The Bachelor has often been dismissed as guilty-pleasure reality TV fluff, and honestly, that reputation is well-earned. So when The Golden Bachelor was first announced, we thought it would be a joke, with senior citizens wearing bikinis and getting into dumb catfights. Imagine our surprise, then, when the inaugural season on ABC — which culminated on Thursday with The Golden Wedding — turned out to be a sensitive, kindhearted story about finding a romantic partner in one’s golden years… and the most authentic expression of love The Bachelor has given us so far.
It all started in September with the debut of The Golden Bachelor, as 72-year-old Gerry Turner met 22 women aged 60 to 75. Gerry wasn’t your typical square-jawed hunk of a Bachelor, though: He was sweet and goofy and vulnerable, and his heartbreaking life story — he was married for 43 years to his wife Toni before she passed away in 2017 — won us over right away. Plus, the women were all supportive and nice to each other, which made for a refreshing change, apart from a few catty moments. (We’re looking at you, Kathy.) It all made for a kinder, gentler Bachelor
Gerry eventually chose Theresa to be his bride, proposing to her in November’s season finale and walking down the aisle in Thursday’s Golden Wedding special. Sure, that might seem like an awfully quick turnaround, but why shouldn’t these two spend every minute they can together? And that also contrasts sharply with The Bachelor’s usual track record of success, with dozens of season-ending proposals resulting in just one marriage that’s lasted so far. (The Bachelorette isn’t much better, with only three couples still standing, including Trista and Ryan, the Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward of reality TV. ) With so many ugly breakups and fizzled-out romances all across Bachelor Nation lately, it’s nice to look at Gerry and Theresa and see a little bit of hope.
The Golden Bachelor‘s sunny nature carried over to The Golden Wedding, which was all smiles and hugs and tears of joy, with Gerry and Theresa exchanging heartfelt vows of deep affection. Fan favorite Susan served as officiant, Kathy worked the red carpet with former Bachelorette star Charity, and even Gerry’s runner-up Leslie showed up to wish the happy couple well, which is something we can’t imagine seeing at any other Bachelor wedding. It was a family affair as well, with Gerry and Theresa’s children and grandchildren included in the wedding party. The live two-hour event was a surreal whirlwind of Bachelor alums — did Brayden really just propose to Christina?! — but in the end, Gerry and Theresa served as a beautiful reminder that love can find us at any age.
We’re not sure if another season of The Golden Bachelor would hit us in the heartstrings quite like this one did — it hasn’t officially been renewed yet, although we’re definitely up for a season of The Golden Bachelorette — but we’ll always appreciate the jolt of genuine warmth it brought to the franchise. ABC must appreciate it, too, since The Golden Bachelor delivered the best ratings of any Bachelor series in years. See? Nice guys don’t have to finish last.
How’d you like The Golden Wedding? And would you watch more of The Golden Bachelor? Hit the comments below, Bachelor Nation, and share your thoughts.