When The Golden Bachelor was revealed to be not quite as silver as he could have been, it was cause for skepticism. If Bachelor Nation was going to use this opportunity to stick to casting a conventionally attractive, barely grayed man in the lead, what was going to stop them from pulling in younger, even more good-looking women to date him? Would this really be the “senior” dating show ABC promised?
Already there are borderline inappropriate age discrepancies in the franchise — when Arie Luyendyk Jr. was the Bachelor at age 36, one of his frontrunners, Bekah Martinez, was just 22. And that gap has mostly been afforded to the men on the series, who have been able to return to Bachelor in Paradise and other spin-offs without question as they age into their 40s. Meanwhile, when Clare Crawley took over as the Bachelorette at age 39, every promo pushed the fact that she was the oldest female lead ever. Women of a certain age seem to have never gotten a fair shake in Bachelor Nation, at least not until now.
The 22 women who will be dating the Golden Bachelor, 71-year-old Gerry Turner, are all between 60 and 75 years old. Production didn’t even try to fudge it by going with the AARP’s standard of 50 and up — that shows some impressive restraint. While the women are all indeed very conventionally attractive with little variance in body shape and size, it’s still refreshing to see so many older women owning their sexuality and making a bold statement that they deserve love, too.
After watching the trailer introducing the cast, it’s clear that Gerry will have to do a lot to prove he’s worthy of these women. They’re all vivacious, confident, and hugely into pickleball. After watching season after season of Bachelor contestants with “careers” as chicken enthusiasts and aspiring dolphin trainers, it’s extremely refreshing to see that these women are therapists, teachers, interior designers, and financial professionals (some retired, others still working in their fields). Even more exciting than watching these ladies date might be watching them all live in the mansion together. It’s still a rarity for TV shows to depict friendships between older women, especially on reality TV — even The Real Housewives franchises that feature women in their 60s are more focused on frenemies.
Some of the women are divorced, some are widowed, and some have simply been waiting for the right person for a very long time. They all seem to know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to hold out until they meet the person who is perfect for them. And if it’s not Gerry, they make a compelling case for a future Golden Bachelor in Paradise spinoff. ABC, you know what to do.
The Golden Bachelor premieres on September 28 on ABC and streams on Hulu the next day. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R.