The Bachelor Winter Games just ended and like former iterations of The Bachelor franchise spinoffs, the objectives were murky, the competitions silly, the rules ridiculous and the overarching goals unclear….except to have contestants coupling up at the end. The franchise smacks of desperation and if I ever hear the term “I think I could fall in love with him (her)…” again, I might have to tear my hair out. Something about it all is very inorganic and rushed, which is why it’s unsurprising that Bachelor Winter Games contestant Luke Pell proved to be an insincere jackass.
The Winter Games was comprised of contestants from around the world who had been on their countries’ versions of The Bachelor and Luke bonded quickly with Stassi Yaramchuk who had been on The Bachelor: Sweden. The “deep talk” that connected the two of them was about how they both had battled heart problems. Immediately, that became the discussion point to solidify a bond and it seemed that the two were inseparable and mutually devoted to one another throughout the competition. Ever since Luke vied for Jojo’s affections during her season of The Bachelorette, rumors had dogged the Nashville musician as well as claims that he had been approached to be The Bachelor, but had demanded that his season be all about his music. Nick Viall was chosen instead. The sense was that Luke was about getting likes, Instagram followers and song downloads, rather than being sincere about looking for love. However, when Stassi showed up on Winter Games, viewers saw a tender side of the country crooner.
After expressing how much he cared about her during the competition, it was a complete 180 when he iced her out at the show’s reunion last Thursday night. Stassi attempted to talk with him and find out why he had not been in contact at all since the show ended. Luke referenced a conversation that Stassi was completely unaware of ever having (and which, it was clear to viewers, had never taken place) about agreeing to go their separate ways. It was obvious to one and all that Luke was lying and he had ghosted Stassi once Winter Games were over. When Stassi tried to talk to him during the commercial break, he made it clear that he wasn’t interested in even responding to her.
Luke represents a sinister reality behind reality television. He is someone who went on a show to raise his following and promote his music rather than being sincere about looking for long term love. In the past, the franchise has been compassionate about (seemingly) commitment-phobic men and giving them another chance: Dean Unglert juggled two women on Bachelor in Paradise, coming across as a royal jerk to a smitten Kristina Schulman, yet he returned for this season’s Winter Games and found love with contestant Lesley Murphy.
Then there was Bachelor Brad Womack who rejected both suitors in the finale of his first season, but was brought back to be the Bachelor a second time and got engaged to Emily Maynard (they broke up 8 months later). However, these men were not as overtly obnoxious and icy as Luke was on The Bachelor Winter Games reunion. Luke was afforded two chances with the franchise and one can only hope producers realize that in this case, he is not deserving of a third chance. If he appears on this summer’s Bachelor in Paradise, fans will be outraged and it will look like a case of producers rewarding bad boy behavior. Then again, anything is possible within this vapid franchise. Either way, I’ll be tuning in.