For years, The Bachelor franchise has promoted the possibility of a senior bachelor or bachelorette. Throughout the past three years, advertisements have run mentioning The Bachelor franchise was casting for seniors looking for love. However, it became apparent to viewers that there were no concrete plans and it slowly evolved into a joke between the fandom.
To everyone’s surprise in July 2023, Gerry Turner, a 72-year old widower, was announced as the first Golden Bachelor on Good Morning America. The spin-off series swapped the original premise to find a first love and promotes a second chance at love for everyone in their golden years.
Turner married his high school sweetheart, Toni, in 1974. After 43 years of marriage and post-retirement, they made the leap in 2017 to purchase their dream house in Indiana. Their hope was to find a place to live out the rest of their days together. However, shortly after purchasing their dream home, Toni fell sick. Within a month, Toni officially passed away.
The first episode began with Turner sharing his love story with his wife. Despite the long and devastating past six years, he was ready to find love again. His slogan catchphrase across the premiere was, “It’s never too late to fall in love again.”
The series aired on Sept. 28, creating an uptick in viewership. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the premiere rose to 7.7 million viewers after three days of cross-platform viewing. These were the highest views for a three day total since Nov. 2020 for The Bachelor.
After introducing himself and his story, the episode shifted right into meeting the eligible women. Only 22 women were selected for the first night, smaller than the 30 average for most of the Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons.
In getting out of the Bachelor limo, the women all surprised Turner with different introductions to stand out and hopefully be chosen as the lucky 16 women who will continue onto the next episode. Some highlights include a motorcycle entrance, old lady costumes and even a celebrity guest appearance. Jimmy Fallon’s aunt made a surprise entrance from the limo. She explains she pulled some strings with her nephew and needed to meet the “one-in-a-million” man.
Personally, I cried within the first ten minutes of the episode. Turner exudes such an authentic desire to find a second love. Despite a lot of online discussion about how long one should wait for a second relationship, the viewers can see he is seeking a new relationship for the right reasons. His devotion to his wife and family in this process are beautiful.
I found he carried himself in a strong and confident manner, definitely a result of his age and life experience. He does a great job honoring his wife’s memory on the show. Similarly, the women all have such a positive attitude and energy about this second chance at love. They represent a diverse variety of outcomes for older women. They share their stories of divorce, being widowers and never finding “the one.”
This season’s social media and online presence has done a wonderful job rebranding the franchise. Many remember The Bachelor as a franchise with cheesy lines and bad reality TV that rarely results in love, but this show feels like the opposite. You can tell that Turner has the right knowledge to guide this interesting scenario of 16 girlfriends. He acknowledges how important it is to be honest, patient and open during this experience. Despite Turner mentioning he is absolutely shocked that he was the one selected to be the Golden Bachelor, I have a feeling he will do a wonderful job this season.
The next episode airs Thursday, Oct. 5th at 8 p.m. ET and I will definitely be tuning in!