'The Bachelorette' finale: J.P. Rosenbaum or Ben Flajnik, who did Ashley choose?
It's finally here - "Bachelorette" Ashley Hebert will choose between Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA, and J.P. Rosenbaum, a 34-year-old construction manager from Rozlyn, NY. Not for two hours yet, though, so settle in, open your bottle of wine and get comfy.
Family in Fiji with J.P.
Ashley talking-heads that she can wait to get engaged int he South Pacific. So she does not want to wash that man right out of her hair [ba dump ching]. Ashley's fam is on hand to meet the boys and it's like there's two normal parents, a normal brother and then Lila from that one season of "Dexter." Before the guys get there, Ashley tells them she's in love and is ready to get engaged.
J.P. is the first guy to meet the family and he says he was "completely blown away" by Ashley and that it just keeps getting better and better. Ashley is like bursting with pride and excitement, it's pretty adorable.
It starts to get a little derailed when sister Lila asks if J.P. makes Ashley laugh and she can't really answer right away. So later Lila says to Ashley that he's great, but not the one for her. Mom Laurie says she disagrees, but Lila is persistent with the no laughing thing and says Ashley is too much for J.P.
Now, I seriously dated a guy who didn't make me laugh and that was hard - I felt like I was the constant source of entertainment. His sense of humor was fine, he found me very funny, but he didn't make ME laugh and that was one of the reasons I didn't stay with him. But observing J.P. and Ashley, I don't see that. I think he does seem to make her laugh, he's just not a total cut-up. But a relationship between two cut-ups is hard too - it turns into a game of one-upsmanship. Anyway. I just think Lila is off-base here.
Ashley confesses to having second thoughts about everything (what does THAT mean? - the experience altogether? J.P.? Ben? Both?). But Ashley is really disappointed by her sister's opinion because she wanted support. Well, I'd also want honesty, even if it was hard to hear. But again - Lila doesn't know J.P. very well either.
Lila talks to J.P. and he's pretty surprised at her opinion. She cites the "make her laugh" thing, which also surprised J.P. (that Ashley didn't answer right away). But he says he's 100% in love with her. Nice. Tell Ashley that! Lila then says he's older and wonders why he hasn't found anyone yet? Wow, she is blunt. He says he's willing to change his lifestyle for Ashley, but Lila insists that Ashley isn't being herself and isn't completely happy. Wow. Ouch. And THEN she says she more of Ashley when she brought Brad home and that she won't be happy about it if J.P. proposes. OH MY GOD, lady!
I mean, I understand being concerned but ... it's also called tact! On the other hand, as Cordelia says, "Tact is just not saying true stuff," so ... hmph. But she doesn't know J.P. very well yet, as J.P. points out. First impressions are important, but not everything.
Meanwhile Ashley confides to her dad about how hurt she is and her stepdad awesomely says you don't judge somebody without knowing them. Thanks stepdad!
When Ashley and J.P. talk about it, Ashley does not do a great job reassuring him that she is going to make up her own mind and not let her sister commandeer her opinion. Aww. That is tough. When is a family or friend's opinion the one you listen to over yourself? I had a guy I came to realize was not very good to me, but I couldn't see it even when all my friends were like, "Um, no." But should you just listen to someone outright even if you are feeling differently? That's tough.
Sister Pow-Wow Time
Ashley has it out with her sister and Lila says she's more rational than Ashley, as the tattooed Geisha girl on her upper arm waggles away at us. Ashley calls her sister on being "such a b****." Yep. She may be saying the truth and she may be saying what is in Ashley's head, but she wants her to do it in a more constructive, kind way. Which is not uncalled for. Lila counters that she's trying to protect Ashley from herself. Hmm.
Lila runs back to their mom and cries and points out that Ashley has been wrong before. Well, yes, but aren't we all wrong until we find the actual one?
Ben's Meeting with the Family
Ben is immediately embarrassed by Ashley talking about his dog and their puppy voice talk, which he does demonstrate for her family. You can tell Lila is much more impressed with Ben and Ashley "being herself" around him. Yeah, if the edit all season had shown these two being like this, I'd think Ben was going to win too.
Lila takes along time with Ben and he says he figured out on their last date that he was in love with her, like they are best friends with more. Aw. That's the best way to be. Lila talks about how she's been married and divorced and honestly, I can't help but thinking if that baggage is coloring her outlook more than she thinks it is.
Ben certainly wins the family over and he seems much more gregarious and outgoing and funny than we've seen all season. Hmm. After seeing this, I'm totally on board with Ben for next bachelor if he doesn't get chosen.
Ben is dressed like a day-glo retiree from Ft. Lauderdale. Heh. They take a helicopter ride over the water to an island, where they promptly strip and go into a wonderful mud pit and slather each other up. Nice. Ben calls it "sexy" and "erotic." Woo woo.
As he's getting ready, Ben talking-heads that he's in love with Ashley, she took his breath away and he's going to tell her. He immediately sits her down and says he talked to his family about their engagement and basically says without saying that he's going to propose and he says he's in love with her. Smooches ensue. Ben says in an interview that she's his match and that she is telling him in her kisses that she loves him too. Aww, geez.
FYI - "Once Upon a Time" is awesome, watch it this fall.
Ashley and J.P. kind of argue about the sister thing, with her wondering if the problem with Lila made him stop and think, while J.P. thinks they are a perfect fit. He wants to know what she's worried about and he wants to fix it.
J.P. then confesses to telling her family that he loves her and how stepdad told him to tell Ashley. So he finally says, "We've been talking about that leap of faith ... but I told your entire family I am madly in love with you and I have been and I've been dying to tell you." Ashley melts and smooches ensue.
Ashley talking-heads that she's "so happy with the way [she's] feeling right now." Um, really? Two fabulous, hot guys are in love with you? It's shocking (shocking!) that that makes you feel good.
That night, J.P. busts out a photo album he put together with a lovely, sappy letter inside. He says if he ends up being chosen, they'll fill up the rest of the album. Wow, geez. J.P. FTW.
Ashley Contemplates, the Guys Buy Rings
Beach, wind, sand, water, thoughts, fuzzy-bordered flashbacks like the guys died or something, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, the guys are soaping up in the shower (not together, pervs) and picking out their Neil Lane fancy-schmany diamond rings.
Ben picks a ring with intertwining strands making up the band, which is really gorgeous. J.P. picks a skinny-band ring with a huge honking solitaire surrounded by tiny diamonds (which also coat the band). Ben wins the ring competition, for me.
Ashley then dons her proposal dress and while it's very pretty, the top doesn't really flatter her and I don't dig the feathers on the bottom. She assumes the position on the proposal platform as the guys are flown in on prop planes.
Ben is first, so ... he probably is not the one. Aww, poor Ben. He's so sure that Ashley loves him back, which she might, but she's apparently not IN love with him. He walks up and she starts crying, but he charges ahead with his speech and then she lets him get down on one knee and propose (whicc is a bit clinched when he says, "Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on Earth?")
Ashley says she's sorry and he is surprised. He also just tries to kind of leave and she chases after him, paying him all these compliments and he tells her to just stop. He then says with more than a little bitterness, "J.P.'s a wonderful guy, I'm sure you'll have a nice life together." Heh. Ouch.
In his exit interview (as he is ferried away on a tiny boat!), he says J.P. is a safer bet than Ben and that Ashley "went safe today." Huh. What does that even mean?
J.P. lands and Ashley says she's totally in love with him, but is still worried he'll break her heart. Hmm. I'm not so sure you are, Ashley.
He walks up, she kisses him and then there is the big proposal. J.P. says, "I have to take a leap of faith and that's exactly what this is. This is my leap of faith. All the time that we've spent together, it's been the happiest time of my life and you always say to me you're smiling all the time ... I smile because of you. You bring that out. What I do know for absolutely certain is I am madly in love with you, I love everything about you."
Ashley responds with, "I do not want to be with anybody else but you forever." The music swells up, the camera pulls to a sweeping wide shot and then J.P. proposes and she says yes. Awww. And then - REO Speedwagon, like at their roller skating date. And this time they got the real song. Awesome.
Stay tuned for our recap of "After the Final Rose," we'll link here when it's up.