Stu: Bob D'Amico/ABC
February 22, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

”The Bachelorette”: The men return for more abuse

Insanity, as someone once said, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Updated for modern television, that wise adage might read: Insanity is returning to a reality show on which you’ve previously shamed yourself and expecting the producers won’t once again try to make you look the fool.

Too bad Stu, Josh, and Andrew Firestone didn’t figure that out before showing up on The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All.

In their defense, it would be hard for anyone to come out of this episode smelling like (pardon the flower choice) a rose; these lowlight reels are reserved for the season’s most humiliating moments — and there are plenty from which the producers can choose.

Take Stu the Stalker, for example. Here’s a guy who professed his love for Jen (and said he was convinced of her love for him) before they’d had even five minutes of alone time. So while you’ve got to give Stu a little credit (or sympathy) for trying to crack a joke about becoming a Kelly Ripa punch line (ouch!), did he really think he’d make it through the hour without having the producers crush whatever remaining chance he had to reproduce in this lifetime? They did everything but cue the theme music from Psycho and show footage of Stu ogling Jen through a hole in her bedroom wall. The worst thing was the following monologue: ”I want to know as much about her as I can. I want to know what your favorite color is and what makes Jen happy. What’s a good day and what’s a bad day for you. What she eats for breakfast and where she likes to go on vacation. Whether she likes to sit by the pool or on the beach. What her favorite flavor of ice cream is. Whether she likes crunchy or creamy peanut butter.”

(It’s a shame, really, we didn’t get a hometown visit with Stu’s mother, who’s probably down in the basement in a rocking chair.)

But at least Stu had the decency to look appropriately defeated for the cameras, unlike angry 28-year-old virgin Josh, who made a particularly poor poster boy for abstinence, what with his barely contained rage (and barely human hairstyle). I’m not sure what footage was left on the cutting-room floor, but Josh acted more like he’d been jilted by Fabrice than by the Bachelorette herself. When the Frenchman refused to applaud Josh’s decision to hold off on sex until marriage, it led to this priceless exchange:

Josh: ”I’m madly in love with my future wife!”

Chris Harrison: ”Wait — are you engaged?

Josh: ”No, I’m not.”

Fabrice: ”So you still haven’t gotten some action with all the publicity from the show?”

I thought Josh’s ”warrior heart” was going to implode right then and there while the producers engaged in a ”they’re all gonna laugh at you!” festival of commentary.

Wendell: ”It’s dangerous being that old and being a virgin.”

Jerry: ”Virgin is not even a word I’ve uttered in a long time.”

Et tu, Jen? ”I don?t think it’s realistic to not [have been] with a woman at this age.”

Whoa! Finally some candid talk from Jen! Watching deleted scenes of her confessional comments during the Men Tell All show made me wonder why we didn’t get more of this brand of brutal honesty throughout the season. Sure, if they’d shown her saying it was ”weirdly sexual and kinda gross” when Matt asked her to kiss and autograph his Knicks ticket, it would’ve killed any suspense as to whether he’d be getting a rose that week — if he hadn’t already killed off the suspense by acting like such a serial killer! Seriously, The Bachelorette needs to take a few cues from Survivor: Showing honest confessional footage may give viewers a hint as to how an episode will end, but there’s nothing less suspenseful than being so bored that you don’t care at all about the outcome.

Speaking of being boring, shouldn?t Andrew Firestone have better things to do than to show up and ”set the record straight” on a Bachelorette recap show? Yes, I got a momentary sense of superiority from knowing the gajillionaire galoot doesn’t know what the word ”pining” means, and it’s nice to know that the engagement ring he gave to Jen is likely sitting somewhere in a pawn shop in Chicago (eBayers, take note!), but Firestone’s appearance was as tired as the is-he-or-isn’t-he Internet rumors that followed Febreze all season.

For the record, the Frenchman said he’s not gay — not that anyone would take him at his word. When Febreze told host Chris Harrison he wasn’t about to ”[beep] a woman on stage to prove I’m straight,” you could practically hear a murmur of disappointment from the clap-happy studio audience. Smug as he was all season, Febreze gets big points for adding a sense of humor and a little spunk to the Men Tell All proceedings, and for pointing out early in the game that Ryan was the nicest, most boring guy ever, that Jerry was too calculating, and that John Paul creeped him out. Who knew the Frenchman and I had so darn much in common?

And now, with 23 dudes kicked to the curb, Jen goes into next week’s final showdown between Jerry and J.P. (two proposals! guaranteed heartbreak! yay!) noting that she’ll be choosing between a guy who makes her ”feel like a schoolgirl” (always an important quality in building a life with someone) and a man who makes her ”feel $ecure.” I guess on a season of The Bachelorette where love seemed all too elusive, a battle between lust and money is the next best thing.

What do you think? Who would you rather date: a creepy stalker or an angry virgin? Can you think of one good reason for Andrew Firestone to have appeared on this show? And — finally! — which (if any) man will ultimately win Jen’s heart?

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