Matt James’ upcoming season of The Bachelor will be historic in more ways than one: he’ll be the franchise’s first Black Bachelor in 25 years, and a record number of 6,500 women applied for a chance to date him. On Tuesday night, we got our first real look at Matt’s Bachelor season, set for a January 4 premiere — and already, he’s changing the game and breaking one unspoken Bachelor rule.
“You’ve never been in love,” Chris Harrison says. After Matt responds, without hesitation, that he hasn’t, he adds, “My job is to change that.” ABC hasn't shared the promo for seconds viewings, but many fan accounts have already posted pieces of it and the official Bachelor account did post this tease of James' limo night:
In the past, Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants have been judged by season leads for admitting that they haven’t been in love (or in a serious relationship) before. Last season, Peter Weber expressed doubts that Hannah Ann Sluss was ready for a relationship... because she said she hadn’t been in love before. He began questioning whether she wanted or could handle a relationship before storming off. This was one of several moments that made viewers wonder if Peter was actually the villain of his own season: after all, having a romantic history or lack thereof does not preclude someone from potentially falling in love in the future. Also, Hannah Ann was only 23 years old.
This narrative has become a bit of a Bachelor Nation tradition though, dating back to Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay sending Eric Bigger home after he admitted that he'd never dropped the L-word.
Matt’s admission that, at 28, he’s also never been in love — and Chris Harrison’s casual acceptance, without any kind of fanfare about whether or not he’s ready — hopefully indicates that a new era of The Bachelor is on its way. (While we’re at it, maybe we can also ditch the show’s obsession with virginity. Baby steps!)
The promo also shows one woman tripping while walking up to Matt (she’s falling for him — get it?) and, more predictably, several prospective fiancées at each other’s throats. “Be wary of this girl,” one of them warns. This season might be switching up some of the show’s outdated rules, but when it comes to petty arguments, it’s still The Bachelor: some things may never change.