Honestly, we're still a little disappointed that Peter Kraus isn't The Bachelor this season. Rachel Lindsay's runner-up bailed on taking the lead, and so producers had to bring in Arie Luyendyk Jr., who was the runner-up on The Bachelorette five long years ago. Peter would have been great, because he's very charming and likable, and it would have been easy to root for him in his search for love (and it would have been fun to turn against him when he made decisions we don't agree with, which happens every season). But you know what? Arie might be great, too. Arie is also handsome and charming. He even has gray hair, just like Peter. There are plenty of other reasons to be excited about Arie's season though. Here are the three biggest ones.
1. Arie's narrative is unwritten
Most leads going into their season have an predestined narrative they'll be following. Nick Viall's was that he was the two-time runner-up finally getting his shot to find love for himself. Peter's was going to be that he couldn't commit to getting engaged to Rachel, but then he finally found the person he could commit to thanks to the show. It's pretty boring that it's that predictable. Arie, however, doesn't have such a fixed path. Arie's been off the radar for so long that we either don't know who he is or have forgotten the details of his stint on Emily Maynard's season. And since that season was so long ago — Emily has had three kids since then — it will have little bearing on Arie's Bachelordom. Arie may be telling People that Emily broke his heart, but he's over it.
Since he doesn't have a reason to be the Bachelor other than "the other guy wouldn't do it," Arie's free to make up his own reason. He doesn't have a character arc to finish. He's untethered. And that's pretty exciting.
2. The girls are going to deliver the goods
But enough about Arie. The thing that's easy to forget in the run-up to a season is that it doesn't actually matter that much who the lead is. Sure, you want them to be likable, but mostly their personality gets reduced to their search for love. They're just not that interesting, and you don't spend much time with them anyway. Most of the time is spent with the contestants. They're the only people who really matter. They're who create the moments we can't stop talking about. And I have a good feeling about these girls. Did you read their bios? They're all so weird. I can't wait to find out why Bekah's age isn't listed (I mean, I know it's because she keeps it secret because she doesn't want Arie to know how young she is, but I want to see how that plays out)!
3. It's going to set up Bachelor Winter Games
Bachelor Winter Games has the potential to be like Bachelor in Paradise without the baggage. It'll be the fun of watching our Bachelor and Bachelorette faves hook up with each other as well as the fun of... bobsledding, I guess. A lot of the girls from Arie's season are rumored to be going on Bachelor Winter Games, so it'll be fun to A) speculate on which ones are going, B) have opinions about which guys they should hook up with and C) watch them actually hook up (and bobsled or whatever).
So it's going to be good. I mean, it's The Bachelor. Even when it's bad it's good.
The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 1 at 8/7c on ABC.