[Editor's Note: This post contains spoilers for The Golden Bachelor Season 1, Episode 5.]
Pour one out for Susan Noles, whose guacamole farts and infectious energy have carried The Golden Bachelor for the past five weeks. On Thursday night, Gerry Turner said goodbye to Susan, a 66-year-old wedding officiant from Pennsylvania, during an emotional rose ceremony. With hometown dates ahead, Gerry was forced to cut the group down in size by half, with three women — Faith Martin, Leslie Fhima, and Theresa Nist — advancing to the final stage of the season, and three — Susan, Sandra Mason, and Ellen Goltzer — leaving the mansion for good.
While Ellen's elimination was by far the episode's most surprising moment — during the group date, she reiterated that she's "falling head over heels in love" with Gerry and received what seemed like a positive response — it's Susan's exit that stings the most. Much has been written about how vibrant The Golden Bachelor cast is, especially when compared to the typical Instagram fame-seeking singles that populate The Bachelor and Bachelorette. But even among this interesting group of ladies, who have been incredibly open about their past marriages and the stereotypes they face as women over 60, Susan, with her up-for-anything attitude and sense of humor, stood out.
From her first meeting with Gerry, Susan proved to be a firecracker. Her limo entrance was fairly understated, but as she walked away from the 72-year-old widower, she showed her true colors. "Gerry, you see these heels?" she asked, lifting up the hem of her bedazzled dress. "I'm very comfortable with six inches."
In the weeks that followed, Susan and Gerry's connection got deeper than penis jokes, though she was never selected for a one-on-one date. (Gerry did give Susan a rose quartz stone in Week 4, explaining that she exhibits many of the same qualities as his late wife Toni, but that was the most significant moment in their brief relationship.) As a result, the bulk of Susan's screen time came during group dates or while hanging out with the other women around the mansion, which offered a window into her personality that viewers never would have gotten if she were on her best behavior with Gerry. She eagerly helped Theresa with her hair before her solo date — and politely ignored Theresa's aesthetic suggestions, saying, "Can you trust me? I've been doing hair for 35 years" — jumped out of a cake at Gerry's birthday party, and defended her cooking, insisting it wasn't her prized meatballs that gave her noxious farts, but Edith's guacamole.
Most memorably, in Week 4, Susan organized a game of Never Have I Ever that unearthed surprising details about each woman's sexual history, including Sandra's active sex life with her late husband and Susan's past experiences with women. A deleted scene uploaded to YouTube shows that the game got even spicier than what originally aired on ABC, with Susan revealing that she's already skinny-dipped in the mansion pool (when?!) and was once caught with "unmentionable toys" at the airport. "At gunpoint," she added of the experience.
But after her delightful showing last week, Susan was rendered an afterthought by The Golden Bachelor producers in Week 5. With Ellen and Leslie, who was overcome by insecurity about Gerry's relationships with the other women, monopolizing the episode, Susan faded into the background: She was physically present during the group date at the Santa Monica Pier, but her conversation with Gerry was reduced to a 15-second soundbite. (Sadly, Sandra suffered the same fate.) The editing telegraphed her eventual elimination, which was swift and drama-free compared to Ellen's total devastation. Still, despite emerging as a favorite among fans, Susan didn't even get the courtesy of an exit interview; she just shared a whispered goodbye with Gerry and slipped out of the room, never to be seen again.
With Susan gone, The Golden Bachelor just got considerably less fun — and it's not just because hometown visits and a looming proposal tend to prompt serious conversations among the cast. Save for her "birthday suit" entrance, Theresa has always been one of the more introspective women in the group, while Faith and Leslie are now so committed to their feelings for Gerry that they've largely moved away from the silliness they brought to early episodes. If the preview for the rest of the season is any indication, the remaining women will continue to choose earnestness over good humor, which makes sense in the context of their romantic journeys, but has the unfortunate consequence of turning the show into a more conventional franchise spin-off.
While viewers may be in for a more solemn end to the season, there's hope for The Golden Bachelor yet. ABC has not made any announcements about the show's future, but host Jesse Palmer told E! News that he believes there's been enough interest among the fanbase to launch The Golden Bachelorette. Typically, the next Bachelorette is chosen from among the current cast, and who better to fill that role than the vivacious Susan? If we're being honest, Susan and Gerry weren't an ideal match; she has too much spunk for the mild-mannered Gerry. Susan deserves someone who can match her energy and quick wit — or better yet, 22 someones, male and female, eager to compete for her big heart.
The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET on ABC and streams next-day on Hulu. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.