Entertainment

Five Reasons Why ABC Picked This Random Old Dude to Be the Next Bachelor

Arie Luyendyk, Jr. Hasn't Been on TV for Five Years. And Yet, He Kind of Makes Sense.

By Sam Eichner ·
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Photo: Rick Rowell

Bachelor fans the world over were taken by surprise this morning when they learned that ABC had selected Arie Luyendyk, Jr., a professional race car driver who was best known as the "kissing bandit" on Emily Maynard's season of The Bachelorette, five frickin' years ago, to be the next Bachelor. I, myself, thought the whole thing was a big Twitter joke, until I saw him going toe-to-toe with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America (and let me tell you, dude has not lost his televisual touch).

1. The Bachelor is going back to what it knows best: white people relationships.
Rachel's season was a win for pretty much everyone...except ABC. Nobody who watched it left with the impression that they handled it well (as I've mentioned elsewhere, I don't think that's really their fault, but I'm probably in the minority). Add to that the inherently racially charged accusations that befell DeMario on Bachelor in Paradise, and it's easy to see why the show wants to return to the safe space of the franchise, circa 2012, when the edgiest contestant was a dude named Jef (soft "f") who showed up on a skateboard. What a hooligan!

2. The Bachelor historically favors older guys.
According to this article from 2015, the average age of The Bachelor is 31. (This probably goes up slightly, with the addition of Ben Higgins (28) and Nick Viall (36), but I'm too lazy to do the math.) Arie, by the time the show starts filming, will be 36, meaning the last two Bachelors have been over 35. That might seem insignificant, but it's also a reflection of where we're at as a society, with people marrying later and later in life, if at all. Now, consider the other contenders for this forthcoming season. Eric is 29. Dean is 26. Peter is 31. But a young 31. Which brings me to my next point...

3. For The Bachelor to quote-unquote "work," they require someone who's unequivocally "ready to find love." 
This part is key. The Bachelor ceases to exist if it fails to get two people to fall in love with each other (see: the vilification of Juan Pablo). This is its raison d'être. Without this central premisethis elemental promisethe show becomes subsumed by its goofier, more outrageous aspects. It essentially becomes a glorified version of Elimidate. And nobody really wants to watch that (if they did, Elimidate would still be on the air). As everyone who's ever been in love knows, it's just as much about timing as anything else. Dean, Peter and Eric are not ready to find loveat least by the show's standards. That's why we're getting a safer pick with Ari (and why the show is littered with safe, boring picks, from Sean Lowe to to Chris Soules to Jason Mesnick to Brad Womack (both times).

4. Thus, The Bachelor is saving Eric, Dean and/or Peter for when they're really ready.
This, to me, is probably a good move. Especially with regards to Dean, who, after becoming the fan favorite on Rachel's season, has become somewhat of a villain on Paradise.

5. Girls like men who drive cars really fast.
This seems like an indisputable fact of life that would be silly to ignore, here.

Sam Eichner likes literature, reality television and his twin cats equally. He has consistently been told he needs a shave since he started growing facial hair.

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