Category: The Bachelorette

'Bachelorette': Watching show has been a 'down time' [Video]

Ashley Hebert has been at the receiving end of a fair share of criticism throughout her journey on "The Bachelorette" this season. Some of which, admittedly, has come from this very blog.

Since the show's premiere earlier this summer, many fans have questioned Hebert's decisions on the show -- most notably, her choice to keep bad boy Bentley Williams around when she had been warned that he wasn't there for the "right" reasons.

After the taping of the "Men Tell All" special, which aired Sunday, Hebert said in an interview with Show Tracker that she was initially deeply upset by the public's scrutiny. (You can watch a video of the sit-down below.)

"I think people, for some reason, think I knew what Bentley was saying. And if anything, it was the farthest thing from the truth," she said. "Not only did I never see any of the interviews. But he was just such a good actor, and he was trying to trick me intentionally. And he did a great job."

Hebert, who is studying to be a dentist at the University of Pennsylvania, said she watches the program while holed up alone in her "secluded" apartment -- an event she dreads.

"Monday nights are tough. They really are. It's really tough and watching it air. It was a really down time for me -- people judging and not understanding," she admitted. "The things that people say -- at first, it really, really got to me. But now I'm realizing people like to hate, and people are open to their own opinions and I need to respect that and not let it get to me. I feel like I've kind of built up this wall of armor. And I'm gonna need it."

Indeed. Whether or not Hebert chooses finalist JP Rosenbaum or Ben Flajnik during Monday night's finale, the media circus surrounding her engagement will no doubt be intense. But Hebert described the relationship she has with her current secret beau as "so strong and so great," adding that she's been communicating with him as the season has unfolded on-screen over the last few weeks.

"Surprisingly, I thought that I would have to help him through a lot, and even though I have, he's helped me through so much," she said. "I don't know how I would look back on all this if I wasn't as happy as I am now. He's made it great for me."


Complete "Bachelorette" coverage on Show Tracker

Constantine Tzortzis: Why I bowed out of 'Bachelorette' [Video]

Ryan Park: 'Bachelorette' is engaged to JP 'without question' [Video]

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ashley Hebert is "The Bachelorette." Credit: ABC/Kenny Ting.

Ryan Park: 'Bachelorette' is engaged to JP 'without question' [Video]

Ryan Park: 'Bachelorette' is engaged to JP 'without question' When Ryan Park showed up in Fiji during Monday's episode of "The Bachelorette," I'm pretty sure I could I could hear the show's collective fanbase universally screaming at their televisions: "Why?"

Park, of course, had been sent packing by "Bachelorette" Ashley Hebert weeks earlier during a tragic date in Taiwan. Whilst in the midst of explaining his interesting gig in the solar panel industry, Hebert interrupted him and told him she just wasn't feeling any "passion" between them.

"You don't want to meet my parents?" Park responded, shocked that she didn't want to travel to Corona del Mar for a hometown date with him the following week.

Apparently, dude can't take a hint. Because this week, while Hebert was basking in the glow of the Fiji sunshine with her final three suitors, Park showed up on the island.

But how, oh how, could Park ever think that ploy would work?

"Well, I guess lucky for me I didn't know the history of all these shows," Park said in an interview last weekend after the taping of the upcoming "Men Tell All" episode, oozing with his trademark enthusiasm. (You can watch a video of the chat below.) "But who cares? The past is the past, and I felt like we had a lot in common and could maybe make it work. So I went for it."

Furthermore, he felt, he hadn't gotten a fair shot back in Taiwan, where he and Hebert went on a less-than-intimate date.

"Our one-on-one date was at a temple, tai chi -- and I just felt, 'Gosh, I got the short end of the stick,' " he said. "It's not like I can jump her bones doing tai chi, let alone in a temple. So I wanted to give it more of a shot and not leave anything on the table."

Unfortunately, the move didn't work, and Park got the boot for the second time. But in the end, he insists, he's happy that Hebert seems to have found love. And of the remaining two contestants, he's confident that JP Rosenbaum will be the one to put a ring on Hebert's finger.

"It's JP -- oh, without question," he said. "That was the hard part. That's where I felt like I got a little bit of the short end of the stick because JP had two dates before I even had the one. But the truth is, she started feeling for JP so early that it was like, 'Gosh.' It was futile, but I wasn't gonna give up."


Complete 'Bachelorette' coverage on Show Tracker

Constantine Tzortzis: Why I bowed out of 'Bachelorette' [Video]

"The Bachelorette" recap: Only two score invites to fantasy suite

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ashley and Ryan share a kiss on "The Bachelorette." Credit: Rick Rowell / ABC

Constantine Tzortzis: Why I bowed out of 'Bachelorette' [Video]

 Love, as "Bachelorette" Ashley Hebert has insisted all season long, is a "two-way street."

In other words: Even though all of the men who showed up to compete for Hebert's affections are meant to instantly fall head over heels for her, many of them -- gasp! -- unfortunately did not.

One of those guys was Constantine Tzortzis, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Georgia who made it all the way to the final three and then, during this week's episode in Fiji, realized that he just wasn't ready to propose to Hebert.

"I couldn't with all my heart stand in front of her father and say, 'Hey, I want to marry your daughter,'" Tzortzis during a sit-down last weekend after the taping of the "Men Tell All" episode, which will air on Sunday. "I wanted to gracefully bow out. And my biggest fear was that I was gonna look like Bentley or somebody else, and I didn't want to do that." (Watch a video of the interview below.)

Throughout the entire season, it was clear that the pair's relationship was progressing slowly. Hebert blamed the pace on Tzortzis' practical approach to life -- during their exotic date in Fiji, for example, she grilled him on how many houses he'd looked at before he decided to purchase one. "108," he replied. "But houses and women are not the same."

Indeed. And, Tzortzis insisted during our interview, if he met the right girl, he would jump head-first into the relationship.

"I think you're cautious when it's not the right person," he said. "I think it just happens to be that me and Ashley weren't meant for each other. And that's why there was that holding-back. Because if it was the right person, I would have been all over her. You couldn't have held me back."

Uh, ouch?

In any case, Tzortzis has now returned back to his restaurant in the South, which he says is "slammed" with business.

"Contrary to popular belief, I haven't retired from the restaurant business," he said. "[People are] like, 'Oh, you still work here?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I've not struck gold yet.'"

Just a thought: Maybe he could make some additional dough by becoming a professional Josh Groban impersonator? All season long, viewers have compared him to the popular singer -- as well as fellow contestant Ben Flajnik.

"I remember I walked in to the party and I saw Ben, and I was like, 'That dude looks a lot like me. I'm staying away from him until I figure out who he is,'" Tzortzis joked. "To be compared to someone as nice and genuine as Ben -- I used to get Josh Groban, so to get Ben is fine too."


"The Bachelorette" recap: Only two score invites to fantasy suite

"The Bachelorette" recap: On the hometown dates, J.P. rolls over the competition

Complete "Bachelorette" coverage on Show Tracker

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ashley Hebert and Constantine Tzortzis. Credit: Guy D'Alema / ABC

'The Bachelorette' recap: Only two score invites to fantasy suite

Before diving into this week's episode of "The Bachelorette," a disclaimer: I already knew Constantine was going home tonight -- I just didn't know how he'd be packing his bags. That's because I recently attended the taping of the "Men Tell All" episode that's going to air Sunday, and he was there in the flesh to tell his side of the story. If you check back on Show Tracker later this week, there will be plenty of behind-the-scenes dish from the upcoming show -- including video interviews with "The Bachelorette" herself, Constantine and some of our other favorite guys who got the boot earlier this season.

OK. Let's get to Fiji, which, according to Ashley, are a set of islands in the South Pacific that are "so lush and warm" where "the sun's always shining." In other words: "Thanks a lot putting the whole 'Bachelorette' cast and crew up for free here, Fiji Board of Tourism!" (Uh, just an assumption. Obv.)

Immediately, Ashley broke down her final three suitors: We've got Ben, who is -- most importantly -- "sincere and honest." The other two guys, however, just seem to be pieces of meat, since Ashley always describes her feelings for them first in purely physical terms. "I've really had my eye on him straight since he got out of the limo," she said of Constantine. And JP? "He looked like a model. I thought, 'How did I get this lucky?'" I'm so glad she's focusing on the important things at this stage of the game.

But before Ashley could even get some time in the good ol' fantasy suites with her final three guys, a reject arrived in Fiji. That's right, we've gotten to the point in the season where some poor soul who has been voted off weeks ago thinks that despite all odds, he has a shot at getting back in the competition if he just shows up in a super dramatic fashion. This never works, of course. But no matter. Ryan -- a.k.a. "You don't want to meet my parents?!?" -- decided to fly to Fiji because he felt like there were "things unsaid and undiscovered" between he and Ashley.

"What if she's regretting sending me home?" he wondered.

Yeah. She's not.

Once Ryan arrived, he told Ashley he just wanted a chance to spend more time with her, and didn't feel like the "super spiritual" tai chi they did on their final date was a "conducive environment for passion." I'm guessing she probably intended for it to be that way?

Continue reading »

'The Bachelorette' recap: On the hometown dates, J.P. rolls over the competition

Holding Heading into Monday night's episode of "The Bachelorette," J.P. was already my favorite remaining contestant. And then we met his mother Ilene and her button sweater. And that just put him over the top.

Little Ashley traveled to all four of her remaining suitors' hometowns this week, but she clearly had the best time in Roslyn, New York, the affluent Long Island village where J.P. grew up. Because it was raining upon Ashley's arrival, J.P. pulled out his best game and decided to take her to the local roller skating joint he'd frequented as a kid. There, the roller skates looked like they were filled with foot fungus and the disco ball hanging overhead was literally taped together. But the two lovebirds paid little mind, holding hands and giggling annoyingly as they skated around the rink.

Before heading over to his house, J.P. admitted to Ashley that his parents might seem ultra-protective of him because the last girl he'd brought home had later broken his heart. He never explained exactly what went down between him and his ex, but said the things she'd do "would cause him to doubt the relationship" -- a.k.a.: she probably cheated on him.

Despite her trepidation, Ilene greeted the pair with open arms. And she was a wearing a cardigan that had about 60 buttons sewn to the front of it -- officially making her one of the cutest moms to ever appear on a hometown date. While Ilene liked Ashley, she worried that her son's heart would be "broken the way it was broken before." (Uh, what exactly did this guy's ex do?)

"I am smitten by your son," Ashley assured Ilene. And that was all Ilene needed to hear.

"That is a very nice thing to hear," Ilene said, sounding like the truest of Jewish mothers. Then she hopped up, whipped out a Bar Mitzvah-esque embarrassing photo of J.P. at age 13 and the whole family laughed in his face.

None of the other hometown dates were disastrous -- unfortunately for us, there weren't any taxidermy-filled rooms or trips to the mortuary this season -- but it seems all but a forgone conclusion at this point that Ashley will end up engaged to J.P.

Sure, Ben, the winemaker from Sonoma, is putting up a good fight. First of all, he's "physically exactly" Ashley's type -- a point that should be obvious, since two of the guys in her final three look nearly identical.

"The hair," she cooed before meeting Ben at a vineyard. "The fashion. The sense of humor. He's a winemaker. He makes wine. I mean, that's so cool."

Alright, sweetie, it's not that cool. He also doesn't own the vineyard. He, like, rents out space there. Let's not forget that little Internet ad sales title -- or something to that effect -- that conveniently slipped off of his job description card as the season has progressed.

Regardless: I am pretty pro-Ben. Sure, he's a little goofy sometimes and tries a little too hard to play up his cuteness. But I think he's endearingly straightforward, even when that might not be the best tactic to play. Before heading to his house, he told Ashley he'd only ever brought one girl home to meet his mother and his sister.

"It needs to work, otherwise, it just doesn't work for me," he said of the family dynamic. Pressure, much? Luckily for Ashley, the other ladies in Ben's life seemed OK with her -- and his mom even told Ben that his late father was probably looking down on him and thinking "well done." The moment stirred a bunch of emotions for Ben, who apologized to his mom for not being a better son when the death occurred.

My dad "is everything that I am today," Ben said later, tearing up in a confessional-style interview. "I miss him. I do."

Ugh! Benners! I'm going to feel even worse for you when you get sent home from Fiji in a couple of weeks.

This week, my pity was reserved for Ames, who is clearly still suffering from the concussion he got back in Asia. How dumbfounded did he look, mouth agape, when Ashley didn't give him a flower at the rose ceremony? And then he winked at her bizarrely before she took him outside for the break-up talk? What was occurring?

"I'm composed all the time, but not now," he admitted outside. Ashley barely explained her reasoning for sending Ames packing, instead offering him a cringe-inducing handshake.

"I've fallen in love with somebody who clearly did not love me back," Ames said matter-of-factly in the limo as it drove away. If Ames couldn't tell that his large forehead was on the chopping block, his sister back in Chadds Ford, Pa., could. (Really. His family lives on a bucolic farm in a town of that perfectly apt name.)

"I'd get a little more personal next time you're with her," Ames' sister advised him. So sweet Ames took Ashley out to a field with one of those expensive wicker picnic baskets and they sat under a pretty magnolia tree. There, they shared "the most romantic kiss" he said he'd ever had -- a five-second-long, closed-mouth mess of a thing. He even got someone on the estate to drive them around in a horse and carriage. But that didn't do the trick, as Ames was destined to be the "good on paper" guy this season.

Meanwhile, on his Twitter account this week, host Chris Harrison referred to a "dark horse" emerging during the hometown dates. I assume he was referring to Constantine, who finally seemed to come out of his shell while surrounded by his fun Greek family back in Georgia. Although unlike Ben -- the other Josh Groban lookalike -- I'm not totally sure what Ashley digs about Constantine other than his looks.

"Love that long hair," she gushed before walking into the restaurant Constantine owns. "His build is great. He's just a man."

Indeed, he is. As are, presumably, the other three people you are dating.

Constantine has been the one guy who has withheld his feelings from Ashley this season, refusing to fall for her simply because that's supposed to be the premise of the show. But at home, he finally admitted things were "clicking" for him, and that he might consider proposing to her in a few weeks. Sadly, I don't think a fun evening with Greek dancing is enough to keep this guy around in the long haul.

Beyond stoked for Fiji next week. Who shows up? (Why do people ever return after being voted off, by the way? Has that ever worked out once?) Do we think it's Ryan? Maybe Ames? I really hope it's not Ryan. No, dude, she still doesn't want to meet your parents.

--Amy Kaufman


'The Bachelorette' recap: Ryan's out in the cold, despite water heater expertise

'The Bachelorette' recap: With Bentley gone for good, J.P. becomes the front-runner

Complete 'Bachelorette' coverage on Show Tracker

Photo: Ashley, right, shows J.P. a few moves on the roller skating rink. Credit: ABC.

'The Bachelorette' recap: Ryan's out in the cold, despite water heater expertise

"The Bachelorette" is such a strange beast. I'll often loathe one contestant, making snide remarks about them for the entire season, and then the moment they're sent home I feel an odd sense of pity for them.

Take good ol' Ryan, for example, or as my friends and I had referred to him this season: "Solar Panels." I realized during Monday's episode, of course, that a more apt nickname would have been "Water Heaters," as on his first one-on-one date with Ashley he continued to ramble on about how water heaters are a waste of natural gas. She couldn't even feign interest in that scintillating piece of information, as her eyes already began to well up in anticipation of sending the environmentally-friendly businessman home.

Prior to the date, I -- like the rest of the remaining guys in the house -- could not tolerate Ryan. I'm not sure how it was possible, but he contained even more boundless energy than Ashley. His constant glass-half-full attitude wasn't endearing; instead, it tarnished even his Matthew Morrison-esque good looks.

"What a date," he said, before sitting down to a picnic with Ashley where he'd later be told to pack his bags. "I feel amazing. Like I'm cloud nine--cloud ten."


Unfortunately, he did not.

"Water in the background. Fish all around. Look at that little guy," he said, smiling weirdly at a not-so-tiny bird.

Apparently his over-the-top enthusiasm for life -- and nature -- finally began to wane on Ashley, because when Ryan told her how eager he was to have her meet his family, she decided to tell him that just wasn't in the cards for them.

"You don't want to meet my family?" he said, cocking his head in confusion and staring back at Ashley like a lost puppy. Despite the fact that this dude oozes cheese, there I was, suddenly feeling sorry for him. He proceeded to wander off, confiding to a camera guy about how no one had any idea how badly he wanted to "find someone." The idea got him so choked up that he disappeared into the bushes momentarily, kicking the dirt, crying and swearing.

It was an emotional episode for lots of folks this week. J.P., still the obvious front-runner, got upset when he had to witness Ames and Lucas kiss Ashley on their group date. He was even more angry when Ben didn't come back until the following morning after his one-on-one date with Ashley -- even though Ben insisted the pair stayed in separate rooms.

As usual, Ashley also found something to get upset about, oddly breaking down into tears after sending Lucas home at the rose ceremony. Really? You're crying over this guy? Other than that vaguely cute moment when he taught you how to swing an imaginary golf club, you didn't even feel anything for the dude.

"Sometimes I want to say like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't even breathe,'" she sobbed. I just wished that sentiment even made sense.

It's especially frustrating to see Ashley get so distraught when it seems like she now has some viable options in front of her heading into the hometown dates. J.P. is clearly smitten with her, and her date with Ben went off without a hitch. Although, wasn't it kind of awkward when Ben poured his heart out to her after their moped ride, saying he was "teetering on the edge" of dropping the "l-bomb," and she just responded by staring blankly at him?

Ugh. Well, if she's not feeling good about her future in love at the moment, it appears she's quite confident with her body. How many tops that reveal her entire back does this chick own? We get it. You're not well-endowed, er, in the front region, and lots of guys made you feel insecure about that during the comedy club date earlier this season. That doesn't mean you have to walk around showing your entire naked back to compensate for it.

But Ashley's small tops weren't the only things that were cropped this week -- the entire episode was cut short to make room for Chris Harrison's dramatic interview with Emily, who of course was proposed to at the end of last season by then-"Bachelor" Brad Womack. In a shocking! turn! of! events!, Emily and Brad are already dunzo, only months after they proclaimed their undying love for one another.

I thought the interview with Emily was kind of lame, as she began weeping the moment she stepped out of the limo at the infamous "Bachelor" mansion.

"It's just sad being here," she choked. "The last time I came here, it felt a lot different."

For whatever reason, I had trouble feeling sorry for Emily. Those of you who watched the "After the Final Rose" episode after Brad's season will recall that Emily came across as totally controlling and seemed to have completely abandoned the sweet Southern girl persona she'd embodied prior. It appeared in an interview with the couple on that program that Brad would have done anything for Emily, who was not willing to uproot her life and move to Austin to give their relationship a chance.

On Monday, we didn't even really get any good details about why it didn't work out for the former lovebirds. She said she had been planning to move to Austin for the summer to see how things went, but "little red flags" kept coming up.

"I didn't doubt that we loved each other, I just doubted that he was still gonna wanna be with me," she said, insinuating he wasn't ready to abandon his single guy ways and become a husband and a father to Emily's daughter, Ricki.

"This was my worst nightmare," she insisted. I can only hope Ashley isn't back at the mansh in a few months, lamenting how her relationship went awry. But let's face it: The odds ain't in her favor.

--Amy Kaufman


'The Bachelorette' recap: With Bentley gone for good, J.P. becomes the front-runner

Ames gets a concussion, Ashley senseless

Complete 'Bachelorette' coverage on Show Tracker

Photo: Ben and Ashley get intimate on their moped date. Credit: ABC.

'The Bachelorette' recap: With Bentley gone for good, J.P. becomes the front-runner


It's taken six weeks of sometimes excruciatingly painful episodes of "The Bachelorette," but I may finally be heading over to Team Ashley.

Last week, when our perky star begged Chris Harrison to get her in contact with bad boy Bentley, I'm pretty sure the collective "Bachelorette" fan base cringed. How could Ashley have such poor taste in men? And even worse, how could she possibly believe that seeing Bentley again would be anything but a terrible idea?

But when Bentley showed up in all of his Robert Pattinson-esque glory -- the hair? anyone? -- I was shocked to watch Ashley actually cut to the chase. I'd thought that if he indicated in any way that he still had feelings for her, she'd continue to be hung up on him. Not surprisingly, Bentley was still wishy-washy about his feelings. After greeting her with an incredibly awkward closed-mouth kiss, he said that after he'd left the show, he "couldn't believe" he "went home and missed this" -- likely referring more to traveling around the world all-expenses-paid than actually falling in love with Ashley.

To that point, he told Ashley it "didn't look good" for their budding relationship, despite his lame promise of a "dot-dot-dot" between them, which left her thinking she might move to Salt Lake City with him if it didn't work out with any of the other guys on the show.

"So this is our period," she said. And then girl got mad. For the first time all season she actually stood up for herself. With Bentley obviously not on board the Ashley train, she asked him why he hadn't just told her so over the phone instead of flying halfway around the world to sputter out the sentiment.

"Just wanted a vacay?" she said, sassing him. And that was that. Finally.

With the "closure" she'd requested behind her, Ashley launched into a series of dates in Hong Kong with a new attitude, a big smile and a really bad fake tan. Lucas, who showed he had some mild game last week when he taught Ashley how to swing an imaginary golf club, got the first one-on-one date. While Lucas seems like an honest, down-home kind of Texan guy who with a sweet, protective nature, it was evident that there wasn't much chemistry between him and Ashley. After giving Bentley the ax once and for all, though, it seemed she was interested in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, and left Lucas with a rose.

On the group date the guys were again forced to partake in some horrible-seeming physical activity -- dragon-boat racing. The entire event was pretty bland, with the only interesting moment coming later in the evening when uptight Ames got wasted and started wildly making out with Ashley in an elevator.

My favorite part of Monday night's episode was Ashley's one-on-one date with J.P., whom I absolutely now feel she will end up with in the end. Not only do I think J.P. is the best dude on the show -- emotionally supportive but not cloyingly so, honest about his feelings and still physically attractive -- but it's clear that Ashley feels more comfortable with him than anyone else.

Case in point: Though she hadn't told any of the guys about Bentley's little jaunt to Hong Kong, she decided to let J.P. in on the secret first. Because he's secure enough with himself not to be threatened by Bentley (yet another attractive quality), he didn't seem all that bothered by the news. As such, Ashley rewarded him with a rose, calling him by his full name, "Jordan Paul" and prompting me to hate myself for actually finding something on a cheesy reality show romantic.

Unfortunately for Ash, her little Bentley reveal didn't go over with the rest of the guys. Predictably, she worded the entire story horribly, telling the remaining suitors that in a "short period of time" she had fallen for Bentley. Yeah, that's just what a dude wants to hear. Understandably, some guys were a little peeved, feeling as if they were second fiddles. Some took it to the extreme, acting like total pouty, jealous drama queens. Blake the dentist -- who never got a one-on-one date with Ashley -- and Constantine were especially upset. And so was Mickey, who told Ashley that he felt she'd lied to them.

"I just don't see what the hell you saw in that guy," he said, inspiring a universal "true that" from viewers nationwide. "If your gut is saying that's what you're looking for, then please send me home."

Ashley refused, saying that she wouldn't cut him and he'd have to leave himself if that was the way he felt. Minutes later the guy was floating off on a boat back home. 

No big loss there. Still, the entire evening left Ashley rattled, as she whimpered to Harrison that she felt bad about "not knowing how to make" all the guys "feel special."

And it appears the waterworks will not cease in the coming weeks. Did you guys catch the teaser for the rest of the season? Duh-rah-ma.

Of course, some former contestant comes back. Of course, another worries about being ready to propose. And of course, it seems like something incredibly intense goes down during the final rose ceremony.

I'm sure the producers are just messing with us and Ashley probably gets so upset just about having to let one of her final two go. But what if both guys leave her at the coral-and-flower covered would-be altar? What if her chosen man isn't ready to tie the knot? What if she decides she really just wants to be with Bentley at his family fun center in Salt Lake City and help him raise little Cozy?

Whatever happens, all I know is that being forced to watch so much nonsense early on, we'd better get a stunner of a finale.

-- Amy Kaufman


Ames gets a concussion, Ashley senseless

Bentley's shadow extends all the way to Thailand

Complete coverage of 'The Bachelorette' on Show Tracker

Photo: Ashley, in Hong Kong with Blake, left, and Ryan, was back to her perky self on Monday night's episode. Credit: ABC

'The Bachelorette' recap: Ames gets a concussion, but no one can knock any sense into Ashley

Boxing Another episode of "The Bachelorette"; another week of nearly clawing my eyes out due to frustration.

OK, Ashley. We're in Week 5 now. That means I've long ago grown tired of you still being hung up on Bentley. I can no longer listen to you lament about how those wondrous 60 minutes you spent together are still on your mind. Or whine about how that lame "dot dot dot" shtick has stuck with you as you've traveled halfway around the world. And yet, after going on some fun dates in a beautiful part of the world -- and even watching some poor guy suffer a concussion while literally fighting for you -- still, all you could talk about was Bentley.

Of course, we suckers were faked out by the teaser commercials this week, which showed Ashley sauntering up to a hotel room where Bentley was meant to be for their dramatic encounter. As it turns out, that nonsense goes down next week. AFTER ASHLEY PERSONALLY REQUESTS FOR BENTLEY TO FLY TO HONG KONG SO SHE CAN HAVE "CLOSURE" WITH HIM.

But hey, good on Chris Harrison, at least, for trying to impart to Ashely how absolutely ludicrous that idea is.

"You think this would really help you to move on?" he asked her skeptically.

Yes, she insisted, promising that if she could just hear Bentley say he left because he "didn't feel strongly enough" for her, then she would be "so respectful" of that. While that sentiment made my blood boil, I guess it is difficult to remember that Ashley isn't privy to seeing all of the crap Bentley talked behind her back. She must truly believe that this loser only left because he missed his kid. (Although even that logic is hard for me to comprehend, because if he was really that into Ashley, he would have stuck it out for like a month of production -- and she should realize that.) In any event, I can really only hope that she is watching these episodes and hanging her head in utter shame for being so naive.

Even though Bentley didn't show up in Asia this week, his reach still extended far into Ashley's psyche. His leaving early has made this girl so horribly insecure that as a result, she's making really poor choices about the remaining guys. Case in point? Kicking Ben C. off. I mean, whoa, did not see that one coming.

When it was announced that Ben and William were the two unlucky guys being sent on the dreaded two-on-one date, I immediately thought Ben had this thing in the bag. After William's awkward gaffe at the roast a few weeks back when he joked about wishing he was competing for Emily or Chantal's affections, I was sure he'd never be able to recover. (As it turned out, he wasn't -- the wannabe comedian thankfully got sent home later in the episode.)

But only a few minutes into their date -- after both of the guys were forced to row Ashley down a remote river on a raft like two slaves -- William pulled Ashley aside to tell her that he questioned Ben's intentions.

"From what I heard around the house, he's more looking forward to the dating websites when he gets home," William informed Ashley. "He's saying 'I'm gonna clean up after I get out of here. I can't wait to get back to town.'"

Ashley immediately freaked out and impulsively decided to send Ben home without even really getting his side of the story. Oh, wow -- the guy actually dares to speak about the possibility that he might not go home with the final rose? And alluded to how being on a reality show could affect his life? And why is it that when someone Ashley was actually friends with -- Michelle Money -- informed her early on about Bentley's evil intentions, she ignored that warning?

Ugh. Sure, I get that Ashley has been burned, and she's not taking any chances with guys who might even just quite possibly be on the show for the wrong reasons. And yes, that probably wasn't the smartest thing of Ben to say. But I think Ashley overreacted in this situation, and of the remaining dudes, Ben was certainly one of her best options.

Hey, I hope the guy does get on a dating site, because I'm sure there are plenty of girls out there who think he's prime boyfriend material. Ahem.

Now that the pack is starting to get whittled down -- and that Ben C. is a goner -- I'm really starting to feel good about Ben F. and J.P.'s chances. I thought Ben F. and Ashley's one-on-one date went pretty well this week, although he was so not forward with her that sometimes I couldn't tell if their lack of affection was due to awkwardness or intense sexual tension.

And weirdly, I feel like Ashley might end up having more intense feelings for Ames -- Ames, poor, poor Ames. Rough week for the Ivy League grad, who was nearly knocked out after taking one punch to the head in the Muay Thai match. (Again, producers, horrible date choice. First a roast that makes Ashley cry, now an all-out boxing match where both punching and kicking are allowed?) Ashley seemed to feel bad for the guy, but then when he finally returned from the hospital and even made it to the group date, she still gave the rose to Blake -- the lame dentist -- instead of giving him it to Ames out of sympathy. Weak.

I'd love to believe that after next week, Ashley will finally be able to focus on the other guys after she gets her little "closure" session with Bentley. Who, of course, immediately jumped at an offer to fly out to Hong Kong to see a girl he's admitted to openly being repulsed by. Class act.

-- Amy Kaufman


'The Bachelorette' recap: Bentley's dark shadow extends all the way to Thailand

'The Bachelorette' recap: A bad joke and a bad boy break Ashley's heart

Complete coverage of 'The Bachelorette' on Show Tracker

Photo: Ashley puts the gloves on during her boxing date in Thailand. Credit: ABC.

'The Bachelorette' recap: Bentley's dark shadow extends all the way to Thailand

Bentley may have made his dramatic exit on the last episode of "The Bachelorette," but this week it became clear the dark shadow he's cast on the show isn't going to disappear quite as quickly.

Even though Ashley and her slew of remaining suitors flew halfway around the world to drop-dead-gorgeous Thailand during Monday night's episode, it seemed all our little lady could think about was the loser who broke her heart back in Los Angeles.

"I keep thinking about how it would be if Bentley was here with me," she sighed in an interview, only minutes into the episode. Hm, terrible? He'd treat you somewhat kindly to your face and then talk about how repulsed he was about kissing you behind your back?

"It's a women's intuition," she continued, musing to host Chris Harrison later on. "I feel like there's something more there. The 'dot dot dot.' The door is still open. There isn't that closure."

Yeah, please don't blame your poor judgment on some universal quality inherent to the female gender. I resent that.

Even on her first one-on-one date with Constantine -- a.k.a. Josh Groban lookalike No. 1 -- it was evident Ashley had lost some of her effervescence due to Bentley-gate. Maybe it was the jet lag, but she looked pretty worn out from days of crying, and could barely seem to muster any interest in poor Grobes. When their boat date got rained out, Ashley seemed a little too upset, while Constantine had a good attitude about exploring Phuket. We hadn't seen much of this guy earlier in the season, but I have to say, he impressed me. Despite being on a date with Debbie Downer, he came across as genuine and easygoing, in my book fully putting himself in the running with Josh Groban No. 2, Ben C.

Next up, the majority of remaining guys went on a group date to an orphanage filled with kids affected by the 2004 tsunami in the country.

"I'm not sure if you guys know about the 2004 tsunami," Ashley began, introducing the day's event. Um, I really hope any potential husband of yours would be knowledgeable about one of the biggest natural disasters in the last decade.

"It says a lot about Ashley that she would set something up like this," William told the camera later on. I hate when the contestants say things like this, as if the producers have no hand in coordinating the elaborate dates everyone goes on. Yes, William, Ashley scouted out an orphanage on her own and decided to set up a date there. And then she found a resort with a hot tub -- which she heated to the right temperature -- and even decorated the perimeter of the water with 100 candles that she lit herself. Just for you.

Ashley's constant need for reassurance really got under my skin this week. Sure, I understand that she's just been burned badly by Bentley, and certainly has legitimate reasons to question the remaining contestants' intentions. But her rampant insecurity is really unattractive. On her date with Constantine, she outright asked, "Do I look cute?" Sweetie, you should not have to ask this early on in the dating process. And then at the orphanage, even though she asked the guys to help out with charity work, she proceeded to get annoyed that they weren't taking time out to flirt with her? Literally, slow your roll. I'm sure some of these fools would be more complimentary if you stopped acting so needy.

And whoa: Can we talk about next week's preview? Again, I have underestimated the scumminess of humanity, as Bentley is returning to further trample all over Ashley's naive heart. If Harrison or the producers try to explain this move by saying they can't interfere with Ashley's wishes, I will bug out. Since last week's episode, I've read a number of interviews with Harrison in which he said the producers didn't want to tell Ashley about Bentley's attitude in interviews because they don't reveal what other guys say about her when she isn't there. OK, I guess that's a vaguely fair point. But paying for Bentley to take a flight to Thailand and putting this fool up in a hotel? Don't even pretend like you have Ashley's best interests at heart. I await the drama. And can only hope that his reappearance doesn't put a further damper on the remainder of the season.

--Amy Kaufman


'The Bachelorette' recap: A bad joke and a bad boy break Ashley's heart

'The Bachelorette' recap: Ashley makes some poor choices in Sin City

Complete coverage of 'The Bachelorette' on Show Tracker

Photo: Ashley helps out at an orphanage in Thailand. Credit: ABC.

'The Bachelorette' recap: A bad joke and a bad boy break Ashley's heart


It's really unfortunate that Ashley had to have a nervous breakdown for "The Bachelorette" to get good this season.

Sadly, though, that was what happened during Monday night's episode, when our poor protagonist was absolutely ripped to shreds by some of her would-be husbands. First, one guy joked that he'd rather be competing for the affections of two other women from the last season of "The Bachelor." And then the one man who Ashley thought she was really falling for -- who, of course, was a complete jerk behind her back -- quit the show after only a few weeks. And it was bad. Very, very bad.

But perversely enjoyable to watch? I know how wrong that is to say. Especially because I truly did feel for Ashley during the episode. Even though it should be obvious to me by now that there are a slew of fame-hungry folks out there who will do anything for their 15 minutes, I'm still somehow shocked by some of the utter trash that shows up on reality television. Yes, there have been bad guys on "The Bachelorette" before: Wes, who only wanted to promote his musical career, and Justin, who was trying to further his reputation as a wrestler.

Continue reading »

'The Bachelorette' recap: Ashley makes some poor choices in Sin City

Second week in, and I'm still not sold on Ashley.

During Monday night's episode, I tried looking past her annoyingly perky demeanor. But this woman is making insane choices that make it difficult for me to want to support her in any way.

Most obviously, I'm talking about Bentley. Listen, there have been plenty of women in seasons past who have gone for the bad boy. Namely, Jillian Harris, who had a penchant for the guitar-toting, fame-hungry Wes. But even Wes wasn't outwardly a bad guy. He was a womanizer who told Jillian everything she wanted to hear, treating her kindly (to her face) by writing her love songs and repeatedly telling her he was head over heels for her.

But it's clear Bentley does not even want to pretend to like Ashley -- whether he's doing an on-camera interview or sitting right next to her. (Of course, the stuff he says in interviews is pretty horrible. Sample: "She has a great body. Amazing butt. Rockin' legs. I want her to tickle my ..." That last word was bleeped out, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know where he was going.)

Sure, after he kissed her, he told producers he wasn't into the moment. But that was apparent just by watching their interaction. You could almost see the disgust on his face. How is Ashley reading all these signs so wrong? When Bentley manhandles her and carries her to the fireplace, she somehow interprets this is as him wanting to be her "Prince Charming." When he says he's not sure he can stay in the competition, she reads that as him being "insecure," like she was last season, and literally begs him to stick around.

Watching them together is brutal. Luckily, it seems Bentley comes clean about his lack of feelings for Ashley in next week's episode, leading her to have a complete emotional breakdown. Dra-ma.

 Another uncomfortable moment during last night's show? That bizarre date with William in Las Vegas. Who could possibly think it'd be a fun idea to trick a guy into almost marrying you in Sin City and then be like, 'Oh, just kidding!' Well, that's exactly what went down.

Poor little cellular-phone salesman/wannabe comedian William arrived in Vegas with Ashley on a swanky private jet, and then the two began engaging in traditional pre-wedding activities. Cake tasting, picking out rings, and then heading straight to some hokey chapel. But the thing is, Ashley wasn't playing up the joke enough. You could tell that she was creepily into picking out a huge diamond, and when she met William at the altar, she even let him say 'I do' before saying she wanted to wait to get to know him better. "What a funny joke!" she seemed to be thinking. "I made you say you'd be willing to marry me after only knowing me for a day, and then I totally rejected you! In. Yo'. Face."

The date got somewhat better when the pair had dinner on a table amid the waters of the Bellagio fountains. William talked about his job: "I bring communication to the people." I guess that's a nice to put it when you sell cellphones for a living. Then he shared a pretty horrible story about his father's alcoholism and how his dad died as a result of it. Ashley said she could relate because her father had struggled with alcohol his whole life, which made me flash back to her hometown date with Brad. Wasn't her dad there? And wasn't there the implication of having the perfect family?

Meanwhile, did anyone else find it bizarre how the producers included footage of Vegas tourists screaming, "I love you, Ashley!" and cheering when the couple kissed? For some reason, it seemed out of place to have the tabloid phenomenon surrounding the show actually included in it.

Other poor Ashley judgment calls on last night's episode: doing that gimmicky coin-toss thing with Mickey for her entire date with him. We get it: He won the date on a coin toss. You don't need to decide everything you do on the date by continuing to flip a coin. Especially deciding whether to give him a rose at the end of the night! I couldn't believe he wasn't more insulted when she suggested that was how she should decide whether to keep him around.

Also: giving yet another rose to Jeff, the masked man. I mean, really? I felt for the guys who were sent home instead of Zorro last night. That's a true blow to one's ego.

Meanwhile, I'm still feeling good about my early favorites. As of now, my top two are Ben from New Orleans, whom we sadly didn't get to see much of this week, and J.P. He and Ashley had a sweet moment toward the end of the night -- one that prompted former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky to tweet: "Calling it now-JP wins. It was SO clear to me in their rose ceremony interaction. #bachelorette #remindedmeofmytimewithRoberto." Wow, Ali. Bold. I like it.

I'm also still feeling for William, who seemed to have a solid date with Ashley, and I haven't discounted winemaker Ben altogether yet, either.

Who are you thinking has a shot at winning Ashley's heart at the end?


'The Bachelorette' recap: Ashley fails to perk our interest

Shawn Ryan has no love for 'The Bachelor,' calling the show 'racist'

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ashley and William pretend to get married in Las Vegas on Monday night's episode of "The Bachelorette." Credit: ABC

'The Bachelorette' recap: Ashley fails to perk our interest

Ashley Just hours before the premiere of the new season of "The Bachelorette" on Monday, news broke that the couple who ended up together last season, Brad Womack and Emily Maynard, are officially done.

That's right. I know it's shocking, but yet another another twosome to come out of "The Bachelor" franchise have gone kaput. Maynard has reportedly returned the engagement ring she received from Womack back to ABC, apparently signaling her belief that there is no hope for the pair to make it to the altar.

Not an altogether positive note to start off Ashley Hebert's quest for love. We saw the 26-year-old -- rejected by Womack last season due to her constant insecurities -- get introduced to a slew of men at the infamous mansion on Monday's episode. There was the drunk guy: Tim, who got so wasted he passed out and had to be shown to the door. There was the weird guy: Jeff, who insisted on wearing a mask in an attempt to get Ashley to see beyond his looks. And there was the jerky guy: Bentley, who in interviews was open about the fact that he'd rather have been competing for the blonde Maynard's affection.

In true "Bachelorette" fashion, of course, the latter two of those guys didn't even get kicked off immediately -- after all, there's plenty of time left for them to stir up drama. Especially Bentley, who it seems plays a majorly evil role this season. Even before showing up, Ashley had heard bad things about the dude -- apparently, a former show participant called her to let her know that he was only coming on the show to promote his business -- which, oddly enough, is running a "family fun center?" He doesn't seem to talk much about his business, though he repeatedly says that he's "not attracted" to Ashley whatsoever, and he could "care less" about her feelings. Ashley is shown having a major emotional breakdown at the end of the season, which we're led to believe is incited by Bentley's callousness. But those "Bachelor" producers have been known to be tricky in the past, so I'm not so sure that he's the one causing her mascara tears.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. To be honest, I'm finding the prospect of even making it that far into the season troublesome. The moment it was announced that Ashley was going to be the star of the show this season, I cringed. While some might find her perky, outgoing shtick endearing, last season with Womack, I just found her grating. And she didn't do much to change my mind tonight. The opening scenes of her dancing on an empty stage and sporting her scrubs at dental school were fine. But the subsequent high-pitched cackle that followed -- an attempt to convey her endless effervescence -- was painful. She constantly spoke about her desire to go through the new season with "no regrets," beating us over the head with the repetitive mantra. She made an...interesting...initial fashion choice, assuming the guys wouldn't notice a bulky microphone pack showing through the back of her skintight sequined dress. And when the topic of cupcakes came up in conversation with one of the contestants, she actually said that she wants her husband to refer to her as a "cupcake" after they get married. What type of person wants their spouse to call them a pastry? I cannot.

But since I have been dealt Ashley this season, I must deal with the situation accordingly. So let's talk about the guys I don't hate. There's Ben F., a winemaker slash internet marketer who divides his time between Sonoma and San Diego. While not the most handsome of the bunch -- although he does have good hair -- Ben seemed the most authentic, offering up a casual toast with his own wine upon meeting Ashley. Then there's Ben C., who's from New Orleans and could recite some pretty sexy French because his dad was from the country. As far as gimmicks went, Ben C's wasn't bad -- while other guys were talking to Ashley during the cocktail hour, he held up signs through a window asking for a moment of her time. On a scale of horrible "Bachelorette" cheesiness, his move was tolerable, if not somewhat cute. There's also William, a "cellular phone salesman." Sure, it's a lame job, but his goofiness set him apart from the otherwise stiff group of guys. Throughout the night, he offered up decent impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Connery, proving he was one of the few good-looking dudes with a semblance of a personality. Finally, I wasn't opposed to J.P., a guy in construction management who shops at the farmer's market and is over the New York dating scene. He wasn't a huge stand-out, but he seemed more genuine than a lot of the other guys in the competition.

But the preview for the rest of the season shows a few guys sticking around who I was not an early fan of. What's up with Ames, the Brendan Fraser lookalike with impeccably ironed shirts and a preppy demeanor? His uptight nature doesn't seem to jibe with Ashley's loose energy. Lucas, a Texan "oilfield equipment distributor" whose back story we didn't even get to see on Monday, also seems to get far.

In any case, I'm sure his interest in Ashley will outlast mine.


'Real Housewives of New Jersey': Brawl at the baptism!

Forget flashcards! Watch reality TV and get into college

--Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ashley Hebert is "The Bachelorette." Credit: ABC.


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