Hello, Readers, and welcome to the episode where the big “winner” is selected. I have to confess that after Sunday I was about as excited to give up a Monday night out on the town to sit home and watch this as I was about the Turn Your Head and Cough Test during my last physical. Much like that test, I felt a significant amount of uncomfortable pressure but, in the end, knew it would be over soon enough.
I’m certain you’re all wondering how—even though I have the intellect of 10 men—Some Guy in Austin is going to manage to recapture the goings on concerning our marginally attractive yet hopelessly insecure Bachelorette, Ashley, over the past two days. After all, there are six hours of footage to tackle.
The answer is simple: I plan to ignore the Men Tell All in light of the fact that they didn’t really tell me anything. Learning again that William is indeed a douche—albeit a sorry one—and confirming that Ryan is an even bigger douche than I first imagined does not warrant 8 pages of my time. I’ll work my comments on that episode into the ATFR recap. Today’s recap will focus on the big finale and then I’ll post an ATFR recap on Thursday or Friday depending on how cranky I am after writing this.
This week’s shout out goes to Dave and Beth the two local Austin fans who met me in one of my disgusting local hangouts here in town late last week. They couldn’t have been nicer and I had a lot of fun meeting them. Dave was adamant about an Austin meet and greet and I’m dedicated to making that happen very soon. Seeing me in my natural habitat was tantamount to going to the zoo and seeing the monkeys throw feces at each other. Granted, that didn’t happen—at least I don’t think it did. At any rate, thanks for the nice words and the games of pool. It’s always nice to make new friends. Oh, and thanks for reading too.
One final housekeeping item before I get to the big recap. As is my tradition after the big season, I plan to do a DP Tells All Part 3 post very soon. As the dedicated ones of you out there know, I need questions. Please either email me at email@example.com or post a comment on the blog with your questions for me. If you need a frame of reference, look at my past two DP Tell Alls for guidance. It’s your opportunity to grill me harder than Ashley’s sister grills potential husbands. Of course, I reserve the absolute right to ignore your question, but don’t let that stop you. With that said, let’s get to it.
We begin formulaicly with stock shots of the f*cking beach again as Harrison reminds us that “this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.” Actually, that’s not accurate. The moment I’ve been waiting for is when Diane Lane realizes that she’s hopelessly in love with me and takes all of her money and those sun dresses she wore while finding herself under the Tuscan sun, and shows up at my office to carry me out in front of my applauding co-workers like Richard Gere carried Deborah Winger from that factory in Officer and a Gentlemen.
Regardless, I sat eyes affixed to my television watching shots of Ashley reset the “No Regrets” theme of the season as she wandered introspectively in a chartreuse tank top and white pants amongst the indigenous flora and fauna. I assumed her antibiotics had kicked in and cleared away the remnants of the Fantasy Suite dates giving her the ability to think clearly.
Ashley wanders to meet her family; all of whom have “chosen” to travel from the chilly confines of Madawaska, Maine to the gut wrenchingly humid, subtropical climate of Fiji to sweat like overweight kids at the park and wait on her to wander and self-reflect. How miserable did her poor brother look wiping himself off with that towel like Balboa in his corner between rounds with Clubber Lang? Harrison couldn’t arrange an umbrella or two? Her mother’s hair dye almost bled into her top for crying out loud. Of course, her sister didn’t sweat. Her patio home in Hell is a lot hotter than Fiji.
We’ll talk a lot about sister Chrystie in a bit. I was expecting a negative response from her, but did she have to lead with a condescending “I’m concerned?” It quickly became apparent that the rest of the family (including Ashley) is in the habit of tip toeing around her man-hating, know-it-all, chip on her shoulder, exceptionally condescending ass for a living. Knowing I was going to have to sit through the carnage, I made a mental note to accelerate my Lone Star consumption . . . significantly.
J.P. MEETS THE FAMILY
Proving he lost the All In bet at Harrison’s nightly poker game, J.P. is first up to meet the family—or be prematurely judged harshly through the eyes of the oldest child of an abusive, alcoholic father who married someone just like him and has spent the last few years covering up her pain with tattoos and projecting her anger at an absent male role model and a failed marriage onto her little sister and anyone she dates.
After refreshing his Spartan haircut, J.P. manages to stroll down the beach with a warm bottle of champagne before meeting Ashley who fails to warn him about her sister. He meets the passive and normal step dad, Mike; the dyed yet approachable mom, Laurie; the profusely sweaty brother, Elliot; and the viper in the bushes sister, Chrystie, who has already given us the courtesy of telling us what SHE’S looking for in Ashley’s husband. Good Lord. To me, this was the final piece in the Ashley puzzle and it explained a lot about why she’s been second guessing herself since before covering up her Fivehead and entering the fray last season.
Proving that she’s an experienced ball buster, Kat Von B*tch doesn’t immediately go for J.P.’s jugular vein. Rather, she waits patiently like a cheetah in the high grass eyeing the smallest gazelle in the herd. That gazelle was Ashley and the editors took great pride in filling the space between the hunt and the pounce with naive quotes from Ashley about how comfortable she was having J.P. meet the family. Ashley reminded me of a cow running toward the slaughterhouse in search of fresh hay ignorant of the high pressured bolt gun in her sister’s tattooed hands. When she finally did emerge—fangs unfurled—from the bushes, I actually felt sorry for Ashley.
After meeting J.P. for all of 15 minutes, Chrystie announces that she’s determined that J.P. is not for Ashley and she makes no qualms about raining on Ashley’s magical journey as Ashley was undoubtedly haunted by flashbacks from her childhood when her sister would boss her around the tea party or whatever. That entire exchange had unquestionably played itself out countless times during their childhood and it was apparent that Ashley was always on the short end of it. Thus, the tears.
I won’t belabor the point about her sister, but let me say my peace. This is, after all, my blog. Far be it from me to pretend that I have enough information to box these people into categories. However, I do have enough to see that the older sister clearly bore the brunt of whatever consequences of her father’s alcoholism were visited upon the children. She’s a classic example of an adult who spent a childhood not being a child and, while understandably protective, was probably more interested in making sure that her sister had a shot at being just as miserable as she was rather than “protecting her from herself.”
Here’s another observation: it’s perfectly acceptable in my mind to make a judgment about a person. We do it every day. We choose friends, take sides in arguments, help or deny help to a stranger in need, choose a doctor, a grocery store, and yes, even a spouse. What’s not acceptable is to prematurely judge someone. Ashley’s sister was clearly in the latter category when it came to J.P. She came across as heartless and cruel and despite the popcorn necklace provided to her by ABC, she did not appear to have Ashley or the show’s best interest in mind.
To balance out my equation, I’ll give ole Chrystie the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Perhaps she did, in fact, see some red flags when it came to J.P. Assuming she was correct, I’d like to make the suggestion that she run down to the local Fijian tattoo parlor and get the word “Tact” emblazoned in reverse upon her own Fivehead so that every time she looks in the mirror she’ll be reminded of the proper way to approach a younger sibling who clearly values her opinion and—for whatever reason—admires her. A Mike Tyson right hook is more subtle than the way she approached both Ashley and J.P.
Speaking of J.P., I realize he was in the “I need to tread lightly” stage of familial relationships but, dude . . . say it with me . . . show some sack. By way of example, let’s substitute D.P. for J.P. in that situation and see EXACTLY how I would have handled the sister if I was him. To be fair to J.P., he did make some valid points to Ashley later, but let’s have some fun anyway.
CH: Frankly, I just don’t see it with you and Ashley.
DP: It’s a good thing that it’s not your decision then, isn’t it?
CH: I just don’t see what I’m looking for in a man for Ashley.
DP: I wasn’t aware of your role as her consultant. I’m still glad it’s not your decision.
CH: I just don’t know why Ashley won’t listen to me.
DP: I dated a woman once who said that I never listened to her . . . or something like that.
CH: I saw more with Brad.
DP: So? He dumped her after he banged her in South Africa. I suppose you’re not going to admit that you were wrong about that, are you? Oh, and where the hell is YOUR boyfriend?
CH: This isn’t about me. I’m divorced.
CH: Ashley is a vulnerable, shrinking violet sheltered from the harsh reality of…well, reality and, unlike me, is unable to make rational decisions void of emotion.
DP: You mean rational decisions like covering yourself in tattoos?
CH: Ashley is young, inexperienced, and vulnerable.
DP: I thought this b*tch was a dentist?
CH: You’re “older” and I can’t imagine what you’d want with my impressionable, nubile, size zero, eager to please at any cost, desperate for attention, easily manipulated, miniskirt wearing, overcompensatingly sexual sister who you’ve already slept with.
DP: I think the flames on your neck have cooked your brain. By the way, you’re older than I am. No amount of ink can hide that. It’s too bad your personality gets in the way. Frankly, you’re sort of hot. If I marry your sister, we’re going to have to at least be civil when she drags me to Madawhatever to visit. We can coexist but you’re not going to push me around like you do the rest of your family. No wonder your real dad drank. By the way, why does your brother sweat so much?
CH: Fair enough. He has hyperhydrosis, you know, like Roberto in Ali’s season. He can’t help it. Granted, he shouldn’t have come South of the Equator in early summer with nothing but black shorts and black t-shirts, but he’s not the sharpest barb on the wire. Look, I just don’t want to ruin Christmas.
DP: You won’t have to worry about Christmas. Did I mention that I’m Jewish?
. . . .aaaannnnd scene.
Ashley eventually ends the sisterly fiasco and walks J.P. down the beach. Incredibly, she failed to reassure him and he leaves justifiably frustrated and pretends he’s thinking about not proposing. Frankly, Ashley failed him there. This is the guy who patiently and unconditionally put up with two Bentley incidents, a lot of face chewing, and a Ryan come back in order to get to the final round. She owed him and she let him down. We all knew he was itching to meet Neil Lane, however, and we had all moved on five minutes ago because we wanted to see Ben in the hot seat.
Final word: Sibling relationships are strange things, especially in an apparently dysfunctional household. Older siblings bear the brunt of the dysfunction often on behalf of their younger, defenseless siblings. I think the majority of Chrystie meant well but I also think a part of her resents her own station in life and the way it’s turned out and that, unfortunately, is revisited upon her sister. That’s just the way it is.
Chrystie giving Ashley relationship advice is tantamount to the Cleveland Indians or the Chicago Cubs giving How to Win the World Series advice to up and coming franchises. Ultimately, Ashley needs to show her own sack and become an adult. Until that happens, she’ll be the incurably insecure sibling of a domineering older sister who forces her into second guessing every decision she makes. The up side for Ashley is that it was truly love at first sight for J.P. Let’s all hope he doesn’t take a second look
BIG BEN MEETS THE FAMILY
Ben arrives looking like he cut his hair with a butter knife ready to meet the family. He gets a woefully inadequate warning about Amy Whine-house (may the real one rest in peace) before heading in to field a cacophony of judgey questions from the Man Hater. She was like a tattooed Joan Crawford for God’s sake. I had visions of her beating Ashley with the wire coat hanger she used to hang up her final ceremony dress back at the bungalow on SuckySucky Island or whatever. That’s a little Mommie Dearest humor for the more seasoned folks in the audience. Annnyyyhoooo…
I’ll cut to the dog voice imitating scene and say that no scene in any reality show that I’ve ever blogged about has ever pushed me that close to literally turning off the TV and quitting. If THAT’s what her bi*chy sister was looking for in order to determine if Ben was “right” for her, then God help Ashley. That advice is worth about as much as a chastity belt on a Fantasy Suite vanity. We have a saying here in Texas: That’s about as useful as a pair of t*ts on a bullfrog. Indeed.
Back on Didntknowyoursisterwasrude Island, Ben shows up dressed like he just left the annual Gin Rummy tournament between Harrison and Neil Lane in whatever high roller suite Harrison is holed up in until sea plane arrival time. I pictured Harrison and Neil Lane side by side on massage tables with tiny Fijian women rubbing them down as they smoked expensive cigars, sipped single malt, and tipped generously.
In his Tito Puente hat and very Ed-esque bathing suit, Ben begins his full court press as he and Ashley helicopter to a local sewage pit to rub each other with dirt. It was subtle, but in light of the “controversy” with the sister, it was clear that ABC chose to run this footage first even though this date took place after J.P.’s date. Ashley’s tune had clearly changed by this point and it was evident—to me anyway—that Ben was headed for the chopping block. Of course, this point was reinforced by ABC’s choice of overconfident remarks by Ben—all 300 of them—being played over his make out session with Ashley. Remember my cow running to the slaughterhouse comment above?
After sucking face with Ben in his suite, Ashley spends some quality time removing the remaining sewage from its hiding places and fires up the smoky eyes for a last shot at J.P. Green bikini top and sarong in place, she meets J.P. in his yellow crossing guard shirt for a chat in the heat over a couple apropos bottles of Fiji Water.
What was up with that shirt, by the way? Bright yellow? Dude, mix in that haircut and throw in a black zig zag on the front of that thing and you’ve got an anorexic Charlie Brown. I half expected the overweight version of Chantal to appear dressed like Lucy in order to hold a football for J.P. to kick on the beach before pulling it away at the last minute and having him scream UUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!
J.P. actually shows some sack (for him anyway) by calling Ashley out. Incredibly, she defends her sister and a clearly frustrated J.P. rightfully says that he has no duty to “explain us” to any person. A-freaking-men. He should have shoved that comment in a tattoo gun and inked across the sister’s mouth when he had the chance. Better late than never, I suppose.
In a last ditch effort to prove that he’s been p*ssy whipped since “Hello, I’m J.P.,” J.P. takes Ashley back to his bedroom in order to present her with a scrap book and a meaningfully penned note about his feelings. It was here that I had a moment of doubt. I knowingly tipped my Lone Star bottle toward the TV in respect to ABC whose successful editing had thrown me off my certainty that J.P. was the clear recipient of the final rose.
“SCRAPBOOK?” I yelled at J.P.’s high definition haircut on my television screen. “Dude, everyone knows that’s the ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ of the Bachelorette. You just blew it.” Disgusted, I got up from the couch without hitting pause in order to grab a sympathy beer for J.P. and prepared to be “happy” for Ben. In retrospect, it was probably the other way around considering the “prize” but that’s not important. What’s important is that I was still drinking.
Both guys shower and musk up in preparation for their meetings with Neil Lane. Neil Lane—who still looks like Neil Sedaka to me—acts more like Dr. Jamie than a ring salesmen and I had suspicions that he was recruited by the Producers to inject a tad more drama with his “what if she says no?” questions to J.P. It was at that moment that I renewed my belief that J.P. would be left standing. Well, that and the second montage of Ben talking about how certain he was that Ashley was moving to Sonoma.
Both men board sea planes in their Transporter suits as Harrison and his pearly silk tie put the after party in ramp up mode and take their places on the beach in order to escort the men to their destiny. Ashley sits amongst the flora and fauna in the freaking heat biting her face as debates around the country began in earnest as to whose foot we’d been seeing departing from the sea plane on the previews all season.
The debates are quickly ended as we see that Ben is the first to arrive and—alas—will be the first to depart empty handed and broken hearted. His only mistake was failing to read the obvious dump face plastered just beneath the Fivehead before he got down and proposed. My favorite part was his indignant departure. Hey, we can’t really blame the guy, can we? He bordered on sore losership, but considering what he went through to get there emotionally, I think he deserves a pass.
He’s a guy I liked all season and provided he can put this into proper perspective and realize that he dodged a giant bomb of insecurity, he’ll recover nicely. There are plenty of hot girls in Northern California. Granted, many of them are actually men in drag, but he’ll figure it out, if not by trial and error. Chin up, buttercup. You’ll be fine.
As Ben boards the boat to be driven out to open water like Fredo in Godfather II, J.P.’s sea plane arrives. He and Ashley make it officially official after J.P. talks too much before taking Beyonce’s advice and putting a ring on it. It’s too bad that he’ll forever be haunted by the thought that Ashley chose him just to spite her sister. I would have paid for a plane ticket to Fiji in order to see the look on her face when she found out her sister picked J.P. Perhaps she can be the next Bachelorette. Now THAT I’d watch. REO Speedwagon plays in the background as we get a montage of the season and I was again reminded via text message that the lead singer hates my guts. Memories.
Ultimately, I think Ashley made the best choice of the bunch. I said all along that he was dumb enough to propose. It’s nice to be proven right. We’ll see how they handle the media storm and mud flinging from here on out, but J.P. was clearly into her from the first day. He proved he could be patient and certainly proved that he was just as neurotic and insecure as she is. They’re a good match, plain and simple. She’s plain and he’s simple. If I can give J.P. any advice going in, I’d remind him that marriage is grand. I’d also remind him that divorce is ten grand.
As I say every season, despite my pointed take on these shows, my comments stem more from the way the season is laid out in front of us rather than what these folks really believe they feel. Perfect moments are rare in life and having them on film while 13 million people watch is even more unique. I honestly wish them the best. Both Ashley and J.P., despite their quirks, seem like decent people and I hope this process and the scrutiny that comes with it isn’t all for naught. Besides, the sister deserves to hear she’s wrong at least once.
Well, there it is. The entire season is over with the Amazing count at 95 and the Journey count at 42. I’ll post again later this week regarding my take on the MTA and ATFR shows. Thank you all for your continued comments, readership, and overall support for the past few years of doing this. I appreciate all of the above more than you know. I’ll post again later this week but in the mean time if you need me, I’ll be purging my DVR and writing letters to ABC praying that Ryan is not the next Bachelor.
DON’T FORGET TO SEND ME YOUR DP TELLS ALL PART 3 QUESTIONS. DP