The Bachelor/ette franchise utilized its formula which is starting to feel dated. It presumes that the main stream viewers of this show (which is still in the millions despite this being the 7th season of The Bachelorette, and the overall 22nd season of the Bachelor franchise) have doubts about whoever the named Bachelor or Bachelorette is. We saw this last season as the show went on a PR campaign to make Brad Womack seem like a super hero. Yes, we’ll always get the shirtless, running the beach video clips of bachelors and bachelorettes from now until eternity, but the show attacks every angle of every skepticism any viewer could have. For example, Brad is non-committal. The Fix? Having him tell everyone at the beginning of the season that he really did find someone, that he was happy with the result and that he was engaged (“was” being the key word). Another assumption about Brad: He is a jerk for not choosing anyone amongst the perfect ladies. The Fix? Brad was attacked on his very first night in the house and had to reiterate 100 times that he was ready for this. They brought his therapist on the show. They showed a kinder, gentler, more remorseful Brad to clean up his image as a bad boy. Except they left out the “monster” part alluded to by Emily at the After the Final Rose show. Yada yada yada. Enough about Brad.
So now we’ve got Ashley. She’s kind of mousey. Her insecurities exploded triple fold on Brad’s season. She’s bubbly, but taken in too big of quantities, viewers voiced she could come off as annoying. She’s quirky (she wants her future husband to call her “cupcake”) and seems to make bad decisions: aka “someone” (Michelle Money?) she knows gives her the first pre-show warning in Bach history about one of the contestants and what does she do? She falls in love with the guy. All while he’s pining away for Emily Maynard to be the Bachelorette and dropping obnoxious comments like he doesn’t find Ashley that attractive) Cringe. How are we to fall for this girl? Can we get wrapped up in her quest for true love, insecurities and all?
Let’s look at the positive – the show tried its best. Ashley was much improved looks-wise from her time on Brad’s season and her appearance last night was much better than the complete 180 makeover she did on The Women Tell All. Her hair color had been lightened from the dark brown we saw then and gone were the bright red lips – she had more of a natural glowing tan look (do they have a spray tan booth in one of the rooms in the mansion?). Ashley’s dress was one of the best in Bachelorette premiere history. Remember Ali Fedotowsky’s black gown she wore on her opening night? Not nearly as flattering as Ash – loved the color, the fit and it had a nice amount of sparkle. Ashley’s teeth were set to super white, not that we should expect anything less from a dentist. I liked the wavy hair look (vs. the stick straight style she had all season long with Brad and then again on the WTA). As for bangs, I’m a bit on the fence. She has a high forehead, so bangs probably suit her. Overall, I give Ashley an A+ for appearance. Let’s face it, she’s no Emily Maynard and no Michelle Money in the looks department, but her stylists really outdid themselves – and she’s definitely “cute and attractive.”
Beyond her makeover, another campaign was present. Ashley running in short shorts by the beach, looking longingly into the distance and talking about the mistakes she made with Brad. Then comes the 3 prong attack. (1) Sexy Dance Lady. I’m not sure Ashley the Dancer was revealed to us on Brad’s season, but it looks like she leads some sort of dance or exercise class. Good for her – as long as she doesn’t give one of her guys a Tenley dance, I’m all for it. That ’80s belly shirt and close up of her flexible dance moves are definitely trying to get us to find see the sexier side of Ashley – and she’s certainly hotter than the average human being. I saw a little bit of Baby from Dirty Dancing in her (though she’s arguably prettier than Jennifer Grey). Now that’s someone we can root for. She’s got a great body that any woman would be proud of. Yikes, I’m talking about looks again. (2) Professional Dentist in Training. Moving on, Ashley is a UPenn dental student, and Ivy Leaguer, which by itself is a remarkable achievement for Bachelor franchise history. Penn is certainly not easy to get into. So she’s got brains and ambition. (3) Regretful, Sympathetic, Carpe Diem Ash. Besides the dance skills and the profession, they focus on Ashley’s mistakes on Brad’s season. She admits to spending her time “complaining” and having “missed opportunities.” This is probably everyone’s number one complaint about Ashley. She was whining about her insecurities with Brad instead of just going with the flow. Now to a logical human, it’s tough to simply let yourself fall head over heels for someone when they are dating 20 something other women at the same time, so I’ll give her that. But that’s what she signed up for on this insane show. As one of the duds (that’s duds, not dudes) said last night, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the oven.” I think this pretty much sums up the intelligence of the majority of the guys in Ashley’s crop, unfortunately.
To me, Ashley’s biggest downfall will be her own insecurities. It’s what killed her on Brad’s season and will be a huge hurdle in getting to the right guy. I hated that she voiced so many times her doubts about whether these guys would be attracted to her. If she’s questioning it, so are we – and this is not helping us to fall in love with her. The Bachelorette needs to KNOW she’s great enough for any of these duds. She can’t go lolly gagging after Bentley just because he’s one of the more attractive men she’d ever get a shot at. And while he wasn’t gross, I certainly think there have been much hotter men on this show (hello, Chris Lambton and Roberto Martinez. I’m certainly missing you guys right about now). Trista owned the Bachelorette title. So did Ali F. DeAnna Pappas and Jen Scheft too. Even Jillian who wasn’t a supermodel type went out there and rocked it from day one. They never doubted whether the guys were into them. They never worried that the guys wished they were someone else. If Ashley doesn’t pull herself together in short order, she’s going to lose more than the interest of her dudes – she’s going to lose her audience.
Some comments about the guys in no particular order:
1. My hands down favorites for Ashley and why:
(a) Ben F the winemaker. Ben F, not to be confused with Stephen the hairstylist or Constantine (his hair twins), seems the most like a normal person to me and I like that he called Ashley, “stunningly beautiful.” More than that, he’s been guarded since his father died and I remember Ashley having some father issues as disclosed on her carnival date with Brad. These two may have a lot in common. I also liked that he brought her wine from his vineyard. Classy. If he’s not in the final 2, I’m sending this guy Shawntel’s phone number since she’s out in Cali. They could go into business together: funerals followed by excellent wine.
(b) West the Prosecuting lawyer whose wife died of epilepsy (and if it doesn’t work out, we send him straight to Emily). Heartbreaking story, but seems like a good guy, even if a bit boring. Although check out this article on People.com about allegedly strange circumstances around his wife’s death. Poor guy. Sounds like his wife was a seriously ill woman both mentally and physically. I liked the broken compass stuck on “west” that he gave Ashley. Clever. And the perfect amount of cheese for Ash’s mousey-ness.
(c) Ryan P (P for “Power”) the Solar Power energy guy who got the first impression rose. He seemed genuinely interested in Ashley, which is very important – plus he appears to be a very driven, successful guy. Their personalities are very in tune. He’s a bit dorky, which I like as well and seems nervous around her. His first 30 seconds with Ashley felt like an interview where he was discussing his resume, but that seemed to be the nerves talking. I like that he got the first impression rose over some of the more obnoxious types.
(d) Constantine (who tied pink dental floss on Ash’s finger). Constantine just seemed like a big ball of love.
2. Get Rid of them Now: There were so many duds in this lot of bachelors, it was almost unbearable. Until we get to the last 5, this season is going to be very aggravating. Ashley needs to kick these guys to the curb asap.
(a) Mickey. Any guys who goes in for a kiss, gets rejected, then tells everyone he did in fact kiss the girl (and calls it the Heisman) is INSANE. His big bulging eyes were scary. What we didn’t see is that he’s a chef and cooked Ashley a 5 course meal.
(b) Ryan M. Ryan M the Construction Engineer who brings out his camera and wants a pic with Ashley and with Chris Harrison. He’s only there to get autographs. Not to fall in love.
(c) Jeff the Mask guy also known as Batman. I got the creepy vibe from this guy. Did you? This is the equivalent of Madison coming on with fangs. A mask? I understand wanting to get to know someone for their inner beauty, but perhaps he could have shown that to her with a joke or some witty banter, versus hiding his face. Hello – this is not dating in the dark. Wrong reality show. Maybe he has majorly bad acne. Or scars. Or maybe he’s a celeb and wants to be known for his inner self. But this is stupid. It’s hard enough only having 3 weeks with a person before you need to decide whether to marry them, why on earth hide part of yourself on top of that? Get rid of this clown. He seemed to induce Tim’s drunken condition, which may have been the only reason for wearing the mask, but otherwise, this guy needs to be ejected immediately.
(d) Ames the Portfolio Manager. Polished – yes. A 31 year old Yale and Harvard graduate who runs marathons and appears to be very wealthy. My friend Alana put it best last night, “This guy can’t get a girlfriend in New York?” Excellent point. The ballet tickets he offered Ash were kind of ridic. So after Ashley sends him home and gets engaged, will she still go to the ballet with Ames?
(e) Stephen the Hairstylist. No personality, had absolutely no interest in conversing with Ashley and yet she kept him around. Horrible choice.
(f) Ben C, the New Orleans Lawyer. On a scale from 1 to 10, he considers himself a 215 in romance. That statement should have sent him packing – if only Ashley had seen it before the rose ceremony.
(g) BENTLEY. Why? The things he said behind Ashley’s back (and the things we hear him say this season) make the hair on my arms stand up. He’s a bad egg. Or maybe he’s being honest about his intentions in coming on the show – to everyone but Ash. Which would be fine, except that his daughter Cozy is suffering from this farce. Not nice. Evil. We shall call him “Badtly” from now on. Rumor has it Michelle Money is the one that told Ashley about him. She has agreed to comment on this in the near future. Why are all the scandalous people from Salt Lake City??
3. Nice Enough – But Not For Me:
(a) JP – My friend knows him and says he’s a nice guy. He certainly seemed that way. A fellow New Yorker, I might be able to cheer for him. I like that he’s 34 and that dating a woman with a career is super important. He may be a dark horse in this competition – unassuming, down to earth and seems to know what he wants.
(b) William. My friend, Dr. Jess, thinks he’s adorable. His dad’s alcohol problems and death seemed to have affected him severely and he has had bad luck with girls, which is a likeable quality on this show. He also was genuinely happy that Ashley is the Bach. He may be too sweet to compete with the lot of these bad boys, but perhaps he’s scrappier than he looks.
(c) Matt – I think this is the guy that called his mom on the phone? Oy. Getting the mom involved this early in the game is a bit aggressive and may give Ash a preview of who runs this guy’s life when the cameras stop rolling.
This leads to my top 3 favorite moments from last night’s show:
3: Ashley catching Tim snoring away outside and watching as she tries to wake him. The Husband wondered whether they added a snoring soundtrack, but I don’t think this is the case. The only bad part was that Ashley felt sympathy for this guy. A liquor distributor who gets wasted? Pretty awesome.
2. Mike. This guy came out to serenade Ash with the guitar, clearing out the other guys. Then when he gets her alone, he throws the guitar into the pool. I absolutely loved this and certainly would have kept this guy around. Not sure why she saw more of a connection with creepy mask guy than with this funny dude.
1. Best moment of the night. After Tim’s car departs from outside the mansion, the cameras pan to Creepy Mask Guy who is out on the house’s balcony overlooking the scene while scary organ music comes on. All that was missing was an evil laugh. This was totally an Eyes Wide Shut moment. Creepy beyond belief, but amazingly entertaining. Great editing.
Honorable mention to The Butcher from Jersey for having one of the thickest accents since the Sopranos were on.
So there we have it. A season in limbo. A disaster in the making (with Bentley). Let’s just hope she has a back up plan for when that situation comes crashing down. Who were your favorites? Are you ready for her to just pick Ben F and go off into the sunset like me? Do you think Ashley has what it takes to carry the season? Let’s hear it!