The Golden Bachelor: episode 1 & 2 & finale

Thursday, 9/28, 5:30 pm, before the show.

Is the whole Internet talking about The Golden Bachelor? Or are these constant ads and promotions targeted at me because of my age? If the latter, they’re doing a good job for once. Much better than the ads for pee panties and “mature” fashion that will change my life (“not to be overly dramatic”).  I admit I’m curious. Ignoring the unrealistic premise that a 72-year-old widower will find meaningful love on a reality TV show, will the interactions be genuine? Will we see the vulnerability of seniors putting their wrinkled selves in front of a camera that catches every move and word as they try to date in a society that brands them as undateable? (No, spellcheck, do not change that to “uneatable”!)  Or will it be bravado, strutting, catfights? (Oh, please, no.)

I read that Gerry will be given a supply of condoms. That’s good, but if this is really a “reality” show and his potential partners are in their 60s and 70s, they’d better supply him with lube, too!

Here’s my plan. I’ll watch the show, making notes on my laptop as I watch. Afterwards, I’ll post my reactions. I’m posting this much now so that you can join me by adding your own comments.

Know that I’m on the West Coast, so I’ll likely be late to the party, as the show is already airing if you’re on Eastern Time. Go ahead and start without me!


Thursday, 9/28, 10:30 pm, after the show.

The show opens with Gerry putting on his hearing aids – cool! He’s a good-looking guy, though I’d like him better clean-shaven than scruffy-faced, just my preference. Bristles are not pleasant against the tender skin of an aging face or more sensitive areas. Sorry (not sorry), that’s where my mind goes.

The first limo arrives filled with women screaming like junior high girls. Were they told to do that? I can’t imagine that’s how senior women arrive at a first date that’s also a competition.

There’s my problem. I have to remind myself, no, this isn’t reality – this is entertainment (or someone’s version of it). These women signed on for a competition where the last one standing supposedly will find love with this eligible widower. That means they all have to fall in love with him first, or that won’t work. Long before the end of the first episode, they all have a crush on him. “He’s perfect!” one says after knowing him for a minute.

The 22 women, age 60- 75, are all attractive, some conventionally and others uniquely. They’re all dressed in gowns – except for Renee, 67, in a track suit – and professionally coiffed and made up. From the get-go, the women try to stand out from each other with tricks, gimmicks, and sexual innuendos:

  • “See these heels?” Susan, 66, asks Gerry. “I’m very comfortable with 6 inches.”
  • Sandra, 75, calms herself with deep breathing while chanting the word “fuck” bleeped out.
  • Leslie, 64, comes out wearing a robe and grey wig and using a walker. She throws off her robe and wig to reveal a low-cut black corset dress. She’s a fitness instructor and dancer who once dated Prince.
  • Faith, 61, arrives by motorcycle. Later she plays guitar and sings to him. She gets the “first impression rose” because she makes him feel “very special.” Lots of kissing follows.
  • April, 65,  presents Gerry with eggs from her chickens and does a chicken dance, clucking and slapping herself on the butt. She’s a therapist.

If I seem to be picking on April, I was offended by her comment, “I am 65 and I hate to say that because aging sucks!” No it doesn’t! I have 15 years on her, and the “aging sucks” attitude… uh… sucks.  Oops, there I go again, trying to impose authenticity on a reality show. But she’s a therapist!

I personally found the few natural looking women the most interesting and attractive – faces that move, foreheads that wrinkle, eyes that crinkle when they laugh, silver hair, diverse body types.









The most entertaining woman wasn’t really in the competition. Jimmy Kimmel’s aunt Concetta (“Chippy”), 84, crashed the party. She slept through the rose ceremony, where 6 of the 22 contestants were eliminated.

Would I watch this if the people weren’t seniors? No. Is this realistic about how seniors fall in lust and fall in love? No! Is it offensive? No, Gerry and the women are treated with respect so far. The show doesn’t fall into the “Oh, aren’t they cute?” trap, thank goodness.

Will it hold my interest as a series? Not likely, but if you want to keep reading or talking about it, I’m open to that. I’d love to know your views.


Friday, 9/29/23, 3 pm

Was I too dismissive and snarky in last night’s post? I’m reading comments on social media from people who love seeing self-confident women over 60 and 70 affirming that life isn’t over and it’s never too late for love. I support that! And Gerry’s story is moving. Part of my problem was that the way the women presented themselves to get Gerry’s (and the show’s) attention was usually silly. But when I look at the list of their professions, these are accomplished women. I hope we’ll get to know their stories with more depth and authenticity and fewer party tricks.

Yes, I’ll continue to watch. Whether I continue to blog about the show depends on how much interaction I get with you, readers!


Saturday, 9/30/23, 12pm


I’m thinking back on a promo I saw before the show aired, in which Gerry was asked, “What makes you the most nervous about dating?” Gerry answered, “The woman might ask me back to her place. That makes me really nervous. Ha ha ha!”

Gerry, you do seem really nervous. Let me help you with this. Please read my book, Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved.



Thursday, 10/5, 2023

Thank you all for the thoughtful comments and your encouragement to continue blogging about The Golden Bachelor. I’ll keep blogging here (rather than start a new one) for episode 2. Keep those comments coming!


Thursday, 10/5, 10:30 pm, after the show.

Episode 2 opens with the women moving into the mansion. Though they’re still screaming like preteens, they look, act, and speak more like real women of our age. They wear normal daytime clothes, more subdued makeup, careless hair. When they learn that some will be sleeping in bunk beds (seriously?), they decide who gets the bottom bunks on the basis of needing to pee at night and knee replacements that can’t climb ladders. This is enjoyably realistic.

The first date with Gerry goes to Theresa on her 70th birthday. She is widowed and tells a moving story about her husband of 42 years, who wished her love again after he died. We should all convey these wishes to our mates while we have each other.


Gerry is nervous about his date. “I’m a bit scared because I’m out of practice. There are many things that could go right and a lot that could go wrong.” In fact, what goes wrong is expecting this Indiana driver to navigate a LA freeway at night with headlights that aren’t working. He can’t see the road markings in front of him. Not good, people.

It’s also not a good idea to drive a convertible on the freeway with the top down when your companion had her hair styled for this date. The hairstyle blows into to streaming, shredded strands in the wind.


After this harrowing drive, Gerry takes Theresa to a ‘50s style diner for her birthday dinner! Fries and a chocolate shake.


Theresa’s birthday is saved from being totally kitschy when she recounts the story of her husband dying. Being a widow myself, the realism of comparing losses with a new person speaks to me. I was hoping the show would have moments like this. “I was talking to someone who understood the loss of a spouse,” says Gerry.

Just in case this show is getting too realistic and the emotions too authentic, a flash mob erupts through the diner and out into the parking lot, dancing to “Don’t Stop Believing.” For some reason, the dancers are all young. In case you don’t know, I’ve been teaching line dancing for more than 25 years, and most of my dancers are wild seniors. ABC, you could have flown us to LA for the dance scene.

“Theresa could be the person I spend the rest of my days with. She could be my life partner,” says Gerry after one date.



Then comes the extremely odd  group date with 12 women for a “romance novel cover photo shoot.” The women are given clothes of different themes and time periods. They pose with Gerry, who changes outfits and sometimes hair. Aside from the photographer Franco’s suit and Natascha rocking her ’70s colors, most of the scenes were forgettable.

Authenticity again seeps through when Nancy, wearing a wedding dress as a costume, keeps breaking into tears. Nancy tells Gerry, “I haven’t had a wedding dress on since I got married” 36 years ago to her husband, who died 12 years ago. She remains teary but toughs it out. Gerry, who is compassionate, gives her a rose because they share loss and histories and connect emotionally.

I feel that giving a widow a wedding dress costume is a cruel attempt at manipulating emotions. Could they have guessed that this would be hard for her? Of course they could. Did they care, or did they consider it just good TV?

My favorite lines of the evening:

  • Theresa: “At this age, we don’t want to waste time.”
  • Nancy: “There’s joy in remembering [my past great love], and I still have hope moving forward.”
  • Leslie: “If you ever want to whisper sweet nothings in my ear, I’ll be able to hear you,” as she shows him her hearing aids.
  • Gerry’s conversation with his wife before she died: “When one of us passes away, the other should go find happiness.”
  • Jeannie: “My mama found love in her 70s – I can do it, too.”
  • Natascha: “Guys, do the rose ceremony in chairs! You’ve got people 60, 70, and above. Chair Rose Ceremony!”


Wed, Oct. 11, 2023


I won’t do extensive commentary on every episode from now on, but I’ll likely check in with short comments. I’ll be out of the country  for 3 weeks, so I won’t be able to stay up to date for a while.  Meanwhile, a rose for you via Gerry. Do keep your marvelous comments coming!





Sat., Dec. 2, 2023

I watched every episode. I thought I would have a lot to say about the finale, but to be honest, so much is available online that you don’t need me to weigh in.  But I do want to say a few things.

  1. Yeah, I know — it’s a show, it’s entertainment, everything is staged, not reality. But still! If Gerry is “in love with” (in quotes because you can’t be “in love” when your meetings have all been in front of cameras) two women, and they feel the same about him, he should date both of them until they get to know each other much better. How absurd that he’s supposed to choose, propose, plan a televised wedding in another month. How absurd that an intelligent, experienced woman would go along with that.
  2. It’s all been about what Gerry likes (“loves”) about these  women, how he sees them as fitting into his life. But what about their lives? What is he offering them, exactly?
  3. Even as the contenders narrowed to three, then two, here’s the conversation I kept wanting them to have with each other: “Tell me what sexual expression means to you, what you need, what’s off the table.” That always needs to be a long conversation, whatever our age, before we can move into intimacy and especially into commitment.
  4. His treatment of Leslie in the last episode and his inadequate comforting of her made me angry on her behalf. Good for her for asserting, after he told her not to think that way, “I’ll think whatever I fucking want!” (Correct me if I’m misremembering.)  Leslie, you can do better.
  5. The Hollywood Reporter broke a story shortly before the finale: “The Golden Bachelor’s Not-So-Golden Past.” Read it. So much of what we were led to believe about Gerry’s recent past and personality was fake or exaggerated. He described himself as a “retired restaurateur” — he owned a drive-in burger franchise and had many jobs after that. He hid his three-year live-in relationship with Carolyn after his wife’s death, and that he kicked her out of his house after she gained 10 pounds. There’s more, lots more. Did he deceive the show? With the thorough background checks they do, it’s doubtful. Was the show complicit? I hope that comes out.

I welcome your comments.


Fri, April 12, 2024

So they got married in a big, overblown event on television (which I did not watch), lived apart (which can work, but in this case didn’t), and three months after the wedding, they’re getting a divorce. Of course they are.

Part of me feels duped by the whole show start to finish and the hours I won’t get back, and part of me says, “Duh, what did you expect?” The thing that irks me is that as a widow, my emotions were manipulated. I knew that finding love on a reality show was fake and stupid, but I fell for Gerry’s sadness and hope (though it came out before the end of the show that he didn’t deserve my compassion). I relished the women’s backstories and age-positive statements.

OK, I’m really done now. As always, I welcome your comments.



  1. Tommy 74 on January 6, 2024 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Joan, as it’s been said before, Reality TV is all set up and scripted. All the producers have come forward with this. It’s about audience… pleasing the $ponsor$… When I first heard about the concept I thought: ‘how cheezie is this going to get?’ No offense to the salty, crunchy snacks! I would have loved to had a one-on-one with some of the ladies off camera as there certainly was some very charming specimens that had been chosen in the correct demographic for the show. Don’t think I’d watch it even if I had a chance. Not even the eye candy component. Just to corny for my taste.

  2. Jane Coombs on December 2, 2023 at 10:13 pm

    The Golden Bachelor was a lot of fun for viewers, especially mothers and daughters. Amazing how often the topic of the show came up in real life.

    The real winner was Leslie. She avoided a short term publicized relationship going to commitment. The last minute details about Gerry was comparable to what is released prior to elections. When I heard the details of Gerry’s earlier dalliances, it affected my perception of him. He had always struck me as too good to be true.

    When Leslie asked him about sex, however, he alluded to sex with one.

    Therese was strategic from the beginning. Who can forget her birthday suit. She knows how to deal, and probably had the biggest 401k.

    I really liked the other contenders, good sports.Match should give them all free subscriptions.

  3. Tod B on December 2, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch the last episode, knowing how much heartbreak would be involved. And pretty sure who was going to get dumped. And hearing about the deceptive selling of Gerry. I might be naive, but just the fact they called him a “retired restauranteur” is totally outrageous. And he lied to these women to their faces about his dating history.

  4. Chloe B on October 21, 2023 at 12:41 am

    I know you’re traveling, so won’t be updating for a few weeks, but I’m watching episode 3 and already looking forward to your perspective!

    Personally, I love the activity they have everyone do on the group date. Way less gimicky than the classic Bachelor shows often are, this one showed real athleticism! AND it seemed like something everyone was excited to do.

    I’ll save the rest of my thoughts, no spoilers. 🙂

  5. Lynn Rosenberg on October 13, 2023 at 10:06 pm

    Hi Joan,
    My opinion will probably different from the rest. I loved his first date and how genuine he appeared to be. I had high hopes for this couple. But then date after date, he would look at each women with the same charm, warmth, seeing qualities in them not too dissimilar from the first women. Because of this, I was becoming more and more disappointed in him and began to feel that he wasn’t the genuine guy I thought he was. And I had found him VERY attractive at first!

  6. Chloe B on October 7, 2023 at 11:32 am

    I loved the shared stories of grief, so real and raw. The drive in the convertible was stressing me out! No working headlights, a driver unfamiliar with the area, all at night?? Seems like a huge liability that could’ve been avoided.

    I’m mostly grateful that the episodes are significantly shorter than the usual Bachelor/ette, which often run over an hour long.

  7. Roger Burrows on October 6, 2023 at 6:19 am

    I’m afraid l cannot see it here in the UK. However,a programme called “My mum your Dad” aired recently with 40/50 year olds choosing a partner after bereavement or divorce.
    Sadly it followed the usual pattern of upset,one man stringing two women along,the usual sob story etc. Also their children were secretly watching them on hidden cameras,with the usual ugh! Yuck! Oh no! Looking through their fingers,when the parents had a kiss. Oh well that’s entertainment these days.

    • Lexy on December 2, 2023 at 5:17 pm

      I agree with you on many points … how do you become “in love” that quickly, especially when all the dates and environments are pre-arranged and nothing like real life. OR perhaps that’s why they fell “in love” ? The excitement, the adventure, the change in environment? I’m surprised the wedding is so soon – they’re acting like two teenagers v. the mature adults they are. Let’s date, get to know each other in real life, then perhaps make a commitment to each other. And now we’re starting to hear about his past – not that there’s anything wrong with it – however, we the audience and the women were under a different impression of Gerry. If I was Theresa, I’d wonder what other secrets hiding or not telling the full truth about. And, good point Joan, what does Gerry bring to the table in the relationship?

  8. Mac Marshall on October 5, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve just watched all of episode 2. For the most part I liked it better than episode 1. At the beginning the women were in more normal clothes, although (again) I could’ve done without the teenie-bopper-like screaming. Gerry wearing white tennies seemed slightly weird, as did the 1-on-1 date in an old Corvette convertible with bad headlights. He sure blew hell out of his date’s painstakingly constructed hairdo while driving down the SoCal freeway! Then taking her to a diner?!? He and Theresa seemed to have a connection. The message “don’t stop believing” came through loud and clear. It’s one nearly all of us seniors can relate to. The group date(s) organized around themes like “Island of Desire” and “Road to Passion” were over the top hokey for me. Leslie’s hearing aids, and several clear shots of women’s wrinkles were good realistic additions. Something I could do without: Gerry’s 5 o’clock shadow. Something I can applaud: the idea that there’s still hope. Something that amused me: the women grilling Gerry’s weiners. Not sure that I’ll watch episode 3 since that’s the night of my 80th birthday.

  9. Nan Bauer-Maglin on September 30, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    This was written before I watched the show:

    I think it is wonderful to have such a show as “The Golden Bachelor” that features singles 60 and older, that acknowledges that older people want love, connection, sex; that they are zestful and adventurous and are interested in dating, online and off; that their stories are interesting and worth telling and are entertaining. I think that is where I have somewhat of a problem. I looked at the pictures posted of the women contestants; I shared them with my friends. We do not see ourselves in them (having just watched the trailer, there is a bit more diversity than I expected). Of course, I am older (81) and shorter than those chosen; I do not wear sleek dresses and heels and have long silky hair. Similarly, I did not see myself in the pictures of Martha Stewart in a bathing suit on Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover. But I accept that this is entertainment, this is reality tv (not reality) and I am glad that we are invited to watch this older man and older women as they do what younger people have always done: look for a loving relationship.
    I hope The Bachelor franchise will open up even further: how about The Gay Bachelor?
    Dr. Nan Bauer-Maglin, Professor Emerita
    The City University of New York
    Gray Love: Stories About Dating and New Relationships After 60 (Rutgers University Press, January 2023)

  10. Charlotte Skeeters on September 30, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Hi Joan. I forgot to watch but I’m not sorry. I’m really not interested in scripted comments from all parities to make money for the producers et al.

  11. Mary Lou on September 30, 2023 at 8:42 am

    Wow, not at all what I had hoped for. Such glamour! Who could keep that up every day?
    Old age does NOT suck, but who wants that high energy, fake stuff?
    I normally don’t wear make-up except for weddings, etc. but used it for all my “first dates”. This time I said the heck with it and went with only lipstick. He saw the real me and I didn’t have to fear him seeing me ‘as is’ for the first time. He told me “What you see is what you get” and I said the same. It worked. Together for 2 years and totally happy.
    Life is not fantasy but it can be wonderful.

  12. Barbara on September 30, 2023 at 7:48 am

    I really liked this show. I’m a fan of the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises (I know-I know I’m a 74 year old woman and it’s a little silly, but it’s fun). Some of these women are very real with wrinkles and all, and I like the senior bachelor. I will be curious to see if senior sex is mentioned, and I’ll continue to watch the show and see what happens!

    • Joyce on October 5, 2023 at 9:28 am

      Me, too! I’m 72. I think it’s entertaining and exposes “some” of the myths of aging. We still have desire. We still have interests. We’re interesting. We’re HUMAN and developmentally RIGHT ON!!

  13. Chloe B on September 30, 2023 at 12:46 am

    Oh I’m so glad you’re watching and sharing your thoughts! I don’t think you were too dismissive or snarky, although if you were familiar with The Bachelor franchise, you’d recognize the formulas. The gimmicks upon first meeting are classic to the reality series– the women know they need to stand out in order to simply be remembered, otherwise they have no chance at making it to the next episode. I’d love for this show to move even further away from the typical Bachelor vibes, but overall I think these women are bringing a lot more nuance and personality than we get from the younger contestants.

    I hope you’ll keep watching, and sharing your thoughts!

  14. Mac Marshall on September 29, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Out of curiosity to see whether the presentation becomes less “show biz” and more authentic, I’ll watch at least the next episode. I applaud the effort to present us “seniors” as lively, active, attractive, and loving humans. That’s definitely a step in the right direction!

  15. Terri on September 29, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    OMG this show (yes, it is a show, or fantasy if you prefer) is so far from reality that I won’t be watching. Older women can find lovers, friends and of course, dates in the world and on dating sites with some time, effort, patience and a good attitude. This just seems so artificial, so contrived and yes, ridiculous. Fantasy is fine, as long as you know it’s fantasy and you don’t feel bad because you don’t have the fantasy.

    • Jody on October 9, 2023 at 7:52 pm

      Agreed! Cannot get myself to watch this. Fictional stories about women our age, sure; but this “reality” stuff is too surreal.

  16. Lexy on September 29, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    I like that there was diversity, a nice age range, different looks (some more natural), some very good backstories, including Gerry’s, etc. As mentioned, the whole show is NOT reality based, strictly entertainment. When I heard the ladies screaming upon limo’s entrance, UGH! Reminded me when I first saw the Beatles in Detroit screaming 😁. I guess the whole setting of dates is just not real world and how do you know if it’s true love in those surroundings. BTW, the lady that said aging “sux” turned me off immediately. I’ll continue to watch out of curiosity …

  17. Jonathon on September 29, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Your article was interesting and funny to boot. There is so much I can say, and your assertions are spot on… I hope this show draws attention to the fact that we have a growing population of singles in mid-life who don’t have to give up hope to attract love if they’ve suffered loss or heartbreak. While I agree this is merely entertainment, these ladies are shining examples of aging with grace and vitality. Gerry seems like a class act and a good man, albeit he will fall into the reality show trap of creating drama, as evidenced in the last few minutes of the first episode. Once again, I loved your take. 🙏

  18. Jane Coombs on September 29, 2023 at 10:14 am

    The recap of his life had me in tears. There was some diversity in the women. I liked seeing the sari clad female, among others.
    I am trying to figure it all out. The women who had the vignettes are those the ones who are there for the long haul.
    My hope is that this production nudges some of my friends off their duffs and join the rest of us seeking love and lust with lube. Lol.

  19. Martha Scarborough on September 29, 2023 at 8:16 am

    I only got as far as the teaser you shared yesterday. The only thing I found appealing about this reality/fantasy bachelor is that he adopts dogs. Was I surprised to learn today that he selected the youngest participant mentioned for the “First Impression” prize? Not likely. Great choice for a research project on the media’s view of aging and relationships!

  20. Mac Marshall on September 28, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    I watched the entire episode. Given the 22:1 ratio of “senior” women to the one man, it reminded me of my own experiences on dating sites like Match and OK Cupid. There are many widowed or divorced lonely hearts (male and female) hoping for connection and companionship. The TV program was akin to a series of first face-to-face meetings based on dating sites where we try to learn enough about a person to decide if we want a second date. As shown on TV, Gerry knew VERY little about each of the women who hustled him on the show (and they learned little about him). So his elimination of 6 candidates seemed based on slim grounds. The TV program overemphasized glamorous appearances (fancy dresses, makeup, coifs), whereas those are unlikely to be a part of real life first meetings via dating sites. So, in sum, I thought there was an artificiality to the TV presentation that doesn’t reflect seniors’ actual experiences.

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