Buckle up, folks. Gerry Turner’s inaugural season of The Golden Bachelor is finally here.
The premiere episode kicked off the Bachelor franchise’s new three-hour Thursday time slot (with two hours of Bachelor in Paradise to follow). And after several years in the making, there’s certainly some big expectations for how the series will go over with audiences — and whether it’ll attract new viewers to the franchise.
When the episode opens, we first see Gerry getting ready to meet his suitors for the first time as they arrive at the Bachelor mansion. He introduces himself, telling viewers that this is “the first night of the rest of my life.”
“How lucky would I be to find a second true love in my lifetime?” he posited. Gerry was previously married for 43 years and has been open in the promos about how he’s eager to find a second love after losing his first wife, which is already a refreshing deviation from first loves we’re used to seeing bud on other series in The Bachelor franchise.
He’s also the first Bachelor on social security, as he jokingly points out.
But enough of the lead up! It’s time for Gerry to meet these women. First out of the limo is Edith, a retired realtor from California. After Gerry reminds her they’ve just made history as the first Golden Bachelor limo entrance, Edith reveals that she’s brought confetti to celebrate. So far, so good.
Other standouts from the introductions included Sandra, who encourages Gerry to take some deep breaths to calm their nerves…with a couple of expletives whispered under her breath. There was also Leslie, who gets out of the limo dressed in a nightgown and using a walker. After a few shaky steps up the driveway, she ditches the act and rips off her disguise to reveal her cocktail dress and her spunky personality.
Then there’s Theresa, who tells Gerry that her birthday is around the corner, so she’s decided to show up in her “birthday suit.” He clearly panics a little before realizing she’s joking — but only after she reveals that she’s wearing a nude dress under her robe.
There’s some dance moves, a cheer routine, a motorcycle entrance and Susan, who shows off her heels to let Gerry know she’s “very comfortable with six inches.”
Is that Jimmy Kimmel’s Aunt Chippy? We thought former Bachelor Matt James’ mom Patty would be the only familiar face on this season, but we were proven wrong. Aunt Chippy is ready to steal Gerry’s heart.
Gerry is quite impressed with the women, and they are equally thrilled to have finally met him in person. It’s time for the cocktail party to begin!
Everyone appears to be having the most fun possible. The vibe of the night is so different and refreshing from any night one this franchise has seen. There are plenty of heartfelt one-on-one moments, but there’s also pure joy radiating through the entire mansion. Between discussions about family (Gerry’s grandkids told him he has “rizz,” shot for charisma) and the future, there’s also plenty of laughs and even a few dance interludes. Oh, and absolutely no discussion of who is or isn’t there for the right reasons.
The longer the night goes on, the more convinced Gerry becomes that his next forever person could be in that room. Soon enough, it’s time for the first impression rose — and the first rose ever handed out by the Golden Bachelor.
Faith gets the honor of accepting that special rose.
The pressure is certainly on now as the women prepare for the first rose ceremony. He hands roses to Ellen, Theresa, Joan, Natascha, Leslie, Christina, Edith, Nancy, April, Sandra, Jeanie, Kathy, Susan, Marina, and Peggy. That means six women were sent home (ouch!), including Matt’s mom Patty. A short lived Bachelor crossover!
It seems like everything went over without a hitch, but the preview for the rest of the season certainly signals some drama on the horizon.
The Golden Bachelor is back next Thursday on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/PT.