam train and sweat profusely on the way to Ping Shi Village for the Lantern Festival. Ping Shi is, of course, close to it’s sister village, Ping Pong, where they have their annual Paddle Festival, but that’s neither here nor there. Frankly, that’s just me showing off. Annnyyyhooo. . .
I think we all sensed the complete lack of chemistry as they painted their “love wish” on their paper lantern. I was praying that Constantine would go for some filthy Men’s Room wall depiction of his Fantasy Suite idea, but sadly, I was out of luck. Frankly, I think he’s relatively boring, but he seems like a genuinely nice guy with a solid head on his shoulders. That probably means he’s a great guy to know in the real world but without the extremes exhibited by guys like J.P. and Ryan, he doesn’t translate well on TV. Top that off with the fact that he’s about as interested in Ashley as Bentley was if you dismiss the rampant narcissism and Alpha male chest beating and I almost fell asleep watching them.
They have dinner and Constantine again proves he’s sincere by articulating his feelings in a realistic, straightforward, non-equivocal manner. Ashley, of course, stuffs her face and stares at her plate. Apparently, they don’t have Cotillion classes offered at the Madawaska Country Club. After swallowing, Ashley finally gives Constantine credit for paying attention to her like her daddy never did and he earns an emotionless kiss under the dog urine-soaked love lamp or whatever it’s called. She drops an over accentuated “Purrrrr-fact” on him and they “so awesome” everything as we fade into commercial and I faded into the end of another Lone Star Beer thankful for the opportunity to hit pause and empty my bladder like a stray mutt on a Taipei love lantern.
The Second Date Card gets dropped at the suite as Ryan and his entrepreneurially grown five-o’clock shadow stress about his first one-on-one. “Let’s Spend a ‘Gorges’ Day Together,” it reads as an appropriately low key Ben accepts the invitation without rubbing it into Ryan’s environmentally conscious, overly obnoxious face. J.P. retires to the confines of the walk in shower to sob openly among the steam vents.
Dude, relax. Can you imagine this guy during the first two Fantasy Suite Dates? He’s likely to explode. We all know that the Producers smell blood here and he’s going to be forced to sweat it out for two days in Tahiti fighting back vision after horrible vision of his true love being defiled by two of his buddies just days before he’s set to meet with Neil Lane and select her engagement ring. I hope he had the wherewithal to visit a local Taiwanese pharmacy and score some sedatives prior to heading home. From the looks of it, he sought solace in his Under Armour gear.
Ashley awaits Ben in a pink, silky, backless tank top and jean shorts and Ben shows up in jeans and a t-shirt still needing a haircut. Frankly, I don’t know how she told him apart from Constantine, but that’s not my problem, I suppose. They jump on a rented moped and proceed to tool around like a couple of overgrown oafs on the moped enjoying the scenery. Frankly, throw in a six pack of Lone Star in a basket on the front of that moped and that date was right up my gorge—minus Ashley, of course.
Ashley talks like a high school cheerleader as she tells us that the date is “right out of a fairy tale.” Right, we all know the fairy tale about the wine making prince and his magic moped from Taiwan, don’t we? I found myself hoping that this fairy tale would involve a poison apple that would leave Ashley catatonic in some cave somewhere for a while. Speaking of fairies, I wondered what Ames was doing.
Ashley and Ben eventually stop in the middle of an Indiana Jones-esque rope bridge and they kiss as Ashley shows Ben her giant gorge. Maybe that’s why she’s bowlegged. You know, from all of that hiking. She kisses Ben while shouldering a giant pink bag that he didn’t have the decency to carry for her. Speaking of giant ‘bags, I wondered what Ryan was doing.
The entire date is uneventfully capped off by some more of Ben opening up unabashedly about his family, life, feelings, emotional connection, and sincerity. Ashley, of course, stuffs her f*cking face and says nothing. You might say she “gorged” herself. I’ll be here all week.
Her green silk shirt and Minnie Mouse skirt left a lot to be desired. Who dresses her, for crying out loud? After she drops a few obligatory “what if’s” she and Ben share another awkward, emotionless kiss. Hell, I use more lip and tongue action trying to savor the last few drops of Lone Star from an almost empty bottle than that. No wonder J.P. won the kissing contest.
Back at the Man Suite the Group Date Card gets dropped and Ryan oozes obnoxiousness as we learn that Ashley is “Grooming” Lucas, Ames, and J.P. “for the big day.” When you get to the end zone, Ryan, act like you’ve been there, douchebag.
The following morning, controversy hits the house as the men realize that Ben has not returned home from his date. “Perhaps he got stuck in a gorge,” I thought. Apparently, J.P. had the same thought because steam was coming out of his ears. “Nice work, Ben,” I thought. That was a perfect opportunity for Ben to make some “Damn right, I gave her some ‘new bangs’ if you know what I mean” comments. Because he’s a better person than me, he simply took the humble route and pretended they didn’t share a room. Whatever.
Ashley sets up the group date in her pink eye shadow by pretending that it will be fun for all of the guys to dress up like pu*sies and take fake wedding pictures with her. Hell, she’s a fake dentist. She might as well be a fake bride. After Lucas emerges from the dressing room in a silk dress looking like he’s prepared to administer a happy ending at the local Asian rub and tug and Ames emerges looking even more gay than he actually is, J.P. heads back to see what’s in store for him.
For some reason, he got the 1980’s American prom tuxedo and, despite the fact that he escaped the humiliation that would undoubtedly be revisited upon Lucas at the Odessa Country Club by his golf buddies for eternity, he still pouted like a little girl when Ashley posed with the other men. They should just shut this bulls*it down right now and give him the keys to her apartment in whatever city she fake dentists in. Like Mickey, I’m over it. The problem is that I don’t have the luxury of hopping on a junket and getting the hell out of Dodge in order to return to my home town.
Ashley again forgets that West Texas is not The South and refers to Lucas as “a Southern Gentlemen.” Different food, different accent, different culture, different crops, different everything, Ashley. Someone get her an Almanac. She appears to know everything about Taiwan and nothing about her own country. What a beating.
Based on the instructions from the Taiwanese photographer “Ashrey changy crows” three times and takes ridiculous “wedding” pictures with all three men before reapplying her smoky eyes and fake eyelashes and a tiny green cocktail number in order to sit down with Lucas and ask him judgy, unfair questions about his divorce. Ames, after jotting down the name of the designer of the Liberace outfit he wore, settles in patiently waiting to break out the pictures of his mother and some carefully selected ones of him as a child. Nice touch, Ames. Mom pictures?
Incidentally, I suspect we’ll all see exactly what I predicted in Episode 1 when I first saw Ames. He’s a child of considerable privilege and probably grew up with a closet full of tailored pants in every color of the rainbow. Look, it’s not his fault his parents are filthy rich and he seems to fit in well with the guys; however, I’m dying to see his family and I’m dying to see how our Modest Maiden from Madawaska fits in with the blue bloods. I actually rooted out loud for him at this point in the show.
In the meantime, the Final Date Card is dropped and Douchey Ryan celebrates openly like the jerkoff that he is. “Let’s Get a Taste of Taipei,” it reads. Constantine sits there stoically with hair like Michael Jackson and Ben F. flippantly hands Ryan the card knowing that he’s already “taken the moped into the gorge” if you know what I mean. Oblivious, Ryan heads to the bedroom to find the pink linen shirt his mother suggested he wear on the first date before he left home.
Back on the date J.P. continues to whine like a freaking sissy about being on a show where the woman he’s after gets to date several men at a time. My favorite line in this exchange came when he told Ashley that seeing her with other men was making him crazy to which she responded, “bad crazy?” Classic. To pilfer a line from Colonel Jessup, “Is there another kind?”
Despite sporting some dashing red pants, Ashley rewards J.P. for being a little b*tch and he gets a sympathy rose before drying his tears and rejoining the party. I have to admit I lost some respect for the guy. He’s been consistent and normal up until now. To be fair, if I was stuck in a hotel room (no matter how nice) with a bunch of dudes—one of whom wears red pants and another who is an overt jerkoff—and the only Caucasian woman I’d seen for weeks began to ignore me, I’d freak out a little too. Let’s hope he can hold on until the end and “win.” I’ve said it before; he’s the only one dumb enough to propose to her. He might as well get a chance to run the bases.
Oh, and don’t think I’m going to leave this date without commenting on the red pants. Look, for any of us who have been around rich people—in the South or in the North—we all know that certain things make sense to that crowd. Sailor hats, blazers, colored pants, white shoes, and ascots certainly don’t go over where I hang out, but I’m certain that every one of Ames friends has a collection of those pants. I’ll give Ames credit, he pulled them off even in Taiwan. Ames is who he is and he’s not trying to pretend he’s not. I respect that. Granted, he’s a p*ssy, but he’s an unapologetic one and there’s a lot to be said for that. Good work, Ames.
Now, let’s reverse that logic. Let’s talk about Ryan. He shows up ready for his date in his pink linen shirt, designer jeans, and driving loafers and we get to see how freaking pigeon toed the guy is as he walks from a distance to Ashley in her royal blue backless shirt and white jeans. He’s just as pigeon toed as Ashley is bow legged. I’ve seen primates with straighter gaits.
Ryan drops, “when I’m with Ashley everything disappears.” I suppose if we exclude his neatly planned five o’clock shadow and his overbearing personality, he’s correct. He did make the entire back of her shirt disappear. At first, I thought it was a cover up that she’d errantly put on backwards. I digress.
I’ll cut to the chase on this beating of a “date.” They go to Long Dong Temple and mock the polytheists, look at koi fish, and eventually have a picnic where we see what a completely pretentious putz Ryan is as he purposely backs his way into a conversation about water heaters and the environment in an effort to impress Ashley with is desire to save the world. More about that in a moment. An incredibly bored Ashley finally kicks his entrepreneurial ass to the curb, orders an environmentally friendly to go box for the picnic food, and he cries for a while about finding that special someone.
Let’s talk about Ryan’s “environmentally conscious” lifestyle for a moment, shall we? Wearing dry cleaned suits, taking frivolous trips all over the world in planes and limousines, hailing a cab instead of walking, swimming in chlorinated pools and heated hot tubs, and walking into perfectly air conditioned, climate controlled rooms and upsetting the balance by blowing a ton of hot air around aren’t exactly environmentally conscious behaviors. Details. As long as he’s turning a profit from that “fascinating” water heater thing, I’m sure he sleeps well. Good riddance, A-hole.
After washing off the remaining cheese from her date with Ryan, Ashley dons a Princess Leia dress, dabs on her favorite scent—Eau de Poonani—and hits the Lair of Seclusion for some deep thought. As it turns out, the thoughts didn’t run that deep because as Harrison shows up and fights past her smoky eyes as she drones on about how “serious” things have become, she AGAIN shuts down the cocktail party in favor of booting the remaining dude.
My favorite part was when Harrison made several attempts to do the guys a solid and talk Ashley into letting them have a few pops before one of them got the boot. Let’s face it, it makes for much better television is the ousted person is a few in the bag prior to getting in the limo and being driven aimlessly around a foreign city and forced to lament knowingly into the camera.
Ashley stands firm in her commitment to be the biggest drag of a Bachelorette in the history of the show. Harrison begrudgingly drops the no booze news before subtlety winking in Morse Code “I have plenty of booze and chicks in the Sucky Sucky Penthouse Suite of this hotel. Join me after the Warden leaves.” Now THAT’S a dot dot dot I can live with.
After some meaningless speech in cheerleader speak, Ashley hands out the remaining roses.
1. J.P. (Man up, dude)
2. Constantine (who knew?)
3. Ben F.
4. Ames (I can’t wait to see his family)
2. Lucas (strong showing for Texas. Sorry you had to wear a dress on your final show)
With that out of the way, we progress toward the Emily Needs Closure Interview. Surprisingly, I’m not going to belabor this point, nor am I going to give a play by play of the interview. Emily looked radiant as always, and yes, I did notice the white skirt. Harrison broke out his Money suit instead of the Men’s Warehouse ones he wears for Ashley interviews too.
My take on this is that she seems like a nice person who wants to be a mother and have a normal life. She seemed genuinely upset and I believed she was sincere. She recognized that putting herself on television was her responsibility and took the high road by not blaming Brad’s permanent bachelor mentality or Axe Body Spray for the demise of her relationship with him. Oh, and she looked hot doing it. I’m going to reserve judgment until we see if she takes the next Bachelorette gig. Did I mention she looked hot?
Well, there it is. With the Amazing Count at a respectable 67 and the Journey Count at a disappointing 15 we head back to the U.S. A. for the hometown dates. I’m certain things will get interesting (let’s hope so) from here on out. Again, I’m sorry for the delayed posting, but sometimes responsibility gets in the way of the fun. I hope it was worth the wait. Until next week, take care of yourselves, enjoy your Summer, and if you need me, I’ll be ironing my red, backless, pants—in Charlotte, of course. DP