Bachelor Nation, the time is nigh.
With just three weeks until Arie Luyendyk Jr.‘s season premieres, ABC decided to tide its rabid fan base over with a one-hour special Monday night, Countdown to Arie.
Besides giving Chris Harrison the opportunity to once again promise us “one of the most romantic seasons in Bachelor history,” the hour functioned as a crucial introduction. Clearly, the network had done its homework and realized that a large portion of fans genuinely have no idea who Arie is. (The choice to cast the 36-year-old professional auto racing driver, who was the runner-up on Emily Maynard‘s season of The Bachelorette in 2012, was met with a mixed bag of reactions, tied together by a resounding “… Who?”)
So, for all the youths that were too young to be watching the show five years ago, fret not. The special provides a complete and thorough rehash of Arie’s journey with Maynard, and the main takeaway is that they liked to make out, like, a lot. He also gave her a journal that he kept throughout the season, which she didn’t even read. Brutal.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t meant to be with Emily and I,” he reflects. “After my experience on The Bachelorette, I feel like I’m in a place where I know myself better. Even though it was my biggest heartbreak, it was also proof that I could fall deeply in love, and I want that again. I need my own love story.”
So what’s Arie been up to since? Chris Harrison poses plenty of silly rhetorical questions, like — gasp — whether Arie has “had other relationships.” (The answer is yes, duh, and we’ll direct you here for more on that.) But while we don’t get a full rundown of all of Arie’s girlfriends since Emily, we do get lots of B-roll of Arie racing cars, and an interview with his dad, Arie Luyendyk Sr., who assures us that Arie is “obviously a good driver.”
Arie Sr. also points out, in no uncertain terms, that he and his wife would very much like to have grandchildren. Also, Arie’s younger brother Alec is already married, but like, no pressure or anything.
Arie is then forced to sit down with the shining beacon of Bachelor success stories, Sean and Catherine Lowe, who share one son and have another baby on the way. It works like a charm, and we’re all reminded that Arie — poor, lonely Arie — does not have a wife and kids of his own. And cue the women.
After a sad selection of casting tapes from hopefuls who didn’t make the final cut, we’re introduced to a small portion of the 29 women who will be vying for Arie’s heart this season. There’s Maquel, a 23-year-old wedding photographer; Tia, a 26-year-old whose claim to fame is that she’s from a town in Arkansas called Weiner; and Nysha, a 30-year-old nurse who is obsessed with blood.
There’s also Kendall, 26, who collects taxidermy; Marikh, 27, who owns an Indian restaurant with her mom; and Bekah, a nanny who suspiciously avoids revealing how old she is, which the special reveals will be a plot line this season.
Other highlights from the season supertease that aired during the special:
- Arie treks through the desert in a full suit.
- Arie tells one contestant her eyes are really pretty, to which she responds, “Oh my God, you’re my Prince Charming!”
- Arie makes out with girls in Tuscany.
- Arie makes out with girls in Paris.
- Arie makes out with a girl while simultaneously operating a jet ski.
- One contestant decides she deserves more time than the others because she’s a single mother.
- Said contestant utters this iconic line at a group of women: “I’m not a bitch — I’m a mother.”
- Several contestants cry.
- Arie cries.
- One contestant’s ex, whose face is not revealed, storms onto the show to “get her back.” “I want my girl!” he shouts. “I’m here to tell her that I want to marry her!”
- Arie gets angry that he has competition.
When Chris Harrison analyzed Arie’s kissing styles and techniques in great detail, using the following descriptors: the one-handed cheek caress, the two-handed face fondle, the tender, tasteful touch, the slow and sultry lip lock, the hair stroke/lean-in, the full-on French, the passionate pillow kiss, and the super sexy up-against-a-wall make-out. (Hey, that one is GIF-worthy.)
The Bachelor premieres Jan. 1 on ABC.