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'The Golden Bachelor': Being Seen, Not Being Loved Is the Answer

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I watched the finale of "The Golden Bachelor" last night, as one does when it's on, the kids are in bed and your mother-in-law has poured you a glass of wine.

It was a wild ride, but no spoiler alert is necessary here: This column is about the show, but it's also not about the show.

Because whatever happens with septuagenarian Gerry and whatever woman he chooses or doesn't choose, the show has already become a cultural phenomenon.

I only watched "The Bachelor" once before this, years ago, and at the time, I got the feeling the contestants chiefly were trying to build their "brand," whether that was music or modeling or "van life influencing" (an actual thing, I am told).

But when everyone on a dating show is in their 60s and 70s, it's more real. These are women who actually would have a hard time finding love on dating apps, where most guys will filter them out based on their age alone.

There was honesty on this season of "The Golden Bachelor," and the "journey" everyone's always talking about just resonated. When one woman talked about being on the show to give hope to her sick best friend, I cried. When another talked about leaving the competition to be with a daughter struggling with postpartum depression, I cried.

 

And it turns out, I wasn't alone. Millions of people wanted to watch senior citizens date and talk and kiss and flirt, defying every expectation we have about reality television (and real life).

Whenever someone on "The Golden Bachelor" is asked why the show has hit a nerve with audiences, they give the same "it's never too late for love" line.

And while that is, I suppose, technically true, it's also not the whole truth.

Because sometimes it is too late for love -- at least the sexy, rappelling-down-a-mountain, horseback-riding love on display on "The Bachelor." Like in so much entertainment, the women on "The Golden Bachelor" are thin, beautiful and healthy. For Pete's sake, some of them have better legs than I do.

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