Lately the way I watch this franchise is not on Tuesday evenings with a group of cool American expat chicks, drinking wine and reading gossip magazines while yelling at the tv – but rather on Tuesday afternoons with my one hardcore fan friend and both of our children. What this means is there is always someone crying, spitting up, demanding Cheerios in a snack cup, refusing to nap and all the while I am having technical difficulties with either iTunes or Slingbox. Needless to say, I don’t catch all the show’s details.
So it is the opening sequence of this week’s segment that I basically completely missed. Except Ben is crying during his hometown date. And so I know it’s going to be a juicy episode.
Now we’re in Philadelphia for a meaningless, throwaway shot of Ashley ruminating in her studio apartment. There is some voiceover where Ashley narrates why she likes each one of the guys and all I catch is that Ben is physically attractive, Constantine is physically attractive and Ames was awesome when he attacked her for a make out sesh in that elevator. Okay!
Cumming, Georgia chez Constantine
Am I the only one who was giggling about the name of this town? Yes? Oh.
I was nervous for this hometown date because I never get the sense Constantine is that into Ashley. Maybe it’s his Atlanta-surfer-like vibe (I made that up but go with me here) but I just don’t see it. He’s a t-shirt and hoodie guy and she is wearing a blazer, for the love. She doesn’t seem to me like she would be his type. True to form, Ashley looks more excited running towards him and reminds all the viewers that physically, Constantine is just what she’s looking for. Ashley is the poster child for reverse objectification. Constantine then says something weird about how it’s “blowing his mind” that Ashley is there in his hometown. And I am just feeling bad that that blows his mind.
We all head to Giorgio’s Italian restaurant in some strip mall in Cumming (hee hee hee). Let me tell you: this is my perfect menu. Note to everyone that might want to take me out to eat one day.
There are staff members looking at Ashley. There are some pizza-making escapades. Then we leave the shlock and head to the Constantine family McMansion. The family is adorable, the parents have the perfect marriage and the sister is gorg. I am wondering if Debbie Downer is feeling an attack of self-doubt coming on. But she holds her own and smartly realizes that this is a family she should marry into. Especially when the 200 other Greek family members come through the door and start dancing and throwing dollar bills around. Why do Greek and Italian families always have to make the rest of us feel like shit about ours?
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania chez Ames
We enter some major blue blood country territory with this house. Or should I say, Estate. Ames’s waspy family is in the backyard and bizarrely, Ames got the best genes.
Sister Serena hogs most of this edited segment with her questioning whether Ashley feels a spark for her brother (her = Serena, not Ashley) and then before anyone can answer, spends the bulk of the time trying to “sell” Ames to Ashley. It begins a long, sad, drawn out process where we all sort of know Ashley is going to give this nice, genuine, sweet guy the boot. And that he never would have seen it coming. Especially not after that picnic under the magnolia tree. It turns out the ordinary is not extraordinary for this couple.
But I don’t want to foreshadow because we have a HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE to get through. Which is precisely why Ames won’t get the rose. It takes a special girl to not be embarrassed when her self-admitted “unpopular nerd” boyfriend takes her on a HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE.
Sonoma, California chez Ben
So at this point in the episode, my friend, my mother and me are all majorly rolling our eyes. Have you ever heard of a little town called Sonoma? Hmmm. Each hometown family is wealthier, better-dressed, more poised and with more of a tragic dead parent story than the one before. Cue the rolling hills of a vineyard and Ben popping into the winery to pick up a little “bordeaux varietal” with Ashley. As you do.
Ashley, who moments before was praising Ben’s physique, sexy hair and fashion sense, ruins the moment by looking into Ben’s dreamy bordeaux-varietal-choosing eyes and proclaims: “I wish my mom was here.” Moving on.
Ben is sweet and genuine and very good at affirming for Ashley how happy he is to be with her and that he wants it all with her. That’s always a good technique for this bastard show. I tuned out a little when Ben’s collared shirt and pearl necklace-wearing sister was giving him the third degree with pursed lips, but I caught that he said he would be happy to propose to Ashley in the end. Also a good sign.
Roslyn, New York chez JP
I admit I was super excited fot this part. Long Island Jews, as a species, hold a special place in my heart.
JP knocks it out of the park by being adorable, hot as always, and taking Ashley to a divey roller rink. When they embraced in skates to REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling”, I got shivers and my friend got butterflies. The show redeems itself for a split second.
The Jewish family was super cute but I found myself just yearning for more details about this Terrible Broken Heart and Break-up that had tortured JP previously, and made his family so wary. Please bring that girl to the Men Tell All.
Best moment ever of any season ever: when JP’s cute Jewish mom breaks out his BAR MITZVAH SIGN-IN BOARD CIRCA 1988!!!!! I die. I die. I just re-lived my entire 13th year of life. It helped too that JP had a cute Kirk Cameron-in-Growing Pains mullet/look. Gold star for JP’s Jewish mom!
(In LA. Blech.)
Ashley is way too glam on her make-up and earrings and is wearing a super short dress with a FUG back panel of hooker lace. And no, I am not biased because I think she is a major jerk at this rose ceremony. Moving on.
Rose to Ben
Rose to JP
Rose to Constantine
And, shocking shocker of schocktown, Ames is sent home. Ames looks genuinely sad and surprised and heartbroken. And because he is the classiest gentleman in the entire universe, he somehow inexplicably has to make the good-bye speech. Even though Ashley the beatch should be saying goodbye. Ames has to sit there and blow smoke up Ashley’s arse, since she refuses to say anything. And then they… SHAKE HANDS??? And then, twisting the knife in my heart, Ames laments in the rejection limo that he’ll have to keep having life’s adventures all by his lonesome. I pray, I pray, this man finds a deserving girl.
Scenes from the “future”
Fiji. Some surprises. A bitch sister with arm sleeve tattoos. Also, Ben makes a terrible decision and cuts his hair. It’s going to be a good season finale methinks.
Here is my Public Service Announcement, from Chris Harrison’s blog: “I want to share the dates of our final shows because it’s a little different this season. Next Monday, July 25, will be the exotic dates and we will be down to the final two men. Then on Sunday, July 31, ABC will air the Men Tell All special. Monday, August 1 will be the finale of The Bachelorette. I look forward to all of you experiencing this season’s amazing finale.”
(He said “amazing”.)