Colton Underwood marks the end of The Bachelor's bad-boy era
In a long-awaited decision that even my WiFi-less grandmother could have predicted, Colton Underwood was named ABC’s next Bachelor. Despite his constant state of confusion relating to his love triangle with former Bachelorette Becca and Arie’s former contestant Tia over the past months, the former NFL player is the safest and most obvious pick for the role. Yes, it was only a couple of months ago that he left Paradise because he couldn’t handle the thought of opening his heart to Tia—even after pining for her for six months—but maybe he’s matured and totally ready to take on 28 hearts at once. Maybe.
Personally, I—like many others on the Internet—was hoping for folk hero Grocery Store Joe to be our next Bachelor. I’d even have settled for Jordan the Model, Peter Kraus, or Andrew Keegan Jason Tartrick, considering they’re all less boring than Colton and know how to maintain eye contact. They also do a better job of expressing their feelings to the women they’re dating, a decently important skill to possess as someone dating dozens of women; not the best in that department, Colton basically strung Tia along until he got a better offer, a.k.a. his new gig as the Bachelor.
However, by all other metric, Colton is the textbook Eligible Bachelor that ABC is looking for. He’s a sensitive man who’s brave enough to cry on camera, he’s held one of the most coveted and American jobs as a former NFL player, and—oh, yes—he’s a virgin. A virgin who’s not waiting for love but is waiting for the right heart, meaning that there’s a chance we’ll hear about him losing his virginity in the Fantasy Sweet on the upcoming season. There’s also the fact that he’s dated Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, which is just beyond cool.
Plus Colton is a passport-carrying citizen of Bachelor Nation, and that’s the way viewers tend to like it. He’s now appeared on not one but two shows in the franchise, and ones in very recent memory: Becca’s season of The Bachelorette and the season of Bachelor in Paradise that’s not even over yet. The last time Arie Luyendyk Jr. had appeared on the franchise before becoming last season’s Bachelor was when he competed for Emily Maynard’s heart back in 2012. Nick Viall, the Bachelor before him and a much more popular choice, had competed on Paradise the summer before he became the chosen one and appeared as a contestant on both Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s seasons. Like Nick was, Colton is fresh in viewers’ minds.
Here’s where Colton diverges, though—and what’ll either set his season apart or make it boring: Before becoming leads, Nick, Arie, and even Juan Pablo before them, were anointed franchise bad boys. Nick famously talked about having sex with one of his Bachelorettes, Andi; Arie was nicknamed the “kissing bandit”; and Juan Pablo was simply a jerk and sort of marked the end of The Bachelor’s fairytale appeal—especially considering not a single Bachelor since Sean Lowe, in 2013, remains happily partnered with his final pick. Sean is married to the winner of his season, Catherine Giudici, with whom he shares two young sons. Colton, like Sean, is a golden boy, and maybe that’s exactly what the show is looking for. He also, though, seems not to know what he wants, attempting to please whomever he’s talking to at the moment and then claiming he was backed into a corner when he’s called out for it. TBD which side of him we’ll see this season.