Welcome! This week, The Bachelorette featured its traditional "The Men Tell All" episode. Normally I hate the MTA episode, because I want to get on to the finale, to see the final proposal. But, this season, I found myself looking forward to the MTA show. Sad.

In truth, Jen has been so scared and unhappy in last couple of episodes that it was a relief to get away from her angst for a week, and see the guys again. Jen didn't even make a personal appearance on the MTA show, which I think was a good decision.

Mind you, I'm not saying the MTA show was great. As usual, only a few of the men were highlighted, and most of the men, including some of my favorites like Ben, never even got to open their mouths. However, there were some entertaining moments.

BTW, this time around, you're just going to get my impressions of the MTA show, not the detailed play-by-play I usually provide. I started to write my usual recap, but the MTA show was all talk and not much action, so there wasn't much left to describe. And, since the dialogue won't be winning any Emmys, consider yourself spared.


As usual, the MTA show was done on a stage set, with the men sitting in the front seats, and a small live audience in back of them. Most of Chris' questions were the usual canned stuff, but every once in awhile Chris would throw in a zinger that made me realize that there is at least a little more to him than what we usually see. Granted, Chris' zingers were only small ones. But, since Chris is rarely allowed to open his mouth, much less express an opinion, it was a refreshing surprise to see Chris learn something from the Jeff Probst "Survivor" hosting handbook, and keep the contestants on their toes.

After coming out and introducing himself, Chris reintroduced the 25 men. As always, I swear there were a couple of men I'd never seen before. For all know, the producers substituted a few ringers because the original guys couldn't make it. In part, I didn't recognize a few of the guys because they looked very different (and much more attractive) than they did on the premiere episode. When the men first met Jen, they all wore suits and ties, and looked very uncomfortable and under pressure. On the MTA show, most of the guys were wearing casual shirts and jackets with no tie, and many with no jacket, and they looked relaxed. I wish Jen could have met the men when they were like this. I suspect she might have made a few different choices, because she let some very good-looking guys get away.

Chris lobbed his first zinger right at the beginning. He said to the guys, "The one thing you all have in common is that you were rejected by Jen." And, then, as a sort of afterthought, Chris added, "Congratulations on that, by the way." Unlike some later zingers, this one was greeted by silence. I think people were just taken by surprise—I certainly was. Chris and Jen seemed so chummy during filming. Hmmm. Is Chris as tired of Jen as I am?

After this, Chris quickly changed the subject by showing a short tape of the men interacting with each other in the bachelor house. Most of the clips were scenes we'd been shown before, such as Jerry with a megaphone standing outside the bachelor house yelling, "Attention Fabrice, please go back to France." The funniest new comment was Wendell saying, "We're so emotional. This is like a houseful of guys with PMS."

After the tape, Chris asked Wendell about his PMS remark and Wendell said that the guys ending up looking at themselves in the mirror all the time, and fought about what they were going to wear. And, Wendell kidded that Ben kept coming up to him and saying, "You sure about that shirt, Wendell?"

Chris also asked David about why he fainted at the first rose ceremony. David said that he'd been working out, and he had cut the carbs in his diet, so got lightheaded. Chris kidded him, "Not the way you wanted attention on national television." David replied, "Somebody had to take the fall, right?" Props to David for being a good sport about an incident that had to have been very embarrassing.

Stu Gets His Turn

The first guy Chris called up to the stage was Stu. Even though the previews said that Stu was still "fuming" about being called a stalker, he didn't come across that way at all. Stu good-naturedly watched a short clip of some of the things he said about Jen, along with comments from the other guys. Again, the clip was mostly scenes and comments we'd heard already.

Overall, Stu came across as an intense, but basically normal guy with a crush on Jen. Chris asked Stu about what it's been like to watch all this on national television. Stu laughed and replied, "It's been weird, because Kelly Ripa's been going off on me, and 'The View,' and Howard Stern. I was like, 'I don't deserve this much attention.' It's been fun, but Kelly, if you're watching, 'I love you.'" Chris then kidded, "There you go Kelly Ripa—you have your stalker."

Ryan Defends His Family

Next onstage was Ryan. Judging from the cheers and applause he got from the audience, I wasn't the only big fan of Ryan. Ryan seemed very happy and relaxed, and was dressed very casually in jeans, athletic shoes, and a blue work shirt. (The only thing that seemed strange was that the work shirt had a floral pattern inside the collar and the turned-up cuffs. Either I've missed something and this is a new fashion, or Ryan raided his dad's wardrobe from the 60's.) Still, it says something positive about Ryan that I was watching him so closely that I noticed his shirt cuffs.

As was par for the whole MTA show, the short clip montage of Ryan and Jen together contained little we hadn't seen before. The tape ended with a comment from Ryan in the limo after he was sent home saying, "If that's (Jen's) reason for not being with me (because she was uncomfortable at his family's house), then good riddance." After the tape, Ryan kidded Chris, "Making me sit through that again. Go ahead, twist the knife."

I thought it was great that Ryan was no longer apologizing for his family as he did when he was with Jen. In fact, he did just the opposite. Two of Ryan's remarks were particularly notable, and were greeted with cheers from both the audience and the men. The first was, "(Jen) mentioned that she didn't really feel like my parents were taking the opportunity to get to know her, but it's kind of a two-way street, and I don't really think Jen took a big interest in my family." Go Ryan! The other comment was even stronger, "It's been very upsetting for my parents and I think it's unjust. I know if I was invited into somebody's home, even if I did feel that way, I would have handled myself with a little bit more class."

The good thing was that Ryan didn't make these comments in a whiney way. It was clear that Jen's remarks upset him and his family, but he also seems to have moved on. When Chris asked Ryan if he was still single, Ryan gave a huge smile and said, "I'm still single. I'm available." Ryan was too classy to say it, but I suspect he is very glad now that he escaped the final rose ceremony.

Fabrice Answers "The Question"

Fabrice was the next bachelor called on stage. Although "Is he or isn't he?" was the big teaser in the previews, the producers made us sit through half of Fabrice's interview and a round of commercials before we heard his answer. Short version: Fabrice said he's not gay. His explanation for the shirtless picture of him at a gay pride event in Chicago was that he was at a club in Chicago, and some guy asked him to take off his shirt for a picture, and he thought it would be fun. Personally, I think Fabrice's explanation is pretty thin, especially since (if I remember correctly) the guy who took the pictures has said that he told Fabrice he was taking pictures for a gay pride magazine. So now you know. But, do you care? The Bachelorette producers milked the Fabrice storyline far too long. I'm tired of him. Since I have no plans to date Fabrice, (and I'm sure he has no plans to date me), he can have sex with any consenting adult(s) he chooses, as long as I don't have to hear any more about him.

Unfortunately, beyond the gay "non-revelation" we did hear a lot more from Fabrice on the MTA show. I will say, though, that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Chris showed a montage of clips of Fabrice interacting with the men, with a few new comments on JP, Jerry, and Ryan. (Or, if the comments weren't new, I didn't remember them.) Fabrice said that JP creeps him out and he's just another rich and boring Andrew Firestone. Fabrice described Ryan as the nicest and most boring guy he's ever met. (Are you getting the feeling that Fabrice is easily bored?) Last, Fabrice described Jerry as a player, that there is something too calculated about him. Well, it takes one to know one, I guess.

Fabrice didn't apologize or back down from anything he said on the tape, nor did we expect him to. However, when Fabrice said that he was just being honest, Chris replied, "There's honesty, and there's just kind of being a jackass."

And, apparently there is still one person in the world who is not over Fabrice and that's Josh (the virgin marathon guy). Josh had a number of comments for Fabrice, including this strange one, "It seems to me, Fabrice, that your glass house has been cracking for awhile and you need to be careful about the stones you pick up and decide to throw." Huh? Even Chris laughingly said in response, "That guy's a cliche machine."

And, since the producers decided that Fabrice was worth two segments of the show, we were also "treated" to two Fabrice video clips, the second being one of his time with Jen, including the infamous "French kiss." After the tape, Chris asked Fabrice, "By the way, did you get your tongue back, or is it still down (Jen's) throat?" In his only apology of the night, Fabrice replied, "I wasn't smooth, and I apologize for that." Chris also lobbed another zinger at Fabrice and asked him, "...You felt like you weren't going to get a rose from Jen, so what made you want to upstage her and leave, instead of just taking it and not getting a rose?" Fabrice gave a long reply to this, saying that he thought Jen was playing games with him, and that he wanted to leave anyway, so "Why let (Jen) ditch me?" Ah, the perils when both the bachelorette and the man are fighting for camera time.

To give Fabrice due credit, although I didn't like him, he was very funny at times, and some of his remarks, while mean, were also right on target. And, at the MTA show, Fabrice showed that he could take it as well as dish it out, and was good-natured about the criticisms of him. To me at least, Fabrice came across better than Josh, who seemed to take himself way too seriously. Sheesh Josh, you're so uptight, you need to get laid. Which brings us to the next segment...

Virgins or Serial Killers?

While Fabrice was on stage, Chris brought up the fact that Fabrice and Josh butted heads over Josh's virginity. Fabrice tried to give a polite answer, and said, "I just couldn't relate to it, but then again, I respect his choices." In answer to this, Chris said to Fabrice, "That's the biggest lie," and Fabrice laughed and agreed. Then, from the audience, Josh angrily said to Fabrice, "You obviously don't respect my decision to wait for my wife. I'm madly in love with my future wife." At this comment, Chris raised his eyebrows and asked Josh, "Are you engaged?" and Josh admitted he wasn't.

Then Chris said to the men, "In defense of Fabrice, when you guys found out that there were two virgins in the house, it was like you were living with a couple of serial killers." Chris showed a tape of comments from the guys about "the virgins," including one from Jen that "I don't think it's realistic not to be with a woman at this age." The funniest comment (as usual) came from Wendell. He said, "It is dangerous being that old and being a virgin. You have to know—we're animals!"

On the tape Jason (the other virgin) repeated his comment about his body "not being a carnival ride." After the tape, Chris made one of his funniest remarks of the evening when he said to Jason, "What happens when you find out the body IS a carnival ride, and you've been missing out all these years?"

What We Saw Instead of a Live Jen Schefft

Normally, the producers have the bachelors or bachelorettes come on the "Tell All" show to confront the contestants they rejected. It's not completely clear why Jen wasn't on the MTA show. Maybe she had to wash her hair that night or something. More likely, the main reason Jen wasn't on the show was that there wouldn't be the usual drama of hard feelings from the rejected men, because none of the men seemed to feel particularly hurt that they weren't selected.

So, instead of a live appearance, we saw a short tape of comments from Jen to several of the guys. For example, Jen told Mark (the guy from LA who gave her the angel pendant) that she thinks he needs to give it to the woman he falls in love with, so she has returned it. To Ryan, Jen said, "Your family was so sweet and I am so sorry if I offended you or them in any way because that wasn't my intention." Maybe it's just me, but I don't really believe any apology that begins, "I'm sorry IF I offended you...." C'mon Jen, you know you offended Ryan's family. If you were REALLY sorry you'd say something like, "I know what I said offended your family and I shouldn't have said what I did on national TV. They didn't deserve that."

The tape ended with Jen trying to do a funny French accent, and saying kiddingly to Fabrice, "I just want you to know that I don't want to marry you, either." Last, Jen thanked the guys saying, "I had a whirlwind of experience and I will never forget any of you." That last comment is sort of ambiguous, but it's probably better left that way.

Whatever Jen's intentions, the tape came across as fake and insincere. But, at least it was mercifully short.

"Little Andy Firestone" on Speed

It's saying something very sad about a reality show when the star doesn't appear, and the producers apparently feel the big draw of the show will be the guest appearance of her ex-fiancé, Andrew Firestone. Chris introduced Andrew (surprise!) with a montage of clips of Andrew's breakup with Jen, followed by comments about Andrew from the bachelors. The comments included Josh's famous toast to "little Andy Firestone," as well as Keith saying he was worried about Andrew coming after him (after the show) to duke it out. When Andrew came out on stage to huge applause, he first went over to Keith and pretended that he was going to hit him. Hmm, quite a coincidence that we didn't hear a word from Keith all evening, but he was placed at the end of the first row, in the seat closest to where Andrew entered from backstage. Ah, the spontaneity of "reality" TV.

The strangest thing about Andrew Firestone's appearance on the show was that he talked a mile a minute. The guy was either slipped some speed backstage or he needs to cut the caffeine. One poster said that Andrew also talked very fast when he was on The Bachelor, but I only watched a couple of episodes of that season, so I didn't remember that. All during Andrew's MTA appearance, I kept thinking, "This is a guy who makes his living doing public appearances. Can't his family afford a coach to teach him to talk at a normal speed?" Odd.

Overall, I have to agree with Fabrice that Andrew Firestone is kinda boring. There isn't much worth reporting from his appearance. However, I was impressed by one comment of Andrew's. When asked if any of the men had particularly stood out for him, Andrew said to Ryan that he wished Ryan had been one of the final two, and Ben, as well, that Ben seemed like a really smart guy. Hmmm, obviously there is more to Andrew Firestone than meets the eye if he is perceptive enough to agree with my assessments. <g>

Andrew even got a few audience questions, but overall, his interview told us nothing new. He said that he and Jen are really broken up and have no plans to get together. He doesn't regret the fact that his traveling hurt his relationship with Jen because traveling is his job, and Jen knew that going in. Andrew never gave the recent interview reported by one of the tabloids, and he is not pining for Jen. And, he is not dating anybody right now. Sure Andrew. Are you saying that none of the times you've been seen in public recently with one of several attractive women were dates? Whatever.

And that was it. If Chris lobbed any zingers at Andrew, they were edited out of the show.

Previews of the Finale

As is usual on the MTA episode, the show ended with long video segments of Jen with JP and Jerry to tease us to watch the finale. Then, as we've heard numerous times in the previews, Chris told us that both men propose to Jen. <yawn>

I usually look forward to the finale, because the romantic in me can't resist a love story. But, I will be very surprised if it turns out that Jen has found true love with either JP or Jerry. Hey, that's the way it goes sometimes. Unfortunately, it won't make for a very good two-hour finale, because the producers will have to scramble to try to convince us that there is even one real love story there, much less two.

However, one thing will get me to tune in next week (well, besides having to write a recap). Although Jen turns down one of the men at the final rose ceremony, she won't give her answer to the proposal from the other man until the live "After the Final Rose" show. Now, that's a twist. If the rumors we've been hearing that Jen and Jerry have already broken up have any truth at all, it could be the most awkward hour of live television ever. So, even if you don't plan to watch the two-hour finale, if you enjoy train wrecks, the live "After the Final Rose" show directly afterwards could be a doozy.

Kentucky Chris (remember him?) got the final word on the MTA show. Host Chris called Kentucky Chris up on stage to sing a song while the credits rolled. Suffice to say, Chris isn't going to win American Idol anytime soon. Here was his song:

"Jen, oh Jen. How about all these men?
Me, Fabrice, Wendell, and Ben,
We've all been mopin'
And our hearts are broken,
Cuz you won't be wearing our ring.

I can't top that. See you next week for my recap of the finale!