By Finesse and Artistry
One of the most riveting and shocking episodes in the history of The Bachelorette began with a scene that plays out in small towns across America every day — a 26 year old dental student driving a Maserati between mansions. And it ended in the same way that we prepare for our podcasts — one of us taking a dump and reading classified ads aloud while the other one frosts his tips at the sink.
|Walls down. Heart broken.|
What took place in between these two bookends was a textbook “If Being Here For the Wrong Reasons is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right, Even Though My Reasons, Wrong or Right, are Completely Nonsensical” scenario. Our heroine Ashley was emotionally broken down and defeated, her insecurities exposed to the world by a terribly ineffective stand-up comedian and then exploited by a ruthless Family Fun Center owner/operator. Sobbing, weeping, and flailing about her bed like any woman would do to get over a guy she met the previous week, Ashley pondered rhetorically, “Were my instincts wrong?” What, because you fell in love with a sociopath in like 3 days? Don’t be so hard on yourself. The important question we’ve asked ourselves now is, “How do we heal?” We’re afraid there are no easy answers. Let’s process this episode, one piece at a time, and try to get through it together.
Let’s hold each other, metaphorically, after the jump…
– The theme for this season was set in stone the minute Chantal O. and Emily bailed and ABC signed its third choice as the Bachelorette. But it really came into clear relief at the start of Episode 3, when Ashley announced, “I can’t believe all these guys want to date me.” Ladies and gentlemen, Ashley, the most painfully insecure Bachelorette ever. Can Ashley overcome the uncertainty and fear that maybe none of the Gentlemen are there for her? Maybe, but only through dance. Yes, even though we were not aware of Ashley’s passion during the last season of the Bachelor, it is now clear that, outside of the dental arena, Ashley is most comfortable shaking it in front of the cameras and, preferably, a huge crowd of strangers. So the first one-on-one date consisted of poor Ben C. being thrust into the center of an Ashley-led “flash mob” of electric bugaloo-ers. As the throng of passersby joined Ashley on the grass to dance, she Ash-laughed™, and Ben noted, “In that moment, I decided this is the kind of woman I could spend the rest of my life with.”
|Like a G-6 for the price of a G-3|
|Coming soon to a theater near you to make you cry!|
– The roast was a brilliant idea by the producers, because other than Americans who follow English Premiere League Soccer, there is no one in this country who takes themselves more seriously than Bachelorette contestants. The obvious whipping boy is Jeff, in particular his face. Also taking shrapnel were Ashley’s allegedly small boobs, William’s height, Jeff’s face, Ashley’s boobs, and Jeff’s face. How Ames’s forehead escaped with only a glancing blow by Lucas is one of the 5 greatest mysteries of the past decade.
|The sun still shines in the dark.|
– Ashley attempts to confront Bentley about whether he was HFTRR by describing the text she received from Michelle Money, who we at GTOG presume is the mother of Bentley’s child. Money had earlier alerted Ashley that Bentley was only there to promote his business, a Family Fun Center in Salt Lake City. Without denying it, Bentley attacks Money’s unimpeachable credibility and then, nonsensically but effectively, says, “That doesn’t apply to what we’re doing here.” Ashley is persuaded, but needs more reassurance. “Can you trust in this?” she asks. The master of double-speak then says something that again could be interpreted any number of ways, such as “I’m with you” or “I’m following you” or “I’m sitting here and you’re sitting there, so we’re together.” Surprisingly, Bentley’s completely emotionless mumbling is not enough to score a rose on this night; no, the prize for the group date goes to Apollo. And that’s a blow to the Family Fun Center public relations campaign that Bentley just can’t stomach. He’s out of there.
|“Yeah, no, totally, definitely not.”|
– Before leaving the house to bid adieu to Ashley, Bentley must tell the fellow Gentlemen and J.P.’s nipples that he is leaving. It’s not a difficult conversation. Indeed, the Hannibal Lecter of Family Fun Centers doesn’t really discuss anything; he makes announcements like “I have to go,” waits for the other person to fill in the blanks, then gropes that other person. He did this with the men. And then he executed the move perfectly against our poor, somehow unsuspecting Bachelorette. Forget for a moment how little Cozy, Bentley’s daughter, will feel in ten years when it dawns on her that, Jesus, my name is Cozy, and also, my dad is such a d-bag that he used me as an excuse to leave this show, when in reality, he didn’t miss me at all. Sorry kid, but we have a feeling we’ll be seeing you here in a few years. For now let’s focus on Ashley. Imagine being in her shoes. You meet a man. You’ve been warned that he is HFTWR. You can’t really understand what he’s saying, because he mumbles and has no inflection in his voice. You have like four brief conversations. Then he tells you he’s leaving. What would you do?
– The emotional tsunami that ensues may have taken many viewers by surprise, but not GTOG. How many times have we thrown ourselves into bed in a fit of hysterics, lamenting aloud, in the presence of a camera, “Was I wrong about everything?” Too many. Later, after Bentley tries and fails to convince the devastated Ashley to consummate their “dot, dot, dot” relationship on the living room couch, Chris Harrison suggests that maybe Ashley is really only in love with “the idea” of the “forbidden” Bentley, which is really just a gentle way of saying, “Get a hold of yourself.”
– J.P. is left to try to pick up the pieces of Ashley’s heart on the second one-on-one of the episode, deftly absorbing the question every man loves to hear on a first date: “How do I know you won’t break up with me?” He also took an adaptation of the Tom Cruise “I’m coming to your house an hour late dripping with sweat from three hours of beach volleyball in skin tight jeans and taking a shower” Playbook, when he somehow had pajama pants at the ready. Fittingly and deservedly, he gets a rose just for staying in the room.
– There is no pre-rose ceremony cocktail hour on elimination night, just as there is no explanation for what Ashley is wearing. It’s too fresh, too painful. Instead, we are left with questions. What are those flaps on Ames’s shirt? Why is he dressed like a Nazi? Has anyone ever done less than Ames has and still advanced this far? Why is the guy named Chris “shocked” and “stunned” at his elimination? Why wouldn’t Jeff try to sell his mask on E-bay? And, most importantly, who the f— is Constantine?
|May be HFTWR. We have no way of knowing.|
Still trying to pick up the pieces after watching Episode 3? Sit back, relax, and let the feelings wash over you with our Raw Emotion Podcast.