As a card-carrying member of the Oregon Trail generation, there are certain things that automatically date me. Of course, there’s the obvious—I played Oregon Trail (and Odell Lake and Number Munchers) on floppy disk down in the school’s computer lab a couple of times per week. There were the Lisa Frank folders, erasers, and—the Holy Grail—Trapper Keepers. Our more well-off friends had that see-through telephone connected to a dedicated teen line. We dialed up to the Internet via AOL free trials and jammed on our Discmans to “Waterfalls” by TLC (yes, I can still sing all the words of Left Eye’s rap, thankyouverymuch).
And as we got a little older, we shared another thing in common: we were the OG viewers of The Bachelor shows.
I was in college when the franchise premiered on ABC, and those first few seasons were all anyone was watching. We saw Trista and Ryan fall in love. We met Chris Harrison. We cringed at the group dates and delighted in the perpetual Most Dramatic Season Ever teasers.
But somewhere along the line, the cast of the show got really, uncomfortably . . . young.
It couldn’t be that WE got older. Never mind the fact that most of us graduated, got married, started families, established careers, and started attending school reunions. When we tuned in to The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, we expected to see people about our age searching for love. But when Samantha, 24, “Social Media Influencer” or Mason, 31, “Digital Marketer” makes us shake our heads at “kids these days”—it’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.
So, perhaps in an effort to meet us halfway, ABC announced this week The Golden Bachelor is coming to the network. And it’s exactly what you think it is (I think).
After more than 20 years of fostering young love on ‘The Bachelor,’ ‘The Bachelorette,’ and ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ ‘The Golden Bachelor’ showcases a whole new kind of love story—one for the golden years, a press release read. On this all-new unscripted series, one hopeless romantic is given a second chance at love in the search for a partner with whom to share the sunset years of life. The women arriving at the mansion have a lifetime of experience, living through love, loss and laughter, hoping for a spark that ignites a future full of endless possibilities. In the end, will our Golden man turn the page to start a new chapter with the woman of his dreams?
But really, ABC, what inquiring minds need to know is the glaring omission from the announcement: exactly what age are we talking about here?! Fortysomethings, who increasingly feel like strangers in a foreign land of TikToks and non-fungible tokens? Geriatric Millennials who do things like take preemptive ibuprofen before playing rec league volleyball and can’t stay awake to watch the late local news? Because we’re a teensy bit worried that might be who you’re talking about (ie: us), and we’re not sure how to feel about that.
It’s entirely possible The Golden Bachelor will feature senior citizens over 65, but are we sure how to feel about that either? A second chance at love it great at any age, sure, but when you add grown children into the mix who may have mixed feelings about their parents’ new relationships—let alone those forged on a reality TV show? The hometown dates could get real interesting, and those of us in the “sandwich generation” might truly be in for The Most Dramatic Season Ever.
Either way, let’s all agree the show must end by 9 p.m. or we’ll definitely be snoring before the rose ceremony ever begins.
The Golden Bachelor is set to air on ABC this fall.