The Bachelorette 2011 Finale Review: Family Circus

Well folks, the most boring season of The Bachelorette has come to a close, and save for one rather entertaining family squabble, it was pretty darn predictable. Insert requisite spoiler alert here, and read on!

Yes, Ashley chose J.P. as her fiancee and, according to the couple during the After The Final Rose show, they’re still together. But we have a lot to talk about (five hours of television, actually) before we get there!

The Men Tell All

The Men Tell All is usually a good time, but with Bentley missing and a bunch of guys just sitting around bashing him, there wasn’t much to see. The best parts were, of course, the funny clips that I wish they’d actually put into real episodes. The Masked Wonder killed time in Casa Chlamydia by vacuuming and helping out with other household chores? What? They have people for that!

Without Bentley there to kick around, we were reduced to asking Tim about his drunken mishap on the first night (kudos to the guy for being able to laugh at himself, I guess) and spending way too much time on William. Of course that guy is going to be on Bachelor Pad – he’s the perfect blend of arrogant and annoying.

The real fun in watching these Tell All shows, though, is trying to figure out who’s auditioning to be the next bachelor or bachelorette. If this was purely based on audience reception, I’d say Ames is our man. He got loads of cheers and “awwws” from the audience. But Ames sold out and decided to appear on Bachelor Pad (and I’m pretty sure I caught an STD just from watching the trailer for that show) so I don’t think he could do both. He could end up with someone on that show (shudder), and I don’t think the producers would make America look at a melted Ken Doll face for three seasons in a row.

So my money is on Ryan Sunshine as the next bachelorette. Our runner up from this season is just too dull (sorry Ben) and Ryan reeks of the desperation needed to appear on the show. He laughed at his water heater soliloquy (which I still think was interesting) and defended his connection with Ashley to a skeptical Blake by saying he’d memorized books on questions to ask before getting engaged to ensure that the time he spent with Ashley was well used. Now that’s a guy who wants to find love!

Speaking of auditions, did anyone else feel like this Nick character was auditioning for the role of Chris Harrison? The guy was barely on the show, but piped up with his opinions every chance he had!

Family Ties

With The Men Tell All over and done with, we moved right into the finale on Monday night. Ashley was so excited, you guys. “I’m so excited to get engaged in the South Pacific.” It doesn’t even matter to who! You know what they say – location, location, location. Just from the way Ashley described the guys, it was clear she’d pick JP. These people never choose the person they have the most in common with, they always choose the one they have the most “passion” with. And it never works out. Hmm…

Ashley went to see her family (her mom, stepfather, older sister and younger brother were all in Fiji) and told them how “in love” she was, and how she was sure she’d be getting married at the end of it all. But had she made up her mind to who? Nope, not yet! She’s in love with both of them. That’s a great way to start an engagement.

Sister Act

First Ashley brought JP to meet the family, and she was sure it would go well. “I’m not nervous at all,” she said. “My family’s gonna love JP.” Oh look, there’s the great intuition Ashley showed when she fell for Bentley. Ashley’s parents proved easy to impress. After only a few introductory exchanges, Ashley’s mom toasted JP with “Welcome to the family.” Like, really? So soon? What if the guy had then started to eat with his feet or something? Can you rescind your toast? Unfortunately for JP, big sister Chrystie wasn’t about to start giving advice on what cut of engagement ring he should buy. It went down like this:

Chrystie: “Does JP make you laugh?”
Ashley: “I think I make myself laugh.”

And then it was all over but the crying. Literally. Chrystie told Ashley that JP wasn’t the guy for her, and Ashley sobbed. Both sisters had their points. Chrystie had judged JP way too quickly, but she was right in questioning the entire Bachelorette process. But what’s wrong with Ashley being the funny one? If she’s so wacky and goofy, maybe she could benefit from a guy who’s a little more even-keeled. Ashley was clearly distraught – she stroked those bangs like there was no tomorrow.

Chrystie went into her alone time with JP guns a blazing, and didn’t really give him a chance. He was boring and wrong for her sister, and nothing he could say would change his mind. She might as well have cackled and said “Pack your bags now, pal!” The worst was when she told him Ashley had had more of a connection with Brad. Hello, green monster of jealousy!

Sister Act II

Before introducing Ben to her family, Ashley tried to reconcile with her sister and convince her that JP is great. Honestly, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like that before on one of these shows – a family member showing such clear disapproval for one of the suitors. It was great! I mean…heartbreaking. So sad. Poor Ashley. Yeah. That.

Since she knew her sister had her critical hat on, Ashley put on quite the show during Ben’s visit and acted as wild and zany as possible. She even made poor Ben do his dog voice – oh honey, some things are really just meant for the privacy of your own home. Even though it seemed like Ashley was forcing it a little, I still felt like she has much more in common with Ben.

Muddy Waters

The next day, Ben had one last chance to convince Ashley that he could bring the heat to the relationship. Poor guy, he’s totally the Tenley of this season. The two took off in a helicopter, natch, and headed to a mud pit of sorts where they rubbed each other a lot and made me uncomfortable. But look, Ashley, he can be sexy! The big question though, was when Ben would say “I love you”. He kept chickening out, saying it wasn’t the right time and “I still want to keep it light.” Dude. Saying ‘I love you’ is not heavy. It won’t kill the mood. In fact, in my experience, it usually improves it.

Thank god, Ben finally bit the bullet and told Ashley he loved her when she came to his hotel room later that evening. But he didn’t have a gift for her! You always need a parting gift. This was a terrible mistake. He should have gotten her a dog.

Blue Skies

For his final date with Ashley, JP planned an intimate day of…bashing her sister. I get it, the guy’s ego was hurt. But he didn’t handle it quite right, and sort of mumbled his way through answering some questions Ashley asked based on her sister’s concerns. JP also had bigger fish to fry – he had to confess his love. “Maybe the other guy said he loved her,” JP reasoned. Yes, that’s a great reason for you to say it as well. To ensure he could one-up Ben, JP told Ashley that he’s madly in love with her.

There were a few ways to tell that Ashley would choose JP. She wore a pushup bikini top for their date. He had a way better room than Ben. He got her a super cheesy but kind of romantic parting gift. Done and done.

Decisions, Decisions

After the final dates Ashley had a man to choose and then men had rings to choose. But how to make this difficult decision? By writing in a journal, of course! You guys, you can’t go on one of these shows and not journal. It’s required, even if all you do is write out the lyrics to a No Doubt song, like I did that one time I had to go on a class trip to camp and they made us record our thoughts.

Ashley said that she had an unspoken attraction, passion and romance with JP. Yeah, you know why it’s unspoken, Ashley? Because every time someone asks him what he loves about you, he can’t come up with an answer! Meanwhile, Ashley thought her relationship with Ben was easy, fun, playful and comfortable. What’s that in your hand, Ashley? Oh right, the friend card.

The guys both picked out massive, uncomfortable looking rings (boys, remember, your wife will have to wear this thing every day – more diamonds is not always better) and JP made a new friend in jeweler Neil Lane. “What happens if she says no?” Neil asked JP. Perhaps he was just worried JP would throw the ring in the ocean a la Rose from Titanic, but he also told our Cupcake “I just want to be there for you.” What? Be where? Waiting at the limo to take back the ring?

Indecent Proposal

Ben looked nice for his final rose ceremony, but he really should have thrown some pomade in his hair or something. Fiji is not kind to the Dax Shepard look. What happened when he arrived was truly heartbreaking. The narration in my household went something like this:

“It’s not him. Oh my god, it’s not him. Stop him, Ashley! No! Cut him off! What are you doing? No, don’t let him get down on one knee! This is terrible! WHY AREN’T YOU STOPPING HIM????”

Yes, instead of letting poor Ben down easily (Remember Ali? I hated her hair, but she was a classy girl.) Ashley instead let the poor guy propose. He made a speech, he got down on one knee, he stayed down there with the ring out lookin’ a fool, and she did nothing. She said nothing. It was awful.

Ben took the rejection like a champ – and by that I mean he reacted with realism you rarely see on this show. Anger! Betrayal! Sarcasm! I felt like I was watching myself get turned down. First there was the “I guess that’s it, right?” Then there was the shrug, and he walked away. She chased after him, rambling on about how blessed she was to have him in her life. “What I don’t need you to do is sugarcoat it,” Ben said. Ashley whined that didn’t want to leave things between them badly. Um, really Ashley? “You can’t leave something like this on good terms,” Ben shot at her. “It’s not possible.” And with that, Ben exited on a dinky little rowboat. I’m surprised they didn’t make him row it himself. Poor Ben. He’d never even come close to proposing to a woman before, and now he’s been rejected. How many sessions will he have to spend with Brad Womack’s therapist before he’s ready to love again?

“I just feel awful,” sobbed Ashley afterward. “I feel so awful.” Don’t worry sweetie, they’ll freshen up your makeup and then it’s going to be the happiest day of your life!

The Final Rose

So, JP won. It was a boring proposal to cap off a boring season. I was mostly just interested in what sister Chrystie’s reaction to the news would be. Later, the pair blissfully strolled along the beach and JP finally uttered some realistic words: “When you walked in, in that first rose ceremony, like ‘My husband is definitely in this room,’ I was like, ‘What the f— is she talkin’ about?”

After The Final Rose

With the proposal out of the way, it was time to get to the post-show interviews. Was Ben still bitter? Are Ashley and JP still together? So many questions! Actually, no – only those two questions. And a whole hour to answer them. Let’s go!

Ben came out first with his newly straightened hair. Is this a pre-Bachelor makeover? I still don’t think he’d be right for the show, even though I do think he seems like a good guy. Almost immediately, Chris Harrison replayed the footage of his proposal. Dude! If I’m watching After The Final Rose, chances are I watched the finale itself as well. I just saw this. I don’t need to see it again.

The one question Ben had for Ashley is the one question the runner-up always has – “When did you know?” Basically, they’re asking “Just how long did you string me along for?” The bachelor/ette rarely gives a straight answer, and Ashley was no different. Ashley said she couldn’t understand why Ben was so angry in the moment, but now she gets it. Moron. What was there not to understand? He proposed to the woman he loved, thinking she loved him to. You let him do it! And then you turned him down! Of course he was angry! Ugh.

Later, JP came out, and the rest of the show was rather boring. Evil sister Chrystie is all about “Team Cupcake” now, Ashley plans on moving to New York, and they’ll live happily ever after for the next 4-9 months.

What did you guys think of the finale? Were you surprised by anything? Did Ashley choose the right guy? Who should be the next bachelor? And of course, come back next week for a review of the first episode of Bachelor Pad – I’ll have three hours of cringe-worthy material to snark about!


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