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‘The Golden Bachelor’: Senior Citizens Are Going to Save This Dying Franchise

ABC
ABC

Autumn is finally here. There’s a pleasant chill in the air, the seasonal drinks are flowing, and The Bachelor is turning over a new leaf with its oldest leading man yet. I’m calling it now: On Thursday night, 71-year-old grandfather, pickleball fan, and “Golden Bachelor” Gerry Turner is going to single-handedly turn this ailing franchise around.

A long-gestating Bachelor spin-off, The Golden Bachelor premieres Thursday on ABC and will, just like its predecessor, observe its leading man as he dates through a house of women to find The One. In this case, that would be Gerry—a retired restaurateur, father, and grandfather from Indiana who loves barbecuing, four-wheeling, and going out on the town with his loved ones.

“He posts his thirst traps in a leather-bound album,” ABC’s first teaser croons. “His DMs have postage. He gets the early bird special any time he wants. If you call him, he’ll answer the phone. He doesn’t have gray hair, he has ‘wisdom highlights.’ Florida wants to retire, and move to him. He’s Gerry.”

Honestly? I wasn’t sold initially. Sure, Gerry is charming enough, and he’s older, but is that enough of a hook? Then came the cast reveal—a game-changing moment for both this skeptical Bachelor fan and also, apparently, the internet at large.

The vibes coming off of each of these women were immaculate, but the bios were even better—an unparalleled feat of marketing that should absolutely earn someone a raise. (Or at least a rose.) I don’t know what Sandra’s apparently high credit score is—her chosen factoid—but I’m very happy for her and glad she’s proud of it!

That’s not to say that Gerry is a dud. He’s already winning fans left and right thanks to promotional videos for the season that showcase his emotional depth. Gerry seems like a devoted family man who, after grieving the devastating loss of his late wife, is ready to fill his days with happiness again. Can someone grab me a tissue?!

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. A couple of hours after ABC teased its cast in a second trailer, it became clear that this could be a hit not just within Bachelor Nation but, more crucially, maybe even outside of it. Non-Bachelor-watchers from far and wide, both former fans and complete novices, seem ready and eager to watch Gerry’s “ journey” to find love.

As much as longtime fans might love (...to hate, to love…) the Bachelor franchise, we should all be able to admit that it’s seen better days. The tropes have naturally become more predictable, and none of our recent Bachelors have managed to capture the public’s attention quite like the leading men of yore. The Bachelorette has fared better, and Bachelor in Paradise is still a fun, sexy time on the beach, but after a few PR scandals and the sudden influx of new dating series from streamers like Netflix, this 21-year-old franchise is starting to show its age.

Then again, age is just a number—and as Gerry and the ladies prove, getting old doesn’t have to mean becoming any less zesty.

Photograph from season 1 of The Golden Bachelor
ABC

Speaking of the ladies—let’s dig into some of their bios, because as I mentioned, they’re spectacular. Sixty-one-year-old Anna’s is as bewildering as it is startling: “When Anna dives with sharks, she goes cageless.” The bio neglects to specify how often Anna paddles around with Jaws. Jeanie, a 65-year-old retired project manager, says her favorite color is “neon” (???) and retired educational consultant Kathy (70) is “OBSESSED with Christmas.” This season also includes Leslie, a former aerobics champion, a woman with three masters degrees, former Bachelor Matt James’s mom, Patty (who apparently “loves her body glitter”), and most importantly, Maria (60)—who “has never gone paintballing but really wants to try!”

With a sincere lead like Gerry and golden bachelorettes this delightful, The Bachelor might finally deliver the kind of “back-to-basics” reset we all deserve—one that’s high on humor and emotional connections and low on petty drama. Things are already looking pretty promising: Gerry is set on finding a woman who loves pickleball, and from the trailer, it seems we’ve already got six women on the record this season as loving pickleball. With any luck, Gerry might just meet his perfect match.

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