I’m sorry the recap is so late today. But I had something very exciting happen.
Check out the tweet from Our Host Chris Harrison regarding my Happy Birthday video!
I’m trying not to think about the fact that he considers me a pseudo-stalker like Ryan Sunshine. Instead, I’m focusing on the part where he mentions Dr Pepper. ONE DAY! ONE DAY I WILL GET THAT PHOTO!
Bottom line: Harrison is cool. Deal with it.
It’s fantasy date week people! A time where ABC drops our resident Bachelorette and her remaining suitors in the middle of paradise, providing endless amounts of alcohol and crossing their fingers that the executives won’t pull the plug when things get extra saucy during primetime television.
And with the fantasy date comes the infamous forgo card granting Ashley and her beau the opportunity to stay as a couple in a super posh suite with radioactive glowing blue pool water. Next time, I would strongly urge House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama to address the nation’s debt crisis either earlier or later than the 7:00 CST viewing hour, instead of the middle of Greek Groban’s heart-to-heart, but whatever. OPA!
The following information you are about to read is of personal opinion. However, if you or someone you poked on Facebook happens to personally know, sort of know, is friends with the nephew/former classmate of someone who is obsessed with the Hunger Games trilogy and looks exactly like one of the contestants on the show…none of this is personal and I’m sure they are all lovely people.
We begin this episode with some generic footage of the gorgeous beaches of the Fiji Islands. The water is crystal clear. The vegetation is lush and green. The sun is shining bright and to no one’s surprise, Ashley’s skirt is tie-dyed.
I think I had a Spring Break ’94 t-shirt from Senior Frogs made out of that same material. Nice.
Ashley boards “her” seaplane and reminds the audience that Fiji is a really cool place full of fraternity of boys who like owls and royal purple. Ignoring her previous claims in Taiwan and the magical place we call Thailand, she proclaims that Fiji is actually the per-fact place to fall in love while wearing mismatched bikinis and significantly less eye makeup.
I won’t elaborate with the details of the next 20 minutes as Ashley teeters down memory lane in her four-inch heels. In a nutshell, she finds Groban both playful and sincere, Greek Groban is mature, smart and honest and JP looked like a model when he stepped out of the limo when they first met on the freshly washed mansion driveway.
After appropriate video packages have rolled featuring each bachelor, Ashley decides to put on her favorite Flashdance off-the-shoulder top, crack open a brand new journal and write down variations of her potential new name.
Mr. and Mrs. Greek Groban
Ashley: “These dates are super im-pour-ant. Overnights give me private time with each guy. It’s time to take it to the next level. It’s going to be so per-fact.”
Huh. That statement is both surprising honest and a little dirty. After however many seasons, I guess she knows that we know what more than likely goes on behind the closed doors and open windows of the forgo card fantasy suite. This is Ashley’s way of telling us without really telling us that she wants to take the car for a test run before she commits to the purchase.
Meanwhile, the silhouette of a mystery man makes its way up the jungle path. As the camera pans up from the trudging steps, to the slumped shoulders, there was a split second moment when I thought ABC was about to announce “Hotter Than Crap Bachelor Brad: Third Time’s a Charm,” debuting this fall, but I was wrong. Shiny, happy Ryan has lost his spunk, but managed to maintain the eager smile. He’s here in Fiji and wants to explore things that were unsaid and moments that were undiscovered.
Is that the same thing as taking it to the next level? I’m confused.
Ryan takes a moment to channel some positive tropical energy before knocking on the biggest door I’ve ever seen second only to Chanal’s parents’ mansion door from last season’s hometown dates.
Ashley prays that Bentley had a second change of heart, swings open the door and clutches her non-existent pearls when she discovers that it’s Ryan on the other side. Obviously suffering from both shock and irritation of his presence, she invites him in uttering the letters “OMG” over and over and over again. Ryan, of course, chooses to decipher her behavior as encouragement and keeps answering, “I know, right? I’m here! In Fiji!”
Ryan: “In Taiwan, we had our first one-on-one and everything was in perfect Zen with tai chi in the quad and the holy temple where you wore that backless number, but those were hardly conducive places for romance. Sadly, I didn’t see my exit coming. I went home and got back into the swing of things, but even my passion for water heaters has not kept me from thinking about you every minute of every day. I didn’t feel like I had my chance to see things through. I called Chris and asked if I could see you and he said you were in Fiji. So here I am.”
Side note: Upon receiving Ryan’s call, Harrison both fired his assistant and changed is cell number.
Ryan: “I don’t know if you regretted letting me go or not. I just want more time. Here’s a piece of paper that has the address to where I’m staying. It’s two doors down. Don’t respond, but think about it. Take your time. I’m here for a few days. You look great by the way. Hugsies!”
Sergeant Sunshine exits the hotel room with a little more bounce to his step. He’s happy that he was able to get everything off his chest. He has hope that she feels the same way.
I guess her pursed lips, crossed arms and utter lack of conversation did not provide the same context clues to Ryan as they did to the rest of us. Bless his heart.
Next Level Date One
Ashley pairs my Mom’s white broom skirt from the 80s and a red string bikini top for her date with Groban. They board “her” yacht and talk about how life is so effortless when they are together. As I’m looking down at my notes, I hear her shout, “I lost my flower!”
Wait. That can’t be right.
A.) This is prime time TV
B.) Aren’t we using the “taking this to the next level” phrase as this season’s sexual innuendo?
I look up and see Groban placing the gardenia back behind her ear. In a matter of seconds, Ashley has handed him a bottle of sunscreen and requested that he rubs some on her back…or all over if he wants. In the next instant, she’s horizontal for some reason and he’s slathering SPF 30 all over her chest and/or boobs. Then they switch and Ashley straddles his business so she can lube him up.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us do not mount our significant others in public in order to rub sunscreen all over their bare chests. Yes, applying SPF is im-pour-ant, but dry humping in front of everyone while applying is forgo-able. They were one step away from Marvin Gaye and post-coital cigarettes. Save it for the fantasy suite Groban.
Ashley admits to being all hot and bothered with the coconut oil flirtatiousness and suggests they cool off with a little snorkeling. She talks about the reef and the fish and names every color in the rainbow while describing her underwater adventures with Groban. She mentions that she feels protected when she’s with him. I never wished harder for a shark sighting in my life more than in that moment. You let me down ABC intern. I expected more from you.
Ashley and Groban appear to be having a great time laughing and giggling. She seems content. He seems mellow. Or else they are both drunk. Who knows? What we do know is that Groban loves Ashley because only complete adoration would be the reasoning behind the white, v-neck, long-sleeved pullover that was so sheer, we could see the mic pack strapped to his mid section. For once, Ashley’s date out shined her in the hideous wardrobe department. This is a feat that I’m not sure can ever be repeated. We should write this date down or something.
Fortunately, he’s sarcastic.
Groban: “Honey, you cooked!”
Groban tells the viewing audience that he just might drop the old “I love you” because it’s been a long time since he’s felt this good. As it turns out, they were able to communicate those feelings by just using their minds and gazing with their eyes. He does verbally commit to the relationship though.
Ashley: “Well, we’re almost running out of time. Someone will have to come forward and take a leap of faith and just go for it.”
Irritated that he didn’t bring the tube of sunscreen with him to dinner, Groban decides the best form of distraction is a long, lingering kiss. It works so well that Ashley skips dessert and hands over the forgo card. As with tradition, Groban acts as if he has never seen a forgo date card, twists the dummy skeleton key in his fingers and does his best to not appear too eager to get to the next level.
Groban: “I think after today, continuing on would be wonderful.”
Ashley: “Wanna get outta here? Right now?”
Before Groban can answer, Ashley whisks him away to the fantasy suite where they frolic around in weird, glowing blue water. My favorite part was when he picked her up and carried her out of the pool straight into the forgo room.
This reminds me of a similar situation that happened to me once on the 50-yard-line at Bobcat Stadium. No, I’m not the kind of girl who takes it to the next level in the middle of a football field, but I am the kind of girl who always wanted to be swept off of her feet as if she was light as a feather. I tore my knee up dancing at halftime and couldn’t walk off the field. They had to send in the Freshman extra point kicker to carry me and unfortunately for him, my build was somewhat more substantial than feather weight. I was a swarthy 15-year-old with the upper body girth of a wine barrel. I was forced to use the kicker as my own personal crutch
But this isn’t about me. It’s about Groban. And Ashley. And how Ashley felt tiny and petite just like she does when she’s shopping in the junior’s department of Macy’s. After Groban simultaneously carried, walked and kissed her, I’m sure she raised him to more than he could be.
Next Level Date Two
Before we begin this date, I need to take a few minutes to process the unique outfit Ashley was wearing. Since I paused the TV, pulled out a ruler and measured, I can confirm that the inseam of her shorts were exactly half an inch. I appears that Ashley is single handedly determined to bring back the Daisy Duke, but I wonder why she even bothers with bottoms at all? Her shirt is a bit on the flowing, gypsy variety with a drawstring tie at the waist. In a wacky twist, Ashley has chosen to cinch the drawstring just below her boobs. To recap, we have sleeveless gypsy top, bare mid-drift, four inches of denim and a tone pair of legs standing on four-inch platforms. Divine.
I also noticed a tweak in her accent when Ashley greeted Greek Groban. Just when we think Kardashian is the worst it can get, Ashley adds a layer of baby talk.
Heaven help me through the next 30 minutes.
They make their way to a waiting helicopter and for the first time we see Greek Groban actually stoked about something other than spending time with his fellow Grobe.
Greek Groban: “This is going to be amazing! I can’t wait! I’ve never been in a helicopter before!”
Ashley: “No? I have tons of times. In Brad’s season, when we weren’t in a hot tub, we were in a helicopter.”
Greek Groban: “Look at that massive reef! Have you ever seen anything like it?”
Ashley: “Actually, I have. Yesterday, Groban and I snorkeled around the reef and saw all sorts of colorful fish. We saw yellow and blue and neon green and red and…”
Greek Groban sticks his tongue down her throat to stop the madness.
All of a sudden, Ryan is standing below. We assume that the authorities have been called to issue the proper restraining order, but it ended up being sneaky editing from ABC. He’s brooding under a rock about how he’s been in Fiji for several days, just waiting for Ashley’s answer.
Again. Ryan needs help recognizing contest clues and how to exercise healthy boundaries. ABC Psychotherapist? Anyone?
Ashley asks Groban to jump off a waterfall with her to which he replies, “SHUT UP!” The cameras are so far away, we can’t appreciate Greek Groban’s physique, but we do wonder why he has shoes on and Ashley does not. My guess is that she doesn’t own a pair of flip flops and couldn’t scale the rock with her four-inch heels. He was able to carry her up the rocky hillside because she’s so tiny and he’s so big and strong.
The swarthy 15-year-old Lincee with the upper body girth of a wine barrel inside of me sighed.
Ashley offers her hand to Greek Groban who reluctantly takes it and then they fling themselves out into the lagoon. They frolic, the camera pans left into some thick foliage and I am confident we are going to see Ryan’s goofy grin peering out from among the bushes.
I was wrong.
They take a break on the shore and Ashley immediately interrogates Greek Groban with questions regarding his restraint. Doesn’t he realize that taking it to the next level is on the schedule? She grabs his thigh and gives it a squeeze. Greek Groban just sits there.
Now she’s just ticked off and decides to really get to the bottom of things.
Ashley: “Tell me Greek Groban…how many houses did you look at before buying one?”
Greek Groban: “I looked at 108. But it’s a big investment. I know where you are going. Houses and women are not the same.”
Ashley: “So you’re saying that you need time to think through decisions? Well, I can give you that. As luck would have it, we have an entire dinner to get to know one another before we take it to the next level.”
Greek Groban is cool as a cucumber.
Later Ashley admits that their relationship is not progressing as it should be and she’s really ner-vas about dinner. She decides the best way to break the ice is to sample the wine.
Ashley: “It’s sweet. And fruity. Or is that the same thing?”
Greek Groban: “Other Groban Ashley. Other Groban. I drink beer.”
Ashley: “Ah yes. Well, maybe you should have two or three before we take it to the next level. Let’s start by holding hands and then we’ll progress to making out and sunscreen application.”
Greek Groban: “Look. These things come naturally to me. I haven’t been able to do that with you. I’ve been slow because I’m unsure.”
Ashley: “Of me or the process?”
Greek Groban: “Well. That’s what’s concerning me. I want to be 100 percent sure I’m ready to meet your father and ask him for your hand in marriage. I have too much respect for you, myself, your family and my family to do anything but that. And right now, I don’t have that yet.”
Ashley: “So what are you saying?”
Greek Groban: “I know what this date means and I know what it implies. I want to show you respect.”
Ashley: “So where does this leave us? I mean, with the next level and everything?”
Greek Groban: “This means the end of the road for me.”
Ashley thanks him for being honest, goes in for a goodbye hug and before she can say “waste of a bikini wax” Greek Groban has gone rouge and is completely out of camera shot. He sneaks behind a bush and heads to his bungalow where he packs his bags for the first sea plane out of Fiji.
Greek Groban: “The last thing I wanted to do was walk out on her, hurt her or embarrass her. It’s not worth going to the next level. I was open and willing to find love had it been there, but it just wasn’t. I respected her too much to stay.”
We’re left with one question…will he say yes when ABC asks him to be the next Bachelor? Or will we be stuck with a chach?
A chach named Ryan who is STILL hanging around Fiji choosing flowers with odd-numbered petals so each time inevitably ends with “she loves me.”
Ashley tells the camera that side braids are totally in and Ryan is sooooo per-fact, but she knows exactly what she has to do. She wanders over to the other side of the resort, knocks on his normal size door and puts on her most convincing “it’s not you it’s me” face. Ryan is in full-blown chihuahua mode, bouncing around, nipping at her heels and begging for slightest bit of attention.
She lets him down easy by telling him that he’s EXACTLY what she’s looking for in a husband and that if she had to write down perfect traits, all of his would be there, excluding the current back sweat he was sporting. Ryan grins from ear to ear with eager expectation. She follows up the gentle heart break by confessing that his goodbye was the hardest of them all and she did wonder if she made the right decision. Ryan is on the verge of hyperventilating at this point and is mere seconds away from dropping down on one knee and presenting Ashley with a environmentally friendly harvested diamond ring before she kills the moment with this:
Ashley: “On paper you are great. But the passion is not there. I’ve found it with two people actually! One on the next level and another one I’m about to take to the next level! I’ve got to go get ready for tonight and iron my white button down. Maybe you and Greek Groban can hitch a ride back to the airport together, yeah? Save on gas? Look how green I am! Okay! Bye Ry!”
Ryan pulls gushes on and on, admitting that it hurt just as bad when Ashley dumped him the second time. He hopes he will be lucky enough one day to have someone he can share his life with because 31 is OLD. Then he gives sad puppy dog eyes to the camera and submits his application to be the next Bachelor.
So help me if this happens…
Next Level Date Three
Ashley rocks tiny jorts and a Native American-themed off-the-shoulder number. It’s her own unique twist on the trademark Flashdance top that she’s been known to wear a time or two with a little bit of Last of the Mohican flair mixed in for good measure. The side braid completes the ensemble. It appears that there will be role playing in the next level with JP.
They meet in the middle of a meadow, he picks her up and they twirl around. She tells him that she has a surprise for him. It’s another sea plane that will take them to their very own private island.
Ashley: “JP is my rock. He’s romantic, fun and adventurous. Fiji is magi-cal. We enjoyed the view without having to talk.”
Believe me Ashley…we all enjoyed that moment.
So there they were. On a somewhat private island in Fiji. Ashley’s in her swimsuit. She’s groping JP. It’s hot. The water is glorious. There’s chemistry between them.
Why, oh why did JP keep his shirt on? THIS IS WHY WE WATCH THE BACHELORETTE! Am I right? Can we get one good shirtless scene? YOU’RE ON A BEACH NEAR THE OCEAN!!
Instead, we get small talk. Ashley needs to confirm his family adored her. They did. She needs to know he thinks she’s everything he wants and more. He does. Ashley asks if he feels good about them. He says yes, but he’s ready for the end. Ashley asks what he means? He says that he doesn’t like her being with other guys.
Annnnnnd this irritates her for some reason.
JP: “I don’t want to talk about it because it doesn’t matter. Nothing can be said that can take away my passion for you. I just don’t like being away from each other. I think we have something that can last.”
Ashley melts into his arms and he still doesn’t take his shirt off.
Later, they have dinner on the ground in the middle of the jungle. While stuffing her face, Ashley tells JP about her week and how there had been many surprises. She wisely starts off by telling him that she said goodbye to two guys. Poor JP looks shocked, thrilled and relieved at the thought that it doesn’t matter that he’s about to go to the next level for the first time even thought she’s been there, back and there again with the Grobans.
Ashley: “At dinner, we decided that there was no need to continue on with me and Greek Groban.”
Lincee: Did we? Did WE decide that Ashley?
Ashley: “And then someone came back.”
After confirming that it was not Bentley and me shaking my head that that douche is somehow STILL getting his name thrown around this season at this late in the game, it is revealed that Ryan had come back to profess his undying love for Ashley.
It was all JP could do not to laugh.
They talk about holding back and leaps of faith before Ashley leans forward and we see yet another backless top. She hands him the forgo card. JP reads the invitation, grabs the key, complimentary condom and girl and runs for the fantasy suite. Ashley squeals, “We’re home!” before slipping into something more comfortable.
She turns the corner in a white button down man shirt. We know this isn’t Harrison’s because the ABC intern got in trouble for letting Chantal borrow his last season when she wore the same thing for Brad after they were stuck in a rain storm. We know it’s not JP’s because he only wears v-neck t-shirts and pajama bottoms on his dates with Ashley. We know it’s not Ashley’s because it covers way to much of her body.
They begin to make out and just before we cross the threshold from PG-13 to R-Rated, JP tells the audience he’s ready for a happy ending. Too bad they aren’t still in Taiwan.
Our birthday boy Chris Harrison is looking fly in dark suit with purple accents. Perhaps he’s a Fiji?
OHCH: “So…two guys, two roses! Great job Ash. If anybody asks, I’ll be the Four Seasons celebrating my 40th with an entire decanter of Macallan scotch whiskey. This is for your information, not an invitation. I’ll see you at the Men Tell All.”
Ashley: “WAIT CHRIS! I want to have a rose ceremony.”
OHCH: “You can’t be serious. Thirty minutes of our show was bumped for Obama and you want to prolong this further? Haven’t we had the discussion about how this entire show can be done in less than an hour and that includes my witty banter?”
Ashley: “I want the world to see my iridescent mini dress.”
OHCH: “Well we can definitely see the side of your boob. Now make it quick. While you symbolically turn down the photo of Greek Groban, I’ll tell Other Groban and JP what a ridiculous waste of time this is and wait for you in the pouring rain.”
Ashley sits and thinks for way too long before joining Harrison and the two guys in the rose ceremony pavilion.
Ashley: “It’s good to see you guuyyyyysssss! I know you are wondering where Greek Groban is. Well…not you JP, but you Groban. I’m sorry to say that your doppelganger and I didn’t feel strong enough for each other to go to the next level.”
Groban: “Really? Because he called and said he just wasn’t feeling it and you tried to get him to stay to go to the next level to see if he could feel something then, but he…”
Ashley: “ANYWAY! I know that you guys have a choice in this too and I want you to give up the rose if you don’t want it. I’m ner-vas but willing to take this risk in order for everything to be per-fact.”
Everyone, except Chris Harrison of course, looks like a tool when there are two roses to hand out to two guys. There’s no need for dramatic pauses. There’s no need for elaborate speeches. Just hand out the buds and drink your champagne. After much hemming and hawing and a few “GET ON WITH IT”s from those of us who knew to set our DVRs to record the show after The Bachelorette, roses are handed to Groban and JP.
Next week, the Men Tell All will air Sunday night. I typically do not post because the hype never amounts to anything. I would love to hear your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. Monday is the finale. Can you believe our journey is over? Who do you think Ashley will choose? Sound off in the comment section. Cast your vote in the comment section. NO SPOILERS PLEASE!
All about the shame, not the fame,