Why Ashley 'The Bachelorette' made me Nauseous (review)


My nausea from watching this week’s show (and eating sugarless gummy bears) kept me up most of the night. The Husband was equally disgusted. But nobody should have or could have felt worse than Ashley. How do you watch yourself get so badly manipulated, declaring on national TV that you were in love with such a maniacal, sadistic, chauvinistic scumbag? Perhaps I’m being too kind. Did Ashley piss off one of the Bach writers/producers?  She must have, because the edit she’s getting (and it doesn’t look like much is edited) reflects an immature, foolish and headstrong girl who cries at the drop of hat and makes impulsive, irrational decisions.  Some of those scenes with Bentley were hard to watch and the way her conversations with him were edited –  it almost seemed as if they were making fun of Ashley.  I’d be fuming if I was her. Yes, this is what she signed up for, but this could be the first season where the Bachelor/Bachelorette’s poor choices are spotlighted and milked for the entertainment of the audience. Oh wait, that’s every season – it just seems worse with Ashley for some reason.  As naïve as Ashley has been regarding her love interests in her batch of men, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her as I imagined her hearing Bentley’s interviews throughout the show and what she must be thinking watching the guy she thought was “The One” reveal his inner sleaze.  On the other hand, I was kind of hoping there’d be a box inset on the corner of the screen that could show us Ashley’s live reactions to watching the Bentley moments.  Ashley’s blog this week revealed her thoughts on this week’s show:

I could probably go on for hours, writing about all the emotions I felt while watching the third episode of The Bachelorette. I had feelings of nostalgia, excitement, hurt, betrayal and embarrassment. Stepping aside from the fact that I was visibly emotional throughout the episode, I could not stop watching. I was glued to the screen and even though I lived it, I quickly learned that I did not know many things that were being said when I wasn’t around. As I watched, I found myself both laughing and crying.

Ashley needs a coach and a therapist with her at all times. Chris Harrison tried to warn her about what was going on, but he only touched the tip of the iceberg. Was I the only one screaming at the TV besides Jimmy Kimmel? Why couldn’t Chris just tell her what Bentley said once he left? They could have created a 5 minute clip of some of his worst confessions and that should have put the nail in the coffin for any confusion Ashley felt after he left. Why weren’t her sister and mother informed about Bentley’s intentions, then flown in to give Ashley a big slap of reality: screw Bentley. She still has several candidates left that could make a perfectly great husband. She needs to pull herself together and move on.

But let’s discuss the positives from this week – as there were a couple, although they got buried in the circus. A+ for an original date with the flash mob, although they should have carried it out in a more intricate way like taking Ben C from New Orleans to a restaurant in the town and having the cooks and waiters be part of the mob, then taking him outside where all of the shoppers in the area turn into it as well. Ben did not look particularly surprised when all of these people suddenly started dancing. But I give him credit for going with the flow – even dancing with Ashley with no music in public. His whole philosophy on what he wants with love, and the chances he’ll find it with someone sobbing her eyes out over Bentley is virtually impossible. I feel bad for Ben, because compared to the rest of the gang, he’s a star and Ashley doesn’t even seem to be interested. When they were dancing to the Far East Movement concert, she was consistently avoiding eye contact and didn’t seem too intent on kissing him. That said, they have very complementary personalities – similar to how Ashley is around JP. Both Ben C and JP are more laid back types where as Ashley is Type A, bubbly on steroids. No wonder she likes Bentley – he’s so laid back, she’s confusing it with his actual disinterest in her.

Some other positives: We finally got to see the Mask Man revealed. And nobody cared. “Hi, I’m Jeff,” he says as the TV flashes to pictures of a bird and some other wild animal. Ashley’s initial reaction is that he’s much older than she thought. We knew it was done then – plus her reaction when he pulled her away from the others to reveal himself bordered on annoyance.

JP has grown on me the most. This guy didn’t receive a date last week and gets the last solo date this week. He doesn’t get flown out in a private jet or helicopter to Vegas. He is not taken bungee jumping or zip lining between skyscrapers. What does he get? A night in with a depressed Ashley in her horrible glasses. And what does he say about? He’s beyond thrilled. Wow! If he can like her in this state when they’re just doing nothing, she should grab this guy and never let go. This may be the only date in Bachelor history so early in the process where a typical night at home is the activity. JP is a fellow New Yorker, so I have a special place in my heart for him. I like that he’s 34 versus 27. He seems very genuine and I just hope that Ashley can appreciate him (and take him on at least one incredible over the top date to reward him for being such a gentleman). My last favorite thing about JP: he acknowledged that Ashley had a rough couple of days and actually asked her if she was OK. He was smart and intuitive enough to know she was suffering and told her that she was beautiful (not just that, he told her he PREFERS her to be in her PJs). Who is this guy? Is it just coincidence that JP and PJ are mirror image words?  And I like that they told us that JP is a better kisser than Bentley. If Bentley heard that, he might have stuck around a couple more weeks to prove her wrong.

My favorite line of the night – after Ashley breaks down post roast, she tries to mingle with the guys but can’t seem to concentrate. While she’s speaking to De-Masked Jeff, her mind wanders, but not before Jeff says, “I adopted a 3 legged dog that was abused…”

The Husband and I found ourselves quite angry throughout the show. While he was more amused by Bentley’s comments, “Ashley’s digging what I’m putting out and I’m going in for the kill,” I was appalled. If Emily is the next Bachelorette, I hope they bring back Bentley just to have her slap him across the face and go immediately back into the limo. Or wouldn’t it be great to manipulate him right back? Unfortunately the only way to do that is if he had a heart and could fall in love with something other than his hair. That’s still up for debate.

Once again, the bad outweighed the good this week and here’s why:

10. Previews Said Too Much. If I watched the first 5 minutes of the episode and the rose ceremony, I would have understood about 95% of what went on. Stop giving it all to us up front! We want to be shocked at all the horror.

9. A Bachelorette Roast. Really? Who thought it would be a good idea to take the most insecure human being on the planet and have her potential husbands come up with mean things to say about her in public? Bash your competition, yes. Insult the boobs that you may marry one day? Not a great idea. Tell your future wife that you wish she was Emily Maynard or Chantal O’Brien? That’s roast suicide. Did the writers think this would be funny or did they know how stupid the people they sent on this date were? And William. Oh William. I have no words. I’d say his behavior might possibly go down as the most moronic in Bach history if Ashley hadn’t admitted to a) falling in love with Bentley and b) keeping William around to insult her further. Besides the obviously most insulting Emily/Chantal comment, did he think charming words like, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” would be the key to Ashley’s heart? Or maybe he thought asking audience members to take out their cell phones and donate to Ashley’s boob funds would win him affection. William solely saw his performance as a step to be “roasting a celeb in a couple of months” but he better stick to his day job.  At least he had the sense to apologize, but I would have liked to see him come back after his alone time with Ashley and watch him fight like hell to show his remorse.  She forgave him a little too easily.  Meanhile, Ames was just excited to show off that’s he’s preppy enough to wear a polo shirt under a button down. Nick’s line about Ashley being the first girl he’s ever dated “with smaller boobs than him,” will not earn him any points. Did anyone insult his blonde soul patch?

8. Lack of Comfort Skills. You’ve got a vulnerable Ashley who has just given the guys the benefit of verbalizing exactly why she was upset. This is the golden ticket for anyone with half a brain. Go in and comfort the girl! Take her in your arms, tell her she’s beautiful and use those magic words, “I wanted it to be YOU and nobody else.” Why is Bentley the only one who thought to do this? No wonder she fell for him. Ryan P did a decent job, but was a bit reserved.  This earned him the rose.  The rest of the guys seem like little boys whereas at least Bentley has the sense to know what Ashley needs. Did you cringe (or laugh like The Husband) when Bentley said, “Ash, 24 out of 25 guys here wanted it to be you.” As Bent says before he approaches Ashley post-Roast, “I’m not going to miss an opportunity to mess with her head.” Ouch. Ashley’s need to be comforted is overwhelming during the scene of Bentley trying to comfort her. As soon as she said that she’s “looking for realness” and “Doesn’t feel like (Bentley) has an alternate agenda,” I knew she was in some serious trouble. No wait, the previews told me she was in serious trouble. This was just detail.

7. Hideous glasses on an extremely “real” Ashley. I know it’s horrible, but if Bentley finds Ashley unattractive when she’s all dolled up, I kind of would have liked to hear his reaction if she changed into pajama mode in front of him. As my friend Allie texted during the show, “Her glasses are too big for her face. The producers could have at least hooked her up at Lenscrafters.” Excellent point, Allie. And so true. Her stylist obviously was not consulted.

6. Ashley’s “Confrontation” to Bent re: Michelle’s Texts. Perhaps the lamest attempt of all time to seek information out of a human being, Ashley tells Bentley about the warning received from Michelle Money. Bentley plays this situation like a professional con artist. He’s cool, calm and collected and even thanks Ashley for telling him. He mentions Michelle’s relationship with his ex wife, noting it’s not a great source of information.  Of course he never denies the accusations that he’s there to promote his business and will leave after a couple of weeks.  When Ashley tells him that if he left, “it would be harder than anything (she) went through the first time around,” I had to roll my eyes. Come on, Ashley!  This was not an actual confrontation – it was an opportunity for Bentley to realize that he has enemies and to re-strategize.  Why does she feel so strong for him?  What has Bentley done other than pick her up and compliment her tush?  She practically tells him he’s the one right there.  If Bentley really wanted to mess with her, he could have been in this thing until the end.  He certainly doesn’t care about going home to his daughter (he had the nerve to admit this on camera!).  I wonder why he did go home.  If his goal was to promote his business, he could have done that and more by getting engaged to Ashley.  Certainly he didn’t go home for any noble reasons.  Maybe his girlfriend was at home waiting for him.  Who knows? 

5.  Ashley’s Insecurities.  I was so sick of Ashley worrying that the guys would be diappointed that she is The Bachelorette.  Her AUDIENCE is disappointed.  She’s such a Debbie Downer – nobody wants to hear someone restate their weaknesses over and over.  Get over it!  She’s got every opportunity to put her best foot forward and find a decent guy (even though there’s only 1 or 2 who in my opinion might actually be a good match for her).  Any single woman would kill to be in her shoes.  And she’s going to Thailand the next day.  What is she crying about? Buck up, Ashley!

4.  Bentley’s Departure.  Seeing Bent calling the other contestants “fools, freaking idiots” and saying things like, “The only other option is to stay and that’s not an option. I’m going to make Ashley cry. I hope my hair looks ok,” pretty much says it all.  Is he really that mean and shallow or is he playing the evil role?  And what kind of business was he hoping to promote by acting like such a jerk? A professional master manipulation business? He knows exactly how to drive Ashley crazy – and even makes her cry when he talks about how much he misses his daughter.  The worst part of it all is that he can’t just give Ashley a clean break. He gives her the “dot dot dot” providing false hope that he could potentially return or that they could strike up a relationship down the road. What Ashley refuses to see is that Bentley leaving IS the clear message. He’s not interested.  Didn’t she read, “He’s Just Not That Into You?”  I mean, come on!  Yes, hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy for everyone to judge Ashley (like I’m doing right now), particularly when he’s nothing but sweet talk, hugs and neck kisses when she’s crying.  But dot dot dot – I’m sick of talking about him.  Aren’t you? Let’s move on.

3.  Chris’s Pep Talk with Ashley.  Now here’s what I don’t understand.  Bentley is gone. Ashley is heartbroken.  She can barely see herself continuing on in the process. The show is at risk of going down the tubes. Why on earth can’t Chris tell Ashley the truth?  They’ve got 3 weeks of footage – and they can’t pull together a 5 minute highlight video of Bentley’s most insulting remarks?  This is Hollywood – of course they could do that!  That would probably send Ashley over the edge, but at least she wouldn’t be sobbing over this loser.  She’d get angry and we’d probably see more running scenes of her down the beach and dance therapy classes.  Yes, Chris tried to point out that Bentley could have stayed and that a real man would move heaven and earth to make it work.  But he should have pushed Ashley further on this.  Have her take a 3 day break to pull herself together.  And please oh please let there be a point when she finds out everything and gets to confront him.  There is no revenge like Bachelor revenge – particularly with the aid of an entire production team.  PRETTY PLEASE – let there be a Revenge episode!!!

Broken Faith in Bach Process.  The most frustrating part of this week’s show was trying to determine what to make of all this. In every other season, the viewers put their blind faith in the process of the show. There’s never been a season where The Bachelor/Bachelorette got played from the start. We watch this show for a potential whirlwind romance leading to a potential proposal, not to see a woman get completely chewed up and spit out 3 episodes in. Ashley’s gut instinct and decisions to date have been horrific – how is the viewer to get invested in her and in the show? And why are they airing Bentley’s remarks such as calling Ashley the, “Ugly Duckling” compared to Emily Maynard if they are trying to sell Ashley as a bodacious, sexy , bubbly dentist dancer? It doesn’t make sense. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel sympathy for Ashley or find her just plain pathetic. Clearly we’re supposed to hate Bentley. Although The Husband found him to be the most entertaining part of the show and was sorry to see him go.

1.  Dot Dot Dot.  There’s nothing more torturous to a heartbroken woman than the thought that a relationship can possibly be salvaged.  By planting those 3 magic words in Ashley’s brain, the rest of the season will be tainted unless Bent’s true colors are revealed.  Those words were almost as annoying and damaging as Jeff’s burning of his mask after getting rejected.  Almost as annoying as watching Ashley tear up as she holds Bentley’s picture in the deliberation room, hoping that if she stares at it long enough it might make him come back.  It won’t. He’s a bad egg. 

To be fair and since I have been hard on Ashley for this blog entry, I will allow her to explain herself a little.  Certainly the girl has suffered enough: 

People may speculate I was attracted to the “bad boy,” or maybe they thought I wanted what I couldn’t have. The truth is that I always look for the good in people, and I saw that in him. I only knew what he showed me, and I felt it to be real at the time. I can tell you that from the bottom of my heart, I don’t remember ever feeling this depth of hurt and embarrassment. Unfortunately, it’s not the last you will see of Bentley.

She gets it and realizes the consequences of her mistake.  We don’t even know whether the end result will be worth the suffering.  Though we do know that she’s “happy” with how things turn out. Whether that means she’s grown more self-confidence or realizes that JP, Ben C or Ben Winemaker will make her happiest – is yet to be seen.  But Big Bad Bent will be back.  Hopefully for some good R & R (Revenge & Riddance!). 
Were you as appalled and nauseous as we were from this episode?  Do you have any hope that Ashley will find true love?  What was your take on Bentley?

Stacey B