Chris Harrison on NASCAR widow’s racetrack date: “we have to force the issue”

Previews for next week’s episode of The Bachelor show Brad Womack on a date with Emily Maynard, whose fiance and the father of her daughter, NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, was killed in a plane crash. On the date, they’re wearing racing gear and are at a racetrack, and host Chris Harrison defends this because he says producers have limited time and needed to force Emily to get over her trauma.

Chris Harrison, who has apparently lost all human emotions after hosting the show for nine years, told TV Guide, “If you take it at face value, I get why people are angry, but people need to see the date and see how it plays out. This is another watershed, breakthrough moment and it’s therapeutic for Brad and Emily. It’s a very moving episode and obviously a moving date. It’s definitely scary, but again if you play armchair psychologist, it’s kind of a hurdle they need to get over. We have to force the issue because we have such a time constraint. It puts Brad on the spot, puts Emily on the spot, like you guys are either going to deal with this and go forward, or it’s not going to happen and it’s over.”

By the way, if you’ve read this season’s spoilers, Chris’ conversation about one date might be particularly interesting. He discusses Chantal’s helicopter date, saying, “Historically speaking, that’s the best date you can get — apparently, it goes straight to engagement after that. When I see them together, they’re like old friends; it doesn’t feel like they just met. It’s like their relationship has already evolved well past three or four weeks in.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.