Wow. Just wow. Season 22 of The Bachelor has been a disappointment from beginning to end. Monday night’s finale really solidified that for me. From the moment that Arie was announced as the Bachelor, I had already written off the season in my mind. That said, as an avid fan of the show, I still put myself in front of the TV week after week to see if he would surprise me. Simply put: he did not.
First of all, why did they cast Arie for this coveted reality TV role? While I had not yet discovered my soon to be addiction when Arie first appeared as a contestant on The Bachelorette, I, along with the rest of America, was privileged enough to get to experience it through a recap at the beginning of this season. The recap alone proved to me that had this been my first encounter with the Bachelor franchise, I probably would have never watched again. Emily, the Bachelorette, was a snore and Arie, while somewhat genuine, didn’t bring any more flavor than she did. I should mention that this throwback recap was showcasing the HIGHLIGHTS of his previous experience. Therefore, if that bored me, I don’t know why I expected this season to be any better.
Besides the fact that Arie had been MIA from the Bachelor community for so long and suddenly was resurrected is only a small reason as to why he was a horrible choice for the show. One of the biggest reasons as to why I believe the producers should have looked elsewhere is because he was so old. He is a 36 year old RETIRED race car driver. Most of the women that audition for the show are in their mid to late 20s. While I do think that age gaps can work in relationships, especially that far into adulthood, it still sends warning signals up my spine. Not one episode went by where he didn’t mention how ready he was to jump into marriage and have children due to his age. This desperation to find a wife is where I believe the real problems lie, especially in regards to how the season ended.
For those of you who haven’t watched, spoilers are ahead, so proceed with caution!
Leading up to the finale, Arie confessed his love to two different women. After tons of contemplation and hearing his family’s input, he ended up proposing to Becca K. in a way that almost seemed forced. He was not the most original or even authentic Bachelor in the history of the show, but his deadpan emotions during that scene were cringey and difficult to watch. A month or so later, Arie decided that he really didn’t love Becca after all and, ultimately, broke up with her to be with Lauren, the runner-up, instead.
From this information, it seems apparent to me that Arie wasn’t looking for love on this show, but was more so looking for someone to settle down with. While the two usually go hand in hand, that is unfortunately not always the case. Becca K. and Arie, on paper, seemed like the perfect couple. She was always confident and happy-go-lucky around him and his family picked this up from her right away, which I think, in the end, is what really led him to choose her initially. His chemistry and compassion for Lauren were undeniable throughout the entire season, but her insecurities really held her back and made him worry for their future together. Therefore, Becca seemed to be the more logical option to go with if he wanted a marriage. I think he really wanted to be in love with Becca, but one can’t force feelings like that for someone, no matter how much one cares about them. Therefore, his inability to take a risk and chance his real love for Lauren caused him to go astray and instantly become “the most controversial Bachelor in Bachelor history,” as Chris Harrison put it. At one point in the FILMED breakup between Arie and Becca, Arie said, “I’ve thought a lot about this.” Sadly, he thought too little, much too late.
This finale was incredibly strenuous to watch as a fan of the show. In a lot of ways, it made me question why I even like The Bachelor and if I want to watch again next season. Having a crew go and film such a miserable breakup is not exactly an ethical move in my mind. Not only did they go and film it, but they left it uncut so the whole world could watch this poor heartbroken girl unravel from beginning to end. I have never been so uncomfortable watching television as I was during those closing 40 minutes. I really do think Arie messed up big time by proposing to someone just for the sake of having a proposal. While I am still very disappointed with how everything played out, I do think he ended up with the right person. Here’s hoping that everyone involved in this love triangle finds their happily ever after.
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