The Bachelorette Recap: 'There's Something About His Manlihood'

On The Bachelorette, the standard-operating “happy ending” occurs when our heroine with princess issues brutally rejects one potential fiance, reapplies her foundation over dried rivulets of tears, then says “yes” to a marriage proposal from her other potential fiance. It’s clean and simple and debatably satisfying — at least until the cameras stop rolling.

But in the latest installment of the long-running ABC dating franchise, I’m convinced that Ashley is going to ask the final two dudes to perform a good old-fashioned duel at 20 paces. “How will I know a guy loves me if he’s not willing to die for me?” she’ll ask, then promptly exchange vows with the losing combatant, just seconds before he expires in her arms.

Yeah, I know, that scenario sounds a little over the top, but think about the strange, unappealing hurdles Ashley has laid out for her suitors over the course of the Bachelorette season to date: Forcing William into a game of marriage “chicken” in Vegas — on their first date! Herding the guys into a public square in Thailand and asking them to pummel each other to the point of concussion/decreased earnings potential. Asking them to engage in dragon-boat racing on the open ocean (with pesky life vests left on the shore). And then essentially announcing that her first choice for a husband has left the competition of his own volition, but that she’s recommitted to her quest for finding a first runner-up who can carry out the husbandly duties abandoned by her one true infatuation.

Ashley isn’t so much interested in finding love as she is in unearthing heartbreak, or stirring up drama, or at least confirming her hunch that she’s unworthy of a healthy, happy relationship with a man who treats her with kindness and respect. This woman doesn’t need a husband, she needs a therapist. But alas, Monday night’s episode found the show’s producers shelling out cash to fly misogynist creep Bentley back to Hong Kong, and not a trained mental health professional. With that in mind, let’s review the weekly tragedy in five acts:

Act One: A hawk soars across the Hong Kong skyline. Does it symbolize Bentley as a bird of prey? Ashley as a resurgent spirit? Chris Harrison as a carnivorous beast feeding on the entrails of Ashley’s hopes and dreams? Only ABC brass knows for sure. Whatever the case, Ashley sits down with Chris for a rambling litany involving the words “afraid,” “Bentley,” “closure,” “dot dot dot,” and “lonely spinster.” Okay, maybe she only implied “lonely spinster.” Chris responds by telling Ashley that Bentley is in Hong Kong — and OMFG he’s right there in the hotel actually shut up — and he’s ready to talk. Chris slips Ashley a piece of paper with Bentley’s room number — 4315 — but to my disappointment, it’s not attached to an invitation from Mr. Harrison for Ashley and Bentley to forgo their individual rooms and spend a night in the fantasy suite. (Opportunity missed, ABC!)

Ashley finally musters up the courage to knock on Bentley’s door, and our resident douchebag asks “Who is it?” — since I’m guessing Ashley’s probably not the only woman with whom he planned to play mind games during his international holiday. Ashley is clearly hoping Bentley’s come halfway around the globe to try to win back her heart, but his annoying smirk and cloak of vagueness make it all too clear he’s been cast in the role of cad. Ashley declares that Bentley’s “dot dot dot is unfair to me,” tells him to man up and tell her he’s just not that into her, and even suggests she’s ready to finally heed the warning from her old pal Michelle Money that Bentley was never in it for the right reasons. Bentley spends a few minutes toying with Ashley’s hopes — hinting at a future in his hometown of Salt Lake City — but then like a cat who grows bored of toying with a lifeless mouse, he puts a period at the end of this bad romance. Ashley can’t believe Bentley flew all this way just to break things off. “You just wanted a vacay?” she asks. Bentley smirks. Ashley drops an f-bomb, tucks what’s left of her dignity in a coin purse, and exits the room toward a new and exciting future. Once again, we see the hawk soaring over the city.

Act Two: Lucas shows the requisite optimism about his very first one-on-one with Ashley: “It could be horrible if we can’t wait for our date to end.” But it turns out that the couple’s dishwater gray conversation as they walk through an outdoor market and dine on a boat in Hong Kong harbor is only horrible for the home viewing audience. Ashley spies a food stand of local delicacies and shouts, “We have to try something!” Lucas’ eyes race frantically to find a McDonald’s, but he’s out of luck, and ends up offering a three-word review of what Ashley force-feeds him: “Spicy.” Chewy.” “Cheeseburger?” The duo then boards a boat headed for the Sea of love like Not Disdain. Lucas’ conversation about the pain of his divorce is unrelentingly fuzzy, but at least he doesn’t leap overboard to flee our heroine’s clutches, and that’s pretty much all she requires. Ashley gives Lucas a rose. Lucas gives Ashley a kiss. They dance. And then Ashley displays a poor grasp of the English language with this zinger: “Lucas makes me feel like a woman. There’s something about his manlihood that makes me feel protected.” Too bad the audience can’t jump off the side of that pirate ship, right?

Act Three: Ashley splits her six group-date suitors into three teams, demands that they take it to the streets to rustle up some local buddies, and then participate in a dragon boat race on the open seas. The guys are assigned blue (Constantine and Ben), red (Blake and Ryan), and black (Ames and Mickey) bandanas, and that’s about as much color as you’re going to see among this season’s suitors. (Badum bum!) Constantine and Ben play it for laughs by donning kimono-style robes and chanting like buffoons, but their surprisingly decent stabs at humor seem lost on everyone else involved.

Ashley changes into a dress that makes me think of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and brings the guys to an ugly cocktail lounge, where Ames whisks her away for a game of “Love in an Elevator.” As they aggressively make out, we see an “up” arrow on the elevator’s digital display pad. (Subtle!) Next thing you know, Ashley is getting all smoochois (that’s “French” for kissing) with Ben. (A sick and twisted voice in my head thinks Ben should ask, “Do I taste Ames on your lips?”) And then all the guys gossip about how much they hate Ryan. Mickey says if he’d been stuck in a dragon boat with the maniacally upbeat chap, he’d have hit himself with an oar and prayed for a quick drowning death. Naturally, Ashley gives the group date rose to Ryan.

Act Four: Ashley takes JP on a dinner date in the walled city (not a euphemism), and before they embark on an inevitable makeout session, he talks meaningfully about finding closure with his ex, and she tries to be all dramatic and tell him that she…did something she feels guilty about…and needs to get off her chest…that she was hurt when Bentley left…and she needed to find closure…and he came to Hong Kong…and they…talked! “I thought he was gonna pop out of the bushes,” says an unfazed JP. They tale a moonlight train ride, and a rearview camera angle shows his shirt stretching appealingly over his back muscles.

Act Five: Blake approaches the cocktail party with ambitious goals: “I definitely want to make sure she knows I’m still around!” Ashley approaches it with ambitious delusions. She gathers the guys and tells them how she fell for Bentley, how she needed closure, how ABC flew the tool of all tools to Hong Kong for a one-on-one date that several of them haven’t gotten after weeks of following her around the globe. Ashley says she’s “grown so much” — what, in the previous two days? — and waits for a round of applause. Instead, the guys look anywhere from incredulous to furious, and begin sipping their cocktails with angry gusto. Blake astutely points out it “must have gone poorly” with Bentley — and it does raise the specter that Ashley probably would’ve given the dude another chance if he’d been interested in getting one. Constantine huffs he’s been sitting around waiting for alone time with Ashley and instead she gave it to a guy who already went home. Ames points out he was sitting around, too — in a hospital. This round goes to Ames, who later comforts Ashley with a wise observation that we “prefer our fairy tales to be simple,” but that’s not how life works.

It’s also not how The Bachelorette works, guys. I mean, Ashley was already weighing her options among eight different fellows when she arrived in Hong Kong: What’s the difference if she briefly added one more dude to the pile? Lucas starts slurring. Ashley starts crying. Blake decides she shouldn’t be allowed to sit down while they’re talking. And Mickey decides to hop the first boat out of the harbor and see if Bentley wants to hang out at the hotel bar see if his display of honesty and self-respect earns him a spot as the next Bachelor. (Silly guy! Self-respect has no place in this franchise!)

Ashley sheds more tears, bemoans her situation to Chris, and then heads to the rose ceremony, where Blake is extracted from the competition without the benefit of novocaine. All he really wants is a friend, he says, which perhaps explains his decision to appear on Bachelor Pad. And then we get a montage of “this season on The Bachelorette” previews that’s suspiciously light on JP and predictably heavy on weeping. Yay?

What did you think of this week’s Bachelorette? Is Ashley determined to sabotage her last chance at love for all time ever? Are you glad we (seem to have) said goodbye to Bentley for good? Who are you “rooting for” to win it all? Or are the guys you like too good for this hot mess of a Bachelorette? 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. E says:

    Absent from this episode was any “one on one” interview with Bentley. You’d think with two hours to kill, they would have included that. Did they do it and he was no longer “funny”? Did he refuse? Did he mock the show for sending him all the way to HK to “dump her” (in his roundabout way)? I was waiting for that…but nope.

  2. fela says:

    I wanted to reach through the TV & slap her. As Cher would say Snap Out of it! Snap out of that dream world where you tell guys you had feelings for a guy who left but now she’s ready to get interested in them againand they should be happy about it. She was in their situation the last time how would she feel if that was done to her.I have total respect for Mickey. As for the other guys she will be doing you a favor if she does not pick you. I am amazed she is studying to be a Dentist. I still feel JP gets the wrong end of the deal everytime she has a one on one date with him their is Drama with Bentley. Someone please get a stylist for JP. Those shirts have to go. Sleeves with pickups!

  3. dan says:

    I hope it does end with her asking the last two men to duel, and them saying, “Well, we’d do it if you were Chantal or Emily.”

  4. Skeff says:

    Hahaha, Harrison giving Ashley a note with the option to “forgo their individual suites” to shack up with Bentley would have been classic.

  5. paul says:

    I can’t believe people are still watching this train wreck. Maury is saner and more believable than this dreck.

  6. HannaB says:

    I don’t get all the “Amazing Race” type challenges she’s making them do. It’s contrived, boring and stupid. And the way she talks about setting up the dates and challenges…who is she trying to kid? The producers hand her an itinerary and she shows up, period.

    This is such a mess of a season. She’s not very bright and has the lowest self-esteem of any of the previous bachelorettes/bachelors, to the point of being uncomfortable to watch.

    I missed most of last night’s show due to continuous local weather coverage but looks like I was spared another mess of an immature, whiny, I-feel-sorry-for-the-guys episode.

    • D says:

      Agreed. She’s not very bright and also doesn’t have much of anything to say. In her teary speech last night she said the same speech twice in one speech. Meaning, you were spared!

  7. Chris says:

    I normally find the Bachelorette much more entertaining than the Bachelor simply because you usually one or two guys in the mix that are just not all there and/or are so desperate to be the perfect romantic gentleman that it proves to be comic gold (like Casey singing to Ali after the helicopter ride or Casey getting a tatoo). I’m finding the current season to be a complete bore, because A) Bentley was never entertaining enough to be a good villain, B) none of the other guys are pathetic enough to worth laughing at — even the mask joke fell flat after the first week — and C) I really don’t understand why any of these guys are that intent on winning Ashley’s affections. Normally they do a halfway decent job of making the Bachelorette seem like someone worth dating or at least pretending to like. But Ashley’s just a piece of work, and not in a good, guilty-pleasure-viewing kind of way. She’s like a female version of Brad. And we’ve already seen how that one turned out.

    • Yo says:

      These guys may be into competition, but the realist in me feels they really don’t care all that much about whether they get the girl or not. I mean, it is a free trip somewhere and, I presume, decent food. What are the odds of every man actually being invested in a forced relationship? My personal faves are Ben and Constantine: You gotta love two guys who now refuse to play enough that they sing “Row, row, row your boat” in a paddle challenge.

      • Nanellen says:

        My sentiments…exactly…ahhaha…they were great!…I’m surprised they even bothered to go “draft” rowers…!

  8. Mal says:

    I REALLY hope Bentley shows up for the Men Tell All! I want to see Ashley confront him now that she knows the full story and has been able to see and hear the things he was doing and saying in his interviews. That guy is a jerk, and I feel sorry for anyone who’s been played by him before, but not for anyone going forward, because they’ve have a good example of his real character now.

    What is with all the Amazing Race escapades this season? The dragon boat flags were even yellow and red! That and the boxing and one more I’m forgetting- what is up with the “challenges” on dates this season?

    • maryann says:

      I don’t know about that. By this time Ashley has seen all the episodes we have and knows what Bentley said. But last night she was on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE and it seemed like if Bentley showed the slightest bit of interest even now, she’d go back to him.

  9. Julie says:

    Michael Slezak, you are a comic genius. I don’t watch this show, but have been following your updates because damn, they’re just SOOOO funny!!! On a more serious note, this line says it all for me: “Self-respect has no place in this franchise!” Amen to that!

    • Another Julie says:

      Ditto to the above comment !

    • Wendeeloo says:

      I – like Julie – no longer watch this exercise in audience manipulation. I only read Michael’s recap for the humor. I wonder if they ever actually showed Bentley outside in Hong Kong? They probably filmed it in LA to avoid the airfare – with posters of Hong Kong on the windows for authenticity. I also can’t imagine that any one of the rest of the guys are interested in Ashley at this point. Especially as a wife. They are probably sticking around for the trips and – no doubt – the longer you stay on – the bigger the paycheck

      • Angel says:

        Your comment makes no sense at all. That would mean they flew Ashley to LA. Still a waste of money right. Then she went back on her dates and told the guys she saw Bentley. How would she get from LA to Hong Kong in a few hours. Of course they were in Hong Kong.

  10. “Ashley takes JP on a dinner date in the walled city (not a euphemism),…”

    HA! I about spit out my breakfast reading that. Slezak, you are the man.

  11. Sparkle Farkle says:

    Ashley has the brain of a tuna. As for Bentley…shoot, no name calling allowed here.

  12. Troy Nolan says:

    Ashley is perhaps the worst pick that ABC made on this show. She’s not beautiful, weepy and creepy, no boobs, and neurotic. What would any rational man want with that mess?

    • Sparkle Farkle says:

      Troy, like, what are you, 14 years old??? “No boobs?” Um…actual grown up women do not find that attitude appealing at all. You might want to keep that in mind for the future.

  13. DrewH says:

    I am likely in the minority here, but I actually like Ashley. She’s completely broken and needs decades of therapy before anyone on this planet should consider marrying her; but she’s honest and open and adorably tragic. Sure, she’s a little stupid but she just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong?

    • Sparkle Farkle says:

      Ahh, DrewH, you’re right…no, it’s not so bad, because it is all that any of us want. She’s not a bad kid…just flakier than a snowstorm, but no more flaky than I’ve been lotsa times in the past when I just wanted someone to love me. Sigh…I still think she has the brain of a tuna, but then, so do we all at one time or another.

  14. Kate says:

    She’s going to end up in an abusive relationship. She CRAVES an abusive relationship. Is no one seeing the warning signs here?

  15. Shel says:

    I honestly wish people would stop ragging on Ashley so much. She’s the most real person they’ve had on this show in a long time. Let’s remember that she didn’t see what we saw of Bentley–if Chris & Co. had played her the tapes that revealed what a total he was, she would have been over him from the start. But they didn’t, and thus she behaved like many a normal human being: she pined over someone who dumped her and left things hanging. For THREE weeks. Most people wouldn’t consider that unreasonable in the real world, but in the world of reality TV, where you’re supposed to fall in love with a bunch of people, and then choose your one and only in a 2 month time span, it’s a capital offense.

    Bentley is obviously a master manipulator of women…let’s put the blame where it belongs.

    As far as the challenges she ‘makes them do’…has anyone stopped to consider that she may have very little role in actually planning these? The show is always scripted with things like: ” planned the most amazing date, gave me the most beautiful jewelry, etc.” and “I thought it would be fun if the guys and I did blah blah blah.” Just because it’s scripted that way doesn’t mean she actually has a huge amount of input in what they do.

    • Yo says:

      The television audience never really gets a good overview of anyone’s personality, either, because the producers are intent on moving the “drama’ forward instead of showing any bursts of character from the contestants. Ashley might be quite charming and funny, but we will never see that. When she and Ben did dog(?) talking in the farewell clip last night, they were both more human than we are likely to see them again. We forget this is staged and we all know no one is likely to find their “one and only.” I don’t think she plans the dates, either. I do think Ashley is the most “real” person and I don’t think she is any more of a psychological mess than most of us; gawd knows goodlooking schmucks wouldn’t be schmucks if they never got a date. They do. I hafta wonder when someone is going to file an affirmative action suit against the production, though. ABC certainly isn’t touting diversity, though it might raise the collective IQ of the men/women.

  16. Shel says:

    It apparently took out a few things I wrote, making a few lines incomprehensible. So I’ll clear them up right now. ;)

    if Chris & Co. had played her the tapes that revealed what a total –censored by me– he was

    The show is always scripted with things like: ”–Insert Bachelor/Bachelorette’s name here– planned the most amazing date, gave me the most beautiful jewelry, etc.”

  17. JBanana says:

    “and a rearview camera angle shows his shirt stretching appealingly over his back muscles.”
    mmm, mmm, mmm… there’s just something about JP’s manlihood, isn’t there?

  18. Mickey Is Fine says:

    “Oh Mickey you’re so fine, stick you ____ in my behind – Hey Mickey!” (Sung to the tune of the one hit wonder song by Toni Basil.)

    Does anyone else think that Blake comes across as whiney, jealous and catty?

    • Yo says:

      Nice teeth, though. These guys are all pretty interchangeable, studly types who devote whole days to the gym. Yawn.

  19. Joline says:

    Slezak – I love you but it’s clear you hate this show. While I admit there are a lot of things to complain about this season, your disdain for the franchise and the overall task of writing these recaps is felt throughout the posts. As a loyal Bachelor and Bachelorette viewer, I read the recaps to laugh at the absurdity and share in the disappointment of opportunities lost from time to time, not to trash the entire show. I still find entertainment value in the Bachelorette, but it is clear to me that you are disgusted with every second and every word. If you don’t care about this show, please find a replacement to write these recaps.

    • Paris says:

      Take a chill pill Joline. If you can’t appreciate sass and sarcastic humor in a recap, don’t read it.

      • jc says:

        Joline makes a valid point, and said it well, including noting that she, too, enjoys reading the recaps to laugh at the absurdity, etc. Paris should have read her comments more carefully before jumping on her with both left feet.

    • Yo says:

      The show is certainly worth trashing, pretty darned dumb, shallow and many other epithets. And I WATCHED it. Sure, I was planning to catch Criminal Intent at nine………..but I didn’t. At least MS gets paid to watch. We should all get paid to watch. And Bachelor Pad is far worse; I actually will turn off the teevee for that one.

    • Brooke says:

      The snarky recaps are the best thing about this show. Without them, what would be the point??

    • Joline says:

      There is a difference between “love to hate” and “hate.” Do you really want someone who simply hates your show recapping it?

  20. Grace says:

    Love your sarcasm. However, Ashley has absolutely no control over what they do on the dates so you can’t blame the lame ones on her. And, yes, she cries way too much but she’s one of the most real people to go on this show. Also, her and JP seem to have a great connection but I don’t know if she deserves him. He’s older and seems to have everything together while she’s young and seems naive.

  21. Gretchen says:

    Slezak, you are the best! I look forward to your recaps every week! But I do hate that I watch the show. I can’t help it!
    Thank you!

  22. GeorgiaPat says:

    I’m only watching this cr*p because of you, Michael! I actually watched the first few seasons of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, but came to realize that it’s TMZ with prettier clothes and exotic places. I just hope the guys survive (literally) to have a good story to tell.

  23. Natasha Serena Ashley says:

    Yo, regarding ethnic diversity, you apparently didn’t watch the first few seasons of Bachelor/Bachelorette, because they DID have a representative from each race and ethnic group. And even though there was NO apparent spark or connection between them, the B/B always gave these other “representatives” a rose for several episodes. I found that to be contrived and irritating. It was not the least bit believable. But if what you are saying is that there should be a black (etc) B/B, then you’re probably right. Except, how is everyone going to feel when the black Bachelor chooses the blonde white girls? But wait! That would probably make for great viewing — talk about DRAMA and controversy! Hey, Chris Harrison, here’s a sure bet for the next “most dramatic rose ceremony, yet!”