With the fantasy suite dates and hometowns behind us, it’s time for that bi-annual Bachelor/ette event when we take a break from the fairy tale and get real. And by real, I mean catty. And it’s not just a lady thing when it comes to telling all.

The men get in on the screaming and weeping too, and considering we’ve got Marcus and Chris, as well as that supposedly racist guy and the black dude who lasted the longest of any suitor in 28 seasons, I expect this edition to be especially bitchy.

And since The Men Tell All is big on chatter and small on actually doing stuff, let’s keep the intro short and let the guys (and Andi) do the talking. And an apparently unnecessary amount of live ultrasounding. Because any amount of live ultrasounding is too much live ultrasounding. On to the show! 

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Ashley Plus JP Equals Three

Before we get to the current matters at hand, married Bachelorette couple JP and Ashley hit the stage to reveal a little bun in the oven. And a pair of pregger boobs that could knock more than one picture frame off the shelf. JP says his bride has had a very easy pregnancy so far, which I’m sure every mom-to-be loves to hear out of the mouth of “the man who did this to her.” The other big announcement is that they’re moving to Miami, presumably to hang out with Juan Pablo and because LeBron is finally gone. 

Ashley’s due in October, but they’re still fighting over a name. And in order to help narrow down the choices, it’s time for a live ultrasound. It’s the exact same thing as when your local news anchor gets a prostate exam live on camera to promote cancer awareness, only women somehow think this is beautiful and less invasive/weird. I had to have my junk ultrasounded after a physical, and let’s just say that the little TV in the doctor’s office is the only one this stuff needs to be broadcast on. (On a side and morbid note, what if there was something wrong with the baby? Is that really how you want to find out?) 

But we’re doing this, so Greg the tech squirts some jelly on her bump and starts probing. They throw it up on the big screen, only to superimpose Chris Harrison’s adult mug on the fetus. We’ve got a heartbeat and a thumb and, more important, a penis. So JP and Ashley are having a boy! Hip hip hooray! Pass out the cigars, papa bear. It’s time to buy some footballs. 

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More Delicious Trash

Next up is a sneak peek of Bachelor in Paradise, with love triangles, out-of-show girlfriends, hell on earth, tears, hookups, blood and Michelle Money. For real, doesn’t that chick ever go away? It’s Bachelor Pad without the cash prizes, and with new cast members introduced each week. It’s oddly like my favorite reality show of all time: Paradise Hotel. I’m just happy my sign-spinning pre-season favorite from a few seasons ago, who didn’t make it past the first night of Desiree’s season, is getting another shot. 

I’m also excited for the return of one-armed Sarah, who is my favorite and most accurately- described nickname in all my years of recapping. And on the conference call after her elimination, I was the only one who had the ultrasounded balls to ask her a very respectful question about how her disability impacted her experience on the show. 

She said that it used to hold her back more in her life, and she had co-workers who would be scared to ask her about it. But her time on The Bachelor opened her up to being less ashamed of it and allowed her to publicly come to grips with her situation. So kudos to me. And her, of course. Always good to be more comfortable with yourself. 

Anyway, we’re only two weeks away, so prepare yourself for the sh**show. 

It’s Mantime

Gracing us with their respective presences are firefighter Carl, lamp aficionado Brett, potentially racist and digits-getting Andrew, Andrew boy-toy Patrick, opera Bradley, other-black-guy Ron, drunk Craig, balding pro-golfer Nick S. (who suddenly has a full head of hair! Send me the name of your guy!), Greek Tasos, pants-a-holic JJ, cookie boy Marquel, Jersey Shore Cody, high-school haircut and non-hand washer Dylan, coach Brian, super hot Marcus and farmer Chris, and they’re all wearing scarves to pay homage to the scarviest season yet. 

They all loved Andi from day one, and while they’re now being friendly, it wasn’t always that way. Cue the house drama montage.

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Black-and-White Cookie Allegations

The first topic we’re addressing is the Marquel-Andrew feud, and everyone agrees Marquel handled it like a gentleman. But Andrew pins the blame on JJ allegedly being out to get him, and despite camera footage showing Andrew leaning over and making a comment after Ron’s selection at the first rose ceremony, he sticks to his story and claims he said something to the effect of “It’s been a long night and I wonder when it’ll be over” instead of the aforementioned “She picked both blackies.”

JJ and his giant bow tie also stand by what he heard, and Andrew wants to know why, if that’s the case, he engaged in behind-the-back gossiping weeks later instead of addressing it immediately? Chris defends Andrew in agreeing that JJ should have said something earlier, and the guys argue about proper ignorance-revealing etiquette before Marquel is like, hey, why are we arguing about the handling and not the comment itself? 

He then says he’ll never forgive racism and points out that Andrew keeps deflecting and talking about how the backlash affects him instead of how the racism affects Marquel. Andrew offers a heartfelt apology for being a moron, even though he’ll never admit he’s a moron, and he just hopes they can go back to being bros. Not likely.

Cookie Boy on the Hotseat

First up for some one-on-one time with America is Marquel, but JJ interrupts his introduction to defend his actions, even though he doesn’t care what the other guys think. Then Chris and Brian bash him for making a point while also saying he doesn’t care, because they really weren’t listening anyway. Moving on…

Marquel had an attraction to Andi from the beginning, even though he said early on that the love of his life right now is cookies (he’s actually wearing a cookie pin on his lapel), but they just couldn’t get out of the friend zone. His elimination was a bit unceremonious for happening during a ceremony, but the experience made him realize that his eyes and heart are open to love again. Cut to women in the audience crying before bursting into a rousing and frenzied applause. 

He starts off by praising Andi, and Chris Harrison wonders if he takes any responsibility for not being a bit more forward with his feelings. He puts some of that on his shoulders, but he also didn’t realize all the other guys were kissing her so soon. He wishes he had taken more initiative, but at the end of the day, Andi had a stronger relationship with other people.

Tune into Bachelor in Paradise to see if he approaches the hotties there with a different attitude. And then he hands out cookies to the audience.

Marcus and the Twice-Boiled Rabbit

Marcus was the first man to drop the L-bomb, possibly during week two, and he was ready to marry her. So what happened? The man who stripped — not once, but twice — is next on the couch, and Chris says his departure was one of the most gut-wrenching moments in show history. 

I’d go with “painful to watch” instead, because the writing was on the wall, and his emotional I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-myself-now-that-my-soulmate-is-gone reaction is exactly the reason he was heading home in the first place. Too much, too soon, buddy. And if it’s true that he proposes to someone at the end of Bachelor in Paradise, well, ditto. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: watch your pets.

It was pure heartbreak for him after the show, but he thinks he matured a lot from the experience. Which apparently means he’s now ready for wedding bells. He is still struggling to figure out what changed for Andi, especially after his perfect hometown date, and he’s feeling mixed emotions at the thought of seeing her again. 

Still, he takes back his “I shouldn’t have told her I loved her” comment from the getaway limo, because that came from a place of embarrassment, and he didn’t mean it. If you love someone, tell them every day. Except if they don’t love you back. Then it’s just kinda creepy.

So the question now is, will Marcus find love in paradise? Tune in to find out. This Men Tell All is a not-so-disguised two-hour plug. 

The Third Runner-Up and His Tractor

The big-time farmer from small-town Iowa is next up, and he will not be appearing on Bachelor in Paradise, as he is apparently destined to be the next Bachelor. Great. Can he pull off being the secret admirer of 25-plus girls? That’s a lot of “Do you like me?” check boxes. I’m also troubled by the Andi-uttered words, “He looks sooo good in that denim shirt.” But still, America loves him. So I must embrace the inevitability.

The big question with Andi was if she could see a life in Iowa, because that’s where they’d have to live, but she admits at the end that she’d only be using that as an excuse to cover the fact that the foundation wasn’t as strong as it is with Nick and Josh. How he handled his departure was among the classiest in show history, and despite the pain, if she didn’t have the feelings for him, then going home was what’s best. More tears in the audience. 

In hindsight, he gave everything he could and wouldn’t have done anything differently, outside of trying to get more time. His family has been his rock since he returned home, but he still doesn’t know what his path is going forward. And that’s when some psycho Canadian chick named Petra in the audience raises her hand, corrals her way on stage and asks Chris out. They speed-date over the course of a commercial break, and whichever one of the dudes just yelled “YOLO” should be banned from paradise forever. 

We return to learn that while Petra is quite a stalker looker with a nice set of stems, Chris does not want to jeopardize the possibility of more than two dozen women vying for his affection, even for a shot at opportunistic love. Because, you know, she probably isn’t the one. After all, she wasn’t hand-picked by television executives. Unless she was. Either way, Chris Bukowski feels better about himself. 

Paging Ms. Dorfman

It’s finally time for Bachelorette Andi’s close-up, and she walks out to a standing ovation in a short and sparkly blue number. She addresses Chris first, saying she loved his hometown best and was on a high after the date, but she wasn’t in a fantasy suite-type of place with him. 

Marcus wants to know if he scared her off with his early-on openness, and she says no, but it made her realize she wasn’t in a place to reciprocate. So in short, yes. 

Cody asks why she didn’t get to know “the real Cody,” and she responds that it didn’t matter, because once she knew there was no future with someone, she was sending him home right then and there.

As for Marquel and the friend zone, sometimes it’s just not there and you can’t force it. 

Nick S. and his new hair want to know why she was so guarded with him, and she responds that y’all’s (deflection) guard was up, too. But she always tried her best.

Chris Harrison then introduces Andi to Chris Bukowski (so many dudes named Chris in attendance) and reminds us that he will be appearing on a new show called Bachelor in Paradise that premieres after this finale. So if you’re not familiar…

Is She or Isn’t She?

Five rapid-fire questions, and that’s it. Chris Harrison turns down the broiler, saying Andi can apparently relax now and that it’s all fun and games for the rest of the show. Weak. And indicative of a season of mostly manufactured drama. 

Speaking of which, Chris Harrison has one more barn-burner question: is Andi pregnant? Are the rumors true? He reminds her that there’s an ultrasound machine if she wants to prove it, but she just laughs off the tabloid gossip. Like she’d let a baby screw up her future in-the-spotlight opportunities. She didn’t quit her job as an assistant DA to be a stay-at-home mom.

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

It’s finally time to answer the questions on everyone’s mind from weeks ago: who lied and who didn’t? Andi tore up the lie detector test results, but Chris Harrison wasn’t about to let that slide, so he’s got his own copy. Of the six who took the test, three were truthful and three were not. Though that thing about not washing hands after the bathroom? That little unsanitary nugget was 100% true.

Brian, JJ and Chris were the honest Abes, but what about the other guys? Marcus lied when he said he had slept with fewer than 20 women, while Dylan, who brought hand sanitizer, actually prefers blondes to brunettes and is not ready for marriage. 

And that brings us to Josh, who tied for first with two lies. But does she want to know? She asks how bad, and Chris says that if it was his final two, he might want to know. But then Brian advises her not to do it, and Dylan says to trust Josh. She agrees, and the audience and I go boooooo. It’s almost as bad as Chris refusing to watch season 9 so that he wouldn’t have to see Desiree profess her undying love for Brooks.

After the anti-climax, it’s on to the bloopers, which include toilets flushing, glasses shattering, drinks spilling, guys dancing, camera people breaking stuff in Nick’s house, a rose that’s stuck to its tray, Andi’s nasal spray, Chris not being able to say the word “confident,” Josh spinning toy guns on a mini-horse and a picklephobia replay. Next.

A Final Look at the Final Two

It’s Josh versus Nick, and Andi breaks down the pros and cons. Josh is the perfect physical package, but he’s a lot like guys that have burned her in the past. Still, he lives in Atlanta, so he’s gotta be worth a shot. He even wrote her a poem. 

He gets butterflies and rambles when he talks, which is exactly what a guy needs to fill the void of a failed career as a professional athlete. Though I’m still wondering when he’s going to stop referring to himself as a professional athlete. Again, what does he actually do now? And what did he lie about??!!

Either way, he and Andi have a bond that is revealed by his giddy awkwardness whenever they’re together. He has told her that he loves her and also that whoever he said that to next was going to be the person he marries. So now there’s no choice. Which is why he’s the favorite. 

When it comes to Nick, Andi shared an immediate mental connection. They have a lot in common, they view things the same way and they’re on the same page emotionally and psychologically. She sees a potential future and wants to see where it goes, and there’s a lot of passion there. 

Like Josh, he has professed his love and his desire to propose, and he’s convinced that he is “definitely going to marry Andi.” So who will it be in the end? Josh or Nick? Tune in next Monday night to find out.

You can watch The Bachelorette finale on Monday, July 28, at 8pm on ABC, followed by the After the Final Rose special at 10pm.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order