Why I Can't Root for Arie Luyendyk, Jr.

After being heartbroken by Emily Maynard in 2012, Arie Luyendyk, Jr. is back to grace viewers of ABC as the latest bachelor. While I went into this season with high hopes, those hopes have continued to diminish with each week that passes.

I didn’t think this was possible, because I was so excited when he was announced that I went to re-watch Emily’s season to make sure I understood him going into this season. However, that season might have hidden Arie’s finish line a little too well, because there’s no way that he can cross the finish line if he can’t find it.

Paper Perfect

It really turns me off when I feel like Arie is trying too hard to live up to the role of being the bachelor. If I had not watched Emily Maynard’s season, I would not be able to comment on Arie’s fun side until I watched week five. That’s nearly six episodes of television where all I can say about Arie is that he’s the bachelor, and he really likes kissing.

He’s presented as taking this process a little too seriously, because he’s bringing home girls like Krystal in week one, and cutting girls he doesn’t feel a connection with, and feeding corny lines about love. This is probably to combat all the rumors that spread about him since Emily sent him home. However, terrible lines comparing the fear of an alligator to the fear of being in love has thrown me off track. It’s just too much production and effort.

Disconnect

According to the “Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast,” there’s speculation that Arie’s season is not successful because the viewers cannot empathize with him. It’s been too long since he’s been on, and no one really remembers him, but I don’t think that that’s all of it.

From my perspective, Arie does not seem to really empathize with his girls. In fact, it seems that any time there is some real potential, or if a girl opens up to him about her emotions or problems, he closes himself off and sends them home. Week two comes along, and one of the Laurens gets the one on one, and she’s so nervous that she ends up babbling. When she confesses her nerves, instead of empathizing with the girl, Arie decides that he can’t handle and that she needs to be sent home. Then, there’s Annalise in week three, who is the only girl in the house that has not been kissed by the Kissing Bandit himself. When she confronts him about this, instead of kissing her, he tries to say that it’s not time for them yet, which is a bit insensitive if he’s already kissed and been straddled by practically all of the girls in the house. Even Maquel, who came back after leaving after having her grandfather passed away, got sent home the very week that she came back because Arie was focused on other people. This one was shocking to me, because she was very pretty and seemed to have a lot of potential.

Substance

The producers have definitely taken the title “Kissing Bandit” way too far. I was tired of the title in week two when Arie dressed up like a bugler who stole kisses on a wrestling date. It wasn’t believable when he was beat by someone who made a living wrestling, and the constant presentation of him locking lips with the women is overdone. All this has accomplished is that I have the impression that every time Arie can’t think of where to steer the conversation, or of it’s getting to an awkward place, he just makes a move to kiss the girl he’s supposed to be talking to. Of course, these women don’t want to say no, because they don’t want to go home yet.

Who Am I Rooting For?

You’re probably thinking: “If this season is so bad, why do you continue watching?” Sure, I may not be so invested in Arie finding love, but some part of me is hoping that a few of the women find love. As each week passes, I learn more and more about them and hope for one of them to be the next bachelorette.

Bekah M. is one of my favorites, but she’s a controversial choice who I doubt they will make the next bachelorette. However, she reminds me of Betty Bop and even though she is the youngest in the house, her maturity level makes her seem much older. There shouldn’t really be any concern on the age, because at a certain point it is only just a number. If anyone should be concerned, it’s Bekah because at thirty-six, Arie has had so many opportunities to settle down, and he has yet to. That’s my opinion, though.

Aside from Bekah, the two women that have the most potential to be bachelorette would be Tia and Seinne.

Tia has been compared to Raven from Nick Viall’s season, probably because the two are friends. Tia’s casting seemed to have been very intentional, because Raven probably would have been the bachelorette if Rachel Lindsay had not been there. Tia would be a great bachelorette because her track record would be some mix of Emily Maynard, Rachel Lindsay, and Kaitlyn Bristowe: she’s an all-American girl, who has the title of being a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and she also isn’t afraid to speak her mind and let her emotions be known. This combination of attributes has made her stand out from the beginning.

Seinne, on the other hand, did not stand out from the beginning. I did not pay much attention to her until she got the one on one date with Arie. However, being such an articulate Yale graduate who is so open about how people like her don’t appear in the story books, she is just so open and honest that she is relatable and that increases her likeability. I feel like this story could end two ways for her: either this fairy tale ends with her being the person that Arie is engaged to, or this fairy tale does not end well and we have to start a new book where she is the bachelorette.

Has this season of The Bachelor been everything that I have wanted? No. Chris Harrison also probably agrees with me, because none of the previews of this season has featured his voice saying that this will be the most dramatic season yet. Despite missing that line, I will continue to watch this season because instead of rooting for the lead like I traditionally am, I am rooting for the women this season.