National Post (Latest Edition)

Rose-tinted memories

The new season of The Bacheloret­te does not want you to forget that Arie Luyendyk, Jr. was the worst Bachelor of all time

- Sadaf Ahsan

This season’s Bacheloret­te, Becca Kufrin, happens to be one of the most talkedabou­t contestant­s in years, not because of who she is or what she’s done, but because of what happened to her. Or rather, who happened to her.

That would be Arie Luyendyk, Jr., the previous Bachelor who ended his season earlier this year by proposing to Kufrin in the finale, and then, in a follow-up episode, breaking up with her on camera and then proposing to the runner-up, Lauren Burnham.

Although Luyendyk, Jr. wasn’t the first to stage such a calamitous reversal — Bachelor Jason Mesnick took back his proposal in 2009 to Melissa Rycroft, and proposed to runnerup Molly Malaney during After the Final Rose (the pair are still together) — he was the sleaziest, dubbed earlier in the season as one of the most boring and weird bachelors in franchise history, who had a tendency to kiss loudly and mutter often. By the end of the season, the consensus among fans was that he had become “the worst Bachelor of all time.”

Fortunatel­y for Kufrin, this quickly propelled her into an audience-favourite in sore need of vindicatio­n, making her an easy choice to become the next Bacheloret­te. On Monday night’s premiere, however, despite having 28 bachelors to meet, the reminder of Luyendyk, Jr. was never too distant.

In fact, the episode opened straight-away with Kufrin looking like a weeping mess, as she glanced through polaroids from the previous season and viewers were subjected to Luyendyk, Jr.’s seemingly perfect proposal. It was a montage that will go down in Bacheloret­te history, intercut with personal video clips and photos of the pair, all the way to their excruciati­ng but ratings-gold break-up.

Sure, this is Kufrin’s calling card, but it also quickly became a relentless bashing of Luyendyk, Jr. After discussing the break-up with her family, we cut to Kufrin with Bacheloret­tes past having a girls’ pep talk.

Last year’s Bacheloret­te, the flawless Rachel Lindsay, summed it up when she told Kufrin, “F--k him. It is all about you.”

Except it wasn’t really, at least not in the premiere. Several men made the unusual choice, despite 13 seasons of evidence past, to reference her ex during their first and very brief meeting. Several chose to bring him up right away, letting her know they’re all better options and it could never be worse and they’re here to fix her broken heart from the villain of all villains.

One man-bunned suitor, Mike, even showed up with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Luyendyk, Jr. in order to have her ex “see” how much better off she is without him. This cutout chillingly hovered in the background in the mansion for the rest of the two-hour episode and the start of the rose ceremony.

Noting that Luyendyk, Jr. is a race car driver of middling success, another suitor, Nick, showed up in a driver’s jumpsuit, stripping it down to show that — ta dah — he is no Arie!

It’s unlikely the references to the Bachelor will decline anytime soon, with several moments in the preview for the upcoming season mentioning him, one in particular in which Kufrin can be seen crying in bed, moaning, “you’re worse than Arie!”

Yes, it seems such a thing is possible, which is all the more reason to add any and all references to the worst Bachelor of all time to your Bacheloret­te drinking game, along with the incessant mentions of Kufrin’s favourite catchphras­e “let’s do the damn thing.”

Maybe let’s give both a bit of a rest.


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