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ABC’s Continued Obsession With Arie is Ruining What The Bachelorette Is Supposed to be About

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ABC

The first episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette is almost always awkward to watch. The contestants meeting the leading man/lady for the first time is more forced than most of their other interactions, and they’re trying their best to impress. On this season alone, men were pulling out all the stops for Bachelorette Becca Kufrin – one rode an ox up the driveway and another arrived in a chicken suit.

We get it. It can’t be easy to meet the potential love of your life on camera, knowing that 20-something others are competing with you for this person’s affection. They want to do the absolute most to make sure they stay long enough to catch the lead’s attention, and we know that producers often urge them to make some ~grand gesture~. However, the beginning of Becca's season has been even more uncomfortable than most.

We all know what went down between Becca and Arie Luyendyk Jr. He proposed to her on the last episode of The Bachelor last season, and he let Lauren Burnham go. Then, he broke up with Becca on camera right before After the Final Rose and told her he regretted not exploring his options further with Lauren. She looked devastated (as she had every right to be) and was blindsided on camera. He's made several excuses for his reasoning behind this decision – saying he did it to make sure she would be the next bachelorette and that the producers manipulated him into it.

Getting your heart broken sucks, even when cameras aren’t in your face to capture such a personal moment. Her and Arie weren’t just a casual couple. She was engaged to him after letting their entire love story unfold for the world to see. And now, their breakup was also being displayed in the same vein.

Despite this, Becca chose to put herself out there pretty quickly and trusted ABC with her heart once again. She accepted the offer to be the next Bachelorette to find her own love story and move on from the hurt she felt over Arie.

So why are we STILL talking about him?

ABC

When the suitors first met Becca, so many of the men told Becca that they wanted to treat her better than Arie treated her. Mike even brought a cardboard cutout of Arie with him to night one because: “I thought he should probably make an appearance tonight just so that he got a chance to see you as happy as you are tonight.”

Sure, it’s a sweet gesture. They want her to know that they will take better care of her and that she won’t get her heart broken again. But it’s still uncomfortable, and it honestly isn’t fair to Becca. Who wants to talk about the ex who broke their heart ever, let alone in nearly every conversation for several hours? While Becca tried to allow herself to move on and see a future with these 28 men, they were all pulling her back to her past relationship – maybe because that's the only thing they knew about her. She spent so much of that first night talking about Arie (and literally staring at a cutout of him), when she shouldn’t have had to think about him at all, because he doesn’t matter in this equation anymore.

Becca is gracious, though, and she saw the good intentions they each had. So, that’s the end of it, right? We finally get to see Becca’s story with these new men, and ONLY these men? Wrong.

Then during the second episode, Blake and Becca go on a one-on-one date that is entirely focused on Arie instead of on them. They visited a warehouse and smashed tons of items that pertained to Arie and Becca’s relationship, including the couch he broke up with her on and — get this — a set of TVs that were PLAYING HIS PROPOSAL TO HER ON REPEAT.

ABC

Now, was it a total surprise to Becca that this was what she was going to walk into? Probably not. We know how these shows go. They’re highly produced, and the producers probably told Becca about the date beforehand. Still, instead of going on a refreshing first date with a new man who, from the looks of it, is one of the sweetest men on the season, she spent that entire first date reliving her old relationship and the hurt she felt during that breakup.

Of course, it was framed as a way for her to “start over” and get rid of everything that pertained to him so she could move on fully. It just seems like a better way to help her move on would be to give her a fair shot with the new men in her life and let this season be about her. This season isn’t about the men — old or new. It’s about Becca and her journey to find love. That shouldn’t include bringing up her ex every episode under the guise of “moving on.”

The way that Arie broke up with Becca was wrong, but the way that ABC treated her – and continue to treat her as the star of one of their biggest hit shows – is arguably even worse. They're prolonging her trauma. We're not even getting into the fact that they pretty obviously didn't do background checks this season. (ICYMI: Garrett Yrigoyen admitted to ‘liking' some pretty disgusting and problematic memes on Instagram and Lincoln Adim was convicted of indecent assault and battery.) Yeah, The Bachelor did Becca dirty this season. The third episode, thankfully, did not mention Arie at all, but we know that's just temporary as Becca herself has admitted that he will be back at some point during her season so they can have a conversation.

Of all the things we – and Becca – needed to see on this season of The Bachelorette, another appearance from Arie was NOT it. This is so effed up.

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