For an episode subtitled “The Men Tell All,” Sunday night’s installment of The Bachelorette — the fetid (un)appetizer to tonight’s season finale — contained precious little in the way of scintillating intel. We discovered that Ashley suffered a toe cramp while practicing Tai Chi with Ryan in Taiwan (probably because her pants were so tight, she lost circulation to her extremities). We learned that our heroine likes to slather her face with Vaseline right before bedtime. (“You don’t wanna sleep next to me: That’s all I’m saying!” Ashley grinned, continuing her reign of unwitting romantic self-sabotage.) There was no Bentley, no matter how hard ABC’s promo editors worked to make us believe that the season’s biggest villain would be flying in from Doucheistan to submit to the audience’s thirst for blood. And, of course, there was an extended advertisement for Season 2 of Bachelor Pad, that bubbling cauldron of toxic skank and international bad vibes that serves as a “special home*” for contestants who don’t find love on The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.
One big problem that always plagues the “Men Tell All” telecasts is that host Chris Harrison is far too much a complicit company man to ask the tough questions of Ashley, her suitors, the show, and even himself that viewers really want answered. So in that spirit, I’m not bothering to recap the bland proceedings — Ryan feels “fortunate and thankful” for knowing Ashley; Ames just wants Ashley to be happy; Michelle Money is clutching at fame’s throat like a Boa constrictor gripping a juicy bunny — and will instead pose 10 questions I would’ve really liked asked and answered.
1) During the extended discussion of Bentleygate, I really wish Ashley had turned to Chris Harrison and asked: Do you ever feel like a jackass for not showing me behind-the-scenes footage of Bentley telling Bachelorette producers that he was only on the show to play games with my heart?
2) Someone really needed to pause on the screengrab of Constantine and Ben that I’ve embedded at the end of this recap and asked Ashley if she ever found it a little creepy to be dating two guys who could easily pass as brothers. (Bonus question for Ashley and all of you at home: Which one’s hotter? I will answer “Constantine” 100 times out of 100, and not just ’cause he knows how to make a pizza, although that helps. Then again, Ben makes wine, and that’s no shabby skill set, either.)
3) This is more of a burning question than something that needed to be asked during the telecast, but did Bachelorette producers have such a hard time filling seats for “Men Tell All” that they were forced to create a CGI audience on a tight budget? If not, how come half the people in reaction shots looked blue and pixelated (see second screengrab below)? Poor Ashley: She can’t even get an audience to stick around. Badum-bum!
4) Seriously, I wanted to throttle Chris Harrison with a bouquet of Bachelorette roses when he ended his interview with William by noting, “you’ve learned a life lesson from all of this.” A LIFE LESSON THAT ENDED WITH HIM SIGNING UP FOR BACHELOR PAD? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
5) The more important question for William, though, pertained to his early-season comment to Ashley that he’s “always wanted to be a standup comedian.” Was that his real reason for coming on the show? And if so, couldn’t he have come up with funnier material during the Ashley Roast date?
6) A question for the charming, way-too-intelligent-for-this-jelly Ames: With hindsight in your corner, do you now regret stepping into that Muay Thai boxing ring and getting a concussion in your failed attempt to win Ashley’s heart? Also: How many fingers am I holding up? Do you know what year it is? Do you know what your name is? Why are you, too, going on Bachelor Pad?
7) Where in Frederick’s of Hollywood hell did Ashley procure that one-shouldered, black lycra dress with bizarre torso peekaboo?
8) Why does Ashley think that the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is justification for making terrible life decision after terrible life decision after terrible life decision?
9) Why do Tim and the other doooods think it’s such a groaner that Ryan kept a journal during his Bachelorette experience? Yeah, his extensive research and “pages and pages” of notes were a little disconcerting at best, but when did it become un-manly to put one’s thoughts down on paper?
10) Who the hell are “Chris D” and “Matt,” and how did they wind up on the soundstage with Ryan, Ames, Constantine, and the other bachelors?
Bonus convo with my hubby when Michelle Money stepped into the hot seat:
Hubby: “She was the bitchy one last season, right?”
Hubby: (Taking swig of gin) “Why do I know this? WHY? I am appalled with myself.”