I’ve only ever watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette when the internet is in an uproar about the horrific behavior of a bachelor (Juan Pablo, season 18) or the horrific public response to a bachelorette’s choices (Andi, season 10). This time, we’re dealing with the former: Arie, the 22nd bachelor has dethroned Juan Pablo as the worst bachelor ever.
This decree goes out to both the bachelor (Arie) and The Bachelor (ABC, the show’s executive producers, and host Chris Harrison) for creating one of the most awkward, unnecessary, rubbernecking, and cruel public embarrassments on television. Quick recap: At the final rose ceremony Arie picked Becca and proposed to her. But instead of the season ending there with Arie and Becca trotted out in front of fans to talk about how happy they are together, Arie was troubled by something. Turns out he can’t stop thinking about Lauren, the runner-up who he rejected. And he can’t stop thinking about her so much that he thirstily commented on her social media posts on New Year’s Eve in the hopes that she’d give him a second chance. Instead of quietly ending his engagement to Becca, he called up The Bachelor and let them know that he was going to break up with Becca to get with Lauren. The Bachelor responded by flying both Becca and Arie to a rented house in the Hollywood hills where their devastating breakup could be filmed from all angles.
And I do mean from all angles. For some reason (ratings, controversy, public humiliation), The Bachelor chose to air 30 “unedited” minutes of Arie breaking up with Becca with cameras glued to both of their faces, resulting in the worst split-screen in human history. After he dumps her, Becca tells Arie to leave (MULTIPLE times), but he keeps coming back to follow her throughout the mansion and make sure she’s “alright” (and because the producers obviously told him to). Leave her alone, Arie!
I know that everything that happens on The Bachelor is the result of decisions made by the show’s producers (watch UnREAL). In other words: Arie is not calling the shots. And I also know that I shouldn’t be looking for decency, kindness, or empathy on a show predicated on a white, heteronormative, reality-show fantasy of dating and marriage. But it takes a special kind of someone(s) to fly a woman out to a pretty house in California, make her think she’s having a romantic weekend with her fiancé, film her being dumped by him, and then say, “LET’S PUT THAT SHIT LIVE ON AIR JUST LIKE WE PLANNED!”
Of course The Bachelor is going to get away with this. They’ve already strategically selected Becca for the role of the next bachelorette so that they can pretend like they’re genuinely interested in helping her “find love” and didn’t create and mine her devastation for ratings gold. The closest (and funniest) anyone has gotten to holding Arie’s feet to the fire is Minnesota state representative Drew Christensen, who drafted a real bill that would ban Arie from the state of Minnesota—Becca’s home state.
— Rep. Drew Christensen (@RepChristensen) March 8, 2018
There is no decency to be found in reality TV—and judging by the numbers of Bachelor/Bachelorette couples that are still together, no real love either. I shouldn’t have expected either, but I sure as hell will complain about both.