'The Bachelorette' The demise of 'The Bachelor' franchise (review)


When historians try to pinpoint what was the one single reason why The Bachelor franchise came to end, Ashley Hebert may be the answer. I’m not here to bash, be mean or petty. On paper, Ashley had the statistics to be a promising Bachelorette. She’s attractive enough in a fit, mousey kind of way, has a great career ahead of her and went through the requisite heart break of all the Bachelorettes before her. Some may say the show has grown cliché, with its predictable dates, recycled drama and preposterous premise. The truth is that leading up to Ashley’s season, The Bachelor series was still the most watched show on Monday nights. This may have been because people have absolutely nothing else to watch (or do) on Monday nights.  Fans of the show liked counting how many times The Bachelorettes in the past used the word “amazing.” They longed for the possibility, as impossible as it seemed, of two people falling in love on a reality show. But Ashley’s unforgiveable actions this season come down to this: she’s too intelligent to believe that 25 guys could actually all want her as a wife. She’s so sure of this, it is actually eating her alive and has ultimately become her downfall. Neck in neck with her sharp dose of reality lies her horrible judge of character. Her intuition has completely failed her and she still has no idea at this point in the season.  And this lack of judgment is being thrown in our faces Monday after Monday, all while ABC teases us with the closure of a Bentley confrontration, then drops us on our heads.

I used to blog about this show because it was fantasy. An escape from every day life and the chance to watch for that rare chance at true love and drama (Thank you, Trista and Ryan. Thank you, Ali and Roberto. Thank you for dumping your fiance and picking the runner up, then marrying her on TV, Jason Mesnick). These seasons will always be thought of as the glory days. What we see now on Monday nights is not entertainment. It’s torture. It’s like listening to a close friend in a really bad relationship, who tells you that maybe if she sticks it out a little longer, it will get better. The whole time, you know it will never work, but you smile and try to be supportive. This girl will never listen to reason. Only she’s not your friend – she’s someone on TV that you can scream at in your living room.

As for this week’s dates, only Ben F’s was remotely watchable. In fact, I saw glimpses of what Ashley could potentially be as the most positive version of herself. She was chipper. She was giddy. But most of all, she was confident because she sensed that Ben was into her. For some crazy reason, Ben F seems to actually like the idea of having Ashley pick grapes with him as part of every day life. I’m not sure if she’ll be doing this before or after filling cavities, but I guess they didn’t make it to that part of the conversation. We got to learn about Ben F’s dad, how he’s finally ready to let someone in after his death and our hearts went out to Ben. Ben F may be the only future Bachelor prospect if they are insistent on picking someone from this weakish crop of dudes. For that reason alone, I hope Ashley doesn’t choose him. If it’s between Ben F and Round 3 of Brad Womack, I’ll take Ben F. I don’t think I would have said this before this week, but I have a whole new respect for Ben.

The Thai Boxing date was ludicrous. Putting guys into a boxing ring so they can beat each other’s brains out with the purpose of allowing Ashley to get to know them better is one of the most moronic concepts we have ever seen on this show. I can understand flaunting the guys’ bodies and having them work out for 3 hours to watch the sweat glisten off their pectoral muscles (the equivalent of having all the bachelorettes run around in bikinis for a hot tub party). But the fact that the guys were just fighting to fight is not only dangerous, it’s insanity. The winner didn’t get alone time with Ashley. The reward was survival. Dumbest group date ever. Throw some chocolate pudding in the ring. Or jello. Make it funny, not cringe-worthy. Yes, I understand they’re in Thailand and so Thai boxing may make sense if these guys were professional boxers. But they’re not. Ames seemed like half of his brain got removed post-concussion. I hope they checked him thoroughly for internal bleeding. And Ashley was so concerned about him, she didn’t even watch Constatine kick Soul Patch’s butt. Poor Soul Patch Nick – he’s getting his ass kicked in the ring for absolutely no reason and Ashley couldn’t care less.

The fact that Ashley found the guys’ fighting to be “hot” just made me get more frustrated with her. And for what purpose was Ashley herself training? Was she going to fight too? Or was she using this as an opportunity to wear spandex? This made no sense. As The Husband reflected poignantly, “This date is so stupid, in every way.” The only redeeming part of the date was seeing the guys loaded up like horses into the back of a truck with Ashley and their meaty, sweaty, glistening abs all lined up next to each other like the Miss USA pageant that was on TV Sunday night. Totally barbaric, but at least if they’re going to show the bachelorettes run around in skimpy little outfits and bathing suits when competing for one man, they make the guys look equally meaty. The highlight of this date was JP’s comeback against Mickey. I thought little JP was going down, but he came back with a vengeance, Rocky style. The Jew from Long Island! Go, JP!!

More false advertising when Ames’s ambulance trip turned out to be not as dramatic as teased in previews. The guy was fully conscious and while a bit off (can’t be certain if that’s from being punched in the face or just his personality) he was able to apologize to Ashley while they take him away in an ambulance. Why didn’t Ashley go with him if she was that concerned? Why didn’t they all go with him? Then he shows up in a suit and forgets all of his “romantic things” he wanted to say to Ashley. I felt really bad for Ames. Poor guy gets a concussion to compete for Ashley but she’s the one with the cloudy head.

I was happy that Blake got the rose on the date. He seems like a nice guy and we haven’t gotten to see much of him. I’m hoping that he can help revive the show once this Bentley situation is addressed. Although because he’s smart, he’ll probably get fed up and leave. Lucas’s conversation with Ashley was somewhat painful to watch, mostly because he directly calls her out on being attracted to Bentley. Nothing like bringing up your competition and telling the objection of your affection that she’s interested in someone else. That really builds up the romance. Nice job, Lucas.

As for the two on one date, this was almost as annoying as the Thai boxing group date. For one, I don’t trust William. He’s a man child. And like Ashley, I can’t really get past his antics at the Ashley Roast date. He’s got some true meanness in him and regardless of whether he was joking or not at the Roast, he didn’t have the sense to know how hurtful he was. Another sign of his immaturity. He completely sold out Ben C, who seemed like a nice guy. It sounds like whatever William told Ashley may not have been the truth, but Ashley didn’t even think twice about it.  I doubt it had much to do with whether Ashley believed William.  I never thought Ashley was really into Ben C anyhow, and William’s intel gave her the perfect reason to get rid of him. By far, Ashley’s best move to date was sending home William too. In fact, this was the most respect I’ve had for Ashley since the season started. William’s reaction to getting sent home solidified her decision – he sounded absolutely pathetic. Was he suicidal?  Why is his whole world coming to an end now?  Such a drama queen.  Side comment: was William growing a Chia head hairdo during this week’s episode?  Another side note: William is the first revealed “mystery man” that will be on Bachelor Pad 2 when it airs on August 8th.  Not to fear – he has something to live for again.

The possibility that Ben C was not interested in Ashley sent her into a tailspin, which ultimately pushed her insecurities to an all time high. She talks about being honest with these guys, but sometimes, honesty is too much. I mean Constantine is telling her that he’s not into her and prefers the dudes to her. And Lucas is saying he knows she’s not interested in him. Yet she still keeps these guys around. STUPID. The lack of interest in Ashley is like a disease that can be caught quickly if not stifled.  The last thing Ashley needs is a bunch of drunk dudes hanging around and discussing how uninterested they are in Ash.  Another side note: If I have to watch her go on a date with Lucas or another one with Constantine, I am going to fast forward.

I’m still getting the cheese vibe from Ryan P. He has declared that he’s “totally into (Ashley),” and we know that it’s only another episode before he’ll be throwing out Love bombs. But from the looks of next week’s show (if that’s really next week’s show), some of these guys may not take Ashley’s news of Bentley’s return so well. This show has never seen contestants leaving left and right because they weren’t interested in The Bachelorette. That could be Mike Fleiss’s most shocking ending ever afterall: not every Bachelorette can carry a season.

There’s not much more to say about this week’s show. Except that I’m happy it’s over. Bentley is the only remotely interesting thing happening this season and they’re milking this drama for all it’s worth. Shame on Chris Harrison for not telling his girl Ashley what a horrible creature Bentley is. They could nip this lingering doubt of Ashley’s in the bud in 3 minutes by telling her the truth. They don’t need to fly him all the way to Hong Kong for Ashley to have closure. They should show her some footage of him and THEN let her confront him. Now that would be far more interesting. I have a feeling that Bentley will be all Bentley-like and this will lead to more confusion, tears and self-doubt. Not to mention, the guys remaining who for some reason still want to be around to pursue Ashley, are not being treated fairly. I found Chris’s conversation with Ashley hard to watch.  He definitely must know what’s going on at this point and why he wouldn’t tell her, particularly when he sees that this is preventing her from moving on, is just cruel.

Will Ashley regain her senses? Can she redeem herself? Will Emily Maynard show up, dismiss all of Ashley’s guys and start the season from scratch? Please???  At least we get to see some Hong Kong next week. That is, if any of you are actually going to watch.  If you don’t watch, check out my blog – I’ll give you all the highlights.

By Stacey B