‘The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All Special’: Recapping the Recap

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At last, we’re at that special episode that promises scandal but delivers us rewarmed leftovers we’ve already grown tired of. It’s The Men Tell All special, otherwise known as Chris Harrison’s reason for living.

Despite being endlessly teased with a Bentley confrontation, the tell-all special kicks off with a look back at Bachelorette Ashley’s highlights from the season, which features pretty much the only interesting things that we’ve already seen. There was the guy with the mask, there was the guy who drank too much the first night, and there was Bentley, who was a jerk. (As if we needed reminding about this, Chris.) Chris asks Ashley how she’s dealt with the universal anger towards her for falling for Bentley’s lies and Ashley replies that people don’t realize that she just “didn’t see that side of him” and that “he played” her. Which would be a reasonable defense if she wasn’t conveniently forgetting that she was warned about Bentley’s player status before the season even started. So that excuse doesn’t really fly with us, Ash.

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But on to the behind-the-scenes gags and outtakes that we’ve never seen. They’re mildly charming, but there’s nothing here that could be called revelatory. Clearly the producers are aiming for some smut as Chris Harrison brings up the kinky props that some sex-on-the-brain viewers have spotted in the foreground of certain scenes. Nice try Chris, but a banana in a fruit bowl and Vaseline by Ashley’s bed isn’t really that exciting (she uses it for her chapped lips, okay?).

Then it’s on to an extended preview of the legacy of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise: Bachelor Pad, where former contestants of the series reconvene to compete for love and money. And while some of you Bachelorette addicts out there might be dying of excitement for what basically looks like The Jake & Vienna Crazy Show, I’m slightly skeptical. Maybe my crazy level peaks from the antics on the original show. But the new season, which premieres next week, looks like it could be entertaining — if tears, threats of violence and passive-aggressive remarks are your thing. (On second thought, I’m starting to reconsider my skeptical stance.)

But back to the studio, where we’ve got a swarm of rejected guys to laugh at. As Chris Harrison goes about re-introducing us to all the guys we forgot were even on the show (who the heck is Stephen?), there is a certain someone who is glaringly absent. Weren’t we promised Bentley? Bachelorette producers, you’ve been teasing us with a showdown for quite awhile now. He’d better show! (Spoiler alert: he does not.)

Instead we recount (most of) the ways the guys acted like jerks and/or idiots throughout the season. Jeff explains that he wore a mask because before going on the show he’d thought to himself, “How funny would it be if I was wearing a mask?” Liquor distributor Tim couldn’t take a night off from work, getting “schnoggered” (nice word, Chris!) on the very first night. Ryan annoyed everyone by being too happy and bouncy. And William was a jerk to not only Ashley but also to the other Ben (who, let’s face it, never stood a chance anyway) by telling the Bachelorette that her other suitor was looking forward to online dating once he went home.

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Chris then calls some of the guys up into the Hot Seat, to get some in-depth perspective. First up, William who says he couldn’t even bear to watch the show, he was so disgusted with himself (“I hate the sound of my voice”). Well, William, you obviously didn’t hate the sound of your voice when it was used to throw Ben C. under the bus, because according to you, you’d do it all again. Sorry dude: the truth is you weren’t mean enough to be the season’s Bad Guy, but you aren’t nice or interesting enough to stand a chance at running for the next Bachelor. You’re likely going to just fade away into reality TV oblivion. So long!

Next up is Ryan, who seems to be making a concerted effort to be less smiley. As his video montage goes by, we’re reminded that he’s a nice, genuine guy, who ultimately annoys everyone. Though, how can we not feel bad for him, as he now knows what everyone thinks of him? He sweetly admits that he came on a little strong on the show (he was nervous, apparently) and that he really regrets talking to Ashley about water heaters. But just as we’re starting to think he might not be so bad, he bristles when Blake (rightly) points out that Ryan might have overreacted to his breakup with Ashley, since the two didn’t know each other that well. Then things get weird as Ryan informs everyone that he bought books filled with engagement and marriage questions before coming on the show and had studied up on how to really connect with someone in a short amount of time. His explanation is bizarre, and could just have cost him his shot at being the next Bachelor (which, for some odd reason, viewers seem to be campaigning for).

And then it’s Ames’ turn for the Hot Seat and he’s, predictably, a perfect gentleman. It’s hard to fathom that he’s going to be on the debauchery-fest, Bachelor Pad 2, but finding out if Ames has a bad side might actually be a legitimate reason to watch. But as he recounts his relationship with Ashley, including the boxing match gone wrong, Ames is sweet and self-effacing and comes away looking better than any of the other guys in the Hot Seat (he also comes away with a set of hot pink boxing gloves, courtesy of Chris Harrison).

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Then it’s time to talk Bentley, who, Chris confirms, will not be appearing even though he was invited. As the camera reel rolls, we have the opportunity to relive every horrible, nasty and petty thing Bentley ever said and did on the show. And, boy, does it get your blood boiling all over again, or what? It certainly gets the rest of the guys’ temperatures rising, as what follows is a snappily edited insult-fest as the guys say what they think of Bentley (“narcissist”, “liar” and “coward” are all mentioned). Last season’s Michelle Money — who, if you’ll recall back to the first episode, was the one to warn Ashley about Bentley in the first place — even gets a chance to offer her own potshots.

And then of course it’s time to bring out Ash — wait, wait, wait! Hold up just one minute there, Chris Harrison! Why in the name of Holy Bachelorette Roses aren’t we getting a chance to see Constantine in the Hot Seat? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the third to last guy always gets a chance in the Hot Seat. Moreover, Constantine made Bachelorette history by dumping Ashley moments before his chance to seal the Overnight Fantasy Date deal. We want an explanation!

But it looks like we aren’t going to get it, as Ashley waltzes out instead to, once again, rehash the Bentley thing and tell all of her rejected suitors that they are “great.” Also, she’s really, really happy. For an extra bonus, there’s some perky visitors there to offer her guidance (although she hasn’t asked for it): former Bachelor/Bachelorette lovers Jason, Deanna and Ali. And is it just me or are these three just being forced upon us now? Do we really care what they have to say? No! The producers need to wake up and quit trying to make their floundering fame happen.

Next we have another quick reel of bloopers and then, at long last, is the video montage of the final two contenders, JP and Ben. As the recap rolls by it seems pretty certain that JP is going to come out the winner, though I’m still rooting for Team Ben. Oh, I can hardly wait to find out who it will be. Luckily, I won’t really have to wait because the finale is tonight! So if you’re not sick to death of the terms “open heart” and “journey to love”, get ready to tune in, get your bets ready and check back tomorrow for the Finale and After The Final Rose recap.

Megan Gibson is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeganJGibson. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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