We start the show with Ashley reading the obligatory script about her journey to find love, the fairytale romance, the last chapter of her love story, et al. I think it is the same monologue that begins every Bachelor/Bachelorette finale show. This is the part of the finale where I like to pee and make a snack.
After a commercial break, we return to the first of the Meet The Heberts dates, taking place on a beautiful island in Fiji. JP is up first, and he will be meeting Ashley’s mom, step-dad, sister Chrystie, and a brother whose name and face I have already forgotten. Ashley’s sister is wearing a cotton romper that bears a striking resemblance to what my two-year-old daughter wore today. I’d like to mock her for it but to be fair, she’s kind of rocking the look. However, the entire family is also wearing shell necklaces that they likely bought on the island with the same blind enthusiasm that one might decide on getting cornrows while visiting Jamaica. It always seems like a good idea at the time.
Ashley has a little pre-meeting meeting with her family and breaks it down for them. The dilemma: she’s falling for two guys. One is really different from her, but she feels an insane, passionate connection with. One who seems more compatible, who started as her friend, and who makes more sense in the long-term. Gee, where have we heard this story before? I don’t know, maybe EVERY 20SOMETHING ROMANCE MOVIE AND TELEVISION SERIES EVER?
Chrystie gets my first impression rose for the finale. She is stunning – she’s cute, sassy, has great tattoos and the best hair ever, and she speaks her mind. I’m enthralled and thinking that she should be the Bachelorette. Or come be my bestie who does my hair and picks out my clothes. My affection for Chrystie is short-lived, though, as she reveals her true colors after the commercial break.
JP’s meeting with the family is made awkward by the fact that the full island sun is causing all of them much squinting and sweating. So much sweating, you guys. There is so much sweating that they are HOLDING TOWELS. All of them are dabbing at the sweat and Ashley is trying really hard to keep her bangs from actually touching the wetness on her forehead before they enter “separated bangs” territory. (If you’re not sure what I mean by that, just have a look at Ben’s bangs during his family date). I cannot imagine the pit stains that are hiding under Ashley’s silk shirt.
During the family meeting, Chrystie asks Ashley if JP makes her laugh. To which Ashley basically answers, no, but he’s hot. Chrystie isn’t really feeling that answer. In fact, she’s not really feeling JP at all, and she takes the first opportunity to tell Ashley just that. Now, at first I was jiving with Chrystie’s concerns. I’m a fan of the funny boys myself, so I can see the sense of humor being a sticking point.
But after giving this feedback, Chrystie doesn’t really let up. Ashley is confused about what to follow, her head or her lady parts heart. Chrystie has taken it upon herself to be love’s executioner, and starts asking some tough questions. At first, she seems like a protective big sister. Why is JP, a hot guy in his mid-30’s, still not in a comitted relationship? YES. This is a good question. But when Ashley asks her sister to back down, she only amps it up, telling her that she is just looking at logistics. I’m the rational one here, Chrystie says. (Because nothing says rational like a tattoo on the inside of her lip that says “Whatevs” ).
Chrystie doesn’t end the criticism with Ashley. She sits down one-on-one with JP, guns blazing. She tells him she doesn’t see them together, outlines her concerns, and generally gives him the side-eye. JP is visibly shaken, since her mind is pretty much made up. She wasn’t asking questions or seeking to understand, she was just here to tell JP that she can’t give her approval. She was playing some serious armchair psychologist with JP, and he was adamant that she was wrong, and that it’s impossible to judge someone after ten minutes with them.
(I think Chrystie illustrates this point well, because just ten minutes ago I wanted her to be my sister-wife, and now she is on my list of People I’d Like To Punch just between Sarah Palin and Nancy Grace).
The family meeting comes to a merciful close, after both parents and brother give Ashley a pep talk about ignoring her judgey sister and following her heart. Ashley and JP regroup in private. He’s clearly looking for reassurance, and she’s totally not giving it. She’s waffling, and says she’s confused. He’s concerned about her questioning things, and isn’t about to propose if she changes her mind based on her sister. Things are tense as they say goodbye.
Ashley confronts her sister’s attitude, and her sister plays the “I’m just telling the truth” card, which elicited a collective eyeroll from The Twitter because she seems so insanely negative. I can’t figure out if she’s jealous or protective or just a control freak. Or maybe she’s having a heat stroke? I did some reconnaissance on Chrystie Corns. As it turns out, she has some reality tv aspirations of her own.
And . . . she’s a BLOGGER. And we all know how attention-seeking and drama-prone those bitches can be. So now I’m wondering if all of this was just some pot-stirring by Chrystie to get her name in the media. Which, apparently, is working quite well for her. As evidenced by the “As seen on The Bachelorette” photo on the top of her blog, and the top post, subtlely entitled, “I am Ashley Hebert’s Sister Chrystie Corns From ‘The Bachelorette’.”
I felt that Chystie was being harsh and unfeeling. But see, this was before I knew about the dog voice. Dear Lord, the dog voice.
So. We learn about the dog voice when Ben comes for his big date with the family. He showed up, and there was more profuse sweating. The family is enjoying Ben, and laughing, and suddenly they start talking about the dog voices that they talk to each other in. And then they break into the dog voices in what can only be described as . . . well, as two adults talking to each other in dog voices.
And here’s the thing: If they find that endearing in each other, they need to be married.
The family was gushy about Ben, and Ashley and Ben seemed to be lighter together At this point I am fighting the sinking feeling that Sister Judgey McJudgerstein is right.
After Ben leaves, Ashley asks more soul-searching questions, like: Ben is so nice but why I can’t forget is how hot JP is? Indeed, Ashley. Indeed.
The next day begins with a last date with Ben, who shows up in a fluorescent pink top and bright blue dolphin-type shorts. He looks like he’s ready to audition for a Wham video. Though, if I recall, this is the not the first time we’ve seen such a wardrobe malfunction on a last date . . . who can forget Ed’s green shorts from Jillian’s season on The Bachelorette?
Ben and Ashley take off in a romantic helicopter ride where they exchange meaningful proclamations like, “This is awesome” and “Oh wow, look at that,” since the giant helmets and mics mean that they can neither kiss nor hear each other. They are flown to a healing mud bath and we are treated to more scenes of Erotic Rubbing, akin to last week’s episode with the sunscreen.
At one point, Ashley jokes that she would like to rub him “down there”. Simmer down now, Ashley. This isn’t Game of Thrones.
Also, I believe that Ben’s pecs and Ashley’s boobs are about the same size.
Ben and Ashley move into the evening portion of the date, and Ben confesses his love to her. Ashley kisses him and seems genuinely touched, and things seem very tender and sweet between them, and I start feeling the anxiety that she has to go with Ben. She needs to go with Ben. SHE’S GOT TO GO WITH BEN. Basically, about an hour into the show I become as crazy as Chrystie. But also, I feel confident that she’s going to choose Ben. Something was just telling me that he had a leg up.
Cut to the next day’s date. JP is also wearing a jaunty neon shirt, presumably to draw the eye away from his beet-red sunburned face. And his disappearing eyebrows. (Mean. But seriously. They are.) Ashley is rocking an incredibly effective push-up bikini. She’s a strong B cup for JP’s date. JP and Ashley talk about the stuff with her sister, and Ashley expresses some concerns about how they defend or explain their relationship. Her confidence seems to be slipping, and I begin to feel some relief because I need to see a front-runner emerge in order to manage my anxiety with this show. In further evidence of the relationship cracks, Ashley kissed him on the cheek after he professed his love. At this point my husband, who usually retreats to the dining room in protest as I watch these kind of shows, proclaimed from the other sofa, “A cheek kiss? It’s so over.” Let’s hope so.
Ashley talked to the camera about how she felt like she had the strenth to move fo-ward, and I tried to figure out if she had an accent or just a poor grasp of the English language. Then Ashley and JP strolled along the beach so we could admire their bodies more, and had some passionate kissing after he ripped her towel off. Rawr.
During their evening date, JP gave her a poem and picture album, and also professed his love. He is sure that she is The One. And I begin to feel really, really sad for JP. Seeing the way he has been stressing about the sister, seeing the attention he gave to this date, hearing him talk about Ashley . . . it’s obvious he really loves her too. I AM CONFLICTED.
Ashley strolling down the beach in yet another bikini to a voice-over of her reading a prepared monologue sharing her innermost feelings about each guy.
The next day, we see both guys getting ready to propose, and I get the yucky feeling in my stomach that, I suppose, is in some sick way the reason I keep watching this show. Like a dog returning to it’s vomit. It is such a train wreck to watch the inevitable rejection unfold. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?
Both guys visit Neil Lane to pick out engagement rings. Neil Lane appears to be multi-tasking as jewelry broker AND premarital counselor.
As the guys talk about their excitement for the day, I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach. I’m really feeling like her sister is right, and really certain that Ashley is going to LISTEN TO HER BRAIN and pick Ben. But then again, this is the girl who fell for Bentley. And the girl who pretty much sabotaged things with Brad.
We see the first plane arrive, and Ashley talks about how hard this is going to be, so we know whoever steps off this plane is going to give the rejected proposal. We see shoes, and a purple sock, and . . .
Ben is talking with such assurance that she will say yes. He is thinking about his dad who is deceased, and how proud he would be, and how this will be a new addition to the family. I am thinking about whether or not there is any more boxed Target wine in my fridge, because this existential angst is driving me to drink.
When Ben approaches Ashley she is visibly upset, but rather than waiting for social cues, he launches right into a proposal and make it stop make it stop DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP. He’s on his knees, and I’m thinking, stand him up, Ashley. Don’t let him do it. But she does.
He proposes. And she says no.
Oh Ashley. Ashley, Ashley, Ashley.
Ben storms off. Ashley tries to get him to talk, assuaging his wounds by telling him what an interesting person he is. She wants to leave it on good terms. Ben is shocked and not in the mood to make nice about it. “Good things don’t end unless they end badly”, he tells her.
Let’s all take a moment to marinate in the truth of that statement.
Ben is taken away in the Rejection Rowboat, back out to . . . wherever he is going? The middle of the sea? Meanwhile, Ashley is crying about how this was the hardest breakup of them all.
JP shows up and recites the dramatic monologue that was written for him by the producers that he planned all by himself. He talked about taking about a leap of faith . . . but unlike Ben, he waited to get confirmation that he was Ashley’s choice before getting down on one knee. Smart man.
Ashley says yes. There is a beautiful sunset, and they kiss and hug and look generally happy and gorgeous together. I try to temper my annoyance about Ben, and the fact that they are playing “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” over the romantic montage. The montage of the undeniable sexual chemistry. And uh . . . yeah. It’s there. The JP chemistry is there. Does someone have a fan?
JP and Ashley wade out into the water under the sunset for more picturesque kissing, ruining her pricey pink gown and making me wish, just for a split second, that she had on one of the mini-dresses or bikinis that she had been wearing THE WHOLE REST OF THE SEASON.
The couple seemed very happy during the small window of time they were allotted during the After the Final Rose Special, sandwiched in between extended previews for some show about something or other and OMG THE NEXT BACHELOR PAD.
Is it just me, or does this show look like the most awesome train wreck ever? It’s a special home for Bachelor rejects. There’s gonna be a LOT of crying, a lot of skin, a lot of fantasy suites, and a lot of drama. I can’t wait.