• Gail MLT

The Late (Date) Show

ABC-TV is casting for a new dating show for older adults.  Let's hope they get it right.
Photo credit: fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Last week, ABC Television and the producers of “The Bachelor” announced they are casting for a new dating show for older adults - or, as they put it, “Seniors Looking for Love!” and “active and outgoing men and women IN THEIR GOLDEN YEARS…!”  A good friend and reader of this blog (and you know who you are) recently used his own column to speculate on the developing program and to indulge in an occasionally funny and doubtless irresistible flight of easy jokes about older adults. There were the usual jabs about hearing loss, less-hardy hearts, card games and difficulties setting the DVR. Going further, my helpful friend went on to provide ABC-TV's marketing department with a short list of possible advertisers, including manufacturers of denture cleaners and pain relievers.

Ha-ha-ha – oh, stop!

"Golden Years" - Who can utter those two words aloud without rolling their eyes?

Let’s take a moment to consider the language used by ABC casting, in particular the phrase “golden years”: a term rife with mockery.  Who can utter those two words aloud without rolling their eyes? Worse than a trope – because absolutely nobody believes it – “golden years” is society winking at itself: it’s an inside joke - the spin society tells itself so it doesn’t have to include older adults in the same way it does younger people. After all, they're off living their golden years, right?

HERE IS WHAT I HOPE:  That ABC-TV will resist presenting older adults as objects of derision, that older men and women will not be reduced to one-dimensional grandpas and grandmas. That in casting older adults, ABC will apply some of the criteria – some of the language – they use in casting for “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”: that is, casting for people with charm, style, class, culture.

ABC has a great opportunity to showcase contemporary older adults looking for romance -- looking to share their still-to-be valued lives.  Because the desire to connect -- for coupling and companionship -- does not diminish with age. Done right, ABC can show the vibrancy of older adults today: accomplished, attractive, interesting and interested, still seeking and, yes, with more to give.

Interested or just curious? Here is the application.

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