On Tuesday night, ABC announced Nick Viall would star in the next season of The Bachelor. Much to my own confusion, I wasn't grossed out.
You see, there was a time — nay, there were many times — when Nick Viall, notorious two-time Bachelorette runner-up and current Bachelor in Paradise contestant, made my skin crawl: on Andi Dorfman's season, when he asked the Bachelorette why she made love to him if she wasn't "in love" with him; on Kaitlyn Bristowe's season, when he sexted his way into the cast mid-season. With both women, Viall had the creepy habit of tilting his head down, then rolling his eyeballs upward to speak.
He was so thoroughly creepy, I dubbed him "Nick 'Creepy' Viall" in a Bachelorette Season 11 recap.
So what's going on here? I need to know the reason I'm somewhat okay with Viall embarking on a Journey to Find Love — besides the obvious, which is that my brain is numb after 20 seasons of this ridiculous, marvelous show.
First, I should point out I'm not alone in my sentiments. On Bachelor Twitter, fans explained how their opinions of Viall had changed since he'd appeared on Bachelor in Paradise's third season. "This season [of] #BIP has shown a different side of him!" one user proclaimed. "Nick was so much more likable on Paradise," another stated.
There's widespread agreement: Viall has successfully reinvented himself on Bachelor in Paradise, transforming himself from sleazy, jealous man-baby into mature gentleman.
Chad Johnson became belligerently drunk, insulted various cast members, and was eventually booted from the show. Josh Murray, fresh off of getting torn to shreds in Dorfman's recent tell-all, became scarily possessive and controlling of Amanda Stanton. Where the old Viall may have thrown an embarrassing-to-watch fit, in Paradise, wise old Viall has remained a pillar of reason — nobly looking out for Stanton's safety in the face of a screaming Josh, who "looked like he was about to snap at any moment," as People put it.
Of course, it's not particularly hard to be more appealing than Johnson and Murray. It's also highly likely ABC gave Viall a favorable Paradise edit to prime him for entering the Bachelor spotlight — and to that I say, whatever. In the gazillion years I've been watching this show, it wouldn't be the first time ABC manipulated my feelings. I'm gladly along for the ride.
That's not to say Nick is a perfect choice — far from it, in fact. First off, his approximately 47 siblings were devastated enough when he appeared on The Bachelorette for a second time. How, pray tell, will they hold up now?
More importantly, after 20 seasons of The Bachelor, it's high time ABC starts casting some more diverse stars. There's never been an openly LGBTQ bachelor or bachelorette — and though season 18 star Juan Pablo Galavis was not white, we're still waiting for ABC to cast more bachelors and bachelorettes of color. As yet another straight white dude looking for love, Viall is something of a disappointment.
Viall isn't the best choice for bachelor, to be sure. But you've got to hand it to him: He's made us think, maybe, we could eventually let down our walls and, you know, develop feelings for him.