The Bachelorette: Who’s Got Questions?

As we get underway with an extremely important episode of The Bachelorette - this being the last stop on Ashley’s Asian Quest for Love Tour* before everybody heads home to the good ol’ U-S of A – two contenders for her affection must be eliminated from from the game before next week’s round of good ol’ fashioned hometown meet the family-type dates. Ashley’s got some key questions she’s got to answer this week, like can she see herself waking up with this man**, are they compatible emotionally as well as physically, was she really the best choice to be the Bachelorette this season and, last but not least, “Really?”***

Do you love me yet?Of course, we the viewers of/readers of blogs about The Bachelorette have questions, too, like why have the one-on-one dates gotten so boring while the group dates have become so stupid and obnoxious and has anyone else noticed a distinct lack of helicopters on this show lately and how can anyone be quite so stupid and still get elevated to the lead position on a show like this and how on earth can I tell Constantine and Ben, the Ryan Smith Twins, apart? So maybe we should just get underway then.

First, either Constantine or Ben rides a steam train with Ashley to a village where they have a lantern festival like that one in Tangled. They make a lantern, have a forced conversation about love and their wishes for love, then eat dinner, then release the lantern and go home. I should point out quickly, for anyone who needs things to be this clear, that there are no roses on offer on the one-on-ones tonight, only on the group date. Then, either Ben or Constantine rides a scooter with Ashley through Taroko National Park. They share flirtatious talk, make out on a suspension bridge, have dinner and stay out all night, pissing off J.P.**** back at the hotel, causing him to have questions too, we are told.

Would a group date that J.P. goes on be a good time for asking those questions? It seems it would not, which is mostly okay with me as we’ve already got a bit of a backlog going that way. So then – about the group date? Lucas, Ames and J.P. heading down to a neighbourhood in Taipei that specializes in wedding photos. Each gets an uncomfortable-making monkey suit and a stupid backdrop they’ll be photographed in front of with their “bride”  - Lucas in a traditional Taiwanese wedding smock-thing, Ames in a bizarro powder blue suit with what appears to be a sheer, orange, ruffled blouse and J.P. gets your standard tuxedo – it’s up to each to do his best to not look like an asshole in the process. Ashley says this will make this whole experience of seeking a mate via process of elimination in a televised contest “so much more real.”*****

Should this really be so difficult? Good question. We get treated to some memories of last season’s equivalent small group date (on which Ashley acquired the rose via pout and freakout), which also involved a photo shoot wherein each woman was expected to be a good sport about 1) the wardrobe selections (Hey! How about topless?) and 2) standing around and watching the guy she liked make out with other women. So, as far as answering the question goes, on the one hand, nobody should go into this contest thinking they’re never going to be asked to look stupid and put up with some obvious emotional manipulation, but on the other hand, just because you go into a situation knowing what you should expect doesn’t mean it won’t be hard to deal with, but on the OTHER other hand, stop being such a goddamn bunch of sucky babies and get back to entertaining us! And anyway, the only consistently good sport in the whole batch of guys – Ames – didn’t get the date rose, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets sent packing in the next couple of weeks. Instead, J.P. gets the rose for griping about his week. Go figure, and don’t imagine that getting rewarded for pouting about shit doesn’t encourage them to pout about shit.

Finally Ryan gets the one-on-one date with Ashley he’s been waiting for, even if everyone else is a little ambivalent about the prospect. They start things off by reflecting on people praying in a temple – “Isn’t this crazy? Praying to all the different gods.”****** – and then spend some time reflecting on people doing Tai Chi before Ryan starts giving her a sales pitch for his business over dim sum, which is finally as much as Ashley wants to hear. Though he may, in theory, be the perfect guy for her, she explains, he is not, in practice, the perfect guy for her.

“You don’t want to come home with me and meet my family?” he asks. Well, NO, apparently not. Next thing we know, Ashley’s walking away from him, leaving behind no limo to whisk him away to the airport or wherever it is that once potential spouses who have since been discarded go. Poor Tigger, er, Ryan is left with nothing but a camera crew to zoom in and out at random on his hurt and dejected face as he wanders the streets of Taipei before eventually hailing a cab.

And that is just about that, though not quite because after all, there’s still one last cocktail party and rose ceremony to be had, right? Weeeelll…as Ashley explains to Chris Harrison, the process of ditching Ryan got her unblocked as far as who else she wants to ditch is concerned, and so she already knows what she wants to do. No need for a party, Ashley tells him, but, even though there are only three roses to give out tonight, as the class act and all-around emotional trainwreck that she is, she still wants to proceed with the ceremony. And yet, even after she sends Lucas packing, somehow it’s Ashley who winds up in tears (yet again), crying, “I never knew there would be this pressure!” Sigh. Really?

*Nowhere near as pornographic as it may sound, but you already knew that.

**Surely you understand by now: this man, that she’s on a date with right now, as opposed to that man, who she was already on a date with/will be on a date with later.

***Just a question I happened to notice her asking a lot of times this evening.

****Who is not anybody’s dad.

*****Which is surely another way of asking, “Aren’t you glad the producers didn’t choose a not-idiot to be the Bachelorette this season?”

******Well, not as crazy as praying to just one, but sure, a little crazy.

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