Well, here we are: another season of The Bachelor with a guy nobody asked for. Perhaps I’m being too hard on Arie Luyendyk Jr., but was it not difficult to watch him struggle through the rose ceremony without dreaming of Hot Peter, Eric, or Kenny in his place? Maybe they’ll get their turn in five years. But for now, Arie it is. So as Becca would say, let’s do the damn thing.
We start with a re-introduction to Arie and a dramatic cut to five years ago, when he was on Emily Maynard’s season. This flashback might not have been the best choice, though, because it really shows how much time has passed—and how much the lighting and makeup budgets have increased. Arie is super sweaty in these scenes! At one point, you even see a blemish on his neck as he leans in to kiss Emily. Nope.
The show also uses these flashbacks to hammer in that Emily broke Arie’s heart and that’s why he hasn’t found love or been in a serious relationship since. Uh huh. Sure. We’re even reminded that Arie flew all the way to Charlotte after Emily’s season ended just to leave his journal on her doorstep. This is a move that is adorable and romantic if you’re into the guy and extremely creepy and troubling if you are not. If you want to know how Emily felt about it, consider this: She didn’t even read the journal.
“The chemistry and the passion really pushed our relationship
forward.” – Arie, trying—and failing—to convince us that he and Emily
had chemistry and passion.
Now, five years later, Arie has salt and pepper hair, he’s selling real estate, and he claims he’s ready for the next step. Everyone he knows is married and has kids, so he doesn’t want to be left out. Speaking of, Sean Lowe shows up to serve as a character witness for Arie. We get it, ABC: You really, really want us to like Arie. Sean and Catherine bring their son, Samuel, for a chat with Arie and Samuel (via Sean) offers some good advice: Always treat the girls with respect. Yes, do that. Please, please, please do that.
“The point is: The guy’s a catch.” – Chris Harrison, doing his best to
talk up Arie.
Finally, it’s time to meet the women. First up is Chelsea, a single mom from Portland who works in real estate. Her friend’s advice is to “crush it.” K. Next is Caroline, who also works in real estate. (Sensing a theme here.) She brags that she’s really good at her job and makes a ton of money, and I admire her bravado. There is an incredibly awkward scene where a client asks if she has any kids (kind of rude to assume that, lady); Caroline stumbles over her answer because she really wants children one day—the only measure of a good and moral woman in Bachelor Universe. Caroline is excited about Arie because they have realty in common and she “grew up around cars.” As far as I can tell so far, cars and realty are the only two interests Arie has so she should do well.
We meet Maquel, a professional photographer with grating vocal fry, followed by Nysha, who went sky diving for her 30th birthday. Nysha’s also a nurse who loves being around blood and gross things. I think I love her.
From Nysha we move on to Tia, who lives in Weiner, Arkansas. If you think The Bachelor won’t take this opportunity to make 1,000 dick jokes, you are very, very wrong. In addition to making Weiner puns, Tia shoots guns and goes fishing for fun. And OMG she knows Raven! Turns out, Raven is the one who convinced Tia to audition for the show. (PS: I think there’s a big missed opportunity that Raven’s boutique is not called That’s So Raven.)
Next up is Kendall. She’s obviously our “quirky” contestant because she collects taxidermy. The segment ends with her singing to a stuffed seal, so there’s that.
“I’ve never had a relationship over a year but with taxidermy I can
keep it forever!” – Kendall
Moving on: Bekah is 22, has the eyes of a Disney princess, and rocks a gorgeous pixie haircut.
Marikh is a 27-year-old who owns an Indian restaurant with her mom and has Kardashian-level contouring skills. Krystal from San Diego is a fitness coach, and she volunteers for the homeless because her little brother has been living on the streets for the last two years. She wants to help him, but he’s just not ready for it yet, so she helps others instead. Nothing snarky to say here—that is a genuinely moving story.
Time to dry my tears, though, because the limos are here!!!!!!!
“I’m just going to speak for everybody…How have you not found love? I know you’ve been in
relationships. You think, OK one of these times it’s going to work for
him, and it just never has.” – Chris Harrison, shady as ever
First out of the limo is my girl Caroline. She makes a cheesy realtor joke about them both being “off the market.” Ehhh, I guess somebody had to do it. They play some strange music over Chelsea’s intro that I can’t tell if it’s implying she’s crazy or sexy. Possibly both? Kendall, however, gets quirky music because of course.
“Oh my God, what a STUD.” – an excited woman who would probably enjoy Magic Mike Live
Next is Seinne, another person who works in real estate. Did producers just contact agencies around the country and ask for their most attractive single woman? Wouldn’t put it past them. Tia gives Arie a little weiner as a gift, as one does. “Please tell me you don’t already have a little weiner,” she jokes. Called it: If Tia makes it to hometowns, this will be the season of endless penis puns.
“Not only is he handsome, but he’s welcoming.” – Chelsea about Arie, a
man who pretty much only said “hi” to her.
The parade continues: Bibiana wants to get with Arie so her babies can have his blue eyes. Brianna is overly impressed that Arie can catch a softball. Jenny seems sweet. Brittane puts a “nice butt” bumper stick on Arie, and I actually laughed because my expectations at this point are so low. Jacqueline seems too normal to be here. Then we get to Krystal, who speaks in a Marilyn Monroe-esque whisper. Nysha shows up just as the women in the house start freaking out about how many attractive women are arriving. Uh, what show did you think you were signing up for?
“Let’s just say that the hair is down and the boobs are out.” – Chelsea
describing every Bachelor rose ceremony since the dawn of time.
Valerie gets out of the limo and immediately strikes a pose. Bekah shows up in a classic red Mustang. She’s got a choker, a short dress, and cute hair. She came to PLAY.
“That cherry red looks better on your lips, bitch.” – Chelsea, clearly
auditioning for the role of Corinne this season.
Jenna arrives and seems kinda…tipsy? I don’t want to make assumptions, but she is a little too wobbly and speech slurry. Arie is really feeling her, though. Jessica is very perky, so much so that Arie is even charmed by her gift of a random rock. Marikh makes a joke about his salt and pepper hair because someone had to.
Valerie starts stressing about how many women are here, but more just keep on coming: Olivia, who is 23 and loved Arie’s season (when she was 18???). Becca cons Arie into proposing. Arie loves Lauren S.’s energy. Lauren J. arrives next, and everybody is thrown off that there are two blonde Laurens. It’s not over yet, though: Lauren B. and Lauren G arrive too.
Now that the sea of Laurens are here we can move on to new names: Ashley brought a racing flag, going for the obvious. Arie even predicts her joke before she says it: “Are we going to make it to the finish line?” Brittany stumbles through some Dutch. Amber jokes that she sees a lot of [bleeps] but she hopes he’s not one. Ali requests a smell check. No, nope, immediate grounds for dismissal. Annaliese arrives and Arie is immediately handsy with her. Ew.
Finally we get to Maquel, the last arrival. She shows up in a racing car and everyone’s very jealous. There are many references to the fact that “the race is on” and that she’s “coming in fast and furious” and, oh God, I cannot do this season.
“He has a full head of hair.” – Bekah, really searching for compliments
Everyone has arrived, so it’s time for Arie to give a very boring and bland speech about this journey. Chelsea swoops and grabs Arie first. Yup, she’s definitely aiming to be this year’s Corinne. But then, DRAMA: Chelsea is mad because Maquel interrupts her conversation with Arie about real estate exams. Darling, she did you a favor. Chelsea starts complaining to anyone who will listen that she didn’t get enough time, as if anyone cares. Side note: the vocal fry is out of control. Everyone sounds like they work for PubLIZity:
Later, Brittany sets up a race in tiny toy cars and, OK, I’m into it. This damn show makes everything seem so charming. Brittany wins and collects her prize: a kiss. Naturally, the other girls are upset about this and Chelsea stars losing her cool.
We’re at the point in the night when weird shit starts happening: Quirky Kendall sings to Arie, and he seems uncomfortable. Someone feeds him pizza, another brings pineapple, and Jenna gives him a pedicure or…something? He’s confused but intrigued.
Around this time, Chris Harrison brings out the first impression rose. The pressure is on: Women start swarming Arie with mania in their eyes to talk to him. I would be so scared.
“I want to know more about you, though. We only have a short amount of
time.” – Arie “OK, I’m a libra!” – Krystal
With a wild look in her eye, Chelsea steals more time with Arie. Because she came to win, she goes in for a full-on makeout. Like, mouth wide open. It’s…a lot. After their kiss, she immediately goes into a room full of women and reveals that she had a second chat with Arie. Eye roll. Clearly she wants to stir up drama/brag/make the others feel like shit, otherwise you’d keep. That. To. Yourself. Her gamble worked, though, because she gets the first impression rose. Maybe she’ll calm down now?
As the sun rises, the rose ceremony begins. Roses go to Becca, Marikh, Kendall, Lauren G., Krystal, Bekah, Lauren S., Sienne, Caroline, Brittany, Bibiana, Annaliese, Jenna, Valerie, Jacqueline, Jenny, Lauren B., Ashley, Tia, and Maquel.
Well, friends, we did it. May the rest of this season give us lots of laughs, lots of tears, lots of drama, and very little Arie screen time. See you next week!