Did you miss me? More importantly, did you miss Ashley, our spunky, second-guessing dentist who broke Brad’s heart, “badly,” when she wouldn’t “come here, to him, please” emotionally? Actually, scratch that: It’s not important whether you missed her or not, because Ashley’s here to stay all season long, and we all know the real reason we watch isn’t because we like or don’t like the Bachelor(ette). Brad’s ratings made that clear enough. It’s to see the parade of potential suitors who will jump over each other, the boundaries of human dignity and the shark to get that final rose.
You probably already watched the episode, but just in case you didn’t, here’s the Bachelorette Season 7 Premiere Drinking Game you should play/should have played tonight. “Novocaine for Your Brain,” ha! Get it? Ashley’s a dentist. Well, dental student. Who is taking time off from school to date 25 guys at once so she can get married before she gets her diploma because priorities. (Actually a pretty smart move, if you think about it. I mean, if I were Ashley, part of the reason I’d agree to do this show is because once it’s over and I started my dental practice, no matter where I move my patient list will be full up of people who simply want the weird bragging rights of saying “My dentist was The Bachelorette!” to their friends. I bet she’ll even have a photo booth in the office and, like, rose-shaped toothbrushes to sell. It’s called a business model.)
The other reason Ashley probably agreed to be the new Bachelorette? A second chance to set things right. LET’S TAKE A RIDE DOWN THE ROOT CANAL OF LOVE … TO THE RECAP!
You see, back when she was just another name on Brad’s list, Ashley was “too much in her own head” and she couldn’t “live in the moment” with Brad, which is solid post-breakup spin for “I screwed myself out of a rose by pouting in the hot tub, then pouting after going topless for Sports Illustrated, then pouting on my Overnight Sex Date.”
But along the way, Ashley and Brad truly did have some great times (like that time they ate poutine in fake France) and after he dumped her in South Africa, Ashley learned her lesson: Life is too short to doubt the existence of what was never there in the first place so technically you were right to doubt it, but shh, shut up brain, no one asked you. All it took was some pantsless soul-searching in her mental dance theater of despair, and Ashley’s heart was healed:
“Allllll byyyyyyyy myseeeeeelf, don’t wanna beeeeeee…”
After the appropriate time mourning her relationship with Brad (eight hours), Ashley got back up and did what we ALL do to move on: She got her hair did, drilled on some teeth, she ran up the Rocky steps like in that movie Rocky, and then signed another contract with ABC. And this time, she’s got a motto tattooed on her brain (and possibly body, we’ll see once bikini hits season next week): “NO REGRETS.”
Her suitcase is full of crop tops and she’s ready to sift through the goons to find the potentially marriageable man-gems. And among those gems and goons are:
Ryan P.: He’s a hot, idealistic solar energy tycoon. He says, “The only thing stronger than the sun is love,” but I forgive him. He is very attractive.
JP: Also hot in a more intellectual, brooding way, and voluntarily bald.
Ames: He’s an Ivy Leaguer, and proud. He went to Yale (“which is in Connecticut,” THANKS!) for undergrad, Columbia for his masters, and Harvard for his doctorate, mmmm yes ol’ chap. He’s a Wall Street banker who has run 39 marathons and been to 70 countries and has a collection of 5,000 silver spoons in his Upper East Side apartment. Without knowing if he is one of those evil bankers who contributed to the demise of our economy, I already don’t like him.
Ben C.: He’s a lawyer from New Orleans and he’s insanely romantic. “On a scale of one to ten of how romantic I am, I would give myself a 15, maybe a 250.” That’s like off the charts insane(ly romantic), you guys!
This is what we call pulling a Firestone.
Ben F.: He’s a tall, dark, handsome wine maker, and he’s been “guarded” since his father died, and he likes cultured, career-minded women. If Ashley can’t break through the aged oak barrel that is his heart, I would like to volunteer my services.
Bentley: He’s from Salt Lake City, he’s divorced, he owns a “family fun center,” he has a cutie of a daughter named Cozy, and he’s the new “there for the wrong reasons” guy. You may want to like him, but don’t let yourself. Here, he’ll make it easier: “I’m sure the Bachelorette would have a hard time sending me home without a rose.” He hopes it’s Emily. I hope he’s gone soon.
Anthony’s dealbreakers: Vegetarians, animal rights activists, women with more gold chains than him.
Anthony: He’s a fourth-generation butcher from New Jersey, and he’s got the accent and gold chain to prove it. If Ashley is into him, I will be forced to question all my assumptions about her and start completely over.
West: He’s a prosecutor with the South Carolina state attorney’s office. And here’s a story that will break your heart, as it did mine (yes, I have one, and I’m only human): He was married for seven years to the love of his life, who had a history of seizures. In 2007, he found her drowned in the bathtub. Since then, he’s understandably had a hard time putting himself out there. West, I worry that your first step in putting yourself out there is this gut-punch of a show, but my heart now belongs to you, all the way.
This looks like a photo that would come inside a picture frame you bought at Bed, Bath and BEYOND INSANE.
William: He looks a lot like a young Cary Elwes (Princess Bride). He’s a self-proclaimed dating “stepping stone” with bad luck in love. To prove it, he breaks an umbrella. His father also passed away recently, and he’s got one of those stories: His watch stopped at the exact moment his father died. A reminder to not let life pass you by.
Before she can meet this motley stack of males, Ashley sits down with Chris Harrison for a pre-show screening of her insecurities. She’s got two biggest fears: That the guys will be disappointed that she’s the new Bachelorette and that they, or more specifically one of them, is “there for the wrong reasons.” Her BFF Michelle Money called Ashley to warn that a guy named Bentley was on the show to promote his career (at a “family fun center”?) and not to look for love. Chris Harrison is incredulous: “Wait. Back up. How does she know he’s even on the show? Never before on this show have we had DRAH-muh before the limo arrives!” Ashley vows to be open, but wary, but fair, but skeptical. At least until she sees him and thinks he’s cute. Then ALL PANTS I mean BETS ARE OFF!
THE LIMOS ARRIVE, aka the Opening Ceremonies Second-Hand Embarrassment Parade
Ashley repeats her mantra (“No regrets!”) and Chris says “Let the journey begin,” but I think he means, “Let the cavalcade of creeps commence!”
Highlights from Ashley’s “Meet the Meat” meet ‘n’ greet:
- Jon: He asks if they can go “straight to the Honeymoon,” and then he lifts her over his shoulder like a cro-magnon prince and tries to carry her off. “That was awesome!” says Ashley, now a confirmed liar.
- William: “I literally thought of a thousand things to say when I got out of that limo, and I can’t think of a single one.” Then he tells her that he has had his heart broken before. He’s too pretty to be such a sad sack, it’s putting me off.
- Mickey: Ohhhh, this guy. He’s wearing a tan suit (you can tell Mickey gets off on being Different) and he tries to plant a kiss on her first thing. She rejects it, as she should! Over-confidence is gross, Mickey. So is too much hair gel.
- Tim: He’s ALREADY DRUNK when he gets out of the limo. He teeters, looks like he might trip, and then he trips over his words instead: “Because … [world’s drunkest pause] … I don’t know, I can’t get the words out of my mouth.” Get used to it.
- Chris D.: He recites a “so cute” rap for her about how excited he is to meet her. Ashley’s words, not mine.
- West: He gives her a broken compass that is “stuck on West” and he hopes if she feels lost, she’ll find her way back to him. I’m biased in West’s favor, but that was well played.
- Anthony: He turns around, checks himself out in the limo and slowly swaggers up to her. I think he thinks he’s Humphrey Bogart. More like Humphrey BOOOOO-gart! (Nailed it.)
- Ames: He’s dressed like a boat captain and he gives Ashley ballet tickets, just so she knows right upfront that he is rich and fancy. Ugh, Ames. You’d think with so much money he could afford the J that’s supposed to be on the front of his name.
- Jeff: THE MASKED BACHELOR. He’s so laughably, ridiculously off-the-mark I can barely hear him say “I wanted to take my face out of the game” over my own shrill, gasping laughter. As Brad Womack would say: “My god.” The rest of the guys are instantly anti-mask.
- Ben F.: The vintner, and he wastes no time helping Ashley get wasted. They share a toast with his wine: “To new beginnings.” Offer is still on the table, Ben!
- Frank: Kisses her on the hand, twirls, lifts and then dips her. He’s a goner.
- Chris M.: He looks like he came straight off the set of The Canadian O.C. (Ottowa County? Do they even have counties? I watch TV for a living.)
- Ryan M.: He brings a camera and takes some shots of Ashley and himself together. He’s there 4 Da Memoriez.
- Nick: He looks like a surfer, and he wrote her a Kasey Kahl (That’s Bachelorette for “poem”) that rhymes “stretch” with “catch.”
- Constantine: He’s got a little Jason Segel vibe going on, and he ties a piece of pink floss around her finger so she can remember him. “You are too cute!” says Ashley.
I skipped a couple non-notables. 25 is a lot, and why even bother with the rest when it’s so clear that Ashley and Jeff the Mask are meant to be?
NEXT >> Page 2: THE COCKTAIL PARTY and FIRST ROSE CEREMONY