There's Going to be a Bachelor for Older People and This Is the Best News of 2020
Have you ever watched a 22-year-old who’s “ready to meet her husband” tearfully vie for the attention of a personality-devoid late-20-something who says things like, “I can see your heart right now”? I have. And let me tell you, it makes for top-notch entertainment. That said, wouldn’t you rather watch a self-proclaimed “unlucky in love” retiree send a string of 37 emoji to her salt-and-pepper suitor? Dear reader, the answer is YES.
On Monday evening, as we reveled in a (commercial) break from the cringe-fest that was Madison, Victoria F., and Hannah Ann’s living situation during The Bachelor’s Fantasy Suites week, viewers were met with a surprise. We learned that the Bachelor producers are seeking “seniors looking for love” — specifically, “active and outgoing” 65+ singles.
Bachelor execs have had some bad ideas (giving Victoria F. a platform, the musical offshoot The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart, for starters), but extending the franchise to include the senior set isn’t one of them.
An issue that arises again and again when discussing The Bachelor is the age of contestants. Is a fresh college graduate really so desperate to find their husband or wife that they must subject themselves to an emotionally destructive six-week experiment (that almost never works)? No. Let’s be real, there’s one reason people apply to be contestants: F-A-M-E. And in this arena, they’re incredibly successful. More power to ‘em. The show is a spectacle — if you’re looking for something more "authentic," go watch This Old House.
Will shifting the age bracket make The Bachelor more real? Maybe not, but it definitely has the potential to make it more likeable. As fast as I will run from my barre class to the subway in order to make it home in time to watch Pilot Pete spew lunacy, I can admit that the show is dumb. Am I rooting for anyone? Nope. But would I root for a sarcastic divorcee living out her “golden years” in Miami with two friends and her sassy mother? Yes. Is that the plot of The Golden Girls? Also yes, but my point stands.
There is something comforting about older generations. Though the world today is wildly different than it was when baby boomers were babies, there’s hope in the example they set. They made it through. Take Meryl Streep, the human embodiment of chicken soup for the soul — just listening to the 70-year-old’s voice has a calming effect. Ditto: Michael Caine, Julie Andrews, Judi Dench. But give me Meryl Streep hurling insults and screaming at the dinner table (à la Big Little Lies) and we’ve reached peak entertainment. Now, mix in a heavily-produced love triangle/rhombus/octagon what have you … TV gold.
And yes, millennials love to rail against boomers. We often disagree with their ideas (this “special snowflake” says hello) and dread having to teach them how to copy and paste (again!), but these people are our parents and grandparents. There’s love there, somewhere, probably. And if there isn’t? Well, hate watch away.
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Personally, I want to watch people with stories and laugh-lines and crocheted pill organizers fall in love over an early bird special. I’m all for manufactured millennial chaos, but a televised second chance at love for those who may not otherwise have one? That’s a must-see.