The Bachelorette: “Let’s Bag This And Go Play Blackjack.”

Hey, before we get down to business here, can we talk about Ashley for a minute? I’m not so enthused about her as the Bachelorette this season, mostly because I wasn’t so enthused about her last season, and while I’m unlikely to be heard referencing Brad Womack’s opinions on anything, ever again, neither was he, really. I understand how a show like the Bachelor(ette) wants to work in a little intra-season continuity by using familiar faces and all that, but I don’t see why that needs to be the rule, especially in the case where we’re faced with a third-place finisher who wasn’t all that compelling during her first go-through. Care to comment? Bring it.

"I would rather swim in pee."We should probably have a quick talk about Bentley, too*. Early and often is how he’s communicated his own indifference to Ashley as the proposed object of his affections since we learned of his existence last week, and yet, put him in a one on one situation with her, and he’s all charm. Hmm. We’ve seen people on this show emerge as villainous types with ulterior motives and/or questionable ethics. We’ve even been plenty suspicious about the producers’ motives in bringing people like this on board, but when has the combined effort at scummy bad faith dealing ever been as obvious? I mean, sure I’m rooting against this woman finding love on this television show and all that, but that doesn’t mean I want to see her life get wrecked.

Besides, who needs some guy who doesn’t even like Ashley to wreck her life, when guys like William, who DO like her, are champing at the bit to do the job? Yeah, William, the cell phone salesman and self-described unlucky-in-love-er gets the first solo date, and as he and Ashley drive to the airport, where a private jet is waiting to whisk them off to Las Vegas, somewhere on the mansion grounds, presumed white collar criminal Ames is heard asking The Mask when he thinks he’s going to show his face. The Mask says he will do so on his first date with Ashley. He notes that he is taking “The stealth approach” to the Bachelorette**.

Then Ashley and William are in Vegas. Tourists gather. Some fat girl in an ugly green dress remarks that she’s so happy that Ashley is the Bachelorette, but I have a feeling that she’s someone who’s already learned to settle. Anyway, Ashley and William test wedding cakes. Ashley and William shop for engagement rings. Ashley and William pay a visit to a wedding chapel and start having a fast wedding. The priest asks William if he’ll take Ashley as his wife and he says yes. Ashley chickens out when he asks her the same question. It’s hard to see how this particular date, even with the franchise’s entire history of paying lip service to the idea of enduring love and marriage in mind, doesn’t represent the plumbing of some new depth.

Then it’s dinner out in the middle of Bellagio’s fake lake in the middle of fake ol’ Las Vegas. Ashley’s concerned about William’s ability to be serious, but luckily his dad was an alcoholic before he died, so Willy gets the date rose. The bar is set high, we’re told. She doesn’t know if anyone else can measure up to William, she says. As for William, his heart is soaring higher than the fountains that are currently doing their squirty best to create some sort of nonverbal double entendre.

Next up, a group date in Las Vegas, featuring everybody but J.P., Ryan P., Mickey, Ben C. and The Mask***. Right off the bat, the lot of them are divided into two groups which will compete in order to stay in Vegas and “party” with Ashley. They’ve gotta design and perform a little dance number, with some hip hop dance troupe judging. The losers lose and get sent home, and soon after that, the winners are all taking turns having little private chats with Ashley****. Lots of them talk a good game, but none as good as Bentley, who must be one of those The Game types, the way he works her over during their téte â téte and comes out of it with the rose. Is it wrong to say at this point that I really miss Drunk Tim?

Last solo date: Mickey and J.P. must flip a coin to see who goes. Mickey wins. The coin flipping doesn’t stop there, either. Ashley and Mickey use it to choose their wine, who will ride the wires up the big ostentatious wine column in the middle of the restaurant to fetch the bottle, where they go to drink it, whether or not Mickey gets a rose at the end of the date and whether or not to put a bullet in the brain of the AOR lady who plays a concert “for” them at the end.

Finally, it’s the last party before the rose ceremony. J.P. has voiced some dissatisfaction over not getting to go on a date with Ashley due to a coin toss, to which I say, meh. He’d be fine with it if he had won the toss. If he’s looking for fairness, maybe he should have a peek in a dictionary – it’s there between failure and fake.

Ah, but that’s me. Ashley’s much more inclined to smooth his ruffled feathers, give him some smooches and hand him the by now-standard line about patience. Otherwise, the Mask has been making everyone a little crazy with the mask, but just when he’s about to take it off for Ashley, they’re interrupted and now he has to keep it on for another week. Boooo! As much as Bentley seems bound and determined to present himself as a creep, he might have some competition, because William shows signs of being the sort of “nice” guy who sits atop a deep well of hostility. And Stephen the hairdresser, Matt the office supply salesman and Ryan M. the construction estimator get shown the door. Lucky bastards.

*anything to avoid talking about William

**which of course is the exact opposite of what a person is doing when they opt to be the only person in a house full of eighteen people who is wearing a black leather mask all covered with little filigrees.

***anybody else looking forward to a more manageable number of suitors?

****yeah, you sure got that right. SOME party.

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