It began, like every new season of ABC's Bachelorette, with an inspirational montage. But this time around, it wouldn't be enough to tell the story of a young lady who somehow missed out on earlier opportunities but is now "ready for love." Nor would it suffice to explain that the star of the show had previously erected walls around her heart, but with the help of a therapist and long jogs on the beach, she is finally "open to love." Because this time, the producers faced a much taller task. They needed to get viewers on board with the idea that we can "tolerate Ashley." Could they pull it off?
After the jump, a brief evaluation of this season's contestants, followed by the official GTOG odds of each Gentleman making it through to the season finale...
Ames, Portfolio Manager, 31: Count us among the not-shocked when we saw Ames, the Columbia and Harvard finance dork, standing as the lone gentleman in khaki pants. He's run 28 ultra-marathons, which Brad Womack would have called "very very marathons." He gave Ashley ballet tickets, and based on his super-achiever status, we would also count ourselves among the not-shocked if Ames was in the ballet. Here for the right reasons? If those reasons are so that next season we can say that Chris Kunitz has Hands of Ames, then yes. Odds of making the finale: 40:1.
Ben C., Lawyer, 28 - In their initial meeting in the driveway, Ben spoke tenderly to Ashley in French and she replied, somewhat incongruously, "I love your energy! You're cracking me up right now!" Raised in England and a resident of New Orleans, this 15-out-of-10 on the romance scale is bringing the culture. Query how long it will take Ben to realize his efforts are completely lost on Ashley. Here for the right reasons? Oui. Odds of making the finale: 12:1.
Ben F., Winemaker, 28 - Smile, buddy, you're a winemaker. The earnest Ben met Ashley with a bottle and two glasses, starting off his Journey with a toast. "You're so sweet!" Ashley shouted. He's also a tad somber. His dad passed away, so his Walls are up, but he's ready to start a Journey, and significantly, he's a "total brunette guy." Here for the right reasons? Of course. And there's nothing wrong with trying to sell us some wine on your Journey. Odds of making the finale: 20:1.
Bentley, Businessman, 28 - Ah, Bentley. Cocky co-founder of a "Family Fun Center," divorced dad of Cozy, and this season's resident bad boy. Ashley "knows it's a cliche" to say she wishes Bentley was here for the right reasons. That doesn't stop her from saying it. Moreover, it's not just that Ashley suspects Bentley is here for the wrong reasons, she knows he's here for the wrong reasons. A reliable source called her and told her so. Does our heroine simply confront Bentley and say, "Is it true that you're not here for the right reasons?" Of course not. Bentley is far too handsome for that sort of treatment. Instead, Ashley bleats, "I hope you'll be honest with me. Will you be honest with me?" Will Bentley be honest with her? Oh, eventually. Give it four more episodes. Here for the right reasons? Only if you think it's OK to try to popularize the name "Cozy." Odds of making the finale: 200:1.
Chris, Sports Marketing Coordinator, 25 - He opened with a truly awful Kasey-esque rap/poem. Ashley loved it. Here for the right reasons? Who cares. Odds of making the finale: 700:1.
Constantine, Restaurant Owner, 30 - Connie tried to stand out from the crowd by tying pink dental floss around the Bachelorette's wrist. "You are the cutest thing ever!" Ashley shrieked. Here for the right reasons? OK. Sure. Odds of making the finale: 82:1.
J.P., Construction Manager, 34 - Ashley likes this guy's smile. We've seen into the depths of her soul, and believe GTOG, that could be enough to carry J.P. all the way to Fiji. He's a career driven New Yorker tired of the dating scene, and his nickname is, wait for it, Cupcake. Coincidentally, Ashley notes, "The man I marry is going to call me cupcake." Here for the right reasons? To be determined. Kristen Baldwin thinks he's gay. We wouldn't profess to know. Odds of making the finale: 10:1. Odds of making the finale if he's gay: 12:1.
Jeff, Entrepreneur, 35 - Jeff wears a mask for the obvious reason: to "take my face out of the equation." Ashley, ever thoughtful, says, "At first I thought it was a cheesy gimmick. Now I realize it's not just a stunt to get my attention." Sharp as a tack, that one. Prior to the rose ceremony, Jeff delivers the knockout line: "I want a rose for the right reason tonight." Well, is he here for the right reasons? Maybe. In which case he's merely insane, as opposed to disingenuous and insane. Odds of making the finale: 1,000:1.
|"I'm deranged for the right reasons."|
Matt, Office Supply Salesman, 28 - According to Matt, it's never too early to play the Mom card. We generally advise against getting one's mother on the phone - or teaching the object of your romantic interest a secret handshake, for that matter - during the initial courtship phase. It gives off a distinct "friend" vibe. GTOG doesn't find it the least bit sexy. But Ashley? Different standard. When Matt's mother advised her to use protection in the Fantasy Suite, she squealed with glee. Also, he's from Massachusetts, and the Bachelorettes always give preference to hometown boys. Here for the right reasons? Unless he's lying to his own mother. Odds of making the finale: 15:1.
Mickey, Chef, 31: If you don't remember Mickey, and why would you, he's the one who went straight in for the kiss of Ashley, which she successfully dodged with grace and an overexcited giggle. Early on, Ashley told us, "My biggest fear is falling in love with somebody and then not reciprocating that" (actual statement). You heard it here first - Ashley will definitely fall in love with someone and then not reciprocate her own love to that someone, but that someone won't be Mickey. Here for the right reasons? Seems desperate, so yes. Odds of making the finale: 25:1.
Nick, Personal Trainer, 26 - Another one who opened with a terrible poem in the driveway. Appears to be dumber than Brad Womack. You know, he just might pull this off. Here for the right reasons? You'll need to ask him again, slowly. Odds of making the finale: 22:1.
Ryan M., Construction Estimator, 27 - We were legitimately surprised that this guy got a rose, and not just because his presence causes unnecessary confusion with the frontrunner who shares his name. His opening gimmick involved whipping out a camera, taking a picture with Ashley, and finishing things off by suggesting that maybe later she could take a picture of him with Chris Harrison. This seemed to leave Ashley cold, which is hard to do, as she generally responded to every one of these guys' opening lines with a "You are the cutest!" or at least a "Very cool!" But asking for a picture with Harrison? That screams "Here for the wrong reasons." No shot. Odds of making the finale: 500:1.
Ryan P., Solar Energy Executive, 31 - In case you missed the Raw Emotion podcast Monday night, it's GTOG's theory that the first guy who gets camera time in the season premiere generally ends up in the finale. That's Ryan P. Add to that the fact that Ryan P. got the first impression rose (so did a guy named Roberto once upon a time), "wants better for the world," and says "The only thing stronger than the sun is love," and the the only way Ryan P. doesn't end up in Fiji for the finale is if Ryan P. is still in love with somebody else. And Ryan P. doesn't strike us as that kind of guy. Here for the right reasons? Did you see him make a heart symbol with his hands and hold it up to the glistening sun? Odds of making the finals: 2:3.
|Rides in a Hybrid Golden Chariot|
West, Lawyer/Alleged Killer, 30 - "The idea of love is big," West observed. So is the idea that you're a murderer. GTOG isn't convicting anybody without a fair hearing - we believe in the presumption of innocence - but that dude is creepy. He gave Ashley a broken compass stuck on "West." She should go East. Immediately. Run. Here for the right reasons? Relatively speaking, yes, if by "wrong reasons" you mean he's going to kill somebody. Odds of making the finale: 375:1.
|Better Keep Those Walls Up, Just in Case|