Excellent post, Veg. I read the TV guide article also and it's realy made me think. It's not common to throw the lead under the bus, so to speak, which leads me to believe there was even more going on than we're seeing - maybe Ashley was being difficult to work with - or else (more likely) CH is fanning the flames of drama to get people talking. It's a pretty boring season otherwise.
The funny thing about this show (and basically all reality tv) is that we viewers complain about the drama, the over-the-top dates in exotic locations that are so far from real life and the editing. Without those, however, what do we have? Maybe your next-door neighbor or co-worker's life? Boring! The early seasons of the show had much less drama but we seemed to enjoy it more. Have we become jaded and need more craziness to keep us interested?
I liked Ashley okay in Brad's season and I don't think she's changed so much as the editing for her has changed for maximum dramatic effect. And I still believe that tptb are behind the whole Bentley debacle. He gave them something to work with, for sure, but he probably didn't have a clue how twisted and edited his comments would be.
Totally agree with you.
They do the same things every season.