Of all the perks that come with recapping The Bachelor, probably the coolest aspect is how this year, they managed to schedule episodes on Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day AND the Fourth of July! Weird that they missed Christmas and my birthday, since it’s such a GIFT to get to write this on a holiday. In honor of Memorial Day, this recap is dedicated to the troops. Thank you for protecting our American freedoms, like the freedom to act like goons on reality dating shows. Speaking of which…
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN THIS RECAP UNTIL THE END OF THE INTERNET:
Jeff is still wearing his mask. And you thought he couldn’t look stupider than he did the first night! Then you saw the mask in the daytime, with a sweatshirt and dumb-ass beanie — an even more wildly inappropriate ensemble with which to don a formal, flowery black mask! Who’s stupid NOW?!
Yup, still him.
He tells Ames that he plans on revealing his secret eyebrows and the bridge of his Michelangelo-sculpted nose on his first date with Ashley. Time to start taking bets on what her reaction will be! (I call, “…Oh. Okay,” followed by a deep, regret-filled sigh.) Jeff’s brain is getting heat stroke from sitting outside in the hot California weather in his beanie and mask. He tells Ames he wishes he’d picked a white mask instead. (“NO MASK/Was never cast on this show” apparently wasn’t an option in this hypothetical scenario.) Ol’ Harvard man Ames totally wants to rip into Jeff with his fists but does it with sarcasm instead. I admire his restraint.
Jeff continues to concern me that he may have real mental problems. But I am not yet concerned enough to stop mocking him. I can’t help it when he says stuff like this: “I’ve taken the stealth approach, and I feel like a lot of the guys are riding around in cabs.” JEFF! A cab is a normal mode of transport! You know what they call guys who wear masks and “stealthily” go after women? Muggers, Jeff! MUGGERS.
Date #1: A Wedding with William
Date card: “Want to make a splash in Vegas? I do.”
What it should have read: “let’s get married LOL jk no but srsly let’s do it omg”
Ashley rolls up to the Bachelor Mansion in a convertible. She’s wearing a fancy white dress under a brown leather jacket. I don’t think they go well together, but what do I know? I’m just a small town butcher from Jersey. There’s a lot of talk about how hot everyone is (except Jeff, obviously) because let’s not forget, all of these people are still virtual strangers.
William and Ashley board a private jet to go to Vegas, a realistic preview for what their life would be like if they got married, since William is a successful “just in sales.” As soon as they get out of their limo in Vegas, they’re bombarded by Bachelor fans that ABC sent over to bolster Ashley’s self-esteem. “We felt like a celebrity couple!” says William.
Their celebrity couple name would be Wishley, as in, “I wish I didn’t know who Wishley are.”
Not content to let the season be its own long-form mockery of the engagement process, Ashley decides to put William to the test (the COMMITMENT test) on their first date, by planning a wedding in a day! The Bachelorette, always on the cutting edge of what can be considered a “date.” Now even literal nightmares qualify.
The first one-on-one date of the season is important. Remember last season, Ashley got the first date, and they went to a night-time carnival of horrors. Ali, Jake, and Jillian all got first one-on-one dates, too. I’m not saying William will be the next Bachelor, but whoever gets the first date usually ends up playing a big role in the season, so the date is usually a big, memorable, “top THAT!” affair.
So I think what I like best about THIS first date is how fun, lighthearted and casual it is. Just normal “get to know you” first date stuff, like tasting wedding cakes and picking out rings. Just your run-of-the-mill “kind-of getting married, kind-of NOT getting married, and neither of us actually knows which it is” date that you tell your non-existent children about years later. The other thing I like is how this date appeals to everyone, since all women dream of rush-planning a wedding to a stranger, every straight guy I know can’t get enough marriage prep talk, and the gays, well they can’t even legally GET married soooooo please don’t make me finish this sentence because I’m choking on my own sarcasm and if I die no one will EVER propose to me and then life would have been pointless.
So Wishley go around tasting cakes and stuff, and Ashley jokes that maybe they’ll get married tonight. William looks terrified, the best emotion to evoke in a guy on the first date. William: “To me, it’s a joke, it’s a joke, it’s a joke.” Yes, this show is a joke, but this wedding doesn’t seem to be. So when the minister shows up in his full robe, William freaks out: “I’m f***ing nervous. I’m f***ing scared.” But they’re still doing it. Or something. Ashley starts walking down the aisle without a bouquet like a f***ing AMATEUR. William grabs some flowers out of a vase or something, and then they start doing the vows. If any of you think this is cute or romantic or “whimsical,” let me be the one to tell you NO. It’s more like those Scared Straight seminars where actors pretend to overdose to scare kids away from drugs. William is already showing signs of trauma. His PTSD will probably prevent him from ever marrying. (That and his celebrity impressions.)
William says, “I do,” because it’s more like “What else CAN I do?” and now Ashley is freaked out that her hellish game of chicken “could be a legally binding marriage!” She doesn’t say “I do,” and instead says maybe she and William will end up married (no they won’t), but not today. But she’s definitely falling for him after just “half of a date.” I’m falling into a coma, mentally exhausted by the sheer madness of this.
If this is their first date, then they should just Benjamin Button the whole relationship and get married at a cocktail bar.
After giving William a serious case of wedding blue balls, Ashley takes him to have dinner on a man-made island in the Bellagio lake. They take a rowboat out there. It’d be cool if magical skeletons tried to drag the boat down, the way that happened to Harry Potter and Dumbledore in that cave where the locket was, because I’m even worse than William sometimes. Random party girls scream, “WE LOVE YOU, ASHLEY!” from the street. Ashley hopes some men love her, too. She’s too pretty to be so sad.
At dinner, William reveals that he’s always wanted to be a stand-up comedian, which he immediately follows up with the story about how his father died. (Dead family member story count: 1). It’s actually a tragic story: His father was an alcoholic and died in the ICU after being beaten and left by the side of the road. Ashley is on the verge of tears and then William lays the kicker on her, about how his watch stopped at the exact moment he died. Ashley: “WHAT! I’m shaking right now.” Her dad is an alcoholic, too. This show should be called The Dad Issues Dating Service.
Ashley can’t wait to pin that rose on William’s lapel. “In you, I see EVERYTHING,” she says, basically begging him to take it. Now I’m getting recapper blue balls. They already got married, they’re in love after one night, so let’s just shut this thing down now. They make out as the Bellagio fountains dance to the beat of their hearts and William says, “This is the kind of date where you marry that person.” Which he did, but won’t again.
Date #2: Poppin’ and Lockin’ with Constantine, Ryan M, Chris, Ben F, Nick, Bentley, West, Lucas, Stephen, Blake, Matt and Ames
Date card: “In Sin City, boys will be boys.”
What it should have read: “If you can’t dance don’t even bother showing up.”
Twelve dudes, including Bad News Bentley, head to Vegas to “be boys.” Ashley meets them in her favorite Farmhand Barbie outfit. She’s got the world’s best problem: “I have no idea how I’m going to handle this many men!” They walk into a theater and see the Jabbawockeez doing a sick routine, which just makes me wish we were watching America’s Best Dance Crew. Ashley’s abs slip through a trap door and then magically appear on stage!
So far, the biggest themes of this Bachelorette season are dead family members and masks.
The guys will be broken up into two teams to choreograph a routine. The winning “crew” will get to perform with the Jabbawockeez (woooo!) and hang out with Ashley later (meh), and the other ones will get sent back to the mansion and probably won’t get roses because Ashley will know they’re bad at sex, as she gratuitously suggests over and over: “If he can dance, you know what that means … good times on the dance floor!” Har har har!
So basically the guys spend a lot of this date talking and dancing with each other while Ashley’s abs act as choreography consultants. Constantine comes up with the idea of putting on a choreographed wedding dance. More wedding stuff, GREAT. Their crew name is “The Best Men.” The other team, which has Barfley‘s stupid jerk face shackled to its proverbial ankle, call themselves “No Rhythm Nation,” thanks to West, who we are learning is a real Sassy Suzy.
“The Best Men” perform first, if you can call it that. “No Rhythm Nation” goes next, and they get extra points for including Ashley in every aspect of their routine, which we all know is an unstated rule of every aspect of this show. If you’re not brushing your teeth and spreading your cheese for Ashley, you may as well pack your bags now. The Jabbawockeez pick “No Rhythm Nation” to be the giant moving pimple on the face of what I assume is an otherwise phenomenal Vegas show. “The Best Men” wallow in their unintentionally ironic name as they board a plane back to No-Rose-Ville. Ames says he wants to “throw himself in the engine” of the plane. He has some serious darkness in him, mark my words.
Back in Vegas, “No Rhythm Nation” do their silly little dance number, probably at the end of the show so if the audience walks out, it’s no big deal. Then it’s time for the rooftop wrap party, and Ashley wants to treat it like an interrogation conveyor belt. Blake is up first, and we discover he’s the dentist in the mix. They bond over how they’re both perfectionists. “Double the perfection!” Definitely the smuggest thing two human beings can bond over! So special.
West is next, and Ashley chooses the worst possible words to kick that off: “I’m DYING to get to know you.” So he tells her the tragic story we heard last week about how his wife died. (Dead family member story count: 2). “Pretty heavy,” says Ashley, really getting to the core of the issue.
Woof, here comes BOOOOntley, saying he wants Ashley to “Tickle his PICKLE.” Don’t trust that bleep, you guys. The bleep makes it sound like he said “penis,” but he said “pickle,” which I think is actually worse, because it’s gross AND stupid. Stop trying to make BLEEECHntley seem worse than he is, ABC! He is doing all the work on his own. He tells Ashley that if the show gets too hard, he might go home to be with his daughter. In reality, he is a skeezy creep who likes her ass and wants to win, but is not actually interested in her. Ashley gets super insecure and whiny and says, “If you feel something for me, please, please, please stick around, please, please, please, please, PLEEEEASE, pleeeease.” We cut to commercial while she says “please” a thousand more times. Yes, Bentley is the worst, but Ashley isn’t doing much for her own case, in terms of Why He Should Be Into Her.
Ashley gives Bentley the group date rose, a decision so idiotic that that it should retroactively revoke her admission into dental school. GIRLFRIEND. You have eleven other nice guys climbing all over each other to woo you, and you choose the guy whose face looks like caveman’s foot and who doesn’t give a crap about you. He doesn’t even have a dead [whoever]!
Back at the mansion: The rest of the guys are OH MY GOD SHUT UP MEGHAN LOOK HOW JEFF NAPS!
A mask OVER the other mask?!?!?!?! Kill me because now I’ve seen it ALL!
Alright, let’s continue. The rest of the guys are wondering who will get the final date of the week. The third date card arrives with JP and Mickey’s names on it, and there’s a super-fake looking coin in the envelope. Winner of the coin toss gets the date. I’m rooting for hot-hot-hot JP, so of course the flip goes to Mickey’s too-confident dolphin teeth.
Date #3: Flipping a coin with Mickey
Date card: “Love is a gamble.”
What it should have read: “Can I flip you off?”
Mickey swims over to Vegas, where he and Ashley embark on a an adventure of chance. Everything they do, they flip a coin to decide. “Red or white?” “You or me?” “Live or die?” “Second or third base?” The coin, a demanding master, dictates that Ashley get in a precarious apparatus to fetch Mickey some wine, and then that they go pay their respects to Mickey’s trapped aquatic brethren.
They flip another coin to decide who gets to ask the first uncomfortable question, and Mickeys wins and so he asks Ashley, “When was the last time you cried?” Good question! I was afraid we might actually have to have fun on one of these dates. Ashley last cried when she watched last season and felt that everyone was criticizing her. I feel bad. It’s my job, Ashley!
Later, they go to a private suite for dinner. We learn that Mickey is an only child, and his mother died six years ago. (Dead family member story count: 3). Ashley: “I saw strength in his eyes.” She’s about to flip a coin to decide if she’ll kiss the strength or let the strength do some over-the-shirt action, but instead she goes even crazier: She wants to flip a coin to decide if he’ll get the rose or not. It’s heads, which means he gets the rose. “I was going to give it to you anyway!” says Ashley, who doesn’t understand gambling. “Booyah!” says Mickey, who, in case you missed it, just said booyah.
Then they go to take a walk on the beach, but it’s not just a walk on the beach, you guys! It’s a surprise concert by Colbie Caillat. It’s hard to tell if Mickey knows who she is or not, which makes it hard for me to know if he really is straight or not. He sure devours Ashley’s face like he is, so let’s go with that.
COCKTAIL PARTY AND ROSE CEREMONY
It’s a dark and stormy night, a visual reminder that hearts will be broken this eve. Jeff knows what I’m talking about: “I think tonight will be difficult without a mask! Let alone with a mask.” Good grief. I just want to pull that thing as far away from his face as I can, let go and watch the elastic do its work.
JP grabs Ashley first and pulls a cute move: He pulls out a coin and says “Heads, I get a kiss, tails I don’t.” It’s tails, but Ashley goes for it anyway. “For some reason, I wanted to kiss JP tonight.” Uh maybe because LOOK AT HIM. I want to kiss him through the screen. J.P. 4 L.Y.F.E.
William (or should I call him Mr. Hebert?) brags about having a rose in a terrible George W. Bush impression. I would be horrified, but I’m actually delighted, because now none of you guys can say ANYTHING to me about why I should like him. Go ahead and try, because here’s my rebuttal: “He did a W. accent. Your argument is invalid.” And I’m not alone! West: “I feel like he’s covertly talking trash. I’m not a fan of people who come off brazen like that.” YEAH, WEST! Anyone who sees what I see in William and uses the word “brazen” is A-OK in my book.
Nick teaches Ashley some dance moves as an excuse to touch her, but William butts in like a jerk. He’s already got a rose, which means he should lay low tonight, that’s the rule! Nick is pissed and calls William “Ding Dong,” which means all of us call William “Ding Dong” from now on. That’s the other rule. Ding Dong gets nostalgic for his date with Ashley two days ago and kisses her while Jeff watches from above, stealthily.
Neither the hero you want nor the hero you need.
The novelty of the mask has now fully worn off, at least for me. I hate the sight of it, even with the Phantom music. Ryan jokes about how he’d like to rip it off for Jeff, and West is like, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she asked him to put it back on?” At least they’re still having fun with it. The man with a black butterfly on his face is not amused by their mockery. “This is SERIOUS. This isn’t a JOKE,” he says while wearing something he definitely bought at a store with the word “party” in its name.
Finally, it’s Jeff’s turn to talk to Ashley, and TAKE THAT THING OFF! He even sleeps and swims in it, so I can’t wait to see his rash. Jeff tells Ashley that he had a brain hemorrhage five years ago. Uh-oh. Does that mean his brain might actually have some real damage? And does that mean I can’t make fun of him anymore? Jury? What’s the verdict here? Jeff is about to take off the mask, but then Matt busts in and interrupts right before he pulls it off. UGH. MATT, GET OUTTA HERE! We were finally going to see Jeff’s crow’s feet. Now he’ll NEVER get to abduct Ashley and Stockholm Syndrome her into loving him in his underground phantom lair! 🙁
Ben C. grabs Ashley, and he’s a better comedian than Ding Dong just by being himself. Ashley loves how he makes her laugh! She also loves how jealous he is that the other guys got to dance on that date, because Ben loves (no, you guys, LOVES!) to dance. Foreshadowy enough for you?
Ding Dong picks Bentley to brag to about his fake wedding date, which shows increasingly bad judgment on Ding Dong’s part. We cut to an interview with Bentley: “I’d rather be swimming in pee than trying to plan a wedding with her. She’s just not my type.” Hey Bentley, WE GET IT. You are the worst. He is trying SO hard to be SO callous and disgusting. (“swimming in pee”? That can be ARRANGED!) It doesn’t even compute! What is he gaining from this? Bentley decides he needs to kiss her to get an edge on the rest of the guys. Bentley’s gigantic, square caveman-foot head picks up Ashley and carries her down to the fireplace, where he tells her to stop talking so he can shove his forked tongue down her all too willing throat.
She’s really into it, and I barf a LOT in my mouth. Bentley tells the camera that the kiss bored him, and he’s not in it to win it. Somebody better punch him before this season is over. I would bid upwards of $387 if it can be me.
William, Bentley and Mickey have roses. Ashley tells the guys that she thinks her husband is standing in this room. She better not be referring to Ding Dong. The rest of the roses go to:
West (Philadelphia, born and raised…)
Constantine (The Wedding Planner)
Ryan P. (First Impression)
Ben C. (The “C” is for ca-RAZY!)
Ames (…to Kill)
Jeff The Mask
JP (Who exclaims, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”)
Ben F. (Silent but still going strong.)
Blake (the Dentist)
Which means Mom-Caller Matt, Ryan M. for the Memoriez and Not-Gay Hair Stylist Stephen are going home. Three of the hot ones, and Ashley kept THE MASK?! I’m incensed. Matt is pissed that Jeff got a rose and he didn’t. The producers force Matt to call his mom at 4am and leave a voicemail saying he got dumped and he wants her to pick him up at the airport and make him french toast. He forgets to blame her for being alive, since dead parents equal roses. Ryan says he would have taken care of and loved Ashley. Instead, she chose to move forward with Bentley and Jeff, who will stomp on and stalk her heart, respectively. I would be willing to post-mortem counsel any of the three of these men, should they need it.
The ending sequence is the best ending sequence The Bachelorette has ever done. Just a montage of Jeff doing normal, everyday stuff in his mask. I missed the part where he’s vacuuming (because he just wants to “help out,” like a HERO!) but these are still pretty gem-ish:
See how Jeff swims!
See how Jeff eats chips!
Next Week: Ashley and Ben C. are going to dance in a flash mob because that trend just refuses to roll over and die. Ben loves to dance! How perfect. Ding Dong is going to be a total dong and hurt Ashley’s feelings at a roast (Worst/best “date” EVER?) by saying he wished the Bachelorette would be Emily or Chantal. And Bentley is going to quit the show (probably) and gloat about making Ashley cry because at least his hair still looks OK (no it doesn’t, and neither does his face). Then we’re all going to grab our torches and pitchforks and burn “flash mob” his house down.
TODAY’S PODCAST DISCUSSION QUESTION: Let’s leave it open-ended, and something you all must want to discuss anyway. And that question is: What is Bentley’s deal?
(Images courtesy of ABC)