Age is not just a number, it’s a concept around which a network can expand its reality dating show universe. The Golden Bachelor’s premiere proves that. Sure, the show may spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince audiences that the over-60 crowd isn’t just a bag of bones shuffling their walkers to an open grave, but when it’s not obsessed with overcorrecting TV’s ageist track record, it actually has mass appeal. There’s Gary, a tall, fit, salt-peppered hunk so in touch with his emotions that he’s not afraid to shed a tear with each pan to camera. There’s a gaggle of women – some whose Boomer status we seriously question – who are smart, funny, and unafraid to put it all on the line for love. And then there’s Jimmy Kimmel’s aunt.
That’s right, Aunt Chippy was so puzzled by the idea that TV audiences would tune in to watch a 73-year-old retiree woo dozens of women by laughing over their shared bedtimes and bad knees that she pulled some strings and got herself an invite. She doesn’t stay long, but man, what a show this would be if she did.
Instead, the same formula that’s come to define Bachelor Nation installments stays intact. There are the limo reveals, intimate sit-downs, a tense rose ceremony, and enough champagne (and now orange juice) to keep the night flowing. Hopefully, for these seniors, it doesn’t flow too long. And look, age jokes may be in bad taste, but this first episode seems hellbent on reminding us that these women aren’t dead yet – despite no one arguing the opposite. We get it: second chances are inspiring, these contestants have lived experiences that make them even more interesting than a 20-something marketing executive from Missouri, and that woman with the egg basket is just as horny as a 30-year-old LA native named Kimberly. Let’s quit congratulating ourselves on this diversity push and give these women a chance to write their own narratives.
To that end, we’ve rounded up our thoughts on who’s getting a rose, who isn’t, and if Gary’s pacemaker can handle all the flirting to come.
Occupation: Grieving his late wife
Gary doesn’t get a limo, but his entrance is just as memorable – a James Bond-esque get-ready-with-me moment that ends not with golden cufflinks but with hearing aids. We learn that Gary’s wife of 40-something-odd years passed away suddenly due to a bacterial infection. They were high school sweethearts and, though six years have gone by, Gary doesn’t seem as emotionally ready to move on as we’d expect him to be to star in a show like this. Does he need a reality TV series and a couple of dozen strangers fawning over him, or would therapy and a hobby be a better coping mechanism? Time will tell.
Occupation: Serving on these senior hoes
Edith did not come to play. She brought props, she brought personality, and she packaged it all in a bit of golden saran wrap that basically screamed, “I’m not like these other girls.” From here on, she will only be referred to as the Confetti Queen.
Occupation: Missing her friend, Roberta
Ellen’s a retired teacher from Florida who gave us our first mention of pickleball – the low-impact sport that’s basically tennis for old people – just eight minutes into the episode. But the most memorable thing about Ellen is her friend Roberta. The pair have watched every season of The Bachelor together and the only reason Roberta isn’t here instead is because she’s busy fighting cancer. (Or, you know, she has a partner already. We don’t know Roberta’s life.) Either way, #ThisIsForRoberta
Occupation: Swearing like a sailor
Sandra’s idea of breaking the ice is inviting Gary to witness how she manages her anxiety attacks – with a bit of deep breathing and a whole lot of whispered, “Fuuuuucks.” It’s actually pretty therapeutic. You should try it.
Occupation: Inspiring that one song by Prince
Leslie came dressed as a bargain store granny just so she could reveal her smokin’ bod, and flowing locks, and tell Gary she absolutely doesn’t need him. That’s feminism. She also drops one of the coolest fun facts we’ve ever heard on this show: She’s the origin story of Prince’s “Sexy Dancer.” Gary cannot handle this woman.
Occupation: Making every day her birthday
When Theresa steps out of the limo in nothing but a black silk robe, she tells Gary it’s her birthday – which may be true, but it’s also the perfect set-up for her to flash a bit of her birthday suit off camera. She’s not really naked of course (she “has six grandsons!”) but boy does she squeeze every last drop of opportunity out of the bit, sharing birthday cupcakes and practically guilting Gary into giving her a rose. Game recognizes game, Theresa.
Occupation: Chicken enthusiast
In case Gary couldn’t picture what growing up on a farm must be like, April from Florida brought a visual aid – a basket of fresh eggs that served as some kind of confusing sexual ice breaker. She followed it up with an ass-spanking chicken dance and some strange bird calls, all of which Gary seemed to eat up like, well, chicken feed. April feels poised to go far on this show simply because her level of weird is both entertaining and drama-flaming – she’s already got some haters in the group – but Gary should be on guard. She’s had three men desperately in love with her in her past. Where are they now? Fertilizer for her chicken coop?
Occupation: Biker babe to beat
Faith is cool – like ride up on a Harley, strum an original folk tune kind of cool. The other girls are right to be wary, especially since she seems to have such an easy time of revving up Gary’s rusty old engine. She gets the first impression rose and a good tongue down before bed.
Occupation: Walking and sh*t talking
We couldn’t tell you a thing about Kathy except that she hates April, which is exactly why Kathy needs to stay in the Bachelor residence for as long as she possibly can. We need her candor, her no bullsh*t attitude, her willingness to forgo gimmicky first impressions in favor of a great dress, and a steady gait. Stand your ground, Kathy. We’re with you.
Occupation: Finding ways of injecting the word “dope” into everyday conversation
Marina really wants to impress her granddaughter. That’s the only reason we can think of as to why she utters the word “dope” so many times in the show’s premiere. Eventually, she uses her ignorance of Gen Z slang to bond with Gary, the two having a laugh over made-up words like “rizz.” This is the kind of content we were hoping for when they told us the next Bachelor would be on social security.
There were a handful of women who also received roses (or were let go) over the course of the night, though they got less airtime. Nastascha, age 60, both excited and terrified Gary with her introductory laughing exercise. Renee, age 67, performed a cheer routine. Susan, age 66, came dressed as a pageant queen. And Slyvia, age 64, claimed to be Penelope Cruz’s doppelgänger. (Spoiler: she wasn’t). Some bland blondies were sprinkled throughout, but altogether, this premiere felt refreshingly diverse and certainly poised to deliver the kind of alcohol-fueled catfights and emotionally charged breakups fans have come to expect from the Bachelor universe.
But we stand by our earlier statement: It needs more of Jimmy Kimmel’s aunt.