So tonight is the night when the wagon goes off the rails on “The Bachelorette,” as we’ve been warned that Bentley, unable to face to prospect of hot sex in exotic locales with a woman as unappealingly devoted as Ashley, is taking off. I hope he’s accomplished his goal of… promoting his business? Unless his business involves stealing candy from babies or, maybe, working for Goldman Sachs, I can’t imagine lots of people line up to hire lying scumbags who squish big-eyed Disney forest creatures for kicks. This is like waiting around for someone to kick Bambi in the head.  

Well, things start off well enough. Ben C. is the recipient of the week’s first one-on-one date. He can’t wait to start his journey to love! Ben C. strikes me as being very, very enthusiastic and very, very out of touch with the day-to-day reality of relationships. Ashley takes Ben C. to a dance studio to show him some dance steps, giggling devilishly knowing that she’ll soon surprise him with a flash mob at the Americana mall in Glendale. Watching Ashley dance, Ben C. thinks he could marry this girl. He feels so close to her after twenty minutes!
 
To get the flash mob started, Ashley forces Ben C. to stand up in the middle of the mall and start performing the routine she taught him. He’s uncomfortable! But he’ll do anything for love. Oh, Ben C., you hopeless romantic. Sure, some guys step into the path of moving cars or pick up a girl at the airport, but you step out of your comfort zone! After Flash Mob America does their thing and disperses, Ashley and Ben C. are treated to a performance by Far East Movement. I love Far East Movement because they bridge the fashion gap between mafioso, Wall Street and streetwear. Not many guys could rock a Mohawk and a bowtie. Just saying.
 
Time to dine, and Ben C. is still prattling on about love. He wants to live in an unrealistic, idealistic bubble of love. Why not, he wonders. Because that’s incredibly difficult to maintain, that’s why, Ben. But that’s what Ashley wants, too. Ashley is seeing his sincerity. Kisses. She feels a heart flutter. She needs to trust, even though he could break her heart. Oh, Ashley, this sap is not the one you have to worry about.
 
Meanwhile, creepy mask guy Jeff has decided he is going to pull Ashley aside when she comes to the house so he can take off his mask! Finally! He says wearing the mask has been a life-changing experience. I think it’s probably just been an embarrassing and highly sweaty experience, but whatever. Ashley is thrilled about this, as she wants to see his face and have him open up to her. The brain embolism story didn’t do it for her?
 
Her first reaction: I’m so glad he took the mask off! Second reaction: Damn, he’s OLD. And I’d like to add that creepy Jeff is just about as creepy without the mask. There’s a certain intensity to his gaze that you usually see in serial killers and homeless people. Other than that, perfectly cute.
 
A gaggle of the guys join Ashley for a group date at the Comedy Store. William is wetting his pants. Stand-up is his dream, remember? William, the guy who thinks he’s funny because he can imitate Sean Connery. So timely! No one does that! Anyway, it’s not going to be stand-up exactly. Jeffrey Ross is there, and he’ll be hosting a roast. Ashley giggles and promises she can handle any mean things the guys will say in front of a sold out audience. I have to say, this may be one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen for a date on a reality TV show. The only thing worse might be to follow it up with target practice. The guys sweat bullets trying to come up with material. William is sweating bullets because he sees this as a career opportunity. He thinks Jeffrey Ross is going to say, wow, this guy with the Sean Connery imitation? He must come to Hollywood and work with me! I’m liking William less by the minute.  
 
Luckily, the rest of the guys are not delusional or William, which are really one and the same. The roast begins, and Lucas doesn’t say one thing about Ashley, instead focusing his mean on his fellow bachelors. Smart cookie. Ryan P. didn’t insult anyone, but he isn’t funny, either. Ames pretends to wear a mask. As expected, most of the cracks are at Jeff’s expense. So Jeff, in his infinite wisdom, is the first to make fun of Ashley’s small boobs. Then Nick makes fun of her small boobs. Bentley makes fun of her small boobs. Ashley’s still laughing, though. Small boobs, shmall boobs. But then it’s William’s turn. William wants to ROAST! Enough of these soft jokes! Ashley can’t wait to hear his jokes! He knows her so well! And, as expected, he finds her soft spot, digs in and wiggles. He notes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Yes, I find many, many women like to be referred to as sloppy seconds. Good going, Will! He then says he was hoping for Emily. When even the other bachelors wince, you know it’s bad.
 
Ashley leaves the stage and cries. Meanwhile, William defends his utter stupidity. It was a roast! He wanted to be best friends with Jeffrey Ross! This is “Last Comic Standing,” isn’t it? Bentley, seeing a doe-eyed creature in distress, can’t miss this opportunity to mess with Ashley’s head. That’s a quote, mind you. He literally wants to go mess with her head. While she’s crying. He hates it when people cry, because it’s not attractive at all. Stupid people and their stupid emotions! He must kick her until that annoying crying stops! Egads. But he fake comforts her and tells her she’s got everything a guy is looking for. Except for boobs.
 
Amazingly, Ashley finds Bentley comforting. He’s a real guy! That’s what she’s looking for! Realness! She doesn’t feel like he has an alternate agenda! Does she even notice how his face freezes into a grimace every time he has to pretend he likes her?
 
After the roast, Ashley tearfully confronts the guys about her insecurity about not being Emily. William, to his credit, asks to talk to her one on one. I am expecting William will do the right thing, in that he’ll apologize, rend his clothes, beg for forgiveness and say anything and everything to make her feel better. But no. Instead, William gets weepy. He feels there’s no way he can make it up to her except by leaving. Because there’s nothing he can say to make her feel better. So she should go talk to another guy. Ashley looks as stunned as I feel. William is so mired in his own self-pity and self-loathing he can’t figure out what to do. The roast was a mistake – but his reaction to her upset is the bigger problem here. She’s just seen the future, and it is one in which she can never show her emotions honestly and will spend more time consoling him for hurting her than receiving any kind of consolation. Run, Ashley! Run!
 
Ashley wipes away her tears and forges on. The rest of the guys are so focused on making their cases to her (“Love me! Love me! Gimme a rose, bitch!”) that they pat her on the hand, ignore her obvious distress, and start telling dumb stories about themselves. Jeff has a three legged dog that was abused. Wow, hope you’re better with that dog than you are with girls, pal.
 
Ashley needs comfort and no one is comforting her. Ryan P. finally tells her what she needs to hear – that he always wanted her to be the bachelorette. He’s rewarded with a kiss. I think it hasn’t occurred to the guys that she’s a cute little bundle of insecurity and neuroses, as it is hard to imagine how such an adorable girl could feel so lousy about herself. Good for Ryan P. for shutting up long enough to hear the crazy that’s rattling around in her head (which isn’t significantly different than most crazy, mind you) and react accordingly.  
 
Back at the house, another date card arrives – J.P. gets called up to the big leagues. He’s finally going on a date! He can’t wait! I don’t foresee a good time for J.P., because by the time he gets to her, she’ll have been run over by a truck named Bentley. Evil, nasty Bentley.
 
At the end of the big group date, Ashley needs to see Bentley. She feels vulnerable. She feels sad. So why not just fling herself on a spike to see if it hurts? She tells him about that text she received before the show began. She respects him so much she has to tell him. Sigh. Anyway, Bentley acts a little huffy and blames his ex-wife for giving him a bad name to Michelle. He never exactly denies what Michelle said, mind you, and he has one hell of a hard time looking Ashley in the eye. But Ashley happily overlooks the fact that Bentley looks like he’s stolen a wallet. She cuddles with him. She feels warm, comfortable and protected. It’s really all I can do not to throw something at the TV at this point.
 
As the date wraps up, Ashley has one rose to give – and Bentley’s sure he’s getting it. Instead, she gives it to Ryan P. Bentley is pissed. For whatever reason, he decides now is the time to kick Ashley in the head like the defenseless little Disney woodland creature she is.
 
The next day, Ashley tralalalas through the garden at her mansion. She completely fell in love with Bentley last night! She’s ready to marry him! Meanwhile, Bentley is packing a bag. He’s decided he’ll pin the blame on his kid. He’s not leaving because of his daughter, mind you. He misses her, yes, but he dislikes the thought of kissing Ashley more. The guys think he’s great for sacrificing his chance with Ashley to go home to his daughter. Bentley thinks they’re friggin’ idiots and tools because they don’t realize he’s a lying scumbag. I do not know what world Bentley lives in, where other people are to blame for trusting you, but I have no desire to visit.
 
Oh, yay, we get to here more of Bentley’s deep thoughts. He felt that Emily was breathtaking and Ashley’s an ugly duckling. I wonder what Bentley does in his free time. Maybe he pushes kids in wheelchairs into freeway traffic or tells small children that their parents secretly hate them and are planning to kill the family dog. I just don’t know.
 
Bentley goes to Ashley’s mansion wearing a frowny face. She’s so glad to see him! But he’s sad. He misses his daughter. He must go to her! Ashley cries. She consoles Bentley. Yes, she consoles HIM for the difficult choice he’s making. Bentley lays it on thick. He can’t give her his heart if his heart belongs to his kid and she hasn’t even met her yet. Meanwhile, Bentley’s thinking about how annoying it is to hold a girl who’s crying. He tells her to keep the dot dot dot there. As in, maybe he’ll come back. After all, she’s the type of girl he could totally hook up with now and then. And yes, why not stand in the way of this girl getting some closure on the off chance he could drop by her apartment and get some? That’s not pathological at all!
 
Bentley leaves, and Ashley runs to her bed to sob and question the universe. All that’s missing is the pint of Ben & Jerry’s and “When Harry Met Sally…” on a loop. She’s ready for her happy ending and she thought it was with him. Oh, Lordy. This is why young girls should not be allowed to go through a princess phase. Her heart is totally broken. Was she wrong about everything? Yes, Ashley, you were. Shake it off, girl! Forget that dot dot dot! He doesn’t even know it’s called an ellipsis!
 
Now Ashley’s spiraling down the rabbit hole. She scared that it’s not going to work. How can she fall in love again? Okay, I feel her pain, but she’s known Bentley for about a minute. Poor J.P. is going to get a crap date because Ashley can’t stop thinking about that bastard Bentley. J.P. knows he has to find a way to help her put everything aside. So, they discuss how he can’t seem to hold down a relationship. Not what I’d choose, J.P. Then, they change into sweats and hang out because she can’t handle anything else. She gives him a rose, mostly because she knows she’s been a somewhat sucky date. However, she does forget about Bentley long enough to kiss J.P. And whadya know? J.P. is a better kisser than Bentley. Yeah, I think she’ll learn to love again.
 
Ashley is late for the rose ceremony. It’s the first one Bentley won’t be at. She gazes at his photo like a heroine in an old silent movie or a crappy student film. Chris Harrison comes to talk her off her ledge. Chris tries to point out to her that Bentley was forbidden fruit without calling her stupid for ignoring Michelle’s warning. She admits to Chris that feels no closure because of the dot dot dot. AAAARGH! Ashley, ignore the ellipsis! Chris points out this is a typically lame guy move and reminds her that, hello, the other guys are fighting to stay while Bentley walked. Kid or no kid, he could have stuck around. Ashley doesn’t know what to think. She’s doubting herself. No offense, but finally! Chris asks her what she wants to do. She vetoes the cocktail party. She wants to get straight to the rose ceremony.
 
Ben. C, Ryan and J.P. have roses. Nine more roses to go. Two guys will get the boot. I’m guessing Jeff will be one of them. I’m hoping William might be the other, but I doubt it.
 
Constantine gets a rose. Has she even talked to Constantine in the last two weeks?
West gets a rose.
Mickey gets a rose.
Ben F. gets a rose.
Blake gets a rose.
Nick gets a rose.
Ames gets a rose.
Lucas gets a rose.
William gets a rose. Yeah, no suspense there. But I think Ashley would be well advised to remember the aftermath of the roast and note what he didn’t do (comfort her) and what he did (sink into self-pity). If William sticks around too long, she’ll be willing to sweep this unhappy moment under the rug. He does have many charming traits, and they do have that shared adult children of alcoholic dads thing going for them. But I’m not sure shared dysfunction is really a step in the right direction.
 
So, creepy Jeff and Chris are going home. Chris feels defeated. I don’t feel we ever got to know Chris, so I’m not really sad to see him go. Jeff hopes he won’t spend the rest of his life alone. I’m hoping Jeff enjoys life with his three-legged dog.
 
Next week, Phuket! As in Thailand. Get your mind out of the gutter; you don’t even pronounce it that way. Jeez.
 
Over the credits, we’re treated to masked Jeff sitting on the can reading the classifieds aloud. That’s what I love about reality TV. Classy!
 
Do you think Ashley will get Bentley out of her system? Do you think she should have forgiven William? And what did you think of Jeff after he lost the mask?