Two undeniable guilty pleasures collided on ABC this week as long-running reality dating show The Bachelor took a trip to Immersive Van Gogh, the hit digital art experience featuring animated projections of the Dutch artist’s work.
For Bachelor Clayton Echard’s one-on-one date with Sarah Hamrick, the two had a private dinner at Los Angeles’s Immersive Van Gogh exhibition. The two bonded in front of a projection of Starry Night before he gave her a rose. (Presumably, the topic of the artist’s struggles with mental illness and eventual suicide did not come up.)
In a welcome departure from the show’s usual succession of interchangeably generic country singers, the two were then serenaded by a string quartet playing Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
“Standing here in Clayton’s arms with the music playing, this is the most romantic moment of my life,” Hamrick told the cameras. “I think this could be the beginning of me and Clayton falling in love.”
The Bachelor and its sister show, The Bachelorette, have featured a number of art-centric dates over the years, some more romantic than others. In 2015, late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel led season 19 contestants in a farm-themed relay race where the winner got to pose with Bachelor Chris Soules for a photograph recreating Grant Wood’s American Gothic. (The star was of the show was an Iowa farmer, naturally.)
More recently, with the pandemic limiting options for more adventurous activities, both Tayshia Adams in Bachelorette season 16 and Katie Thurston in season 17 held an art class group date.
Thurston’s eventual runner-up, Justin Glaze, was an actual artist, but it was her winner, Blake Moyes, who made the biggest splash on the art date. Perhaps inspired by the vaginal floral imagery employed by class teacher Jacqueline Secor, Moynes made a painting, titled Life, so obscene it was entirely blacked out by censors.
He had previously competed for Adams’s heart, and, during the art date, sculpted what was clearly a penis—also obscured by a black box. Adams gave her final rose to Zac Clark after a steaming body painting date.
Both Thurston and Adams have since split from their picks.