Whether you adore his optimism (like Ashley) or find his bubbly personality hard to swallow (like Ashley’s other guys), I think we can all agree on one thing when it comes to Ryan Park: His [ill-advised/uber-romantic] return to ask for another shot with Ashley was the most entertaining part of this week’s Bachelorette episode. As Carla [perfectly/hilariously] put it, Ryan’s “blind ambition was the star” of hour(s).

And, after reading this media conference call with thhe man called “Mr. Sunshine,” we can all (maybe?) agree on something else, even if Ryan himself sounds less than sure: This peppy, imperturbable solar power entrepreneur is setting himself up pretty solidly to be the next Bachelor.

Read on for the best bits from Ryan’s conference call, including how and why he popped up in Fiji, his current dating status and the mountain-moving powers of Chris Harrison:

On how he felt when Ashley eliminated him the first time:
You know, I was rather surprised. I really didn’t see it coming. After watching it now I totally understand. I see the connection she has with the remaining bachelors. But I just felt that we needed something more. It felt like, when she said she didn’t have the passion for me, or didn’t feel the spark between us, it was strange because I had felt it. I know that by saying I felt it earlier doesn’t mean that she necessarily did. I thought she did. And our date was wandering around a temple and performing Tai Chi — which unfortunately wasn’t shown on television — and not really the type of date that’s so hot and steamy. And that was our first 1-on-1 date. I guess I’ll just sum it all up and say that I was shocked.

On how it feels to be told you are too perfect while being dumped:
But one thing that wasn’t shown, walking out, she said a comment that she felt that I was her perfect guy and all this stuff and this and that, but she felt that she didn’t deserve me. And that, like, stopped me in my tracks on the walk out. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And now after even watching this and seeing the theme over and over where she’s unsure of herself, now it makes that much more sense. But for her to say something like that, that was like, “What?” Like, I’m here, I’m here for you. Don’t sit there and say you don’t deserve me.

On why he’s happy he got a free trip to Fiji to return to talk to Ashley:
I’m glad I did go. When I was let go, I didn’t really totally understand. Now everything really becomes clear after watching it and seeing her interact with the other guys. But what wasn’t shown on TV is some of the really good interactions we did have together and some of the really good conversations we did have and just now it’s very obvious that the connection from her, that passionate connection wasn’t there for her. But I’m very happy I went back. It was just in my mind, thinking that if there was more time it could be a really magical ending. And, so, I’m happy I got that closure I needed.

On the odds Ashley would take him back (in his mind):
I did feel that there was a chance. I didn’t feel that there was a great chance. I mean, I knew going out there anyway it was likely somewhat of a long shot. But I’m someone just in life — I guess I’ll call myself an eternal optimist. It’s just that I see the brighter side of things. So I thought, “You know what, I’ve got nothing to lose here and I’m going for it.” I was hopeful, let’s put it that way. It’s almost like the movie, gosh what is it … Anchorman, you know, “So you’re saying there’s a chance.” [Ed note.: It’s actually Dumb and Dumber. How telling!]

On how he still thinks he and Ashley could work (if he was the last guy on earth?):
Obviously timing has a place in every relationship and, you know, I definitely do think Ashley and I would work. I still feel that way. […] Maybe if we had a date earlier on it could’ve sparked something and maybe she — I can’t speak on behalf of Ashley, but I don’t know if because her connection had grown so strong with both JP and Ben that it closed her off to me at the time we finally had our 1-on-1? To answer your question, I think something could have been different had it been a little bit different circumstance. Maybe if JP and Ben F. weren’t around! But that’s just the way it is.

On his dating life now:
I’m not dating anyone right now. I was waiting until the show fully concludes. To be straight, I mean, I just had a complete fear of, you know — I wouldn’t even go out to coffee with a friend if it happens to be a girl for fear of having a picture pop up in a magazine and say that “He’s dating someone, right? That slimy bad guy!” No, as of right now my dating life is not exciting. [Ed. note: Outspokenly, unequivocally single and already altering your behavior because of the tabloids? How very ‘Bachelor’ of you, Ryan.]

On how he ended up in Fiji, waiting around in Desperation Cove for a second chance with Ashley:
I did approach them. It was a few days after being let go. I was talking with one of the producers, who just checking in to see how I was doing. We got to talking about everything and how everything went down. And I just felt like, I said, “Yeah, I feel like I got a bad deal and just the short end of the stick.” And then I kinda started saying, “Gosh, I wish I was there, I wish she’d meet my family.” And then it progressed kind of to, “I don’t want to be portrayed or come across like Bentley did when the guys got so upset, but I wonder if I did see her one more time…” Then it was proposed that I could call Chris [Harrison] and ask what Chris thought. And, no joke, I called Chris in the evening early in the hometown dates that week. I had about a 30 minute conversation with him on the phone and sure enough he said that it would be acceptable and I went for it. I was on a plane Friday night for Fiji, and very glad I did. [Ed. note: Isn’t it cute how they pretend Chris Harrison gets to decide things?]

On what he did in Fiji besides wait around in Desperation Cove:
I really did wait several days, which were long days of waiting. In truth, though, I was able to perform some work there, which is just a real testament to society these days. It’s not like I was just totally twiddling my thumbs, but it was brutal waiting. I just didn’t want her to interrupt what she had already going on with the other guys. She clearly had a set schedule set up for other guys and she had to fit me in. So I understand the wait.

On the (mis)conception that his happiness is insincere:
But I still maintained, I guess, a positive demeanor from early in the morning to late in the evening. I can see how that can kind of get on some people’s nerves. I definitely learned a lot about myself through that. Never before — I mean, I have wonderful friends, literally around the globe and never, ever have I ever been called insincere or un-genuine before in my lifetime. There was a little bit of that early on because I think — I don’t want to call myself “unique” or anything because I think it’s just different in that most of the time when you do see someone with a really happy outside, it’s trying to cover up something inside. And I definitely don’t blame the guys for thinking that way up front. But those gentlemen that were around much longer realized that, wow, the proverbial mask is not coming off of me! That’s just the way I live my life.

On whether he’d want to be The Bachelor:
Regarding The Bachelor, what you will see on the upcoming “Men Tell All” is that Chris asks me that point-blank if I’d do it. And as of right now I would have to say that it’s a maybe. For starters, I actually have a real job! Not that past Bachelors haven’t, right? But it’s not something that I need. It’s not like I’m aspiring to try to go into it that way. But on the negative side it’s no secret that your life becomes, I guess I’ll call it a circus. I mean, your personal life becomes everybody’s business and that’s not particularly exciting for me. On a positive note, I actually do believe in this. People say, “Oh there hasn’t been that many couples that stay together.” but I point out how about in normal dating life? I’ve dated a few women in my life and you know it hasn’t worked out. So I do believe it can work. I do believe that Ashley is really in love. So I guess it’s two sides. And I just don’t know if I would right now.

What else is new in Bachelorette Land? Read the pre-finale roundup to find out!

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.