The Bachelorette Recap Week 7: Ashley Goes Nearly the Whole Episode Without Weeping Like a Lunatic.

Ashley Hebert Ryan

Welcome back, I’ve missed you! It has been a long three week since the last Bachelorette recap. There was no episode last week because someone inconveniently scheduled America’s birthday for a Monday — FORCING us to drink beer outside on the deck until we get dizzy from sun poisoning and yell belligerent things at the neighbors — and two weeks ago…well, I don’t remember the excuse for two weeks ago, but I’m certain I was doing something pretty important:

Because so much time has passed, I think we should recap exactly where we are and who we are with going into week 7 of The Bachelorette. The past six weeks have come in two general parts: pre-Bentley and post-Bentley. Our bachelorette, Ashley Hebert — who likes dancing, eats flowers for sustenance, and can grow coral and sea shells out of her body — fell in love with Bentley, a good-looking cad who spent three weeks bad mouthing Ashley behind her back before finally ditching the show. The following three weeks might as well have been the start to a new spinoff program for ABC, The Bachelorette: Collapse of an American Psyche, because Ashley spent the majority of that time weeping across two continents and contemplating whether it would be best to push on in a life sans-Bentley, or jump in front of a train. Once Bentley was flown to Asia to reconfirm the fact that he was an asshole and in no way deserving of affection, nevermind slightly-creepy obsession, she somehow composed herself enough to continue being flown around the world for multi-million dollar dates with attractive men.

While her emotional and mental stability was in free-fall over Bentley, Ashley also managed to eliminate many of the interesting suitors available to her, leaving us with the following group:

J.P.: According to the interwebz, J.P. is a fan favorite, and I have always liked him, but he is a construction manager, so you never kow if he is going to slip into a stereotypical catcall at any moment.

Ben F: He is the single most confusing character on the show. He’s a wine-maker, which is a pretty great occupation. But in his show bio, he claims that his favorite book is “The Dirt” by Motley Crue, which is kind of like saying that your favorite food is SpaghettiO’s and your favorite movie is From Justin to Kelly. He says he went to Germany in 2006 for the World cup, which is also pretty great, but he also claims to be a fan of the San Francisco Giants, who are the SpaghettiO’s of Major League Baseball. In any case, he’s quiet but not necessarily bland, which is more than can be said for…

Constantine:…who looks like Ben F., but is far less interesting. He has somehow hung on for this long as others have been eliminated, most likely because Ashley is confused and thinks he is part of the production staff.

Ames: Ames is easily the best dressed person on the show, which is saying something in that each of the men probably has a personal assistant who helps them pick out clothing while they are on the program. In any case, he is also probably the most intelligent and likable of all the bachelors, but his relationship with Ashley consistently strikes me as platonic.

Ryan: While some fans of the show seem to like Ryan — a solar energy executive from California –his unrelenting positivity and energy grates on the nerves of all the other contestants. It is like being with someone who is on drugs 24×7:

Lucas: And finally we come to Lucas, the bachelor who makes the least sense for Ashley outside of Masked Hero Jeff, who was let go weeks ago. Lucas is a Texas oil engineer, a conservative Republican, and he listed the following story as his “Most Embarrassing” moment: “During freshman year of college, I was walking up the stairs to class and had to walk between two girls sitting on the steps. Of course, I lost my footing and fell right on my face. Good stuff!” NO, Lucas. That’s not good stuff. As a six year-old, I accidentally pooped in my neighbors’ pool, which is both far more embarrassing than your story, and an accident which I have topped dozens of times since then. Less than a month after I got my driver’s license, I accidentally drove my car over a curb because I had closed my eyes during a lefthand turn while singing along to The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshman.” I bent the axle on the car and it cost close to $1000 to fix. I fell on my face at least twice today, once in front of The Pope. Step it up, Lucas.

With these six men, Ashley set off for Taiwan, which host Chris Harrison inaccurately describes as “The hidden jewel of Asia.” In reality, he meant to describe Taiwan as “a nice country that nearly everyone has heard of and which is not hidden in any way whatsoever.” Constantine gets the first one-on-one date, which involves them riding on a stream train, as per the romantic fantasy of every young girl in post-Industrial Revolution England. Constantine continually sends messages to Ashley about their relationship that involve stipulations: “IF I fall in love with you,” and so forth. It’s both refreshingly honest, and completely antithetical to the way everyone on the show is supposed to pretend that they fell in love with Ashley the very first time they heard her laugh / crumble into emotional hysterics. Ben F. gets the next one-on-one date, and he stays overnight, pissing off the other guys even as he claims that there was no sex of any kind:

The real drama came when Ashley finally had her first one-on-one date with Perpetually-Happy Ryan. As they walk through a garden and he talks about his passion for environmental issues (a relatively interesting and substantive conversation, from which, of course, ABC cuts away), he confesses how excited he is for Ashley to meet his family. Which is right around the time that Ashley drops the bomb: She doesn’t feel a connection to him, and rather than put him through the rose ceremony, she wants to spare his feelings and let him go home now. And trust me, he looks absolutely crushed. He stumbles through some words, composes himself, and meekly asks, “Y-You don’t want to meet my family?” As he later tells the camera how badly he wants romance and companionship, I realize that this is probably the closest thing to a genuine emotion that is going to be expressed on the show, and it makes me uncomfortable; I would have preferred that he respond to the break-up by lighting fireworks off the body of a stripper.

At the rose ceremony, Ashley decides that she doesn’t need a cocktail party, and wants to skip right to the eliminations, which is *really fortunate* because ABC needs to air an interview with Emily — who is either the winner of the last season of The Bachelor, or a professional tear-producing factory– before 9 p.m. Ashley finally, mercifully, lets Lucas go.

Next week the remaining guys – J.P., Ben F., Ames and Constantine — will introduce Ashley to their families, where I assume she will interrupt dinner to put her head on the dinner plate and sob loudly. Check back then for the recap!