TV Recap: Ashley’s family never taught her subtlety

Aug. 11, 2011, 12:58 a.m.
TV Recap: Ashley's family never taught her subtlety
Courtesy of ABC

Bad news, everyone! Despite my best efforts, I got the results of “The Bachelorette” spoiled for me just a day before watching the episode. I brought it upon myself, really. It only took a few shots of tequila before my dearest bunkmate casually name-dropped the winner of the show. She didn’t even say “spoiler alert” – party foul, roomie.

But we digress! This episode is the very last of the season, in which Ben and JP (and all of us, of course) get to meet Ashley’s family. She’s got a boring, dim-witted mom and a boring, overweight dad and a boring, supportive brother, but she’s also got this spectacularly black-sheep sister. My first impression was actually a positive one: Big Sis rocks the long, dark, Amy-Winehouse hair, and her pale arms are covered with tattoos. Looking at where she came from and at her happy little duckling of a sister, I want to high five her. But this positive first impression would very quickly be replaced by the blackest of loathing.

When JP saunters into frame, I swoon, as per usual (on that note, I’ve decided that my next life goal is to find myself a JP. If you go to Stanford and look/act like JP, call me. Seriously though. Let’s make this happen). To my consternation, though, Ashley’s sister did not swoon. She didn’t even giggle. In fact, she did a lot of scowling and glaring, which turned my instinctive affection toward her into an all-consuming, audibly howled rage, because anyone who does not love JP deserves to be shot and then torn to pieces by wild dogs. As time passed, the situation only worsened: the sister decided based on an extremely arbitrary snap judgment within the first five minutes of meeting the PERFECT FREAKING MAN that “oooh, he’s not the one for you, Ash.”  She proceeded to explain to her sister that she’s “the more rational one,” and that Ashley’s only going based on “gut instinct,” even though the dumb sister is going 100 percent based on instinct and reflex. Christ, I hate hypocrisy, and poor Ash is too dumb to even call her out on it – she reacts (unsurprisingly) by bursting into tears, the poor dear. I was literally shouting with rage as I was forced to listen to stupid, fugly Big Sis going on about how “ooh, I’m so rational! That’s why I’m making this decision based on two minutes of pretty much nothing, because I’m the smart sister!”

JP, of course, took it like a man; when Bitchface informed him that he was a sleazy old man who was trying to take advantage of her sister and then suck the joy out of the whole family, he remained calm and rational and as sexy as always. She managed to really rattle the guy, though. At the end of the day, Ash called her sister a bitch and left, and I was freaking glad.

Ben’s experience with the family was less eventful but cuter; as much as Ben’s stupidly terrible fashion sense makes it impossible for me to be attracted to him, he has been awfully cute these days. I’ve come to the pretty firm conclusion that he’s probably technically better for her than JP would have been. For their date, they went to a waterhole full of “healing mud” and slathered each other’s bodies with the brown muck, which is (in Ben’s own creepily monotonous words) “really erotic.” Ash again astounded us with her bluntness; while running her hands over his body, she giggles, “I wish I could reach lower, so I could just – ” and I kid you not, she went straight for the jewels. WHAT? WHO TAUGHT YOU SUBTLETY? Secretly, I think it’s kind of adorable, though. And when Ben finally told her he loved her, I couldn’t help but sigh along with her. Ben was pretty endearing, which made me absolutely terrified that she was going to break his heart – though when it comes down to it, better him than JP.

JP’s one-on-one date featured nothing to write home about other than his extreme, ridiculous, inhuman attractiveness. When they discussed Ashley’s sister’s opinion of him, he got so authoritative and strong and forceful that I pretty much melted onto the couch. He told her he loved her and wrote her the sweetest letter I’ve ever seen in my life.

At the end of the day, it came down to the choice between the man she was technically more compatible with (Ben) or the literal perfect man. Unfortunately for Ben, Ashley’s human: how could she choose anything but the perfect man? We all knew from the start that JP was the only real contender. I really, really felt for Ben, though – she let him get down on his knee and just stood there in silence as he proposed. It was viscerally painful to watch. She tried to compliment him, but he told her not to sugarcoat it (which I respect) and left.

“You can’t leave something like this on good terms,” he said, which is completely right. What makes me angry is that she didn’t have to put him through that. Last year, Ali (a wonderful girl) took her second-place guy aside ahead of time to spare him having to propose and be humiliated; Ash just let it happen. It’s kind of disturbing.

Of course, I’m easily distracted, and the moment JP appeared, all thoughts of Ben flew from my head. He swaggered out of the helicopter, all James Bond in his tux, and the way he looked at her took my breath away. They are beautiful together.

You know, when you look beyond the inherently creepy, voyeuristic aspect of the premise of “The Bachelorette,” this experience has actually been kind of beautiful. I watched these two people meet, I saw their first kiss, I watched their relationship grow and develop and flower, and now I get to see their wedding, and I always cry at weddings. Seeing him approach her, I got chills. God, they’re getting married! I knew them when they were just a couple of dumb kids hugging hello and flirting poolside, and now they’re getting married. You know what? I’m not even ashamed to say it anymore: I love this show.

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