Initial Thoughts — ‘The Bachelor’, Season 25 Episode 1

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Media by Citytv/ABC

The 25th season of “The Bachelor” premiered Monday, Jan. 4, starring new bachelor Matt James. James makes his debut on “The Bachelor” franchise, looking for lasting love out of 32 single women.

Some may be skeptical of a relationship formed in just a few weeks. But, the popular dating and reality show “The Bachelor”’s new bachelor has the opportunity to prove skeptics wrong.

28-year-old Matt James, real-estate broker and entrepreneur from New York City, is the 25th bachelor on “The Bachelor” franchise, breaking down racial precedents from previous seasons.

James is the first African-American to lead on “The Bachelor,” and fans, like me, are impressed the franchise took this much-needed leap in presenting the racial diversity of romance.

For those who don’t regularly dedicate their Monday nights to watching the show and may need some context, “The Bachelor” follows the journey to an engagement between an eligible single man and more than 30 women. The show takes place over roughly two months. 

While the popular series draws criticism of its fast-paced relationships, there is no denying the contestants put their hearts on the line in hopes of finding lasting love.

The first episode, aired  Monday, Jan. 4, began with an introduction to James, touching viewers’ hearts with his story about creating an organization that provides wellness opportunities for struggling children in the inner city of New York.

Unlike most previous bachelors, James has not been featured on “The Bachelorette” before starring on “The Bachelor.”  

By casting a fresh bachelor who is learning the show’s process along with the women, the show allows for James to connect with the contestants through their shared initial experience and the shock of revealing deep emotions on live television. The viewers are able to view a fresh love story from scratch.

In previous years, the dates between the women and the bachelor took place in various locations around the world, but the pandemic has forced the romance this season to take place in one location: The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa.

Although travelling the world adds an element of excitement to romance, having the relationships form in a single place makes the bonds between the cast feel more normal and more intimate.  

James opened up about the struggle of an interracial relationship between his parents and talks about how he hopes to break that stigma through developing his own romance in the show, whether it is with a woman of the same race or not.

By including contestants of different ethnicities, races and backgrounds, “The Bachelor” sheds light on the ability of genuine connections to form between a variety of people.”

By including contestants of different ethnicities, races and backgrounds, “The Bachelor” sheds light on the ability of genuine connections to form between a variety of people.

Stepping out of initial examples of introductions, James introduced himself to the entire room of women by leading them in a prayer. This vulnerable act set James apart from previous bachelors by opening up to strangers about his religion, which can be a major aspect of a relationship for some. James emotionally connected to the women, and lessened their worries about beginning a relationship.

James met 32 women on his first night as “The Bachelor,” but only one made a strong impact on him to receive the coveted first impression rose.

Abigail Heringer, whose hearing impairment drew admiration from James, received the first rose of the season. With the initial supportive aspect of this relationship for Heringer’s struggle, in addition to their instant undeniable emotional and physical attraction to one another, I predict Heringer will move far throughout the season.

Instant connections provide a foundation for lasting relationships, and even through a TV screen, the viewers sense the chemistry between James and select women, especially from Bri Springs and Rachael Kirkconnel.

Sharing a similar childhood experience, such as both growing up in North Carolina, creates a shared connection, and James instantly found that with Khaylah Epps. Knowing another woman can relate to his roots, James will keep Epps to provide a sense of comfort, while also growing their initial attraction.

After an initial night filled with overwhelming connection, the 25th season of the “Bachelor” looks optimistic for finding love between James and one of the women.