“The Golden Bachelor” shows young love at old age

Imagine turning on the TV to a brand new dating show, only instead of young singles fresh off the runway, the contestants are senior citizens looking to spice up retirement. In an attempt to give a unique twist on its classic series, ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise aired “The Golden Bachelor” for elders looking for love late September. 

Charismatic bachelor Gerry Turner, a 72-year-old from Indiana, is the face of the show, holding a rose and promising a happily ever after to one lucky lady. The series has released four episodes so far. I have watched them all and I can see why the series has received a lot of applause. Warning: spoilers ahead. 

Turner, the golden bachelor himself is a classic Midwestern gentleman. He is a father and grandfather, was a prior restaurateur, and also lost the love of his life in 2017, who shared a marriage longer than 40 years. His vulnerability and emotion not only has the women swooning in to repair his broken heart, but also has myself and the rest of America reaching through the screen to give Turner a warm squeeze. 

Twenty-two women arrived in limos to the bachelor mansion, all of whom were older than 60-years-old. Age is just a number to these women, and the energy and liveliness they bring to a room is entertaining to watch. The conflict, passion, and intensity in the mansion is just as high as any other season, although Turner proves himself to be a lot more stable than previous young bachelors. 

Although the contestants started with double digits, the numbers have dwindled to six. Frontrunner Theresa Nist is one of the six, and my personal prediction of who will be wearing a ring hand-picked by Turner at the season finale. Although Nist has been involved in a quarrel with other contestant Kathy Swarts, Swarts has since left the mansion, leaving more room for Nist to flirt freely with our golden bachelor. The two lovebirds hit it off on their first one-on-one date after relating to losing a spouse, and their connection felt natural as a couple, as if they would pick me off the street and welcome me into a loving home with freshly baked cookies and wine while telling stories of their youth. 

Although I don’t see a rose in her future, contestant and Kris Jenner doppelganger Susan Noles has been an entertaining character on the show. Her humor and style is giving off a young-at-heart spunk that is fun to watch. An important component to Noles’s presence is Turner’s confession that she reminds him of his late wife. She takes it as a heartfelt compliment, but I don’t see it the same way. I wouldn’t be enthusiastic about being told that I remind someone of someone else they used to love, but I am also admitting this as someone who is a third of the way to their age. Given the circumstances, I do not see any ill intent, but I don’t see Noles making it to the end of the aisle either. 

The group has conquered stage fright, broken ankles in pickleball, shared milkshakes through a straw, and even missed a daughter’s wedding. The group dynamic at the age they are has been entertaining because it is unique. We don’t see a lot of aged love stories on streaming services, and that sparks a lot of curiosity. I feel “The Bachelor,” after two decades, has gotten less limelight, and this scheme has brought back a lot of viewers that were burnt out from previous seasons. As the season is halfway through, I am looking forward to seeing more of Turner’s blossoming love story — or stories — these next few weeks, 7 p.m. Thursdays  on ABC.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Gerry Turner, a 72-year-old from Iowa, now in Indiana  is the first Golden Bachelor in ABC history, showcasing that love stories can get better with age. (Courtesy of ABC)

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