The Bachelorette: “Thanks For YOUR Hard Work”

“So, dude – Ashley.”

“Yeah man, Ashley.”

Thus begins the momentous conversation between Ben and Constantine, somewhat fondly known as the Ryan Smith Twins, during which they decide that it would be the best thing for everyone concerned that they reveal their relationship with one another and each of them withdraws from the show.

Okay, not really, but I’m sitting here fantasizing about what would be better to watch than all the freaking recaps they’re subjecting me to, given they’ve got two hours to fill and not a lot to fill them with. We’re down to the final three contestants on the show, everyone’s gone to Fiji, which we’re told is an excellent place to fall in love. If you’ve watched the show before, by this point in the history of the series, we’re talking about some pretty well-trod ground.

We know we can expect shots of the Bachelorette and her fellas frolicking in the sand and surf. They will make out in the shallow, bath-warm water surrounding private islands. They will probably fly in aircraft and/or ride on a big boat, and there is a very strong chance of someone getting straddled at one point or another as the cameras circle, turning us all into would-be Peeping Toms*.

There will be the ever-popular card from Chris Harrison, offering up a key to a super-deluxe suite that they can share all night long** if they choose to forego the usual individual suites. There will be smooching and flirtatious talk, deep looks into one another’s eyes and shallow talk of love and commitment, and at one point or another, one person will probably take the other up in their arms and carry them into another room as the cameras linger a while before backing out of the suite. Times three.

So there’s at least a little bit of good news to be had when Ashley answers the knock on her door expecting Ben to be standing there and finds Ryan instead. “There’s things unsaid and undiscovered between the two of us. What if she’s regretting sending me home?” he asks in a voiceover***. He was so concerned that he contacted Chris Harrison and the next thing anybody knows, he’s been flown to help The Bachelorette to be not so goddamn repetitive. So sad then that even the twists on this show seem awfully repetitive, but anyway, Ashley’s got a date with Ben, so Ryan gets put off for the time being.

It’s not long before the two of them are on a big boat, with Ben telling Ashley his mom liked her and Ashley straddling Ben to facilitate the application of sunscreen. They snorkel. They flirt. He’s into her. He’s falling for her. He’s going to tell her he loves her over dinner, he tells us, a feat he does manage to accomplish, more or less, prompting her to produce The Card. This will happen twice more.

Or will it? Sure, Constantine shows up for his date, and yes, there is most certainly a helicopter waiting nearby. This used to bode particularly well, but helicopters don’t offer the same guarantee of date success that they used to, and as Ashley notes, Constantine is a slow mover and there just isn’t much time to waste at this point if they’re ever going to get engaged prematurely and eventually have the whole love affair fall apart on the covers of the supermarket tabloids.

They fly over reefs and beaches and water so unbelievably blue it’s completely unbelievable. Hey – did their helicopter just fly right over Ryan’s head****? They jump off a waterfall as a clumsy metaphor for falling in love. She points out that he’s a deliberate sort of guy, but now he must go against his nature and dive headfirst into this relationship, and she’s worried he can’t do that.

And then, suddenly, just as we think Constantine’s maybe getting a little ahead of the situation by talking about the fantasy suite without the invitation being extended (See? Too predictable!), he’s saying that this is the end of the road for the two of them. That’s some sad news, but on the bright side, nobody’s saying she can’t take advantage of the fantasy suite all by herself.

Hmm hmm, might as well deal with Ryan then, with basically the same breakup speech Ashley used a couple of weeks ago, only with moreEverybody, sing with me! "Single aga-ain..." words. He’s great, but she’s not interested. The bright side for Ryan, as he puts it, is that he knows now that his heart is open and he’s ready for love, and he knows so strongly that it’ll happen that he says, “It’ll happen,” four or five times, sounding less convincing with each and every repetition.

So that’s nice that they could get all the unpredictability out of the way so that the date with J.P., moving along into the rose ceremony, could be good and predictable. Seaplane to a private island? Who would have guessed THAT, besides me and everybody else in the world? Frolic in the surf and sand? Check. Forego their individual rooms for a night together in the Fantasy Suite? You betcha. Each of the two contestants remaining gets a rose going into next week’s finale? Duh.  See you then.

*Thank goodness they had them sign release forms.

**(titter titter)

*** Dude, what if she’s NOT? Awkward scene.

**** He’s left probably 50 messages on her machine since he arrived. Is she home, or is she just not picking up? Do you think she might be out with somebody else?

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