Ashley Shall Have Her Vengeance

I couldn’t resist coming back for more.  I planned to retire the Bachelor Report after the pathetic conclusion to last season’s Bachelor, in which Brad chose Emily, then Emily had second thoughts, then Brad tried to win her back, then… what the hell happened there, anyway?
Since I didn’t keep up with US Weekly in the weeks that followed, I never knew.  The most logical assumption is that Brad finally discovered that Emily was working for the Russians that whole time.  You see, the Russians have been actively developing a back tattoo that would make Brad’s religious cross on the spine look like a minor birthmark.
"the bachelor brad womack"
 Emily was working to obtain vital information regarding Brad’s tattoo artist and the technology used to build Brad’s crucifix.  Then Chris Harrison got involved, and it was all over for Emily and the Soviets.  Brad returned to Texas, and Emily now resides in a classified detention center off the coast of Virginia.
That’s how it must have gone down.  Are we to believe instead that Brad was simply jilted by Emily and left sad and alone, flexing his pecs for no companion and jogging shirtlessly into singledom?  Of course not.  I’ll also allow the possibility that Brad simply spent the last few months licking tequila shots off the nubile ladies of West Texas and thought nothing of Emily at all.

Speaking of tequila, it’s time to watch the new Bachelorette drink margaritas with 25 eligible men!  This season’s Bachelorette is Ashley H., whom we last saw plunging into a humiliating shame spiral as she finished 3rd in the Brad Womack sweepstakes.

"brad womack ashley hebert"

My wife was infuriated to learn that she was selected as the new Bachelorette, as were many other viewers. “Chantal deserves a second chance at love instead!,” you all protested.  No she doesn’t, said ABC.  Instead, Chantal is sentenced to a lifetime of loneliness and regret, pondering where things went wrong with Brad.  I hope she knows how to knit, play solitaire, and collect cats. (By the way, I just learned the hard way that a Google Image search for “cat lady” will pull up images that shall haunt you for the rest of your life.)

Anyway, on to the new show.  We are re-introduced to Ashley, whom Stephanie notes has been given bangs by ABC to obscure her misshapen forehead.  Kind of like that scene in “E.T.” where they put E.T. in a wig and girl’s clothes to hide him from the authorities.  Same tricks, equally impressive result.

"E.T. in drag"

Does Ashley have the looks to make a show in which 25 eligible bachelors fight for her affections believable? Not quite.  But she looks perfectly fine as we see footage of her dancing, jogging, and pondering on the streets of Philadelphia.

I step away for a few minutes to take care of some household errands, and when I return Ashley is still pondering, staring into a body of water, and executing a monologue about overcoming obstacles, finding one’s self, and learning from tragedy.  OH MY GOD, I thought: her family has been wiped out in a plane crash, or some similar tragedy so as to justify her profound sadness.  I feel terrible for Ashley.

But then I realize she’s still talking about her “relationship” with Brad, and I damn near regurgitate my dinner.  However, as we know, the Bachelor/Bachelorette series is not about maintaining proper perspective in life.  To qualify as a contestant, one must equate a broken nail with 9/11 or mismatched shoes & socks with the Rwandan genocide.

We are introduced to 25 men that each claim to be there “for the right reasons” and explain their tales of hardship and woe in the ways of love.  While each are successful in their respective fields and reasonably good looking, they maintain that they are single because their attempts to commit their lives to another woman have been thwarted by work schedules, rejection, and even death.

They are all seemingly complicated tales of unrequited romance and frustration, which can be translated thusly: These guys have been playing the field throughout their twenties and now see an opportunity to actually get on national TV while they hit on a chick.

"the bachelorette"

"I swear I didn't put anything in this drink!"

Ashley informs Chris Harrison at one point that she has been “tipped off” to a contestant, Bentley, who might not be there for the right reasons!  Harrison is stunned.  Yeah, I know, says Ashley.  That leaves only 24 virtuous men in the whole bunch.  (Of course, Ashley falls head over heels for Bentley by the end of the episode and elects to ignore all valuable advice previously given to her.  Like the part in a horror movie where the hero’s car breaks down in a forest, we know precisely where this is all headed.)

We are also introduced to a guy named “Ames” who tells viewers that he is from New York and went to undergrad at “Yale, in Connecticut”.  I’m relieved that he clarified the location, since I almost assumed he went to the Yale in New Mexico.  He says he went on to earn three more degrees, including one from Harvard, and has run 39 marathons and several ultra-marathons.

"the bachelorette"

"I'm training for the ultramarathon - of lies!"

While my bullshit detector starts ringing like a school bell, Stephanie falls in love with our new contestant. “He’s only 31! There’s no way he already has 4 degrees!” I exclaim.  “He’s just really driven,” she says.  “But the ultramarathons!” I protest.  “I know guys who have run those races and they are all skin and bones! This guy is too bulky!”  It was a losing argument.  Dis-attaching a woman from a favorite Bachelorette contestant is an impossible task.  I must wait for Ashley to expose his lies and send him on an ultramarathon back to where he came from.

In other notable news, one contestant chooses to wear a mask throughout the episode, explaining that he’d prefer that Ashley get to know his personality first.  (If a guy were to pull this in real life, the first thing he’d get to know would be a restraining order.)

We also meet a contestant who chooses to take full advantage of the show’s open bar policy and get tanked.  He slurs a few come-ons to Ashley, challenges the Masked Man to a fight, then passes out on a couch.

"the bachelorette"

"Hey, can't a guy just get some shut-eye on TV once in a while?"

The man will eventually realize that passing out is meant to be done in bathroom stalls, gutters, and rat-infested alleys behind bars — not on nationally-televised romance shows.  A lesson learned.

With that, it’s time to turn the lights out on this blog post.  Coming up next week (SPOILER ALERT!): Ashley learns that some of these guys aren’t exactly what they seem!!


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My Computer Thinks I’m Gay

Preparing my post last week required a lot of work and intensive research; to confirm facts and obtain images, I had to spend a lot of time googling items such as “brad womack back tattoo”, “brad womack date photos”, and “brad womack no shirt on.” After a couple hours of typing about the Bachelor and tracking down these photos, my web browser offered a pop-up ad from a dating service.  The ad promised it could find ALL of the hot singles in my area, and offered photos of some of their best prospects.  These prospects were all men.  So, based on my keystrokes and google queries, my computer determined that I was either a single woman or a gay man looking for action.  To remedy this misunderstanding, I spent the next few days googling things such as:

  • Football
  • Fire
  • Monster Trucks
  • Power tools
  • Barbecue

Now my directed advertising offers a healthy mix of sports gambling and auto parts.  Order has been restored.  Also, any manly men googling “monster trucks on fire” will now be directed to this terrible blog about The Bachelor.  Oops.  Here’s a fire-breathing, car-eating monster to tide you guys over:

monster truck rally

Speaking of fire-breathing monsters, tonight’s show spent a lot of time airing the ladies’ grievances with the notorious Michelle.  Michelle, for her part, assured viewers that she didn’t really want monkeys to attack Chantal on one of the group dates.  It was just a figure of speech, you know?  Michelle sat in tears as the various contests unloaded on her for being a two-faced you-know-what (hint: starts with “b” and rhymes with “bitch”).

Now, is it fair to judge the woman’s character based on the carefully-edited clips that ABC has provided us? Of course not.  That’s why we need to consider other factors, such as:

  1. Her stage name is Michelle Money.
  2. She had an affair with Carlos Boozer that doomed his marriage.
  3. Her stage name is Michelle Money.
  4. Maybe “Michelle Money” isn’t even a stage name, in which case we have serious problems that are beyond our comprehension.

The show finally wrapped up Michelle’s crocodile-tears act and moved on to a discussion with Ashley S.  Ashley confessed to her devastation upon being dismissed by Brad, and that she seeks “closure.”  Huh.  Doesn’t watching yourself get dumped on a nationally-televised program provide some measure of closure?  I’m beginning to think these reality-tv contestants are not the mature & sophisticated thinkers we’ve been led to believe!

Speaking of mature and sophisticated thinkers, ABC showed us a tease of the upcoming season of “Bachelor Pad 2.”  For those unacquainted, the “Bachelor Pad” spinoff is a tightly-controlled experiment run by the Centers for Disease Control, in which two dozen human specimens are quarantined in a house to determine how quickly herpes and gonorrhea can possibly be spread among adults.  These are last year’s participants in the study:

"bachelor pad"

Their demonstrated capacity for breeding is what’s most alarming.

Anyway, in between dramatic segments of our show, ABC runs an ad for Arby’s.  The new triple Angus Bacon and Cheese sandwich is now available.  Arby’s clearly wasted their time and money in paying for an ad segment during The Bachelor.  Based on my aforementioned experience, the core audience of The Bachelor is not Arby’s beef ‘n’ cheddar aficionados — it is hot singles looking for straight/gay action with local hunks.  Duh.

Apparently The Bachelor team has built a school somewhere in Africa, and ran a clip with Brad and Chris Harrison dancing and playing soccer with a bunch of African kids.  That seemed to go well, although you could tell some of those African babies were still pissed about the shenanigans Brad pulled in Season 8.  Whatever.  They’ll get over it.

Not much else happened on this show, and we still don’t have a winner. Looks like another week of endless speculation and sleepless nights for me.  Tune in next week as we find out whether Brad picks the nice, good-looking twentysomething or the other nice, good-looking twentysomething.  Meanwhile, a nation holds its collective breath and pees its collective pants.

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March 7, 2011 · 9:03 pm

And Then There Were Three

It’s been a while since I last rapped at ya, Bachelor fans — unfortunately I was pulled away from the blogosphere to study for an important exam that didn’t test my knowledge of The Bachelor.  That doesn’t mean I skipped watching the show, however.  I kept an eye on the show’s developments, and if that exam included questions about Madison’s teeth, Melissa’s persecution complex, and Michelle’s potential for homicide, I would have aced the thing easily.  But such was not the case.

Anyway, I’m back, and just in time for the Final Three.  Viewers were bound for a letdown after last week’s Final Four episode set a television record by featuring two women with variations of the name “Chantal”.  Obviously, “Shawntel” was doomed for defeat due to the controversial spelling of her name.  Also, she took Brad to a funeral home and made him pretend to be a cadaver.  Ladies, if you’re keeping score at home, that’s what us fellas call a “red flag.”  Brad has kept his poise throughout, however, despite the fact that this season of The Bachelor has featured a woman with the capacity to kill (Michelle), one with the ability to dispose of the body (Shawntel), and one with the willingness to lap up any remaining blood from the floor (Madison).  I suspect that Brad’s religious convictions keep him strong.  He knows that even when God is not watching over him, he always has a gigantic cross tattooed across his back.

brad womack back tattoo

As you can see, the power of Christ compels Bachelor contestants not to harm Brad.  He’s doing just fine, which is more than I can say about the women of the show.  My knowledge of the last month’s worth of episodes is somewhat spotty, but I’ll try to sum it up here for those who were on a Bachelor “hiatus” of their own lately.  I apologize for any minor factual inconsistencies, but here’s my understanding of how things played out:

  • Lisa was eliminated in Week Three when, on a romantic group date on Catalina Island, she fell into a ravine and was promptly devoured by wild boars.
  • Alli was eliminated in Week Four when, on a romantic getaway with Brad in Costa Rica, she ran afoul of a local narcotics gang’s strict protocol regarding hot tub dancing and was sentenced without trial to 14 years of hard labor on a banana farm.
  • Madison left voluntarily in Week 5 after experiencing a crisis of conscience.  Though she liked Brad and wanted to stay, she was summoned by Vogor, Dark Lord of the Underworld, to lend her vampiric skills to his Red Army in their ongoing feud with the Romanian peasant hordes.  She tearfully accepted her Master’s request and left a disappointed Brad behind.
  • Ashley S. and Marissa were both eliminated in Week 6 when, on a romantic group getaway to Tanzania, the two stumbled upon a magical emerald which, when disturbed, opens up a portal to time travel through the centuries.  When Marissa drunkenly spilled wine on the gem, she and Ashley were both sucked into the vortex and are now residing in Hill Valley, circa 1955.  Brad declined to follow them into the past, citing the past’s lack of sophisticated gym equipment and self-tanners.
  • Britt was eliminated in Week 7 when, on a romantic group date to Kauai,  she was attacked by the rare breed of tiger sharks that are known to roam the island’s hot tubs.
  • In Week 8, as we discussed, Shawntel was eliminated after Brad survived an attempted embalming at her hands.

And that, I think, sums up how we got here.  For those who missed those episodes, believe me: there were some stunning and shocking turns of events.  But in Episode Nine, it was time to look to the future and determine whether Ashley H. had what it took to best Chantal and Emily.  This, apparently, was easier for viewers than it was for poor Brad, who agonized for a grueling hour over what to do about Ashley.  He liked her, but as in all relationships, certain things change over the course of years. Or, in this case, weeks.  “What happened to the old Ashley that I knew?”, Brad actually asked out loud as 20  million women hurled their remotes at their television sets.  Ashley couldn’t really explain it, as she lacks the mental capacity to articulate thoughts through verbal expression.  She didn’t know what her future plans were, or if she was willing to move to Texas at some point.  Note to future Bachelor contestants: when The Bachelor asks you how you feel about moving to his home state, “I’m not sure” is not the preferable response.

Brad Womack the Bachelor and Ashley H

Anyway, we as Americans have been through a lot of tough times, and an hour of Ashley and Brad’s waffling only added to our collective misery.  It was like seeing somebody look at a dessert menu and struggle whether to pick the Key Lime Pie, the Molten Chocolate Cake, or the three-week-old Little Debbie snack that still sat crushed at the bottom of his backpack.

I won’t drag this out any longer than necessary since, unlike ABC, I don’t have any contractual obligations to advertisers that require me to make you think about Ashley for 2 hours.  She got the boot, and we can safely move on with our lives.

Stay tuned next week when, instead of the hotly-contested final showdown that America wants and needs, we get one of those catty reunion-style shows where the eliminated contestants (those that survived, at least!) get together to call each other bitches, throw things, and burst into tears.

We must wait two weeks to find out whether Brad chooses Chantal or Emily.  While both seem evenly matched, Emily is the sentimental favorite due to the untimely death of her husband.  However, the fact that Emily named her daughter after her male ex is a creepy X-factor that lurks in the background.  The only certainty is confusion, tears, and images of a shirtless Brad strolling and pondering as waves crash around him on an exotic beach.  Who’s in?

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Episode One

“You may find yourself in a shotgun shack.  And you may find yourself in another part of the world.  And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.  And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.  And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”The Talking Heads, “Once in a Lifetime”

I asked myself that very question as I watched “The Bachelor” season premiere last Monday with my wife, who introduced me to the program as a street corner junkie might have introduced me to black tar heroin.  Until a couple years ago, I’d heard about the show but probably never watched a full episode.  The premise, as I understood it, was that an eligible male bachelor spent a couple months searching for a bride and passing out floral gifts to special ladies.  How would “The Bachelor” find this bride?  Well, the same way any guy does: by sharing helicopter rides over scenic mountain vistas, sipping champagne on horseback, cavorting in frothy hot tubs, and using one’s tongue to examine the dental work of frisky females.  You know, pretty straightforward stuff.

"The Bachelor Hot Tub"
So, how did I get here, to the point at which I’m actually publishing thoughts on this show?  It all started when my lady swept me into the weekly world of romantic intrigue that was Jason Mesnick’s life.  By day, according to this man’s bio, he was a Seattle-based “account executive in estate and legacy planning.”  By night, he was THE BACHELOR — a swarthy lothario who broke hearts as quickly as he captured them on Season 13 of the show.  25 women competed to win Jason’s affections, and one was left standing.  Then Jason dumped her on live television to ask for the runner-up’s hand in marriage.  I could keep my eyes away from this trainwreck no longer.

Melissa Rycroft Jason Mesnick The Bachelor

The next season’s Bachelor, Jake Pavelka, was above such classless shenanigans as changing his mind in the season finale and humiliating his top pick in front of 50 million viewers.  Jake had dignity.  He stuck to his guns in the season finale and selected the esteemed Vienna Girardi. Then, Jake patiently waited until he’d milked his Bachelor run into a Dancing With the Stars stint before he jilted and crushed his woman on national TV.  Hollywood romantic folklore is filled with memorable quips like “You had me at hello” and all that good stuff.  To those lines we can add: “PLEASE STOP INTERRUPTING ME!!!” as Jake so eloquently put it to Vienna.

"jake and vienna breakup"

ABC had a problem on its hands now.  Out of 14 Bachelors, only one had ever actually married his top pick, and the past three seasons had ended in utter catastrophe. (I missed the one where Brad Womack dumped BOTH of his two finalists on live TV. Classic.)  America demanded a classy Bachelor who would stay true and wed his bride on live TV as a nation wept into its collective buckets of ice cream.

It was time for ABC to go back to the drawing board.  They needed to find a strong yet sensitive man who would not infuriate 50 million women and disappoint the advertisers.  They knew they had at least 30 million American men between the ages of 25-35 that might fit the mold, so that was a start.  The U.S. Census was going on at this same time, so as long as ABC coordinated its efforts with the federal government, there was no way they could miss out on the best Bachelors.  They were out there.  The search was on.

So who did ABC pick? Brad Womack, the despised Bachelor of Season 12.

Now, I didn’t realize this before, but in the minds of American women, Brad Womack ranked somewhere on the evil scale between Osama Bin Laden and bad hair days.  When some of these Season 15 contestants stepped out of their limos and saw that the Bachelor was Brad, they reacted as if they’d been paired with Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid-Sheik Mohammed.  There was at least one actual slap in the face (good to see people still do that, by the way. It has a certain old-school charm.)

The first 30 minutes of Episode One was dedicated to our beleaguered Brad, trying to explain himself and reassure viewers that he was not the disgusting cad that they remembered.  After the Season 12 debacle, you see, Brad reevaluated things and even sought out a THERAPIST.  He realized that deep down, he had commitment issues that needed to be — and were — addressed.  Brad was a changed man.  ABC proved this to us with shots of Brad staring wistfully into the distance while doing bicep curls with his shirt off.  This was followed with a montage of shirtless pushups, shirtless jogging, and a shirtless walk through the park as Brad mulled over his past transgressions.  Judging by the awestruck, infatuated look on my wife’s face as Brad tensed his pectorals for the camera, all was forgiven.

"Brad Womack Shirtless"

Nevertheless, Brad still had some ‘splainin’ to do to the ladies.  The next 30 minutes of Episode One were dedicated to a tiresome montage of women questioning Brad’s motives and morals, as if they — contestants on a game show in which 25 women swap spit with a single man — were solemn and virtuous judges of morality.  It took all I had not to throw our remote at the TV when a woman with fangs (actual vampire fangs!) questioned whether Brad was there for the right reasons.  Even Brad could barely hide his unease with the situation.  His soul spoke through his eyes, and it said: “Ummm, aren’t we supposed to be drinking margaritas in the hot tub by now?”

An initial survey of the contestants failed to reveal which of them would be the certifiably crazy bitches of the bunch – there are always at least 1-2 of them each year.  They keep us entertained with their Shakespearean overreactions to perceived slights.  Perhaps next week she will reveal herself by collapsing in a jealous, hysterical fit as she imagines the prospect of Brad in a tent with another woman.  Happens every season.

To my shock and chagrin, the woman with the vampire fangs displayed a normal temperament, kept her composure, and never at any point attempted to slice through Brad’s jugular, drain three liters of his blood, and leave his pale, lifeless corpse beside a blood-filled hot tub.  That may not happen until Episode 4.

As to Madison, there is some controversy as to whether the fangs are implants, or whether she actually had them carved in that fashion by a trained practitioner.  America demands answers, Madison!! Reveal your true identity!  Anyway, Brad defied logic by handing this woman a rose at the end.  Meanwhile, all men watching — at least those who don’t own bondage equipment — shook their heads in disbelief.  The primary goal of most dating men is to weed out the crazies from the normal women.  When one of those crazies flashes vampire teeth on a first date, standard protocol is for a man to excuse himself, thank the woman for her time, and leave promptly for that thing that “just came up.” Brad disobeyed protocol and will pay a price for this.  I assure you, this will get weird.

Anyhow, the rest of the episode was not very noteworthy.  Standard introductory stuff, and a TON of commercials.  Made sense, though, as the Bachelor is basically the Super Bowl for women.  We’ll see if the ad-to-hot tub time ratio improves as the season progresses.

I’ve gone on far too long here and must grind this baby to a halt.  I leave you with this, though: Season 15 has a “Chantal” and a “Shawntel.” Just blew your mind there, didn’t I?  We’ll see which version of the name Brad deems superior in future episodes.  I’m holding my breath.  Adios until next week, Bachelor posse.


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