Well, it's that time again, “Bachelorette” fans — the time we're forced to tread water for a week so ABC can extend its hit dating franchise for just one more episode. I'm talking, of course, about “The Men Tell All” special.
To be honest, this is my least favorite part of any “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” journey, but I'm going to focus on the positive. For one thing, “MTA” is Harrison's time to shine. And for another, this recurring two-hour special seriously must keep some lucky local L.A. flower shop in business: Once again, the studio looks like it was hit with a dirty bomb packed with roses and votive candles. Finally, it means we're just one week away from the big finale! In the meantime, let's relive the highlights from tonight's filler-tastic extravaganza.
The evening kicks off with a lengthy rehash conversation between Harrison and Jillian — which is completely devoid of revelations, with the exception of the following: Jillian likes her ''big nose'' but doesn't like that her second toe is longer than her big toe, and... Okay, yeah that's it. Distressingly, she generally looks tense and unhappy when Ed's name comes up, and she only talks about her feelings about him in the past tense. With Kiptyn, though, she's bubbly and effusive: ''I know that I'm crazy about him and that's what love is,'' she says with a big smile. Oh boy, once again it seems Kipper's in the lead.
Most of the deleted scenes were clearly left on the cutting room floor for a reason, but the bonus footage of Ed's ''not-sober moment'' during the Vancouver cocktail party was priceless. Their intimate couch chat goes nowhere as Jillian tries to get Ed to open up, but his booze-addled brain cannot process her request: ''That's a lot of words that you just threw at me, by the way,'' he slurs, slapping her leg a bit too hard.
The wobbly bachelor goes on to put the miniskirt-wearing Jillian in a bear hug so tight he threatens to expose her underwear as well as puncture one of her lungs with her own rib. (Side note: Couldn't wardrobe have given Jillian a backless bra so the big white back strap and clasp wouldn't show when she leaned forward during her taped interview with Harrison?)
As always though, our Bachelorette looks for the positive in the uncomfortable Ed situation: ''What I did see in him is that Ed is the happiest funniest drunk that I have ever met in my life.'' The deleted scenes montage wraps up with Jillian's visit to Kiptyn's charity — and as much as I dislike Kipper, it does seem like Stand Up for Kids is a very worthwhile organization.
Dumb and Dumber return
Oh look, Dumb and Dumber are back! Jason and Molly want us all to know how very, very hard it's been for them since Jason ripped Melisssa's heart out of her chest and ground it under his heel on national television.
Molly, as nasal and perky as ever, whines, ''What we have gone through — I mean, just absolutely ripped to shreds in the media and in the tabloids and on the Internet. It was definitely tough on me.''
Dimwit chimes in, ''It was a bigger backlash than I thought, but I don't regret being with Molly.'' Now they've been together for six months, he adds, ''and things couldn't be any better.'' While Molly could not have been less comfortable the first time she met Ty, Jason says that today they're ''buddies.''
The Bachelor and his chosen one still don't live in the same city, but they apparently have reunions in front of his house every other weekend, under the watchful eye of random neighbors across the street. There are a lot of ''famous last words'' in this interview: ''Based on everything that we have gone through,'' says Molly, ''I don't think anything could break us.''
Adds the Bachelor, ''For sure we're going to get married.'' Sir, I will take that bet!
It's finally time for the men to tell all. Jake wins the applause-o-meter during the introductions, and randomly, Jesse gets the second-biggest cheer. Two key bachelors are missing: Reid, says Harrison, had a ''prior engagement,'' and Wes, well, ''We can probably figure out why he's not here.'' Actually, I can't figure that out.
Harrison explains in his EW.com blog this week that Wes declined to come on the show until the last minute — and then, apparently, it was too late to squeeze him in. Still, I don't feel like we're getting the whole story. First of all, I'd bet money that the men are under some kind of contractual obligation to be there. Maybe the network and Team Bachelorette just didn't want to risk that Wes would spout his equally-dubious version of events so they declined to accommodate his last-minute request to appear. As for Reid, the only explanation for his absence is that he must be coming back in the finale; if so, that would make him, like Kipper and Ed, off-limits at the “MTA.” (And seriously, they couldn't do any better than ''prior engagement''?)
The guys who are there are more than happy to fall right back into character for the crowd. Tanner P(ervert), for example, gets to speak first, and of course he brings the conversation around to feet exactly 10 seconds into his answer. Michael ''Stag,'' my long lost favorite, gets a big ''awwww'' from the crowd when he admits that he ''underestimated'' how much he would ''like Jillian.'' After a montage of the ''drama'' in the house, Harrison turns the conversation to Jake's alleged perfection, and all of a sudden the bachelors — some of whom appear to be experiencing a collective bout of 'roid rage — begin attacking him.
‘Pulling a Mesnick’Mark butts in while Jesse's talking and recites a failed comedic monologue that he no doubt practiced in front of his hotel mirror for hours before the taping: ''Jake, no one in America thinks someone is a black sheep if they're an airline pilot and the rest of their family is doctors, A. Uh, B, next time someone tells you to untuck your shirt during a rose ceremony don't make it take three hours for them to convince you to untuck your shirt. And C, go watch a rated R movie and come on to the same level as the rest of us.''
The non-pervert Tanner pipes up next and mocks Jake for pulling ''a Mesnick,'' that is, crying over a hotel railing. Seriously, why are they all pig piling on Jake? It's not like his ''perfect'' personality got him to the final two, so what the hell do the other guys care if he's never, say, ''stepped on a freakin' ant''?
Sasha — who, by the way, had no discernable personality himself — exhibits the most sour grapes by telling Jake his behavior was ''so canned'' and it ''looks like a f-----g actor.'' (That's actually an astute observation; Jake told Carrie Bell over at people.com that he actually was a child actor.) Either way, all the attacks are unwarranted — after all, being a bore is not a crime.
Jake's response, a simple ''Sasha, f--- you,'' is completely satisfying, even if profanity does sound completely unnatural coming out of his mouth. Finally Michael ''Stag'' proves he has more class than all of the guys there combined when he refuses to jump on the “Lord of the Flies” bandwagon: ''Jake would never say a bad thing about any one of you guys.''
Things don't lighten up after the break, as Harrison asks Dave to elaborate on his feelings about Juan. Given that his past feelings about Juan include threatening to tie him to a tree and beat the s--- out of him, this does not go well. Among Juan's crimes, according to Dave the Rageaholic: not hanging out with the guys unless the cameras were around, holding a beer without drinking it, and, of course, faking the shot, which Dave says violates ''man code.''
Harrison presses Dave for an explanation of said code, and once Dave says that it involves not sleeping with your friends exes, the host fires back with this brilliant follow-up: ''But is being on ‘The Bachelorette’ a violation of the man code in and of itself? Because you're all fishing in the same pool.'' (Also because no self-respecting man goes on TV to find a wife.)
As usual, Juan acquits himself nicely, saying that for him man code is ''being a gentleman... Getting drunk, being belligerent, and threatening people — that's not, to me, being a man.'' (This subtle take-down prompts two blonde ladies in the audience to exchange ''Oh, snap!'' glances.)
Score one for Chris HarrisonHungry for more camera time, Jesse keeps the hate going by pissing and moaning about the Phantom Shot again. Juan defends himself by saying he drank half the shot, but Harrison, who is in fine form tonight, finally tries to put the matter into perspective: ''Why would he have to explain it? Who gives a crap?''
Unfortunately, however, Harrison doesn't call Dave out on this lie: ''When I say I want to beat Juan's ass, that doesn't mean like I want to kill Juan.'' (Really? Let's go to the videotape: What he actually said was, ''I'll kill him. I would love to just beat the f--- out of him.'') At least the host refuses to let Dave off the hook without taking one last, hilarious dig: ''So if you say, 'I want him to go drown himself,' that means, 'I want to hug it out.'''
Not surprisingly, Dave's rage does not dissipate at all during his time on The Hot Seat. For one thing, he seems insulted by Harrison's suggestion that his comments about Jillian's rear end on the boat weren't exactly appropriate.
''Complimenting a girl's ass after a month?'' he marvels. ''We've already talked about her eyes, her personality, we'd covered everything else.'' (Predictably, the audience voices their disapproval, perhaps prompted by a flashing ''Booooo!'' sign.) While he finally admits ''maybe I went about it the wrong way,'' he still insists Jillian put signals ''out there'' and then ''retracted'' them. As the men go down the line saying how out of line Dave was on the boat, the Rageaholic gets angrier and angrier, as evidenced by his flared nostrils and the increasingly crazy look in his eyes.
What is there to say about Jake's time in The Hot Seat? Not much, to be honest. As we already know, things started going downhill because Jake went from zero to stalker in one date flat: ''Seven days a week 24 hours a day all I was thinking about was Jillian.'' He goes on to explain that he didn't tell Jillian about Wes when he was still in Canada, because he needed some time to get it together emotionally. After a few guilt-and-insomnia riddled days, explains Jake, he called one of the producers and said he needed to ''settle some things.''
While most the bachelors maintain their angry mob mentality about Jake's actions — Dave gives Jake crap for crying ''like a little girl'' — the audience clearly loves that Ken-doll pilot. In a question that is so totally not planted by producers at all, a sympathetic blonde puts him on the spot: ''If the show were to ask you to be the next Bachelor, would you?'' (Cue the dolphin squeals!) While Jake avoids actually answering with a ''yes'' or ''no,'' he does offer this tantalizing tease, ''It would truly be an honor though.'' (Would Jake be a better Bachelor than Kiptyn? Discuss amongst yourselves.)
We may as well call this next segment A-hole in Absentia, because it's all about Wes — without him actually being there. To be fair I did find the inter-bachelor discussion about Wes interesting, primarily for the surprising number of guys who come to Wes' defense. Mark says it was perfectly natural for Wes to want to play his guitar on TV, while Sasha Sour Grapes insists the country singer was ''there for the wrong reasons,'' but ''not the reason that everyone's trying to play up.'' (He declines to reveal what that less-offensively-wrong reason is, though.) Dave actually offers a coherent defense: ''He said, 'I came out here to promote my record, but after a couple days, couple weeks, it got real.''' And Mike also has a point: ''Wes is not smart enough to trick Jillian.'' That said, absolutely nothing is clarified. Will we ever know the truth? Probably not. Have I already begun to stop caring? Definitely.
Someone's been working on her styling! In the final act, Jillian returns looking better than ever, sporting a sparkly black minidress and a killer tan. Harrison opens the floor up to questions from the boys, and Michael — clearly still heartbroken over the Bachelorette — sweetly tells Jillian how thankful he was to meet her and that he ''learned a lot about love, I learned a lot about the woman I would like to marry.'' Now that's a guy I'd like to see as the next Bachelor. (Yes, I know I am in the minority on this one.)
Juan follows that with a totally unconvincing assertion that Jillian's feet are ''really hot.'' Oh for the love of God, Team Bachelorette — must all roads lead to feet this season? We end the evening with a goofy blooper montage featuring multiple fart jokes — including Harrison's excellent sound effect during a ''pull my finger'' gag — and Jillian's orgasmic response to pepperoni. Honestly, did they never feed that poor girl?
At long last, there's nothing left but the crying — so who will make Jillian weep tears of misery and/or joy next week? Will it be ''impossible is possible'' Kiptyn or hunky workaholic Ed?