The chicken dance, a profanity-riddled chant and a “birthday suit” — those are just some of the ways the 22 contestants introduced themselves to Gerry Turner, the 72-year-old retired restaurateur and star of “The Golden Bachelor.”
ABC’s “The Golden Bachelor,” which premiered on Thursday, was off to a fiery start, with almost two dozen women in their 60s and 70s looking for a chance at love later in life. Some of them were married once, twice or more, or were widows after decades-long relationships.
Turner is also a widower, after losing his wife of 43 years in 2017. “I retired, we had a plan, and we had an idea of what our dream house was going to be,” he said in his introduction. His wife, Toni, retired in May 2017, they closed on their lakehouse that June, but she became ill and died the month after. His daughters and granddaughters supported him in joining the show. “I yearn for the second chance in life to love again,” he said.
The show focuses on people in their older years, and is upfront about aging. During Turner’s opening sequence, the camera focuses on his hearing aid (which a contestant later comments on, since she has one, too). Others were more straightforward. Sandra, 75, said needed “someone to step into my golden years with.” April, another contestant, said “I am 65 and I hate saying that because aging sucks.”
In the first episode, Turner — who said he’ll be the first bachelor to be on Social Security — and the contestants spent a few minutes getting to know each other. Faith, 61, drove in on a motorcycle, and later sang him a song as she played the guitar. Theresa celebrated her 70th birthday on the first night, so Turner brought her a cupcake. Later in the evening, contestants started dancing with and around him. A few of the women kissed him during their introductions. “I believe my forever partner is in this house,” Turner said.
Jimmy Kimmel’s “Aunt Chippy,” 84, also made an appearance, though she was not a contestant.
“The Golden Bachelor” airs on Thursdays on Disney’s