Rest assured Bachelor Nation, your feelings about Arie Luyendyk Jr. .’s finale do not go unnoticed.
Chris Harrison, the man who guided viewers through five hours of the most intense TV we’ve seen in quite some time, is well-aware that the ABC reality hit’s decision to air Arie and Becca Kufrin‘s break-up unedited was a polarizing one.
“I felt the controversy and the drama behind it,” Harrison told E! News over the phone on Wednesday, adding he’s heard from people on both sides of the aisle.
Regardless of whether people loved or hated Arie’s switcheroo scandal, they still watched it on the edge of their seats, and Harrison defended how the show chose to let the drama play out.
“I will never ever say that we’re always right in what we do, but I definitely stand by showing what we showed and how we showed it. I really do,” he said. “You know, it’s funny that people often say, ‘The show can be edited. It’s scripted and you guys made him do this and made him do that.’ And then when we show you completely uncut, unedited, no bells or whistles, everybody’s really pissed off. I find the irony in that tragically funny. So you just want the cupcake with the sprinkles on top or do you want to know how it’s made?”
For Harrison, he’ll take the whole cupcake, please and thank you.
“For me, as a producer and a host and a friend to everybody, I think it was the right thing to do. I like the way it was shown. Not all the time, but particularly for this situation, I just thought, ‘You know what, let’s show this warts and all for all it is,'” he explained. “Relationships aren’t always pretty. They’re not always perfect. It doesn’t always work. And you can’t just show the pretty parts. That’s not how the world works, that’s not how love works. So I’m OK with showing the nasty and the ugly and the sad sometimes because that’s what makes the good stuff so good. It’s what makes when it really works.”
Of course, the brutal break-up also happened to serve as the perfect set-up for Becca’s Bachelorette journey, something Arie used as one of his reasons for allowing the cameras to film it. “I wanted her that opportunity, honestly, I wanted her that opportunity to be the potential Bachelorette,” he said on Good Morning America, following his live proposal to Lauren Burnham.
After we shared word-for-word Arie had said, Harrison reasoned, “Well, then he was thinking far ahead of the game. That’s a decision that the Bachelors are never involved in, so unless he was just being incredibly creative and thinking as a producer and trying to produce the show as well as break up with a girl and make the switch, which, if he did, I am incredibly impressed.”
While Harrison wasn’t convinced of Arie’s Bachelorette set-up strategy, he softened when asked about Arie’s other claim that producers told him not to leave the Happy Couple Weekend house when Becca repeatedly asked him to do so.
“I don’t know. I can’t speak to it, honestly, because I wasn’t there,” he admitted. “I don’t want to say yes or no and be wrong. I don’t know. You’d have to ask the producers that were there that day. I was not in the house.”
Harrison was in the house, however, on that final day in Peru, when a “conflicted” Arie chose to break up with Lauren and propose to Becca. So did he have any feeling that Arie made a mistake?
“It seemed he had really come to terms with the fact that this was the woman for him and this was the woman his family really liked and he liked and would make a great wife. So that day there was never any doubt that I could see. He was excited and happy and so was she,” Harrison said. “When I left Peru, all I heard was, ‘They’re doing great. They’re off on the happy couple hideaway and they’re doing fantastic.’ And I’m like, ‘Good. Another happy couple. All is good.’ As of Peru, everything was perfect.”
And we all know what happened next.
Check back with us tomorrow for more insight from Chris Harrison, including the decision to name Becca as the next Bachelorette so soon after her heartbreak.
The Bachelorette airs this spring on ABC.