The Bachelorette Recap: Punched. Drunk. Love?

On Monday night, ABC aired a very special crossover episode combining The Bachelorette: Extreme Insecurities Edition and the ABC News hidden-camera series What Would You Do?, in which ordinary people are confronted with ethical dilemmas to see how they react.

Producers sent human self-esteem issue Ashley and eight of her suitors to a Muay Thai boxing camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where the guys underwent an hour or so of training, donned colorful silk shorts, and headed into the ring to pummel the living famewhore out of one another. Ames, by virtue of his Ivy League degree, pleasant temperament, and ability to correctly use the word “saffron” in a sentence, was immediately marked as someone who needed to be brutalized until his brain function was brought down to the level of everyone else in the room. Ryan P, on the other hand, proved he already had cerebral issues (or that he’s a robot programmed to smile pretty and spout mindless platitudes) by describing the date as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience I’ll never forget.”

Still, for all of Ames’ intelligence, not even he had the courage or common sense to take Ashley aside and say something along the lines of, “Y’know, after a mere afternoon of training — during which time I was knocked to the floor by a stationary punching bag — I think I’m going to take a pass on the whole ‘getting thrashed about the face and torso’ festivities.” Nope, Ames (who got stuck with the bright pink boxing duds) took his punches from Ryan P, and wound up receiving a scenic ambulance tour of Chiang Mai, getting diagnosed with a mild concussion, then returning for an evening cocktail reception where his attempt to converse with Ashley devolved into a wilted word salad.

A few other random thoughts that passed through my head during the group date: “Wait, Ashley’s not going to ride with Ames to the hospital?” “Would somebody get that poor dude some clothes?” “How did Ashley keep a straight face when she said to the guys at the afterparty, ‘I don’t want to know what it’s like to get hit.'” “Wait, Ames isn’t drinking champagne while he has a concussion, is he?” “How did Blake score the date rose after his tepid ‘love is a marathon, not a sprint’ speech?” “Why does Lucas’ golf lesson seem more like an audition for the upcoming ‘Fantasy Suite’ episode?” “Why didn’t God open up a hole in the Earth’s surface and swallow Nick whole after he used the expression ‘take our relationship to the next level’?”

Aside from the horrific group date — again, I still can’t fathom that eight out of eight men bought in to the whole “I’m gonna take a beating like a man” philosophy — Ashley also embarked on a one-on-one date and a two-on-one date during her Chiang Mai tour.

* The individual date with Ben F — with stops at a street market and some breathtaking temple ruins  — was sullied by the couple’s infantile “mind kissing” outside the latter location. To his credit, Ben F came off as sweet and mature — and his discussion of working to transform himself from the “emotional zombie” he became after his dad’s death showed he’s actually achieved a certain level of self-awareness — but I couldn’t help but feel like Ashley’s mind was elsewhere, as if Ben F simply seemed too stable and grown-up for her tastes. During their dinner, I had fun filling in the invisible thought bubble floating above Ashley’s head. Sample text: “Why isn’t he sticking his tongue down my throat while simultaneously texting the flight attendant he met on the way to Chiang Mai?”

* Ashley’s two-on-one date began as a battle between the disinterested vacationer and the TV star wannabe, and ended in a much darker place. Ashley quickly sent Ben C packing after William tattled that he’d once heard his rival mention his desire to register for online dating sites when he got back to the U.S. (Anyone else chuckle at William telling Ashley he wasn’t trying to throw Ben C under the bus as he simultaneously ground the guy into the pavement underneath said bus’s tires?) Ashley then took William to dinner, where his confession about wanting to live life as “a 30-year-old boy” led to his ouster as well. Suddenly, we had William confessionalizing about the unimaginable fate of living life outside the glare of the TV cameras: “Oh my God. Feelings of being a loser. Looking in the mirror and not being satisfied with yourself. I am the world’s biggest f****** jackass.” And then, “I leave here, I go back to nothing.” And finally, “I just want to curl up in a bed and not wake up.” Here’s hoping ABC sprang for some therapy time for the ousted bachelor before discussing whether he’d make a good cast member for the summer run of Bachelor Pad.

* Speaking of therapy bills, when Ashley finds herself needing comfort, she thinks of Bentley? I could wax incredulous about our heroine taking 20 minutes to coyly tell Chris Harrison she wanted to talk to the skeeviest creep in Bachelorette history, but since it looks like next week’s episode is all about Cozi’s dad, I’m gonna save my bile for then.

* Burning Question of the Week: Two episodes in Thailand and not a single comment on the awesomeness of the local cuisine? As someone who’s been to Chiang Mai (and Bangkok)  I can say there is either something seriously wrong with these people’s taste buds or the ABC catering department.

* Loser of the Week: Ryan P — who looks more and more like Glee‘s Mr. Schue to me every week — for acting like a complete d-bag to the porter who came to pick up William’s luggage.

* Winner of the Week: Constantine, who admitted to Ashley that he “naturally” felt closer to some of the guys in the house than he did with her. Finally, someone willing to say out loud that it takes more than a single one-on-one date to determine whether or not you’re ready for a walk down the aisle. Here’s hoping the Bachelorette producers don’t find a way to beat the dude senseless on next week’s show.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you grossed out or amused by the boxing date? Is anyone else passing the point of exhaustion with Ashley’s insecurities? Enough so that you’re considering not watching the rest of the season? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Meg says:

    Slezak I love you. The EW recaps have seriously declined since you left. thank god for tvline

  2. Kim R says:

    Okay…I have only watched 1 other Bachelorette season (Meredith)& that was because she looked like a friend of mine. That said…there is nothing else on Monday evenings & I admit…I’m sucked in now. I guess my issue with Ashley is that she is so filled with insecurities I can’t imagine her ready for marriage. I’ve been married for 21 yrs. & it is a lot of work with great rewards but if you go in with such low self-esteem I can’t see how this will work. I know..I’m giving the franchise too much credit for actually producing couples that can stay the course.
    In keeping with the show, though, I think the Bentley thing is cruel on the parts of the producers & Chris Harrison. Last night, all Chris had to do after Ashley, yet again, expressed her ongoing attachment to Bentley, was say “I’ve got something I think you need to see that will enable you to put a period at the end of this sentence.” And then play for her Bentley’s confession cam rants.
    That, my friend, is what they call “closure!” :)

    • carol says:

      no wonder the girl is so insecure, she goes after the likes of Bentley the very type of loser who reinforces and gives her reason to be insecure. If that’s what she goes for…she’ll always be insecure. She is barking up the wrong tree!!

    • timshel says:

      Exactly, Kim R. It would be great if her so called “friend” Chris Harrison showed her what kind of person Bentley really is. But of course, this being reality TV, it’s all about ratings and making her look like a fool for a few more weeks is more important. Oh well, she signed up willingly, so not much sympathy from me.

    • Meg says:

      diggin the friends reference :)

  3. Reeby says:

    Brilliant and aggressively hilarious! LOVE it

    • Yo says:

      Wasn’t it, though? If I were the concussion guy, I woulda said,”Where is my ****ing rose?” A trip to the hospital and NO ROSE?

  4. Dawn says:

    Yes, that’s exactly right Kim R, Bentley closure is what I’ve wanted Chris Harrison to do for weeks. Because every time Ashley says, “This whole Bentley thing” I roll my eyes and honestly don’t know what she’s even talking about! What Bentley thing? There was no Bentley thing even in her twisted reality show reality.
    As a single woman who can’t find a date in LA, I’d be grateful to have even ONE of her guys desirous of my attention. But she’s got 8 now, these gorgeous and for the most part sincere men and she doesn’t even care. Only wants the one who has no character and who left. Go figure. Guess in the Bachelorette land nice guys do finish last. It’s very disturbing.

  5. Mo says:

    I have to say I feel so badly for Chris Harrison!!! He kept hinting but not so subtly around warning her and every time she brought up Bentley he looked sick to his stomach. I’ve been married 8 1/2 years and I was married young and I have to stay that if her insecurities don’t change soon it is going to cause a big problem in any marriage she tries to enter into – Bachelorette produced or otherwise. Here’s hoping that those issues are resolved before the end of the season; I think I plan to stick around to see if they will be or not.

  6. KSM says:

    They Ashley insecurities are really grating on me. I mean, seriously, if you are SO insecure, why would you go on not one, but two different shows where the whole point is to be judged all of the time? I do love that the previews show the guys getting mad at her for not being straight about Bentley though – I’d be mad too!

  7. M~ says:

    Look at Ryan . . . even though someone is being pummeled to the point of cringing distress by Ashley and Lucas, Sonny Sunshine is STILL laughing and smiling! Something’s amiss!!!

  8. Carol says:

    I was disgusted with the boxing thing. If I want to see men punching the hell out of each other, I’ll watch something else. But I DON’T and I HATE that crap. That Ashley would let that go on is beyond me. Also, they worked out for 3 hours before…not one hour. Then, they are transported to a public square with a boxing ring and Ashley allows this to happen! She is a Loser!!!! Capital “L”. She doesn’t even go to the hospital with him! Again, Loser!!! AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THE MOXY TO GIVE AMES THE SPECIAL ROSE!!! A total Loser that girl!!!
    Ashely is insecure cause she has an empty head, says nothing intelligent, wants to “cheers” everything, as in “cheers guys” and
    apart from thinking that necking and making out is the best thing to do…she says nothing of interest or intelligence! She has zero substance. She can’t read men and goes not deeper than looks. Bentley is way out of her league…even though I hate the guy…she actually thinks she could satisfy him for life. Get real Ashley, get real. I hated last nights show…the fighting was sickening…and none of the men had the balls to says they would not behave like animals..or worse.

    • Jamie says:

      Carol, why don’t you tell us what you really think?! What you don’t seem to understand about this show is that Ashley has very little say in what happens. The dates are planned by producers, and she was likely told by them or by Ames himself not to go to the hospital. Calling her a loser is harsh and uncalled for.

      Keep in mind we only see what the producers show us, and everything they do show us has been heavily edited. They are telling a story, not showing us an accurate portrayal of events. While I agree there’s no question that Ashley has significant insecurities and is drawn to men who will hurt her, saying that she has zero substance is cruel and short-sighted.

      • Carol says:

        Yes, my comments are harsh…but truly, she DOES have a say as evidenced by other issues and if she wanted to go to the hospital, she would not have been stopped by the producers. Why would they stop her? Same for the rose…she didn’t give it to the guy who suffered a mild concussion (I hope he sues their sorry butts) who turned up later at the party babbling and not even able to complete a simple thought…and she has not the compassion nor brains to give him the rose? Ashley is selfish and chose to give the rose to another person for no good reason. That had nothing to do with what she was or was not “allowed” to do by the producers. But you are right, I should not say she has zero substance, it’s not nice! With the non-stop giggling, lack of conversation, want for doggy-eyed approval and “cheers, guys!” she will surely search for some when she sees herself in playback and I hope she will find it. Life is a journey and we have to learn from our mistakes and if she is smarter than I think she is…she will learn valuable lessons from “this experience”.

  9. susela says:

    So far Ashley has planned a first date in which she orchestrated a mock wedding (William in Vegas), a group roast in which the men could insult her, and a boxing date in which they could give each other concussions. Bad, bad choices—but then again, Ashley seems to excel at making bad choices. And do we think Bentley will give her “closure” next week? Or will he just “dot, dot, dot” her again and leave her incapable of getting on with this season? (Do I even care?)

    • carol says:

      yes, 3 really bad date choices is correct. They have to keep upping the anti…lest we twits be unamused lol or so they think. They are digging deeper and deeper to entertain us but it just gets more and more ridiculous. Bentley is a goof ball who is not man enough to be truthful to her and like you say, making bad choices seems her forte. Generally, I am never one to look at accidents at the side of the road but this one, well, I will likely be gawking!

  10. Kristi says:

    Ashley’s Bentley obsession is sickening. At least she didn’t mention his name as many times as she did last week.

    I felt so bad for Ames – I’ve had a couple concussions and it was just sad watching him try to talk. I can testify to how incredibly difficult it is to try and do anything like hold an intelligible conversation or use your brain for any activity after a blow like that. I also cannot BELIEVE that Ashley didn’t ride with him to the hospital. I mean, he got a concussion for her – the least she could’ve done was ride in the ambulance with him.

    • carol says:

      yah Kristi, that or given him “the rose” that is for one special person, or hey! gone to the hospital AND given him the rose. How ’bout that!

    • D says:

      I’m also curious why there was no criticism of Ryan for going at Ames like it was a life or death match. Every punch was to the head. It was too much, so he should have been sent home.

  11. Annie says:

    The boxing date annoyed me to no end last night. Seriously? Whoever thought that would be a good date idea should be smacked on the back of their head. Ashley being hung up on Bentley is annoying as well. He’s NOT EVEN THAT ATTRACTIVE. And his moves were sleazy. She keeps worrying about the other guys’ intentions but she’s not being fair to any of them because she can’t let go of a guy who would have traded her in for a blonder more heavily made up model. My favorite guy on the show is JP and it pains me to see him get let down on almost every date, he deserves better. I would say that Ashley deserves better but right now, she could really use some advice and she needs to get away from the TV cameras.

  12. KB says:

    I honestly think she just likesto hear herself say “Bentley.” It’s always, “Oh Bentley…Bentley, Bentley, Bentley…” Can ABC seriously not find a Bachelorette who isn’t annoying??

  13. Jodi says:

    I hate that I am being sucked in by this show.

    What annoys me is Chris’s whole “This show isn’t scripted/ There are no rules” speech week after week. When it was Ali, wasn’t Chris at her door to let her know Justin was calling his girlfriend back home? Why hasn’t he been at Ash’s door reiterating Bentley’s side comments? And then paying for his trip to Hong Kong?

  14. HaleyRhinehartFan says:


    I can’t help feeling that this whole Bently scenerio is a set up by ABC to keep us interested. After Ashley gets her so called “closure” next week, Bentley’s name will probably not be mentioned again. If he continue’s further with the show, it will be to add more the other guys saying they are going to leave if they are second fiddle etc

    Bently continues to be emphasized to add ratings

  15. Tamara says:

    Ashley is a cute girl, but that’s just the problem – she’s a girl. I don’t know if her insecurities are due to her age, but I find her lack of maturity grating. She has nothing intelligent or insightful to say. The most we’ve gotten from her is the usual, “I could really see so-and-so as my husband.” I wish for once they would choose a Bachelorette who was edgy, funny or at the very least, interesting. I’m finding this season to be one big snore-fest. If anything, that is why I’m not interested in watching Ashley bemoan Bentley’s departure for the next month.

    • Yo says:

      They test for personality before allowing you to participate in this drama. If you have one, you are disallowed. The contestant characters are not allowed to have any, male or female.

  16. Wendeeloo says:

    This is the first week I’m not watching the show – Just keeping up by reading Michael’s recap and reading some comments. The show is too boring – too insulting being manipulated by the producers who must think the viewers are idiots. I don’t at all like Ashley anymore so I’m fine with her pining for Bentley because she needs to grow up – and finding out the disgusting things he’s been saying about her while she’s acting like a pre-teener is good for her.

  17. Yo says:

    Oh, Michael! I was strolling through to see how many posts were on the Haley thread, when I saw your recap, instanty laughed out loud and read the whole thing. Your bubble comment inspired inspiration:
    BACHELOONIES! Oh, what a concept for a lazy day when you and Jason are bored! Ten minutes of actual bubbles over the heads of the Bachelor/ette couples! Hilarious! And ABC, currently cowering in shame for televising this drivel, should pay you for the promo! I hafta say this show does not speak well for the burly sex. A Harvard education and you still can’t “just say no” ? Sheesh! And drinking with a concussion? Smart, Ames. BACHELOONIES FOR THE WIN!

  18. kim says:

    I agree that the producers are keeping the Bentley story going for the ratings and that they are “trying” to entertain us but here’s a thought…most of us are watching because we genuinely want to see two people fall in love. Show me more of Ben F. or J.P. and her time with them. I want to watch romance not a woman being treated like *&^%. To me, the Bentley arc is backfiring because it makes me less and less likely to believe that she actually falls in love with anyone and nothing sucks more than the seasons where you KNOW they won’t make it (Brad & Emily).

  19. fela84 says:

    I was very annoyed that they put those guys in a boxing ring. That was ridiculous . A mild concussion is no joke and Ames should sue the show. He still did not look so well after going to the hospital. As for Ashley she is very annoying with her whining for Bentley. If he was really into you he would not of left idiot. BTW Ben & Constantine look like twins. It was so funny to see them sitting together.

  20. cmp says:

    Does anybody really believe that Bentley will be sincere towards Ashley during their “closure” moment? Of course not? He’s just going to mindf*** her some more. But I can guarantee she’s getting some closure now as she watches the series along with the rest of us and sees what Bentley was REALLY up to. I asked myself the same question regarding why Ashley didn’t go to the hospital with Ames. How RUDE and inconsiderate of Ashley and what a ridiculous idea for a date. This girl is a class A dimwit and it won’t surprise me a bit if she ends up alone at the end of this. Especially after the guys rip her a new butthole next week. Here’s hopin’.

    • timshel says:

      Agreed. Apparently she ends up engaged by the end of it. I won’t say to who (quick internet search if you want to know), but here’s hoping he realizes he can do better than her.

  21. Julie says:

    Michael Slezak, I always think I want your job, but then you spin phrases like “his attempt to converse devolved into a wilted word salad” and remind me of why YOU have your job.