The 13th season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” starts tonight. Even if you don’t usually watch, you’ve probably heard something about this season’s Bachelorette, Becca Kufrin, a 28-year-old publicist from Minnesota. (Click above to peruse her suitors.) Becca “won” last season of “The Bachelor,” in that Arie Luyendyk Jr. proposed to her during the finale. After filming, however, he changed his mind and decided to go back to runner-up Lauren Burnham — a breakup that millions of people know a lot about, because, well, ABC filmed the whole thing and televised about 40 minutes of raw, unedited footage. It was torturous to watch. Which brings us to our first main point.
Becca Kufrin has been through a lot. And because of it, she’s a fan favorite.
Every Bachelorette has been through a form of televised heartbreak. But the bait-and-switch that Becca endured just months ago was especially cruel, even for reality television. After last season’s finale, the outrage that viewers felt toward Arie, and the empathy they had for Becca, reached well beyond social media. A member of the Minnesota House of Representatives drafted a bill to ban Arie from Becca’s home state; fans Venmo’d Becca more than $6,000 in wine money (she responded by donating the money to cancer research); and an anonymous group bought billboards in Los Angeles and Minnesota that said “Arie … Not Okay, Just Leave,” in reference to the way he lingered way too long after breaking her heart on camera.
She has an annoying catchphrase.
If you’re making a Bingo card for this season of “The Bachelorette,” you must include LET’S DO THE DAMN THING, because Becca says it A LOT. What does it mean? It’s vague yet urgent. Excited and decisive with a touch of fed-up. When Arie proposed, she said yes and proclaimed, “Let’s do the damn thing!” (I’m guessing that “thing” she wanted to do was marriage, not a public breakup.) Her Twitter bio contains a slight variation: “Ready to do the damn thing.” During “After the Final Rose,” when Becca met a handful of her suitors, she said: “Now we’re doing the damn thing.” Becca told TV Guide recently that she’s ready to “retire” the catchphrase, but we expect it to be uttered at least once an episode this season.
She has a fiercely loyal family.
Becca’s father, Steve, passed away when she was 19, and since then, her Uncle Gary has been a father figure. We met him during hometowns last season, when he told Arie, “This should be her dad sitting here, not me.” Uncle Gary is a pastor, and faith is important to Becca. She has a small cross tattoo on her right hand, and tattooed on her wrist are the words “Psalm 61:2.” So we expect spirituality will play a bigger part this season than last.
She does not want to become a reality-TV star.
She’s here for the right reasons! Becca told US Weekly that she plans to go back to her career after the show: “I still want to try to get back to my life as normal as possible and eventually start a family, have children and have a career, have my partner have his own career, everything. I don’t want this to change me too much.”
According to People magazine, by the end of the season Becca is indeed engaged. So the $22,000 wedding gown she’ll be wearing in Monday night’s premiere is accurate foreshadowing. Although technically this is a “spoiler,” Bachelorettes do have higher success rates of staying with their top picks than Bachelor stars do. Amy Kaufman, a Los Angeles Times reporter and author of the book “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure,” told me she thinks the women tend to ask potential partners about what they’re looking for, such as — What kind of father would you be? Who would be working? Where would we live? “It’s not just about the attraction, which sometimes the men get caught up in,” Kaufman says.
Now, as Becca would say: Let’s do the damn thing!