The Bachelor is back for a 22nd season, and during last night's premiere, race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. met the 29 women, most of them named Lauren, who are vying to be his wife.
You may remember Arie as The Bachelorette's Season 8 runner-up, who had his heart broken by Emily Maynard and left his journal behind for her in the hopes that his stream of consciousness would win her back (she didn't read it). If you watched the Countdown to Arie episode, you also know that the 36-year-old bachelor is Dutch, a race car driver, and a part-time realtor. But in case you missed it, the multitude of terrible car puns throughout the episode—from two race car arrivals to a bumper sticker one contestant puts on Arie's butt to the tired "race for Arie's heart" introduction—ensure that even a casual channel flipper knows this man is a speed racer. Arie is handsome and dopey, exuding a sort of 2002 non-British Hugh Grant vibe.
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But enough about Arie. After he receives a pep talk from previous Bachelor Sean Lowe and his infant son, whom Arie briefly holds so that America can picture him as a nurturing father (what a guy!), he meets the women: There's Tia, from Weiner, AK, who gives Arie a plastic wiener and asks, "You don't already have one, do you?" There's the adorkable weirdo Kendall, who plays ukelele and collects taxidermy and is also drop-dead gorgeous. There's Krystal, who is passionate about filming workout videos on the beach but, to her credit, has a cool, raspy voice. Most of them are blonde, and all of them are beautiful, which Arie clumsily remarks out loud after looking them up and down at their arrivals and saying, "Wow."
The only moments that truly mattered, though, were these five dramatic, predictive, and downright bizarre scenes that have the Internet buzzing.
5. THE LAURENS
There are four contestants named Lauren "racing for Arie's heart," and they all ride to location together in the Lauren limo, which for some reason upsets the other contestants. The length of awkward silence increases as Lauren B., Lauren G., Lauren J., and Lauren S. walk into the waiting room one by one and introduce themselves to the other women after meeting Arie. (But don't worry about Lauren J.—she goes home at the end of the episode.)
4. FOOT MASSAGE JENNA
Jenna, a social media manager from Indiana, may just be this season's loose canon. "She is a little bit wild," Arie remarks. Jenna's hands flail dangerously while she talks, and during her one-on-one time, she gives a visibly uncomfortable Arie a foot massage. He's left perplexed—but not being able to pin down a woman's vibe seems to be a turn-on for Arie. "Does she do social media? Does she run a pedicure shop? She’s never been on a plane before ... but I’m intrigued," he says.
3. CHELSEA'S FIRST IMPRESSION ROSE
Single mother Chelsea has already established herself as both the villain and the front-runner of the season so far. She tells Arie there's a lot for him to find out about her but doesn't actually reveal any of it, so he finds her "mysterious." And after she swoops Arie away to chat one-on-one before anyone else has a chance to, she trash talks other women for making loud entrances, then interrupts Krystal's tete-a-tete with Arie because she thinks she deserves to a second chance to shmooze with him. Chelsea then kisses Arie with a lot of tongue that we can see. This somehow works (which makes sense, if only because she is somewhat visually reminiscent of Emily Maynard). He is smitten and gives her the First Impression Rose, which makes all of the other contestants hate her more than they already do.
2. ARIE IS EXCITED ABOUT EXCITEMENT
Bekah, the doe-eyed contestant with a pixie haircut and moxie (the implication seems to be that these characteristics are causally related), is easily the most likable of Arie’s prospects. A nanny who rock climbs with a taste for adrenaline and a creative sparkle in her eye, Bekah is the only woman who playfully challenges Arie. She asks him which three things make him excited to be alive, and his first response is “excitement,” which she calls him out on. Bekah, it’s clear, was cast as the “spunky” one this season. She’s the only short-haired competitor (feminism!), and even the K in her name is jazzy. She also seems legitimately sharp.
1. THE ARMPIT-SNIFFING INCIDENT
The best/worst moment of the entire premiere was hands down (I can do puns too!) when Ali introduced herself to Arie by asking him to smell her arm pit. It appears there was some sort of metaphor motivating this, but it was entirely lost on me and, more importantly, on Arie. For some reason, Ali seemed surprised when she didn't make it through the rose ceremony. But she did make every person who's ever flopped hard on a first date feel better about themselves. And also very uncomfortable at the same time.
Until next week!