Chris Harrison Admits They Picked Colton Because He "Looks" Like The Bachelor, But What Does That Even Mean?

Photo: Courtesy of Craig Sjodin/ABC.
Since ABC's The Bachelor debuted in 2002, the show has introduced the world to 23 eligible men seeking a wifey on reality television. Specifically, the show has brought on 23 white men, all with chiseled jaws, many with sandy-brown hair and piercing blue eyes. Colton Underwood, aka Bachelor #23, is, once again, the rule and not the exception: His face might as well be the combination of every Bachelor that came before him. It is, apparently, why he was selected as the next suitor, despite some fan backlash to his casting.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, host Chris Harrison revealed that picking Underwood as the show's latest leading man was an easy decision — because he looks just like the other dudes they've picked before, to great success.
"No matter [who we pick], if we [pick] Jason, Blake, it doesn't matter. There's going to be backlash, that's the way social media works these days," Harrison told the outlet. "At the end of the day, the powers at be decide that Colton is going to be a good story, good TV, he looks like the Bachelor... He probably won't have his shirt on after night one, so it's going to be a good season."
Harrison could not be more right when he says that Underwood — a former football player and admitted virgin — "looks" like the next Bachelor, because he looks just like the string of men who came before him. This in itself brings up issues that have long plagued The Bachelor franchise.
If people who look like Underwood are routinely given the job of the Bachelor because they fit a certain mold, and that mold is unequivocally white... where's the room for diversity? Do Black or Asian men not "look" like the Bachelor, simply because they've never scored the gig before? So far, the only person of color to take on the role of the Bachelor was Juan-Pablo Galavis, who is Venezuelan — but, it should be noted, is as blonde and blue-eyed as Underwood.
The truth is, Bachelor Nation can break the mold. Becca Kufrin's contestant Wills Reid was a great option for season 23's leading man. But it's more than just one person that Bachelor Nation needs to commit to in order to solve its (pretty embarrassing) diversity issue. It needs to knock the notion that the Bachelor looks like anyone at all — it needs to crush whatever physical template is clearly in mind when casting comes around. There are a lot of possible Prince Charmings out there, and they don't all need to look like each other's siblings in order to be successful in wooing America.
Refinery29 has reached out to Harrison for comment.
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