The Bachelorette Recap: Hell Taepei

In love, sometimes you have to listen to the universe. On Monday night’s edition of The Bachelorette, a stray dog urinated on hapless Ashley’s “wish lantern” (although the crafty editing team saved the footage for the closing credits), while the matchmaking gods said “no me gusta” to her pairing with Ryan via a traditional game of tile-throwing. At this rate, if any of the remaining suitors makes it to the finale and gets down on bended knee, I’m fully expecting a rift in the earth to open up, swallow the guy whole, and burp up a recommendation for a local therapist where our fair dentist can build up her self-esteem, get her priorities in order, and perhaps re-enter the dating pool sometime around mid-2013. But I’m clearly getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…

Things kick off with Ashley declaring — for the sixth or seventh time this season, I think — that she feels like she’s starting fresh by traveling to Taipei, Taiwan with her six remaining suitors. “They’re really in it,” coos our heroine, a mere three words (“to win it”) away from doing a full-fledged Randy Jackson impersonation. What follows are three one-on-ones and a particularly woeful group date, with a chaser of tears, regret, and peroxide from last season’s Bachelor “winner,” Emily.

Date 1: All aboard for a steam-engine ride with Ben’s slightly sexier, better dressed doppelgänger. “Are you looking for love on this trip?” Ashley asks Constantine, right as the phallic train enters the darkened tunnel. “We’re going deep into the village!” Oh producers, it’s not nice to turn Ashley’s innocent remarks into full-fledged euphemisms. The lovebirds head into Ping-Shi village where they paint a “wish lantern” emblazoned with their romantic hopes and dreams. Constantine scrawls “2011-” on the lantern, signifying the birth year and lack of end date for their relationship, but Ashley interprets it as “2011 minus.” Uh-oh. Why can’t I shake the feeling this relationship is going to be measured in months, not years? Maybe it’s the way Constantine keeps saying things like “I care about Ashley a lot, but…” Or the way the duo fail to hold hands during their navel-gazing dinner conversation. Then again, maybe it’s Constantine’s general sanity, which makes him skeptical about the idea of entering into the bonds of marriage after a few wacky weeks on a reality dating program. Eventually, the couple sets their lantern free (again, not a double entendre) and it’s suddenly surrounded by dozens of additional lanterns (likely released by some underpaid production assistant). As we fade to black, Constantine’s disembodied voice begins to play. “I’m open to the idea of marrying this girl,” he says, and I can’t help but wonder if he made the comment while perusing some profiles on, or maybe some head shots of cast members from the summer season of Bachelor Pad.

Date 2: It’s Ben with a moped in a gorgeous gorge! (That sounds like the end of a game of Clue, no?) Cue scenes of Taiwan’s natural wonders being polluted by the toxicity of reality television. Before long, the couple is at dinner, and Ben confesses to Ashley that he’s “on the teetering point of having stronger feelings than just liking you.” As Ben adds that he doesn’t like prematurely dropping the L-bomb, I start wondering if he might be a better match with Shawntel the Funeral Director, who’d have made a far better face of the Bachelorette franchise than fellow franchise vets Ashley, Chantal, or Emily, as far as I’m concerned. Ben does an adorable eyebrow raise when he mentions bringing Ashley home to Sonoma, but then he ruins all my good will toward him by showing up the next morning wearing a white knit cap, seersucker sports jacket, turquoise v-neck t-shirt, black shorts, and flip flops. JP leaves the room, declaring the fact that Ben’s date lasted overnight is a “total mindf***,” but no one storms out over dude’s crimes against fashion. Illegal! Still, if Ashley’s going to wind up engaged at the end of her “journey,” I can’t help but feel like she’d have the best chance of making it work with Ben, no matter how unfortunate his wardrobe. Time for a George Michael dance break: “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man…

Date 3: Need we say more than the fact that Ashley brings Lucas, Ames, and JP to Taipei’s “wedding-photo district,” dresses them like human dolls, and proceeds to test their potential to pose handsomely for future covers of Us, People, and InTouch magazines? “It makes this whole experience so much more real,” she grins, as her suitors die a little bit inside. Lucas is trussed up in a shiny gold shirt that goes all the way to his ankles, or as he sees it, a dress. Ames is assigned a sheer, pink ruffled shirt and powder blue tux that is still not as ugly as the Pepto-Bismol-colored pants he voluntarily wears to the post-shoot cocktail party. JP gets a black tux and a battered backdrop of Taiwan’s Northeast Coast that has an unseemly crease right down the middle. Ashley is shocked to find the guys don’t enjoy traveling halfway around the globe to wind up getting stuck inside a cramped photo studio, but when JP gets tears of jealousy in his eyes, it’s enough to score the week’s sole pre-ceremony rose. See how crying is an equal-opportunity power move on this franchise?

Date 4: Ashley arrives wearing a blue blouse that might just be a strategically knotted scarf and tight, tight white pants — perfect for a day-trip to Longshan Temple. Ryan declares there’s something “really romantic and intimate” about watching people pray, but the mood is killed when the duo roll some “bricks” to the matchmaking gods that will only grant their wishes if they land opposite sides up. Naturally, the tiles land on the same side, which is probably what gives Ashley the courage to dump her perky suitor by the end of lunch. Or maybe it’s that Ryan puts Ashley on the spot by asking her what she does to preserve the environment. Girlfriend clearly has a carbon footprint the size of a Yeti’s, since she can’t even squeak out something like, “I’ve got an energy-efficient bulb in my kitchen pantry.” Ryan fails to catch the subtext in the conversation when he asks, “Why doesn’t every house have a tankless heater?” and Ashley responds by saying “I’ll think about that when I build a house someday.” Seconds later, she gives the guy his walking papers — not wanting to leave him hanging until the rose ceremony — and Ryan ends up choked up in the middle of a flower garden. It’s hard not to feel bad for the guy when his dreams of marriage and fatherhood have been dashed so abruptly, but it’s time for a cocktail party.

Wait, what’s that? Ashley doesn’t need no stinkin’ cocktail party before this week’s rose ceremony. (Fine, lady, but you’re not making me feel guilty about the extra glass of sauv blanc I poured after Ryan’s fit of tears.) Ashley hands out roses to Constantine, Ben, and Ames, leaving Lucas to crinkle his nose like a woebegone golden labrador. All our Texas nice-guy wants is someone to make breakfast with! (In that case, here’s hoping he declines any invitations to attend “Bachelor/Bachelorette reunion parties.) And with that, we’re off to hometowns, but not before we check in with She Who ABC Wishes Had Told Brad to Put Everything He Owned in the Box to the Left Before They Picked Ashley as The Bachelorette!

Yes, folks, it’s a sit-down chat with Chris Harrison and Emily, who’s here to formally announce her breakup from last season’s Bachelor, Brad Womack, in an effort to get the paparazzi to stop hiding in the bushes outside her kitchen window/ set the record straight/ pave the way for her redemption on Season 8 of The Bachelorette. There’s a lot of sniffling and moist eyes, but not much in the way of actual mascara-smudging tears as Emily drones vaguely about her reasons why not. The tabloids made it tough. She loved him but she wasn’t convinced they’d be able to make it work long-term. Her desire for love possibly overshadowed the reality of what their relationship was about. Her five-year-old daughter is smart enough that she doesn’t believe all the creepy guys with cameras are mistaking her mommy for Taylor Swift. “This is my worst nightmare,” says Emily, who clearly doesn’t have the kind of macabre imagination that makes her wonder if she’ll find human remains under the floorboards of her potential future husbands, or Google their names along with search terms like “inmate finder” or “mug shot.” Ah well, I wish Emily well on her quest to return to anonymity, unless or until the Bachelorette franchise draws her back to its seductive flame.

What did you think of this week’s Bachelorette? Which of the four remaining suitors is best for Ashley? And which one do you think she’ll end up with? Sound off in the comments, 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. ali427 says:

    I love you, Slezak!! Your musical references are perfect, you write brilliantly, and you make me laugh on an almost-daily basis. Reading anything you write is a highlight of my day. I’d give anything to watch an episode of this or Idol with you!!

  2. Melissa says:

    Thank you, Slezak, for drawing attention to Ames’ ridiculous pants. Although I would argue they were less “Pepto” and more “Raspberry Beret.”

  3. Mama says:

    Emily would lose all cred if she was the new Bachelorette after complainng about the media/paparazzi. If she doesn’t like her daughter being followed and photographed, then becoming the new Bachelorette would make no sense.

  4. DrewH says:

    I was really hoping she would let Ames go. No matter how this turns out, she is so going to break his fragile heart. He needs a nice quiet librarian or elementary school teacher.

  5. susela says:

    Anybody else hear alarm bells going off over JP’s jealous, possessive, moody vibe? A little too explosive (and controlling) for my taste.

  6. Mel says:

    I’m hoping she chooses Ben, I like him the best of all the guys.

  7. Geo says:

    I’m surprised Ashley kept Ames, actually, since he admitted he’d been an unpopular kid up until he was sixteen. Usually if anyone admits any earlier sadness, weakness, or depth of character to this horrible woman, she drops them like a hot potato. She’s kind of like the “Soup Nazi” of Bachelorettes; as long as you stand in line and spout driveling insincere cliches at her, you’re fine, but say anything with any substance whatsoever and she cancels the cocktail party (again), and it’s “no rose for you!”

    • cmp says:

      I second, third and fourth that!!! You have described that Dimwit to a T. I believe she will end up alone. I don’t believe any of these guys are THAT into her, except maybe JP and I have the feeling he’s going to bail before this is over.

  8. E says:

    I keep trying to compose a comment, but the whole show is just off the rails. Not sure if the edit got compressed to fit in Emily, but these had to be 4 of the most non-interesting dates and resulting interactions of her “journey”.

    My hub loved Ashley in Brad’s season and its as if she’s transformed into bimbo barbie with her long extensions and miniscule clothing. Seems she can’t be sure of anything. Didn’t recognize the difference between lust and love with Bentley and now it playing catchup with a gaggle of kind of nice guys.

  9. GeorgiaPat says:

    I didn’t see the season with Brad and Emily, and I’m so glad that I missed it! I was a fan way back when I believed that this was a reasonable way to find a partner, but many seasons later, it seems unreasonable. The guys who were left in the top 6 seem sincere, but I don’t know what to think of Ashley. When she is having a mandatory “conversation” on camera with a guy, she has such an expression of distaste and boredom. I hope there was lively conversation at some point on the dates. This time next year, I think Chris will be having a weepy interview with Ashley, but I wish all the guys the best in finding a real relationship in the real world.

    • rgd says:

      I agree that Ashley looks bored. Even when Ben was telling her about his growing feelings for her, she looked bored.

  10. MK204 says:

    “All aboard for a steam-engine ride with Ben’s slightly sexier, better dressed doppelgänger”
    Totally DISAGREE. Ben is the better looking and sexier of the two. I like both. But Ben has a sexier voice and I think he’s a bit more handsome. They both seem to have heads on their shoulders and Constantine isn’t even sure what he feels, but they are the best two bachelors, IMO, since I started watching this during Jake’s season. They are both TOO GOOD for Ashley and I’m hoping that either of them become the next Bachelor. First choice is adorable sweet Ben. Constantine is second choice.

    I like Ben too much for him to end up with Ashley only to NOT end up with Ashley. So that’s why I’d like him to be the next Bachelor. JP is probably the best for her. He’s over protective but I think Ashley’s got this problems and if you wax poetic to her you can do anything. OR…she just doesn’t see through the poetic wax.

    I could not believe Ames’ red pants. As bad as Ben’s AM outfit looked…he could have been dressed by Yves St. Lauren compared to what Ames looked like. I don’t find Ames attractive AT ALL. And really after Lucas told her he didn’t enjoy the photo session did he really think she would not let him go???

    And speaking of which…this chick has absolutely no class when it comes to group dates. These have got to be the worst dates ever. But then again, Ashley is making Ali look like a rocket scientist.

    Bite your collective tongues by even remotely suggesting that Emily will be Bachelorette Season 8. I don’t think I can handle that.

    I heard through the rumor mill that the real reason Brad and Emily broke up was because her in laws (so to speak) bought her the house in NC to keep their granddaughter nearby but Brad insisted on Austin forever. I bet he had a temper and showed it to her. I thought the whole interview was a bust. What did we really learn here? We learned that Emily was really crying, not because of her breakup with Brad, but rather because of all the paparazzi and the privacy she lost. DUH!!! Reality Show…not a convent in the hills of Glockamora.

    This really is a stupid show and every week I ask myself…”Why the heck are you watching it?” I still don’t know the answer.

    • Kwise says:

      I totally agree that Ben is the hotter of the two, and I’m so glad you mentioned his voice. It is way sexy.

  11. bb says:

    the only way I can tell Ben apart from Constantine is that Ben has a pointy head. beyond that, no clue.

    I think Ames is the biggest catch in the whole bunch by a landslide.

    a lot of these guys are not nice–they are whiny, passive aggressive, hostile, and controlling. JP is a little scary.

  12. Jade says:

    Many funny comments by Slezak and others. I get MK 204’s befuddlement about why (s)he watches such an inane show. I wonder the same thing myself every Monday when I head straight to ABC to be glued to my set, all the while pondering my idiocy! Ashley is the worst Bachelorette ever. I didn’t like her at all when she was a contender on Brad’s season, but didn’t realize then how fundamentally dimwitted she was. Every week it’s the same deal: a new “fresh” start, new declaration that her “husband” is in the mix, a new set of insecurity tears, etc. And why does she wear 5 inch stiletto heels when she’s going on a walking tour of Taipei? As to the guys, I think they come off much better than Ashley does, though I don’t really see any of them remaining infatuated with her. Viewing friends seem to prefer Ben, and he’s both likable and level headed, but he doesn ‘t do it for me. And then there’s his odious fashion sense. Ames is also a nice guy on the show, but the tabloids portray him as a player. And his fashion sense is worse than Ben’s. That ludicrous adding garb should have prompted him to depart the show, but he actually looked like he relished wearing it. Constantine has grown on me, and his skepticism about engagement after just a few weeks on a reality show is heathy and refreshing. That leaves J. P., whom I have cavorts since day 1. I love his wiry frame, his combination of boyishness and grown up smarts, and the fact that he is a passionate kisser is a seriously attractive asset. I don’t think his distress about feeling let down when Ashley was out with or kissing other men is “controlling”–rather it’s a reaction of one who has developed strong feelings for her. His candor to her about that was, to me, appealing. So,I hope it’s J. P. Or Constantine. That said, now I have to kick myself for taking any of this seriously. That said, I’m eagerly awaiting the next Bachelor. That said , I’m kicking myself again.

    • jade says:

      Oops, two typo’s in my message: Line 10 “ludicrous adding garb” should be “ludicrous WEDDING garb”; Line “cavorts” should be “FAVORED.” Sorry–posted after midnight; brain semi-mush.

  13. cookie love says:

    After reading you for years about Idol, I find myself amused by these recaps! But really, no mention of scary JP’s temper?? He’s another Brad. And that’s not a compliment.

  14. msw says:

    This recap was right on, as usual. Pure joy to read, Slezak! :)