Start your engines folks, because away we go.
Welcome to this season of The Bachelor starring the new (old) Bachelor Arie Lyuyuyuyunkdkdkd Jr., former race car driver and current real estate broker. But don't be confused, dear viewers, by the plethora of racing references. Chris Harrison and I want to remind you of exactly which show you’re watching right from the—wait for it— starting line.
Why? Because, confusing at it may be, this is not Drag Race.
This is not the most original, groundbreaking competitive reality show on TV featuring racing metaphors. (Though, the expression of hyper-femininity on both shows is at times quite similar.) No, this is The Bachelor: the heteronormative polyamorous competitive dating show we’ve all come to develop Stockholm Syndrome— I mean, a special love— for. And it begins…. now.
Let’s talk about the elephant (cufflinks) in the room. No one wanted Arie to be the bachelor. Most of the contestants this year think about Arie the way Katie Holmes thought about Tom Cruise back in middle school. (If Tom Cruise had a been a Q-List reality star for 3 months in 2012.) He's someone you have a school-girl crush on. But you don't marry that person. That person is a Scientologist who lets fellow cult-members build airplane hangars for him.
Anyway, Arie would have been a fine choice 5 years ago. Now, it’s, just, well, it’s bizarre. And let’s be very clear- the backstory of how Arie became the Bachelor would absolutely be more exciting to watch than this coming season of The Bachelor.
What happened with Peter? Was Rachel threatening litigation? Was the whole, “you’re gonna have to at least pretend to be ok with proposing to someone” part of the contract getting Peter down? Did JCrew run out of cowl-neck sweaters? Did the producers ask for the origin story of his pec adorning deer-tattoo? I guess we’ll just never know. Catch you on insta @peterkrauswi! Love your leg-day workout suggestions!
(But seriously, he is so beautiful. Le sigh.)
We’ll probably never know how Arie became the Bachelor. But how is it even possible for Arie to be the Bachelor when a former female contestant from 5 years ago would NEVER be given the same “honor”? I’d like to introduce Arie as the newest member of the “White Men Never Have To Grow Up Club”. Other notable members include Jared Kushner, Donald Jr, and Ryan Lochte(!). The rules of the club are simple- you can stay a hapless, unknowing boy forever until you (whenever you’re good and ready) decide to be a “man”.
Arie is 36. He originally went on the show when he was 31. Already- no woman has ever “competed” on this show who’s over 32.
Let me break this down real fast and then I promise I’ll get to the actual episode. Arie went on the show at 31, was known for his sexual prowess (nicknamed the kissing bandit), was rejected, stalked the girl who dumped him and left his journal outside her door, and then spent 5 perfectly good years still being an “eligible bachelor” in the “real world” and didn’t find anyone to marry. He has retired from his sexy (if ridiculously dangerous) job and now works in real estate.
Ye Old Bachelor editors have re-packaged that truth accordingly: Arie was heartbroken after Emily. (+5 points, as it makes him appear vulnerable.) He just couldn’t find that special someone in the last 5 years because “nothing felt the same”. (Hey psst assuming Arie didn’t join another nationally televised polyamory gameshow, it’s gonna be hard to find a comparable experience.) But now he “knows what he wants”. Gee, it sure seemed like he knew what he wanted 5 years ago, no? (See: flying across the country to drop off his journal.) And now Arie is a “man”. (As opposed to the boyish 31 year old he used to be. See: the aforementioned club.)
(Ya got all that?)
Arie saying that “he’s really ready now”, or that now “he knows what he wants” is like me texting a guy I had a horrifically awkward date with 3 months prior saying, “Hey sorry I haven’t been in touch.. What’s your schedule like?”, when it was abundantly clear that he was the one who ghosted me because of how bad our date was. Actually- let’s not talk about my dating life ever again. I’m just saying there’s some serious revisionist history going on here.
All that withstanding, I do think Arie is cute and I like that he appears to have an actual job. Isn’t it interesting how infrequently Nick Viall’s job came up on his season last year? l guess being a Professional Bachelor Contestant /Instagram model isn’t as traditionally appealing.
(Ok it's not totally unappealing...)
I’d like to try on the female version of Arie’s narrative, just for fun:
“Vanessa was broken-hearted when Matt dumped her but now she’s back 5 years later! Having not found that special man in the intervening 5 years since her season (obviously there’s no pressure on women to settle down once they’re in their 30s!), she no longer works as a professional astronaut, but has transitioned into the exciting field of podiatry. But she finally knows what she wants now and is ready to settle down. And her hair is grey. Jump on, fellas!"
Personally I would LOVE to see a 36 year old grown-ass woman star on this show. It would be amazing. But first this show would have to acknowledge that women over 32 exist in the world…
Don't get me wrong, I like Arie. I just wanted to contextualize how silly of a choice he is. Now that I've done that, let's all wish him the best!
I’m just gonna go through and talk about the girls I found noteworthy:
Maquel- the 23 yr old wedding photographer. If she sticks around her name will be Narnia because my husband thinks she looks like a lion, and he’s right.
The other Arkansas girl, henceforth known as Raven II. I like her already. Weiner’s biggest export is now charming reality TV stars.
The Ukulele-killing Taxidermist. Watching this little weirdo play a ukulele in a giant tree(?) for no reason finally pushed me over the edge. She should start taxidermy-ing ukuleles because this madness has to stop. GET A GUITAR. Henceforth she will be called Uke.
Bekah the rock climbing nanny blazing a trail for short-haired girls everywhere. She’s gonna be fun to watch and I really loved her Meg Ryan in French Kiss look.
Ps I’m pretty sure Bekah likes 90s fashion in the way I liked bell bottoms in the late 90s/early 2000s. She’s 12. Or 22. Which to me, is the new 12.
Mouth breathing nodesy workout instructor with the Sad Story homeless brother who thought always smiling would ensure her a positive edit. Turns out always smiling makes you look like a complete PYSCHO. Henceforth known as Cheshire.
Chelsea the boring villain. She is a C-list Michelle Money. I expect better from my villains. We need to work on this. Let her be the Olivia of this season and get left on a deserted island.
Some favorite quotes: Someone told Arie that she “grew up around cars”. Right. Unless you’re from Amish country or Venice, that’s not like, ya know, unusual, or even interesting.
The (now eliminated) ER nurse who said, “the more blood the better” about her job. That is both deeply disturbing and also lovely, I guess. Way to follow your bliss, girl!
Chris Harrison remarking how wild it is that Arie can drive around in a race car going 200mph and yet getting set-up with 29 women on TV scares him. I’m dreading a season full of these comparisons. One has LITERALLY nothing to do with the other.
And finally, in a moment so clumsy I’m kind of shocked they kept it in the edit: Bekah asking Arie what makes him excited to be alive and he says, “excitement”. In the real world this is when Bekah would find the friends she came to the bar with (you know because they’re finally 21 and legal!) and leave. In Bachelor-World she has to laugh and just say incredulously, “Excitement? What makes you excited to be alive is… excitement?”
But good news folks, because part of what makes me excited to be alive (on some subterranean level) is The Bachelor. So, let’s put on our seat belts and enjoy it safely together.