Like many Bachelors before him, Zach has faced a cruel reality: his narrative appeared to be set long before his premiere episode even aired. The story? We’re in for a very traditional season with a sincere but boring Bachelor. It doesn’t help that producers chose Zach over a fan favorite from Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey’s Bachelorette season: the sweet, utterly swoon-worthy Ethan Kang, who would have been the franchise’s first Asian American Bachelor. Next to Ethan, it’s hard for anyone to compete—but especially someone as devoid of an on-screen identity as Zach.
Apparently, fans’ murmurings about Zach being totally dull made it all the way to the C-suite at ABC. Network exec Robert Mills went so far as to tweet a plea ahead of the episode: “If you aren’t excited about Zach or think he’s boring, please blame US! He is an awesome guy. Funny, emotional and full of personality!! Give him a chance.”