The Golden Age of Reality TV

Sheri Radel Rosenberg watches “The Golden Bachelor” and has some thoughts. Does a more mature cast make this franchise more watchable?

It’s fall in New York, and reality TV is not exactly top of mind between art, new restaurants to try, old ones to revisit, and a general desire to be out enjoying a new season.

But as much as I love to go out, I admit a weakness for cringe-worthy television, like poor Jenna Lyons having to put up with those nasty New York housewives. Another show that got my attention is the premiere of The Golden Bachelor, starring a 72-year-old widower named Gary but spelled Gerry. Hailing from Indiana, Gary/Gerry is handsome, plays plenty of pickleball, and seems like a nice chap. But the opening scene of him installing his hearing aids while the sweetly sad sounds of Cat Stevens played in the background had me craving Metamucil. But according to the Hollywood Reporter, the show’s premiere hit a three-year high for viewership, with boomers presumably tuning in to network television. At the same time, the younger set tuned in on Hulu.

Next up, G meets his potential love interests, all 22 of which you can see here. Let the cringe begin. 

No matter the age, any show in this franchise, like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, is cheesy. So why would the infamous entrances of potential paramours differ for a crowd of grown folks? 

One by one, they rolled up. One even came on a Harley. As G waited outside the ubiquitous mansion, each lady yukked it up with stupid winky humor and syrupy vivaciousness. All the women looked great, if you like the generic ideal of what “old age” should look like now. Many were in peak form, in tight dresses and beach-wavy hair. Much like the original series, there are beaucoup blondes. And true to form, there was a gooey gaga-ness that I can’t relate to on any level, even with women closer to my age than the younger version of this show.

But one thing even my cold, cynical Gen X heart got warm and fuzzy over is that the women, even though meeting for the first time, seemed supportive and kind to each other. And I couldn’t help but think that although it might get catty and ugly as G Money hands out roses to a select few, maybe having years of experience in life and love will make this seem less imbecilic than seasons past. Don’t worry, just because all the women are over 60 doesn’t mean they show any restraint when throwing themselves at Gerry. And though he may be a granzaddy who is fit and fabulous, would you want to date 22 people to find love in front of a global audience at his age? I need a nap just thinking about it. 

But despite all of the usual meshugas, what can we learn from these elders?

Maybe we’re all bored of young people with preventative Botox and hair extensions acting stupid on a public stage. Maybe we’re tired of the Kardashians being frozen in time, and the perpetual youth chase is near its finish line. And maybe we want to see people live and love who were living and loving long before gluten-free bread, cancel culture, and TikTok.

My take? I’ll probably check back in when I need some background TV I can half-watch while working. I am not a fan of this franchise because the cast of characters bore me to tears with their basicness. But shout outs to the beautiful and elegant Marina, who wore a sari and seemed more sophisticated than the others, while 75-year-old Sandra’s f-bombs had me at hello. I’m pretty sure this show isn’t going to reinvent our thoughts on aging, but maybe it’s just nice to see on network TV.  

Truthfully, I’d rather watch The Golden Girls than The Golden Bachelor.  

Or maybe it’s just a show where menopausal Gen X women are forced to deal with that weird media limbo where we are not yet quite golden but also not quite a Kardashian. I’d tune in to that one, for sure.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. OMG to me he was a total turnoff…ugh and way too midwest. Even the old woman in front of me at the dermatologist thought he was a zero and she was probably 85 and 4’9′. I never have watched this franchise and don’t plan on it but had to check out the corn fed boomer. As much as I’m a dating loser I would not pine for a date with him. Give me a guy from NYC or LA….a much better look on a man.

  2. There has to something really off with any guy or woman who’d appear on these shows. No wonder relationships implode. Phony from start to finish.

  3. So appreciate hearing your take on this. I’m sure I’ll feel the same, so I’ll skip it. But I love your description of what you would watch (Gen X women, who are between “Lawyer babe” and “Driving Miss Daisy” phases of life, as Goldie Hawn’s character put it in First Wives Club).

  4. I am a queer 57 year old-therapist who has been with my wife for 30 years, and I adored every single minute of all of them….I cried the entire show and can’t wait for the rest of the season. I love Cat’s music, wrinkles, bad-ass women, and one clearly kind and genuine man.

    • Just watched episode two and totally agree. I’m taken with the comfort and ease of speaking your truth as an older person and an unapologetic acceptance of who you are. It’s powerful.


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Sheri Radel Rosenberghttps://unapologeticstyle.substack.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg is a Philly-born, Brooklyn-based writer who explores style, beauty, culture, and midlife with wit, warmth, and wisdom. Her story includes successful forays in the worlds of trend forecasting, ad agency photo production, ghostwriting, and strategic messaging development for fashion and beauty brands - all while amassing a slip dress collection that would make any Gen Xer proud. At the dawn of social media, Sheri launched her personal blog–which combines her passion for writing with her style obsession–and she hasn’t looked back. As Style Editor for the AGEIST, she’s inspired by the styles of the 70s and the 90s, along with all the beautiful people she sees daily in NYC.


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