On August 4, 2022, Time Magazine published an article called “The Shocking Breakup That Forever Changed the Bachelor.” In that article, author Annabel Gutterman blames the disruption of the Bachelor franchise formula on one man. That man is none other than racecar driver and season 22 Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr.
According to Time, until Luyendyk’s season, “The Bachelor” was a pretty predictable show. As the article states, “For most of its two decades on air, The Bachelor—the problematic yet extremely popular reality TV dating show—followed an unwavering formula.” That formula was that a handsome leading man dated a group of women with the goal of finding his future wife. He then proposed to her on the final episode and she accepted.
“That’s how it used to be,” the outlet asserts. “But since 2018, it’s been anyone’s guess how each season will end. The start of each season has looked much the same, but the five most recent bachelors have all seen their prospects implode before the day when they’re meant to propose, elected to try dating instead of getting engaged, or proposed and immediately broken up. And this pattern of chaos all started with Arie Luyendyk Jr.”
Bachelor fans remember Luyendyk Jr. as being a top contender in Emily Maynard’s season of “The Bachelorette” in season eight. However, years after he was sent home broken hearted, ABC cast him as the lead on season 22 of “The Bachelor.” Everything started out as usual. Even the final rose and Luyendyk’s proposal to Becca Kufrin seemed to be going according to plan.
The Moment Everything Changed
In one of the most awkward and grueling moments in “Bachelor” history, Luyendyk broke up with Kufrin on national TV, telling her that he made the wrong choice, and he really wanted to marry his runner up, Lauren Burnham (which he eventually did).
As Time explains, “In real time, The Bachelor shows Kufrin as she processes what she’s hearing, with a camera visible in the mirror behind her and Luyendyk’s heads. For a hyper-polished show, known for its expertly hidden cameras and slick editing of awkward moments, this Bachelor scene was markedly different. Suddenly, the show was smashing through its carefully guarded fourth wall.”
According to Time, things just haven’t been the same since. In 2019, Colton Underwood famously jumped a wall after being rejected by Cassie Randolph, and later came out as gay. The next year, Pilot Peter Weber pulled an Arie and traded his fiancé for his runner up, and when those relationships failed, he started dating another contestant from his season.
Then in 2021, Matt James and his controversial relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell resulted in host, Chris Harrison, stepping down from the series after almost 20 years. And, of course, most recently, Clayton Echard shocked viewers when he told three different women that he loved them. After Susie Evans, the one he decided he loved “the most,” bailed on him, Echard simultaneously broke up with his two remaining prospects, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey, who are now starring as co-bachelorettes in another franchise first.
Time suggests, thanks to Arie Luyendyk Jr. “For The Bachelor, these days, there’s no ceiling on the drama. And it’s not just about what happens in front of the cameras. The creators of the show seem to understand that, after so many years of predictable yet unbelievable fairytale endings, the secret that Bachelor fans most want uncovered is not the identity of any given season’s winner—but instead what goes on behind the scenes.”