Just when Bachelor Nation was starting to get restless about the state of the upcoming iteration of The Bachelorette, ABC has finally given us something to look forward to, announcing the official season premiere of Clare Crawley’s journey to true love. But the show’s framing of her search for love is definitely odd, to say the least.
After months of chaos ensued within the confines of the La Quinta Resort & Club where the season was being shot, we now know when we be able to peel back the many layers of said chaos: October 13.
In a new promotional image shared across The Bachelor’s official social media accounts, ABC revealed that fans will be able to experience Clare’s search for love play out on television starting in mid-October. The photo shows our lead Bachelorette (she’ll hand off the baton to Tayshia Adams at some point this season) holding a rose, but there's also a mysterious man is also present, pulling on a sock while Clare watches.
It's an obvious (and honestly, tired) reference to the 1967 film The Graduate; in the film, Dustin Hoffman plays a young college grad who is seduced by a much older woman (Anne Bancroft). I'm not exactly sure what ABC is trying to do with this promotion, but it feels...weird. Are they trying to turn The Graduate on its head? Is Clare supposed Benjamin Braddock in this scenario? Where is Tayshia? What's happening here?!
Every iteration of this show has its thing — Peter Weber had the whole four-times-in-the windmill gag on top of his pilot shtick, Colton Underwood was The Virgin™, and Rachel Lindsay was the show's first Black Bachelorette — but I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed the the cougar jokes are kept to the bare minimum this time around.
Yes, Clare is the most grown Bachelorette we've seen on the franchise in a while. Yes, many of the men scouted to sweep her off of her feet are much younger than her, but that's the casting team's doing, not hers. The age gap between Clare and some of her contestants isn't really the thing to hammer on, especially for a season so wrought with drama. She literally runs off with one of the men, cuts production short, and is replaced by a whole other person — the fact that she's an older woman is actually the least shocking thing about her journey.
Clare isn't the first woman to date a guy younger than her, and she won't be the last. We really don't need to keep harping on it, ABC. Seriously.
The highly anticipated sixteenth season of The Bachelorette will air on ABC on Tuesday, October 13.