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The Most Interesting Part About The Bachelor Right Now Isn’t Arie Luyendyk Jr.

There are, for the most part, two kinds of people who watch The Bachelor. There are the people who watch it because they genuinely believe in love and want to watch it unfold on-screen. And there are people who are just there for the drama. This season appears to be one for the latter group of viewers. We’re only one episode into Season 22 (with the second episode airing on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 2), and Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season already promises plenty of drama.

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It’s been six years since Luyendyk appeared on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette (that’s Season 8 for those keeping track at home). Because of that, viewers likely don’t remember much about Luyendyk, and if they do remember anything, they likely just recall he did pretty well on Maynard’s season. It’s still kind of a mystery why producers chose him to be this year’s Bachelor, though a recap at the beginning of the first episode reminded us he truly was a likeable contestant. Mature, kind, family-oriented — what’s not to love?

And yet the fact that Luyendyk is such a safe and pleasant Bachelor means this show will have to find its magic, dramatic zingers somewhere else. That might be the reason there’s been so much emphasis on the drama between the female contestants so early in Season 22. During the arrivals and the first cocktail party of the season, we saw women with their claws fully out. Was it just me, or did they seem more ruthless and cutthroat than women typically are during the first night?

I have two possible theories about this. Either the episode was edited to make it appear there’s more drama than there actually was, or producers purposefully cast rabble-rousers, knowing they would need something to keep viewers interested until Luyendyk could prove he’s worthy of our affection.

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Without getting into too many spoilers, the most obvious example of this is Chelsea. She was quick to nab the first one-on-one time with Luyendyk, and later, as other women were stressing about getting any time with him at all, she swooped in to steal him from another contestant for a second chat. That led to a pretty passionate make-out session and landed Chelsea the First Impression rose, even after she talked a lot of trash about the other women. She’s established herself as a pretty early villain for the season, and viewers are taking note.

While every season certainly has its villain, it’s unusual for one to be established so early on.

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Regardless of what’s coming on this season of The Bachelor, there’s one thing that’s already for sure: Luyendyk isn’t the most interesting part of the show right now. That title definitely goes to the women.

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