Five years after he was dumped by Emily Maynard on national television, race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. has emerged from cryogenic sleep to assume his rightful mantle as The Bachelor.
A lot has changed since 2012 on this flaming, Earth-shaped piece of poop somebody left as a prank on God’s doorstep, but in the magical world that Chris Harrison has built for us out of rose petals and flat champagne, at least one thing has remained the same. The mouth-wateringly beautiful meals served on dates and in the Bachelor mansion almost always remain bafflingly untouched. Take this journey with a full heart and an empty stomach.
Arie and Seinne enjoy a traditional post-parasail Champagne toast. I have a strong hunch that there is food involved, given that we see a picnic basket beside them and Arie chewing on something, but the specific nature of that food is, oddly, never revealed.
Then they dine at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where Seinne explains that she’s had a hard time opening up her heart, and how she grew up seeing few black women represented in love stories. Her untouched chicken gets a front-row seat to what amounts to a pretty solid stump speech in the race for 14th Bachelorette. Good luck in your future endeavors, Seinne and Seinne’s chicken!
This next one isn’t exactly food, but I would be sorely remiss not to mention it. On a survivalist group date that is a new high, or low, or possibly both for the Bachelor franchise, Arie drinks his pee. Except, just kidding, it wasn’t pee, it was apple juice—a fact he apprises Jacqueline of exactly eight milliseconds before she’s about to actually sample a glug of her own urine.
Arie and the gals enjoy a light lunch of worms and grubs dug right out of the soil. This is not a strange joke that I am making. It is a real thing that happened on The Bachelor, a show driven to actual madness in order to compensate for how boring its lead is this season.
Taxidermist Kendall is especially game to share a maggot amuse with Arie. What more can I say about this? There is nothing I can say about this. Really, we’re done here.
In the evening portion of the group date, Tia overlooks the appetizing cocktail shrampies laid out for the contestants in favor of stress-eating bacon-wrapped dates while Krystal monopolizes Arie’s time, as is her way.
Arie’s steak doesn’t get much screentime, as he and Bekah rub each other’s faces with their thumbs and moan about their 14-year age difference throughout their “meal.”
ACTUALLY EATING FOOD ALERT: On their one-on-one date to a vineyard in Napa Valley, Lauren S. (not to be confused with the other 36,000 Laurens on this season) and Arie consume some of the grapes they’re clearly supposed to be picking. Excuse me, these are not sanctioned snacking grapes! Have you no respect for the wine-making process?
ACTUALLY EATING FOOD ALERT: Lauren S. pops a morsel of the cheese pictured here into her mouth, which I’m sure comes as a relief to her bloodstream, because these people are drinking a lot of wine.
ACTUALLY EATING FOOD ALERT: Food plays a very interesting role in the presentation of Lauren S. and Arie’s dinner: The soon-to-be-dumped contestant gets an unflattering edit, nervously babbling throughout the meal. Just how bad is Lauren S. blowing it? Arie is so bored that he has no choice but to eat his potatoes dauphinoise rather than staring romantically into his companion’s eyes, as is customary. When the camera zooms in on his knife and fork, he might as well be slicing through her chances at love.
Poor Annaliese, a survivor of dog-related trauma who Bachelor producers decided to send on a dog-related group date, frets over the fact that Arie hasn’t kissed her yet. In fact, she’s so upset that we spy her raiding the mansion’s rarely seen fridge. It’s unclear what, if anything, she eats, although I do enjoy seeing that Clorox wipes are at the ready on the counter to tackle the cast’s inevitable Pinot Grigio spillages.
Annaliese touches up her lipstick, but Arie’s mouth proves to be as sweetly forbidden as the suspiciously pristine jars of candy behind her. He turns Annaliese down and sends her home.
Becca K.’s one-on-one Pretty Woman sugar daddy fantasy date sends her home with a rack of Rachel Zoe dresses and a pair of Louboutins as souvenirs. Also on hand to signify opulence is a shellfish extravaganza. “This spread!” Becca marvels of the lobster and mussels orgy, without coming within 10 feet of it.
Moments later, they toast next to a chocolate fountain, and I am relieved that Becca K. doesn’t accidentally swipe a sleeve of her beige sweater into the splash zone.
As Becca K. tries on the dresses, Arie grabs a tower of sweets from the counter and jokes, “While I’m waiting!” I’m still waiting to see him eat one.
Becca K. and Arie chat over plates of what appears to be…. beef, cornbread chunks, and a mystery slaw? Perhaps this episode’s dinner budget went toward all those clothes.
Arie and Krystal take to the skies to visit his hometown of Scottsdale. They’re served an elegant mix of berries, cheese, and salami, the flying-private equivalent of a bag of stale peanuts and half a can of ginger ale.
This welcoming snack platter would have been perfect to stress-eat while wrapping your brain around the fact that Arie unexpectedly introduced you to his parents on your first date.
The producers didn’t want to pull focus from Krystal’s tale of family woe, so they served her some unadorned rice.
After a demolition derby group date, the women walk past a store of secret shadow food that I am half-convinced is the craft services table for the crew, captured on camera by mistake.
Single mom Chelsea packs a peanut butter sandwich and veggie lunch for an unseen child who may or may not exist. (Wake up, sheeple.)
At Marikh’s Indian restaurant, her mother whips up a curry that I am easily more attracted to than any human man who as ever served as the Bachelor. The same goes for the giant pot of rice looming behind it, actually.
I was so close to casting aspersions about the nondescript sandwiches fitness coach Krystal was placing into brown paper bags, then I realized she was delivering meals to the homeless. Good job, Krystal. Bad job, me.
ACTUALLY EATING FOOD ALERT: Caroline brings Arie a pizza. This cheesy contraband no doubt elevates her to immediate frontrunner status.
ACTUALLY EATING FOOD ALERT: Lauren G. sensually feeds Arie, his eyes closed, a chunk of pineapple. Cute, but pineapple ain’t pizza. Although it can be on pizza—maybe Lauren G. and Caroline should form a Survivor-style alliance.
Stay tuned for more untouched food as we chronicle them week-by-week on The Bachelor. Somebody had to do it.