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‘The Golden Bachelor’ Premiere Recap: Gerry Turner, 72, Sends Six Women Home Heartbroken

‘The only time I’ve felt worse was when my wife died, and this is a goddamn close second!’ Turner said

spinner image the golden bachelor gerry turner holding a rose
Craig Sjodin/ABC


In the Sept. 28 debut episode of The Golden Bachelor, a wonderful time was had by all — all except Anna, 61, who loves chocolate and diving with sharks; cheerleader Renee, 67; retired salon owner Pamela, 75; North Carolina Realtor Patty, 75; Sylvia, 64, from Los Angeles; and Maria, 60, from Teaneck, New Jersey. They failed to make a love connection with Gerry Turner, 72, the aforementioned bachelor, so all six went home with no First Impression Rose, the official token of his affection.

But roses buoyed the hopes of the 16 love-seeking women who remain on the show. Here are some of the memorable moments of the premiere and their lessons for lovers.

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spinner image the golden bachelor gerry turner shakes hands with host jesse palmer
(Left to right) Gerry Turner with 'The Golden Bachelor' host Jesse Palmer.
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Gerry wears his emotions on his sleeve

One reason Gerry is so popular is that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. Quick to laugh, he’s also inclined to tears when he recalls his high-school sweetheart and wife of 43 years, who died six years ago. “The love of my daughters and granddaughters pulled me out of a dark spot,” he said to the show’s host, Jesse Palmer, in a quavering voice. “I yearn for a second chance in life to fall in love again.” He even gets teary when he has to reject women on the show. “The only time I’ve felt worse was when my wife died, and this is a goddamn close second!”

spinner image the golden bachelor gerry turner standing with the 22 women contestants on the reality dating show
Craig Sjodin/ABC

But that emotional side just seemed to make the women swoon for him more

When the contestants met the man of the hour, this is what they excitedly said:

“He has beautiful blue eyes — I could swim in them!”

“Oh my God, I want to pinch myself!”

“He is so handsome!”

“I've got to give him a kiss!”

“I just want to drink him in!"

“He is absolutely a doll!”

“Give me the rose, dammit!”

spinner image the golden bachelor contestant renee
Ricky Middlesworth/ABC

The most upbeat woman made the worst possible choice of pickup lines

Former Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader Renee looked like she had a shot at landing Gerry. Then she broke out the pom-poms and gave him her come-on cheer: “Golden Gerry, you’re my man! Looking golden with that tan! Hope to bring you lots of luck! I’m the girl you want to … marry!” Um … no sale. Bye, Renee!



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spinner image the golden bachelor gerry turner sits down with theresa on the series premiere
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Not that the women who did catch Gerry’s eye (and one of his First Impression Roses) were always exactly demure

“I have a birthday tonight,” New Jersey financial services professional Theresa, 69, told Gerry, “so I thought, why not come in my birthday suit?” Then she opened her coat and flashed him — with a far less revealing outfit than she’d led him to believe. Later, she offered him some birthday cake, and he asked if she’d help him if he got any frosting on his lip. So she did. “It’s been forever since I’ve kissed a guy, and it felt incredible,” she reflected later.

spinner image the golden bachelor gerry turner meets susan outside of the mansion
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Susan, 66, a Pennsylvania wedding officiant who rocks a pixie hairdo, took the direct approach

“I’m gonna marry you,” she informed Turner. “And by the way Gerry, see these heels? I’m very comfortable with six inches!” One wonders if these ladies had any help from The Golden Bachelor writers.

spinner image gerry turner holds hands with leslie on the series premiere of the golden bachelor
Craig Sjodin/ABC

In one woman’s case, Gerry has a legendary Romeo’s legacy to live up to

Leslie, 64, the Minneapolis fitness instructor (who really hates mice), introduced herself to Gerry by telling him, “Fun fact: when I was younger I dated Prince, and he wrote 'Sexy Dancer' about me.” Perhaps hoping Gerry knew Prince’s lyrics (“Sexy dancer, when you rub my body / Sexy dancer, it gets me so hot, hot… / I want your body / Sexy dancer, dance!”), she asked Gerry, “Do you like to dance?”

“I am not any good at it, but I like to dance,” replied the Golden Bachelor — he’s game, he’s fun, but self-deprecating. A perfect answer.

spinner image the women contestants of the golden bachelor sitting together on the couches inside the mansion
Craig Sjodin/ABC

The women had plenty of praise for each other — but the rivalry was palpable

Compliments about earrings and outfits were flying, but mainly the women were sizing up the competition. “My life is really full, but it’s missing a big piece: love,” confessed Leslie. “When I found out Gerry was a bachelor I was like — move over, bitches!

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spinner image gerry turner talks with faith on the premiere of the golden bachelor
Craig Sjodin/ABC

The most dramatic entrance paid off

Retired Florida teacher Faith, 60, roared up on a motorcycle, took off her helmet and shook her hair with the panache of Ann-Margret, and told Gerry, “If you leave here with me, it’ll be the ride of your life!” It was just as suggestive as Renee’s cheer, Theresa’s birthday suit and Susan’s six-inch comment, but the motorcycle revved up the drama. Also, the song she sang to Gerry had more romantic lyrics than Renee’s cheer: “See you sittin’ here in the night, be the man of my dreams if I’m right.” Gerry was visibly charmed by her beautiful voice and sentiment.

spinner image ABC’s “The Golden Bachelor” stars April.
Ricky Middlesworth/ABC

Sometimes it also pays to be a little silly and a lot flirty

April, 65, was born on a farm, so she brought an Easter basket full of eggs — fresh eggs, get it?— and treated Gerry to her clucking-chicken impression. Her contacts hurt and she fretted about her hair, but April pulled it off with self-confidence, and she got her rose. “I’m a flirt,” she explained after their encounter, “but it’s been 20 years, and I’ve got to get back on my game. Who I was before a caretaker and a matriarch. If this hen doesn’t get a rose, there’s gonna be a lot of hell-raising in the henhouse. I didn’t even get to first base!”

Since she’s a therapist by profession, he asked if she was analyzing him. “Yeah, you’re a very nice guy!” Wise answer.

spinner image gerry turner holding hands and talking with sandra on the golden bachelor
Craig Sjodin/ABC

And sometimes you just have to be yourself instead of pretending to be someone you’re not

Sandra (pronounced “Sohn-drah”), 75, the retired Georgia executive assistant, was gracious, lovely — and fond of four-letter words. She greeted Gerry by telling him she was nervous to meet him, and she dealt with it by using her Zen practice, which involves deep breaths, and chanting obscenities. “I’m a woman who speaks her mind,” she said. “I like some of those f-words and s-words — a lotta people would say augh! But that’s who I am!”

Sandra was also forthright about what she’s after. “At my age I’m energetic. I’m still connected with my body, and I want intimacy with a guy. Since I haven’t been in love in a long time, I really do need someone to step into my golden years with.”

Her unconventional approach worked, and she’s got another crack at winning the bachelor’s heart.

spinner image the golden bachelor gerry turner
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Drama? You ain't seen nothing yet

The first episode was fun, but the show will get more gripping as we — and Gerry — get to know the contestants, and they go on dates, racing four-wheelers, taking amusement-park rides, boating, watching fireworks and volcanoes that symbolize reawakening passions. You may find yourself singing along with the soundtrack, “Don’t stop believin’, hang on to that feeling!”

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