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

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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.

But even they didn’t seem as horrible as Bentley. It’s bad enough that he told producers numerous times in his on-camera interviews that he didn’t find Ashley attractive, but then he deliberately went out of his way to make her feel terrible about herself. When she was crying after being roasted at a comedy club, he ran to her side, telling her she was fantastic, ‘the best dancer in the world,’ even. But a day later, when he decided to peace out -- blaming his exit on his daughter, who he supposedly missed so badly -- he promised he’d make her cry as he said goodbye.

Indeed, there were waterworks. Bentley even got teary himself to add to the effect.

‘I was just going for it. My eyes got, like, watery, and she, like, consoled me and stuff,’ he said after it all went down.

Like a true dirt bag, he continued to lead her on even as he was leaving, telling her that he wanted to keep a ‘dot dot dot’ between them and their relationship, because that’s ‘better than just a period.’

Ashley proceeded to cry in her room for hours, and it was pretty tragic to watch -- especially knowing that the producers likely did not clue her in to Bentley’s true colors even after he left the mansion. But in an odd way, the whole incident just made me even more frustrated with Ashley and her bad judgment. I honestly do not comprehend why she fell so hard for Bentley. Sure, she had no way of knowing that he was talking so much smack on her behind her back. So to her, he was just a vaguely sweet, cute guy. And yes, as one of my friends put it, ‘dude had game.’ He had that bad-boy-swagger thing going on, constantly throwing his arm over her shoulder like he owned her. Obviously, he was one of the more attractive guys in the bunch. But he wasn’t THAT fine. And he certainly wasn’t some winning conversationalist.

Not to mention: Someone who knew Bentley and his ex-wife texted Ashley before the season even began to warn her he would leave the show after a few weeks. And host Chris Harrison has said in recent blogs and tweets that he had repeated conversations with Ashley, attempting to get her to kick Bentley to the curb earlier in the season. And yet, she kept him around. Even worse, after all of three episodes, she’s absolutely devastated when he leaves? She tells Harrison that she thinks she was in LOVE with this character? And I’m supposed to support this woman in her quest for to find a husband?

Oy. In any case, I’m still loving Ben C. from New Orleans. How cute was he on his date with Ashley, totally getting into the flash-mob dance and managing to not look like a complete idiot while busting a move? Although I’m a big fan of his, he did get a tad too hyper on their date, talking a mile a minute about how he wants to feel like he and the woman he weds have ‘something unbelievably special’ about them. Um, doesn’t everyone want to feel that way about their marriage?

Also coming through in the clutch: J.P. He gets the date with a puffy-eyed, post-breakdown Ashley and still has a smile on while listening to her complain about how some other guy broke her heart. That’s a tough one, and he pulled it off.

At least the Mask was finally sent home -- and of course, it happened almost immediately after he decided to reveal his face. The instant he removed his Zorro get-up was one of the most hilarious moments in ‘Bachelorette’ history. Right before he pulled the mask off, for some reason, the camera panned to a shot of a bird and then a squirrel? And when he finally got rid of the stupid mask, he felt the need to reintroduce himself to Ashley.

‘Hi, I’m Jeff,’ he uttered. Classic. Other thoughts:

--Ryan P. -- or as I like to refer to him, ‘Solar Panels’ -- looks just like ‘Glee’s’ Matthew Morrison sans the curly hair.
--Why would Ashley set up a group date at a comedy club where she was roasted? You’re ASKING the guys to hate on you? How could that possibly be a good idea?
--William. Poor William. Really? Telling Ashley you’d rather be competing for Chantal or Emily, when you don’t even feel that way? (Hi, Bentley?) That’s just cruel. And when he realized how upset the ‘joke’ made her, why didn’t he immediately apologize, instead of deciding to leave the competition? Telling her you’re ready to leave after saying you wish she wasn’t ‘The Bachelorette’ isn’t making her feel any better.
--Harrison finally offered some legit advice this week. I loved that he called Bentley out about leading Ashley on with the whole ‘dot dot dot’ story. ‘That’s such a guy thing to say,’ the host said. ‘He left. He could have stayed.’ At least someone in that damn mansion has their head on straight.

-- Amy Kaufman



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